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.
ear marked the 12th Annual Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. Unfortunately last years event was not held in person so we were not able to do our Blind Tasting Event. In 2019 we did the first ever Blind Cigar Tasting Event for every attendee of the festival and it was a huge success. You can read about it here. This year, we went bigger and the event did not disappoint.
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.
IS A MAN ANY LESS "MANLY" BECAUSE HE'S NOT A BEER DRINKER? Speaking for myself, I never fully acquired a palate for the bitter, malty taste of beer. Maybe because I was always a soda drinker I got spoiled by the sugary taste of Pepsi, 7-Up, and the like, which today I no longer drink. Of course, as I matured, I came to appreciate a few beers, but mostly the lighter, sweeter fare.
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.
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.
Following our attendance to the IPCPR 2015 trade show this past week, we gathered all of the Blind Man's Puff team that was there so that we could do a recap of the event. We cover things we were excited about going into the show, things we were excited about coming out of the show, cigars we smoked and our overall thoughts about the event and products.
ACMEAllBalmoralBill PaleyCaldwellCamachoCAOCrowned HeadsCubaCubariquenoDanny MoyaDavidoffDion GiolitoDominican RepublicDon Pepin GarciaDrew EstateDunbarton Tobacco & TrustEditorialFeaturedFoundation CigarFred ReweyH. Upmann (Cuba)Hendrik KelnerHondurasIllusioneIPCPRJon HuberJonathan DrewKyle GellisL'AtelierLa PalinaManuel QuesadaMax FernandezMoyaRuizNelson RuizNewsNicaraguaNicholas MelilloPartagasPete JohnsonQuesadaRick RodriguezRobert CaldwellRoMa CraftSkip MartinSteve SakaTatuajeTop 25USAWarpedWilly Herrera·
Voting Process Each of our 16 panelists were given 10 votes to cast. Our list is made up of cigars that were RELEASED in 2015. The cigars that are eligible do not have to have been reviewed on Blind Man's Puff, but the panelist must have smoke it at some point themselves.
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.