We are talking about the IPCPR new releases and events we plan to attend, Cigar News, Poke Stops and much more today. Sunday – Rooftop party in Old Vegas (Fremont Street) at Binion’s hosted by Garrett Calhoun and a select group of retailers. This is the unofficial kickoff party for the IPCPR. This was organized by Garrett Calhoun a few years ago. Garrett is the Southeast regional sales rep for Davidoff of Geneva. Monday – Davidoff is hosting the Yamasa launch at its cigar bar, Diamond Crown Black launch party and the big one that night is the My Father retailer dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse an exclusive dinner for their top retailers across the country. Tuesday – Davidoff dinner and Golden Band Awards in the Venetian Ballroom. Wednesday – Dinner at Delmonico Steakhouse with Gurkha cigars.
Listen to the podcast here:
IPCPR | Davidoff Yamasa | Poke Stop | Cigar Cafe Podcast
I’m Lane and I’m with Harris. What’s up, Harris?
I’m getting excited about the IPCPR. They’ve got a lot of events planned. There’s way more events than you can even go to after-hours.
That’s what Jen asked me. She said, “What are you going to do?” I said, “I have no idea. Sunday night I know what I’m doing. Monday night I know what I’m doing. After that, everything is fuzzy.”
I made a few notes so everybody knows what we’re doing while we’re out there. Sunday night, first night, there is a rooftop party at Binion’s Horseshoe in Old Vegas, that unofficial launch party tradition. That should be a lot of fun.
Your store is sponsoring that, right?
Yeah. This year is a little different. They got Sunray’s Store to sponsor it. Then they’re doing a cover charge that’s a donation by IPCPR and CRA. We’re helping out with that. Garrett Calhoun, our Davidoff rep, is the organizer of it. That’s how we got sucked into it.
I am coincidentally smoking a Davidoff cigar. It’s the second time I’ve had it, the Puro d’Oro Magnificos. I smoked it back around Memorial Day or something like that. My wife was out of town and I had no idea what it was. It had been hanging out in the humidors. It’s been discontinued so what you’ve got in your humidor now is all that I’m probably going to see.
They have a little bit still in stock. They’re not producing anymore but when they’re gone, they’re gone.
This stick is just fantastic. It looks like your typical run-of-the-mill Davidoff. It’s got the pretty gold band. It’s got a band on foot too. It tastes great.
Davidoff’s big new release this year is the Yamasá. From what I’ve been told, the wrapper is the same as what they used on the Puro d’Oro. The binder and filler, they haven’t released but will be different. That was one reason they’re discontinuing the Puro d’Oro because they felt it would compete with this new Davidoff Yamasá. I have not tried one yet. We haven’t got any samples. Davidoff is a major sponsor of the IPCPR. They’re doing a thing where every person at the trade show can come by and get a sample of it, which is pretty smart. Everyone’s trying it. It’s a great launch.
Who at the trade show is going to say, “No, I’m not going to smoke a Davidoff?”
I don’t know how many Davidoff-appointed merchants there are. There aren’t that many. A lot of people come to the show can’t get Davidoff, so it’s a special thing for them to be able to try it. It’s always nice to get a $20-cigar for free.
I did finally reserve my tux for that Yamasá tasting. I verified with the tux shop out there that it’s not a problem if I smoke in it. I’m not going to have to buy a tux if it gets ashes on it or if it comes back stinking. I went ahead and reserved one. I can try it on, make sure that everything fits.
When do you have to take it back?
I don’t. I take it down to the bell desk at Treasure Island in the garment bag with all the studs and jewelry and everything. They pick it up sometime after.
Monday night is the Davidoff Yamasá launch, Davidoff of Geneva Cigar Bar. That will be really cool. Diamond Crown is doing a launch party for their new Diamond Crown Black series, which we’ve had already. We were probably one of ten people in the country who tried it.
We smoked three of the twenty that were in the States.
Gary got one and we probably got half of it.
That night, the My Father retailer dinner they’re having at Morton’s The Steakhouse. It was a really cool event for their top retailers. It’s not a huge event but they’ve got the best the best there. Pete Johnson from Tatuaje will be there, Don Pepin family, all those guys. That’s one of my favorite events. Tuesday night will be Davidoff Golden Band Awards and dinner. It’s always one of the most unique. I don’t know what they’re doing but they always come up with something that you would have never thought of. Wednesday night, dinner at Delmonico’s in The Venetian with Ken from Gurkha, some Gurkha reps and some interesting guys from Tennessee. That will be a small thing.
My wife and I have been going over a bunch of stuff to do in Vegas because she’s never been before and it’s been years since I’ve been there. We’re going to go see the Cirque du Soleil show at Treasure Island, the Mystère. It’s the one that people think about going to Vegas and seeing a Cirque du Soleil show. It’s that one.
That was one of the original ones. I saw that in Atlanta maybe fifteen years ago. Back then, that was the one.
We’re going to go see that. She’s never seen Cirque du Soleil. She’s never been to Vegas. We’re going to tackle both of those in one night. We haven’t decided exactly what we’re doing for dinner. We decided that we’re going to play it by ear and see if we run into some French place. I assume we will find something that we will agree on better than that once we get there and start wandering around. There are so many different options. My brother was out there last year, they found this super gourmet burger place.
Is it Holsteins?
I have to ask him the name of it. He’s like, “We ended up going there two nights in a row because it was that good.”
Holsteins does shakes and burgers. They call them Bamboozled Shakes. You can get a shake with liquor in it. They’ve got a cheeseburger that’s got aged Gruyère cheese on it. The burger patty is the beef patty but it’s got foie gras and duck fat in it. I call it the duck, duck goose. They’ve got French fries that they fry in duck fat. The duck fat, there’s just enough in it. It doesn’t take over the burger. It’s just a really good burger with an interesting duck note in the middle of it. I don’t know if we’ll go there or not but with a week there, I’m probably going to go there at some point.
There are so many options. There’s this place in The Venetian that I like. It’s like a little café place that’s not fancy but serves good food for quick things.
My wife made the comment that the week that I’m going to be there I’m going to gain back the 35 pounds or so that I’ve lost. She’s like, “Don’t forget we have Dominican Republic in October. You cannot get re-fat.”
I’m getting ready for the IPCRP looking overall of the news coming out, this record number of new releases coming out. It’s hard to even name them all. There are so many.
There’s been so much social media buzz that it’s really picked. People were being hush-hush about it but it’s really picked up. There’s been stuff at the Halfwheel. There has been stuff that different manufacturers are putting out on Facebook and Twitter pages. Once the boxes of stuff start coming in and they start getting ready to ship things out to Vegas, things have gotten a lot more tangible.
I’m looking over Halfwheel a little bit. It’s always a great news source. I see all what they’ve been reporting on. They’ve been talking a lot about the CRA, CAA and IPCPR filing the lawsuit finally officially, which is a huge deal. There was a big goal there before the trade show. They felt discontent that they hadn’t done anything yet. Their goal is to get an injunction both re-filed.
If nothing else the injunction starts, it ups the chances of the predicate date moving.
That’s the goal for sure is getting that change. If nothing else happened, if they could get that changed, that would be a huge one. That was big news and all the new releases, Davidoff Yamasá. I thought it was pretty interesting that Boveda and XIKAR signed an agreement where Boveda is going to supply XIKAR with XIKAR-branded humidity packs that they will sell. I think it was smart on XIKAR’s part because Boveda is killing them and they have a patent. They can’t go copy it so their only play was to do what they did and get them to manufacture them for them and license it basically so they’re both making money on it. Then XIKAR has their salesforce that will promote more than Boveda could because they don’t have reps now. It seems like a win-win. In cigar shops across the country, we’ll be starting to see XIKAR-branded Boveda packs probably taking over. I read the article in a news release from XIKAR and their reason for doing it is they want to be a one-stop shop for every cigar accessory you can possibly need. That was a huge hole that they had because they didn’t have any cut.
You don’t have one of those TSA-approved lighter cases, do you?
We had one around forever. They’re ancient. I don’t think I do anymore.
I don’t have one. There are going to be matches. There are going to be lighters in there.
As long as you put it in a check bag, they don’t care now if it doesn’t have fuel in it. I remember those. I think Colibri made some.
That was what I kept reading. It’s Colibri. They’re like Pelican cases, right?
Yeah, basically the little mini version of it. I’ve been okay as long as it’s in a check bag. Technically, they’re supposed to be put on a carry-on. A lot of times they get confuse. It’s like hit or miss if you’ll make it. I’ve been looking through all the new ones coming out. A lot of them I have no idea what they are, the brand or whatever. One that looked interesting to me was that the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez has the same wrapper as Montecristo ADS from when it was release. From what I read it’s a propriety wrapper they’ve been developing. They’re supposed to be nutty, leathery, sweet, robust cigar. It sounds like an interesting new one. Camacho Powerband series has already come out. That was a big push for Davidoff. Then Dunbarton Tobacco &Trust, the maker of Sobremesa, are adding five lines total. They have one called the Umbagog. It’s in take-out bundles. It’s cigars that the wrappers weren’t quite perfect enough for one of their other good ones. They’re going to be under $6. It’s pretty interesting because they have great tobacco. I’m interested to see what that’s like. Omar from Fratello is releasing the Oro. It’s an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that reminded me of the Undercrown Shade a little bit. I have not smoked it but that’s what it looked like. Those were the ones that were jumping out at me. The hard part this is going to be sorting through. There are so many things. What do you even bring in because there’s no room for all of that stuff.
Anytime we shop anywhere, when we fly in, we’re going to try and get there as early as possible. We’re going to try to leave as late as possible. We do the same thing when we go. We’re doing the same thing when we go to the Keys, when we go to Dominican Republic. That’s how we plan our trips. Our friends are like, “How do you do that?” We land in a place that’s better than where we take off, and we have the entire day ahead of us.
That makes such a big difference. It’s like adding a day to your trip if you get there that early.
We’re going to get bus passes and everything. We’ve got a weekend three-day pass for $20 or something like that.
You just hop on and off. That’s a good idea because otherwise it’s so far to walk. You really can’t.
She works for an attorney and he found out she was going to Vegas and found out she’d never been before. He started telling her all of his horror stories. He had stories about one of his buddies at a bachelor party got drunk and fell asleep in some random truck bed and woke up an hour and a half outside the city at a farm. He had another story where he’d gone to go do some continuing legal education with his dad. They went out to dinner and had drinks and stuff. Instead of riding back with his dad to their hotel, because they were staying in different hotels, he just decided he was going to walk. On the way, he’s drunk and he got confused and lost. He just wanders into some random casino and starts playing table games. The next thing he knows it’s 10:00 the next morning and his dad’s calling him trying to find out where he is. He looks on his phone. He’s got 33 missed calls. My wife was like, “Did they make that movie about you?”
One time, my cousin and I were there just randomly for the weekend. We decided it would be a good idea to walk from Old Vegas to New Vegas. It doesn’t look that far but it is unbelievably far. We’re in boots or something so we’re not prepared for it. We just kept going on and on and we made it. It took forever. We also saw an In-N-Out Burger off the center side. It looked close too but it was probably another mile. I like Vegas. It’s so different than here being in the desert and just so many interesting things there.
I don’t really have any gambling plans or anything. I might play some craps or something at some point.
Craps is my new game. I just learned how to play the last time I went to Vegas. My buddy is really into it. I watched him for a night and learned. I don’t want to do anything else now. If I want to do something that’s it.
I learned it on my iPod Touch. They had a game. You learn the basic betting strategy and everything. Then what you have to do is you have to go in with a plan and you just have to stick to it. None of the plans are necessarily bad. That the six and eight is where you want to hang out, but you can pick a five or you can pick a nine. Those are the same odds. Do a hard six or a hard eight once in a while.
I thought it was really fun. You hang with it long enough too until someone goes on some streak that’s unbelievable.
You don’t make a whole lot of money at it real fast. It’s not going to the slot machine and feeding it your little card and everything and it coming off, “You won $50,”or something like that. You’re going to win $10. You’re going to win $10 more. It will pile up if you stay at the table long enough. I’ve turned $40 into $400 in under an hour.
If someone gets on a streak, that’s when it’s fun; if somebody just rolls the dice over and over and over and just keeps winning.
That’s what I’ve had to practice in Craps and stuff. If you’re going to throw the dice, you need to be confident in it because you’re screwing with everybody at the table if you suck at it. I sucked at it first. I’ve played at resorts and cruises and stuff like that since then. I worked out the dice throw and everything so that I at least get five or six throws out of it. Everybody tends to be mostly happy about that. It’s like, “Don’t throw a seven.”
Have you read anything about the new Oliva Cigar coming out?
The name comes from Melanio Oliva’s son. They’re doing a tribute to him. They’re doing it in two wrappers, Ecuador and Connecticut which seems to be a theme almost, we’re going to see a lot of those, and then Sumatra wrapper. It’s going to be in the $5 to $7, so it’s not a super expensive cigar. Oliva was recently bought by a European company. It will be interesting to see if that changes anything. It’s like the Drew Estate purchase. They say they plan to leave it alone. José Oliva will still be the CEO. The other thing I saw too is the new XIKAR XO cutter. It’s pretty cool. It’s a round, metal, guillotine cutter. They’re not like anything else out there. They’re $100. It’s a little expensive but very well-made, very substantial. They’ve been working on it for three years. That’s their big new accessory this year. That was from a list of a thousand new things. Those are just some of what I picked out.
What I had picked up, that thing is nuts. First of all, it fell apart on me as soon as I got home. The screws on the back of it popped out. I was like, “What am I going to do?” I got the dust mop out and ran it over my kitchen floor, and I found two of the three screws and had a screwdriver small enough to put them back in. The scissors were reattached. That torched everything. It’s got two punches and scissors. That lighter is pretty much like the Swiss army knife of cigars. The red flame is cool. The scissors are cool. The punches are cool. I’ve used them all. They all work. Gary said I can probably go to a jewelry store and find that one missing screw.
If anybody is looking for one of those, we call it the Myber Lighter because it doesn’t have a brand name on it. Our rep who sells it, his name is Rich Myber, so we just call it that.
As soon as I posted a picture of it online, some guy that I didn’t know was, “Where can I get that?” I was like, “Cigars and More?” He’s from Canada.
There’s no name on it. For $60, it’s pretty great. Anything else could probably be over $100.
It’s got four burners on it plus all the gadgets. It’s got these little titanium insets that turn the flame red so that you can see it outdoors. Even during the show, I didn’t even know that it existed. I walked out and was like, “I’m going to spend money on that.” Gary said that he had basically presold the other one that he had just gotten into and they both walked out the day off.
We never have enough. Another one I’m excited about is OpusX’s twenty-year celebration from Fuente. It’s the twentieth anniversary of OpusX cigars. They showed it off at IPCPR but they never shipped it. Apparently, they are finally ready to ship those.
Are they going to let us sample those?
They will not, unfortunately. Fuente is notorious where you go in their booth, they have signs up. One says, “No free samples.” They don’t give any Fuente products. The other one says, “We’re not opening any new accounts.” You look at them and say, “Why are you here then?” Their thing is exclusivity, “We’re here but you can order regular stuff.” They never do any specials. It is what it is.
After the show, you had events from Ashton here. He made sure on my way out he said, “Stop by our booth.”
They have some cool stuff coming out. They always have the Ashton VSG, ESG, La Aroma de Cuba, San Cristobal. They have tons of different things now. Ashton will be having cigar dinners in The Venetian at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant. They’re a very cool restaurant. They’ve been doing that for years. Unfortunately, we’re not going to make it over that one but maybe next year. That’s the problem. There are so many great events and a lot of them are in the same night. You just can’t go to everything.
I remember the name of that restaurant now, the French and Spanish one. It’s Picasso. She saw a bunch of internet buzz on that. That it was the French and Spanish place that they really have one thing you should eat. She wants to see the fountain show at the Bellagio. When we first started talking about going and everything, I was like, “Just Google The Venetian and you’re going to want to go.” I pulled up the Bellagio. I just Googled it and went to YouTube after that, but pulled up videos of Celine Dion and Michael Jackson songs on the fountain show. She was like, “How do they do that?” I was like, “You invent a problem and you throw an unlimited amount of money at it, you end up with a really cool fountain.”
That’s what I love about Vegas. You have stuff like that that you wouldn’t have even thought of.
We talked about going to the Hoover Dam and she’s like, “I don’t know that I want to burn half a day on it.” We’re probably going to do most of our wandering around and stuff. There’s some brunch buffet she wants to have. They’ve got unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Marys for $15. We’re going to get there and we’re going to sit down to the table and I’m going to have bacon and an omelet and she’s probably going to have pancakes. The $15 for bottomless Bloody Marys and Mimosas is basically a two-hour pass. You can get all you want for two hours.
Where is that?
It’s on the Strip. It’s Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan. I’ve been told that if you want to go out in Vegas and see all the hipsters, The Cosmopolitan is where you want to end up. I want to go to Stratosphere. We’d go to the tower, ride the rides.
I’ve been up there. It’s pretty cool. It’s a great view. The ride, you’re so high up. I don’t want to freak you out.
That little roller coaster car that they tilt you backwards and forwards on and dangle you out over the edge 700 feet.
You’d feel like you really could fall. I did that forever ago. It’s right in the Strip. I would do that. She likes ride and some stuff?
We haven’t done a bunch recently but we used to. Most of the places we go now don’t have roller coasters. It doesn’t mean we don’t like them, it’s just they’re not there. I went to an IBM event with work after hours and saw a Minor League baseball team, the Barons, play. I worked from home and it was after-hours so I put on a pair of cargo shorts and a t-shirt, baseball cap, and sunglasses, and headed on in. One of my co-workers was there. He was in khaki shorts and had changed into a different shirt and everything from work. Right before the class started, our CIO walks in and I’m dressed like a third grader. I found a buddy of mine who used to work for VMware. He does technology sales. I bumped into him down at a different suite and I just left.
I was smoking the Monte by Montecristo. This has really been a nice medium body. It’s a really dark rolly wrapper. It’s a little spicy at the beginning and just pulled it out into that medium range. It’s been nice.
It’s been a popular place to hang out letting my palate rest because you’re going to keep smoking. I don’t smoke as much as you do at the store or anything like. I probably smoke four or five cigars a week on a normal week. I’m down to one or two right now just trying not to burn myself out before the trade show.
I really debated about whether or not I smoke a cigar today because it can be overload. Everybody wants you to try things. I bring a lot of them back and smoke here because after I smoke five cigars, I’m not going be able to tell what it tastes.
How can you go get your cigars back?
I put them in a carry-on or even sometimes the checked bag and they seem to do okay.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a Boveda pack and stick it in a FedEx or a Priority Mail box.
You definitely could do that. I’ve thought about doing that, I haven’t done that, but that’s not a bad option.
I’m sure they’ve got the prepaid flat rate boxes at the hotel anyway. The medium-sized box is $13 or something like that. Then you know that they’re all going to make it home.
They have a UPS store in the hotel. That’s probably easier than trying to transport unless you have so much space. I don’t normally take a suitcase that’s big enough to fit a person.
I’m taking my medium-sized one so I’ll probably got enough space to do a couple bundles of clothes in my travel bag. I’m going to go ahead and pack a pair of khakis and a dark brown jacket and shirt and tie just in case there is something else I need it for. I know some of the restaurants say that they prefer the gentlemen to wear a jacket. My wife has got some fancy cleavage-baring black dress that she’s going to wear to dinner. I have to at least look like I belong with her.
One thing I like to do is I’ll take a carry-on bag, the carry-on luggage, the bigger piece and not put my shoe in it because that is great to use out there when you carry around stuff. Normally, you just accumulate so many random things that if you put them in a backpack or you put them somewhere else, it weighs you down. I’m going to take one of those to just throw things in.
I have a camera bag that might be good for that. It’s got a padded segmented frame on the inside but it looks like your messenger bag. It’s a lighter color than that but it looks like a messenger bag. I’m going take both cameras anyway. I’m going to run around the show with a little one but the time that I’m there with my wife and everything, I might as we’ll take the full frame of the camera. I saw it’s going to be 111 degrees. I hear that it gets down to 80 real quick as soon as the sun goes down.
There’s no humidity. 110 feels about 85 in Alabama. It’s really hot heat but if you’re in a shade or once the sun goes down, it’s perfect. They had the show in New Orleans. That was the most brutal, soggy heat. We have almost 100% humidity here and it was much more humid there. I don’t know how that’s really possible but it was.
The air is heavy. It’s hard to breathe. I keep seeing everybody posting pictures of baby powder and Gold Bond and stuff like that for dealing with all the walking and everything.
How’s that cigar finishing up for you?
It’s mellowed out. It’s real easy. It was not a fluke. The last one that I had that was this good.
I’m excited to see what the Davidoff Yamasá is like. It’s an even better version.
That’s what I’m hoping too is for them reusing the bands and everything or the style of the bands that it’s in the same easy medium-bodied flavor profile. This has been a stellar Davidoff. It’s not like a lot of other Davidoff’s. It’s not like the Winston Churchill. It’s not like their traditional lines or anything like that. It’s really well-balanced. It’s very complex. It’s a good middle-of-the-day smoke. I’ve smoked one at night too.
We’ll have a show next week. When we get back, we’ll have our post-IPCPR. That is one fun thing when the show is in Vegas. There is this area in The Venetian complex where everybody can go to their events. People do different things. Afterwards people congregate in this one central area. It’s cool to see people will be there. It’s always one of the fun things about it being there.
I just found out that Kyle Davis who had been with 262 went to Drew Estate recently. I saw somebody posting the Herrera Esteli and Kyle was tagged in it. I said, “When did this happen?” You said it was about a month ago. We’ve taken a few weeks off of recording shows because we had a backlog of shows. That explains why I didn’t get the memo.
He’ll be a great fit there. Congratulations to Jeff Tinnell, our long-time CAO then Drew Estate.
He uploaded in a while and he’s still doing the local territory for a while. Now, Kyle has taken over his old position.
We’ll see him out there too. We’re done until the show.