2021 is the first year that Blind Man's Puff will be at the TPE (Tobacco Plus Expo) trade show. From today, May 12th through Friday May 14th, keep checking back here for more updates and follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for live pictures and video interviews from the show floor. You can click the above links to follow our accounts on each platform or view them all together in the feed below.
This year, Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival put on their 10th Annual event. Blind Man's Puff has been to almost all of them. We've seen it go from a festival with just a few booths from big manufacturers to one of the largest cigar events in the country with booths from all types of cigar companies.
I must admit, when I approached the home rollers on the BOTL web forum about a friendly contest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I learned that coordinating a series of this type is a big logistical challenge for which I was unprepared. In the end, it was a good experience for me. I hope it was also a good experience for those who participated, and especially our readers.
Then there's something called Ristefari. Don't worry if you've never heard of it. By the end of this article you will probably want to go. Ristefari is the brainchild of Riste Ristevski, owner and founder of Jas Sum Kral Cigars (JSK). In a nutshell Ristefari is like a cigar event, a cigar festival and a family reunion combined into a weekend. In early March of 2018 I was fortunate enough to attend Ristefari 2018. Here's a rundown of some of the best points of Ristefari.
Imagine a car enthusiast having an opportunity to tour the Ferrari factory in Maranello, or someone who is a collector of fine watches going to visit Patek Philippe in Geneva. The chance to actually see your favorite products being constructed by hand can be a real treat for the senses, and it can also give a heightened respect for the work that goes into creating these items that we love so much. For premium cigar lovers the products that we consume are some of the most artfully and painstakingly crafted products in the world. Still, so many cigar lovers still don't have the first-hand experience of seeing what goes into growing fine tobacco and crafting great cigars. During Puro Sabor 2018 I was able to visit a number of cigar factories, large and small. In this second article of the series about the festival I will take you through these factories in the same order that I visited them.
Smoke Inn and Abe Dababneh are hosting a "Battle of the Bands" for cigars. Abe chose 6 of the biggest Cigar Media websites and asked each of them to make a sampler. The sampler selling the most at the end of the competition will be crowned the winner. Now through Monday use code LBRDAY and get 20% off you order at Smoke Inn including this sampler, bringing the price down to only $43. Click here to buy our sampler. Battle of the Bands ends midnight, Sunday October 4th and a LIVE virtual results show including all the competitors will be broadcast Monday, October 5th, 8PM EST.
In the case of shop events, it can be challenging for a small cigar shop. The difficulty comes in a few different forms. On one hand, a smaller cigar shop simply doesn't have as much space for customers. Also, a brand owner would typically be less inclined to spend the time money and effort to hold an event at a small cigar shop. But brands who have a broad following and dedicated group of talented sales reps can take chances on small shop events, and sometimes turn them into a success. In late July of 2018, I spent the evening at my local shop and had a wonderful time at a small scale cigar event.
Overall, this is a great piece of traditional, yet modern, cigar clothing. I would not hesitate in recommending this for your formal or casual cigar event if you want to stand out a bit from the crowd. The price is right, and the quality is high, so do yourself a favor and check out the Y.A. Bera website.
As we close out our series on Puro Sabor 2018, let's take a look at the events that made the week special. In all honesty, even the everyday lunches were special events. It seemed like every time we gathered for a meal, the organizers pulled out all the stops and made it a grand occasion instead of just another meal. One of my favorite things about all of these events was the reality of being able to sit down with people from all over the world, all walks of life, and all manner of experience in the cigar industry. We were all the same at these events. It was just an enormous group of friends gathering for a meal, some drinks, and great conversation.
In my most recent trip to Nicaragua I was fortunate to attend Puro Sabor 2018. Puro Sabor is a celebration of the Nicaraguan cigar industry and the people who make it so wonderful. I had previously been to Nicaragua once before, in the fall of 2015, and I was so grateful to be able to go back again. Since there's so much to cover about this trip I'll break it into a series of different articles each covering different aspects of the trip itself. One theme that I hope you'll notice in all of these articles is the people. The people are the most important aspect of every piece of the cigar industry in Nicaragua. Nothing is more important to the industry than its people and it's the relationships that make the cigar industry in Nicaragua so beautiful and so wonderful.