In 2018 I embarked on a trip from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the Premium Cigar Association Trade show, known then as IPCPR. It’s the largest gathering of cigar producers, distributors and retailers in North America. It’s always exciting to see all the elaborate booths and the new cigar releases and get to know the big names in the cigar industry.
It was an absolute honour to meet Nirka Reyes of De Los Reyes Cigars which, in addition to their own cigar blends – Don Julio & Saga – makes Debonaire, Indian Motorcycles, Patoro & Puros de Hostos cigars for other companies.
The De Los Reyes story is a long one which dates back to the 1850’s when Nirka’s family immigrated to the Dominican Republic from Spain. They have been growing tobacco for generations since.
Nirka decided to start making the unique Saga series cigar in 2014 starting with the Saga Golden Age using all Dominican tobacco: Corojo 2006 Dominican Wrapper, Dominican San Vicente binder & original Piloto Cubano seed tobacco in the filler.
The 1st volume of Saga Short Tales volume came out in 2016 and was aptly named: “Tales of the High Primings”. Each box looks like a book and the public responded favourably, wanting to buy full boxes of the cigar … and then wanted an entire collection!
Currently, there are six editions, with plans for 4 more.
The De Los Reyes team is dedicated to making cigars that bring joy to people who love cigars.
I enjoyed a Saga Short Tales cigar when I stopped for a stroll in Gallup, New Mexico, which was just one of many stops along the way during my Cigar Road-Trip 2018. Definitely a box-worthy … or in this case “volume-worthy” … smoke!
WINDSOR, Calif., August 19, 2020 – TodaySonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Winemaker, Zidanelia Arcidiacono, earned a spot on the 2020 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 list, which recognizes the young winemakers, brewers, beverage directors, grape growers, and other movers and shakers who are changing today’s beverage industry.
“We are so proud of Z for receiving this great recognition,” said Sonoma-Cutrer Director of Winemaking, Mick Schroeter. “Z’s leadership and passion makes her an integral member of our team and well deserving of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 Tastemakers.”
Born in Texas, Zidanelia “Z” and her family moved to Mendoza, Argentina when she was just three years old. Since winemaking is the main economic industry in that region, she grew up surrounded by winemakers and listening to their wonderful stories. The passion they expressed for their life’s work made a deep impression on her at a young age, and she decided winemaking was her true calling.
Zidanelia began her career working in the lab at Bodega Cruz de Piedra while attending university in Mendoza. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in winemaking, she traveled to the south of France to the Cave cooperative Les Vignerons du Pays d’Enserune, working in the cellar for a harvest. Upon returning to Mendoza, however, she realized she wanted to keep traveling and her next destination should be California.
After arriving in the US in 2007, Zidanelia soon learned of Sonoma-Cutrer, where she applied for and was hired as an Enologist for that season’s harvest. She loved the experience and region so much that she decided to stay, moving on to the same position at Fetzer winery. There her skills, experience, passion and hard work helped her move quickly through the ranks, and she became the Winemaker for Fetzer Reserve Wines and Little Black Dress within a few years.
Returning to Sonoma-Cutrer in 2015, Zidanelia is happy to be back where her California adventure first began. Her experience working on reserve wines made her the perfect fit for the role of crafting Sonoma-Cutrer’s outstanding Pinot Noirs. Zidanelia says that she loves nurturing the wines throughout the process and, even more, seeing others enjoy the results of her work.
Not only is Zidanelia dedicated to shaping the future of Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir, which she considers a “best kept secret,” she also champions the winery’s employee resource groups on female leadership and sustainability. In this role, she works to provide tools, career development assets and education for women within the organization and helps to promote and implement a range of green initiatives.
“I love challenges because I know those achievements are most rewarding, which is why Pinot Noir is my favorite variety,” says Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Winemaker, Zidanelia Arcidiacono. “I truly believe that my accomplishments are a clear reflection of my tenacity, perseverance and passion; but I also owe it in large part to the people who influenced and continue to mark my path.”
Sonoma-Cutrer has been crafting wines since 1981 in the esteemed Russian River Valley growing region of Sonoma County, California. Our flagship wine Russian River Ranches was built in the on-premise and for almost 40 years has dominated the Most Popular Chardonnay wine lists. Our winemaking process is designed specifically to preserve the highest quality grapes, and the wines are aged in barrels made of specific French oak trees that are individually-selected to fit the winemakers’ needs. All Sonoma-Cutrer wines can be purchased at the Sonoma-Cutrer winery as well as through the wine club, Club Cutrer.
August 19, 2020. In the case of Cigar Association of America, the Premium Cigar Association, and Cigar Rights of America v. United States Food and Drug Administration et al., Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor for the premium cigar industry and against the FDA.
The Court held that the FDA—in the Final Deeming Rule—completely mishandled the important question of how premium cigars should proceed through the premarket review process.
The Court concluded that the FDA failed to engage in “reasoned decision-making” regarding premium cigars, in violation of federal law.
According to the Court, the FDA’s “incorrect and conclusory assertion that its hands were tied” in response to the premium cigar industry’s requests for a more tailored regulatory review process “was arbitrary.”
Accordingly, the FDA enjoined application of the premarket review requirements until the agency goes back and addressed the important questions regarding premium cigars ignored in the Final Deeming Rule.
Premium cigar manufacturers will not have to file for premarket approval by September 9th, 2020.
The Court relayed upon a definition of premium cigar utilized by the FDA in an August 5, 2020 filing:
a cigar that: (1) is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf (2) contains a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder (3) contains at least 50 percent (of the filler by weight) long filler tobacco (i.e., whole tobacco leaves that run the length of the cigar) (4) is handmade or hand rolled (i.e., no machinery was used apart from simple tools, such as scissors to cut the tobacco prior to rolling) (5) has no filter, non-tobacco tip, or non-tobacco mouthpiece (6) does not have a characterizing flavor other than tobacco (7) contains only tobacco, water, and vegetable gum with no other ingredients or additives; and (8) weighs more than 6 pounds per 1,000 units.”
The definition is endorsed by the Premium Cigar Association and will provide relief to most products sold at PCA member retail stores and lounges. Notably the definition does not include a price minimum, flavors, or cigars that are machine manufactured.
“This is another monumental victory for the premium cigar industry. We congratulate our legal team, led by Mike Edney of Steptoe & Johnson, on an important victory that protects the livelihood of PCA members across the country. This comes on the heels of legal victories striking down warning labels for premium cigars. Both our retail members and associate members provided important strategy and guidance in our legal, legislative, and regulatory appeals to define premium cigars and showcase their distinctiveness from the courts to Capitol Hill,” says Scott Pearce PCA Executive Director.
“Judge Mehta’s opinion is a testament to the virtue of the public comments filed over the years with the FDA by our industry alliance, and the failure of the FDA to not only respond, but to recognize the suggestions made to address the fairness of the proposed regulations. The efforts of the advocacy strategies initiated by CRA and PCA served as the foundation for this decision, proving that you always have to carry your message to both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the courthouse that sits in the middle,” says Glynn Loope, CRA Executive Director.
Premium Cigar Association 513 Capitol Court NE, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20002
CIGAR RIGHTS OF AMERICA, 300 New Jersey Avenue, Northwest,Suite 900, Washington, DC 20001
It’s been 50 years since Jockey Diane Crump became the first female to ride in The Kentucky Derby® — and this year’s Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program celebrates that milestone.
Crump rode Fathom in the 1970 Derby and, although the thoroughbred finished 15th, Crump rode into history. Crump lives in Virginia and remains involved in the horse industry.
“The $1,000 Mint Julep program has become a cherished Derby tradition — and this year we are honoured to mark an important moment in Derby history while also raising money for charity,” – Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris said.
A total of 146 julep cups — celebrating Derby 146 — go on sale on Monday, August 3 at woodfordreservemintjulep.com.
Cups numbered 1-25 are gold-plated; selling for $2,500 each. Cups numbered 26-146 are silver-plated; selling for $1,000 each.
In years past, anyone who purchased a julep cup could only pick it up on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. Due to the global pandemic, the cups will be sent directly to consumers and Morris will conduct a virtual julep experience on Derby Day, which has been postponed this year to Saturday, September 5, 2020.
The cups feature etchings of the jockey silks worn in 1970 by Crump, along with the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.
They are nestled in a walnut case with a replica of turquoise and white silks that Crump wore that historic day.
The cups have special meaning to Woodford Reserve and its parent company, Brown-Forman, which this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
Fathom was owned by a Brown family member — W.L. Lyons Brown.
The cups were designed and handcrafted by From the Vault Jewelers in Louisville, Ky. and the silks for the walnut containers were made by Bourbon Cousins of Cincinnati.
Diane Crump Blackberry Mint Julep
(blackberry is the official fruit of Kentucky)
2 oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
1 barspoon Blackberry Preserves
1 barspoon Simple Syrup
Fresh Blackberries and Mint Sprigs, for garnish
At the bottom of the julep cup mix 1 bar spoon of blackberry preserves and 1 bar spoon of simple syrup. Add 2 – 4 dashes of mint bitters. Fill two-thirds of cup with crushed ice. Add sipping straw and Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Top off cup with more crushed ice (packed in). Top with fresh blackberries and a sprig of mint to garnish. Put the mint near the straw, so the smell enhances each sip. Enjoy!
About Woodford Reserve:
Woodford Reserve® is crafted at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery, tucked in the heart of thoroughbred country in Versailles, Kentucky. A National Historic Landmark, the Woodford Reserve Distillery represents craftsmanship with a balance of historic heritage and modern practices. Woodford Reserve is a product of the Brown-Forman Corporation, a premier producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands including Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Old Forester, Sonoma-Cutrer and Chambord. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. To learn more about Woodford Reserve, visit us www.woodfordreserve.com or check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodfordreserve.
About Churchill Downs Racetrack:
Churchill Downs®, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2019. For more information visit www.ChurchillDowns.com
Dunbarton, NH – Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust® (DTT) recently announced an innovative virtual initiative dubbed with their tongues firmly planted in cheek called “The DTT Timeshare Experience”.
The program debuted in the 2nd half of July 2020 in response to the cancellation of PCA’s Annual Trade Show for the cigar industry.
“Everyone is trying to figure out the best way to serve their Retail Customers and their own interests in this very topsy-turvy year of trade show and event cancellations. Most are doing virtual sales meetings, other are hosting virtual tradeshows and/or mini-physical travelling trade shows.
Honestly, I do not know how these will work, but I am doubtful that any of these strategies are appropriate for our Select Purveyors currently when it comes to our brands.
For us, sales have been solid and we are on track for another record setting year; this is thanks to steady growth with ever increasing turns and volume per turn.
In my opinion, the best thing we can do is remain steady and continue to enhance our brands’ value for our Retailers and their customers,” states Steve Saka, Founder and Co-Owner of DTT.
He goes on to add, “So rather than focus on sales, we have created an interactive program that will educate and engage our Select Purveyors and any of their staff they wish to include.
It will be focused on our products, industry trends, business strategy for continued growth, etc. in my typical no-nonsense manner. But ‘man does not live on work alone’, so we decided to spice it up a bit and jokingly bring in some elements of those really crappy timeshare pitches that we all endured as children whose parents just wanted the FREE whatever for listening. Now I cannot promise it will be good, but it will definitely be different and hopefully fun!
And of course we will throw out some sort of deal or two at the end, but that will not be the primary focus – we want our Purveyors to buy our puros not because they are discounted, but because they are exceptional and serve the needs of the most experienced and discerning customers. ”
Emails soliciting for registration in the DTT Timeshare Experience have been transmitted to Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Select Purveyors.
Some opportunities will only be extended to those who participate in the program.
®Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust are registered trademarks of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and/or affiliated companies.
About Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, LLC Founded in 2015, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (DTT) has quickly become the premier craft manufacturer of ultra- premium handmade cigars. Founded by cigar and industry expert Steve Saka, a former Executive Consultant to JR Cigar and President and CEO of Drew Estate, with the singular focus to create only “Puros Sin Compromiso” – Cigars Without Compromise. Included within their portfolio are: Sobremesa Mi Querida Todos Las Dias Sin Compromiso Umbagog Muestra de Saka.
DTT is the only company ever to be named the “Company of the Year” for three consecutive years by Halfwheel.
Much like a family reunion, the Premium Cigar Association trade show provided a great opportunity to network with all of the cigar producers, cigar reps and accredited cigar media again for another year.
Among my favorite people with whom to visit during the PCA2018 trade show were the marvelous Tanya & Jeff Borysiewicz. Jeff, Tanya & their team at Corona Cigar Company won the coveted Davidoff Appointed Merchant of the Year / Golden Band Award in 2018. Seeing the joy from them both was one of the highlights of the entire show. It was terrific being part of the Davidoff White Party!
So, what does it take to be the best Cigar shop? Be the best people. The Borysiewicz’s are tireless. Jeff will spend day after day at the trade show talking cigars & tobacco with everyone who has an interest. He brings the coolest props, too … check out these great tobacco leaves:
“As a proud American, President & Founder of Corona Cigar Company, Jeff Borysiewicz believed it was possible to bring cigar tobacco farming back to Florida” In 2012, Corona Cigar Co. purchased a 20 acre plot of land and in 2013 they planted their 1st test crop of Cuban seed Corojo and they were on their way to growing great tobacco. The result is FSG: Florida Sun Grown … a star of the cigar trade show in 2018.
And just like an FSG will always put a smile on your face … so do the Borysiewicz’s with their zest for life & their commitment to cigars.
Jeff has time for everyone, including man’s best friend!
It was also nice that Jeff took a little time to swing by the @CigarHerf booth where we shared a few laughs and some wonderful cigar camaraderie!
July 2018. I arrived in Las Vegas late in the afternoon after a completely almost-uneventful drive from Denver. As always, the 1st place I head is one of my favourite Cigar Lounges of all time – En FuegoCigars & Lounge on W. Sahara.
As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I stay at the Sahara Las Vegas is because it’s within walking distance of En Fuego!
If you’re looking for a casual, comfortable place to enjoy a cigar, En Fuego is the place for you.
En Fuego Cigars & Lounge has lots of comfortable seating, friendly staff and an extensive selection in the humidor. If you’re looking for something unique, try one of En Fuego‘s Custom Blend cigars.
En Fuego Cigar Lounge has an in-house Master Cigar Roller who makes a variety of sizes and blends of cigars.
Master Roller Don Antonio has been both a vital part and a star attraction at En Fuego for many years. His cigars are legendary. Every cigar that goes through Don Antonio’s expert touch is perfect, with quality tobacco and impressive wrapper leaf.
En Fuego Custom Blend cigars come in a variety of sizes, but, as usual, I went with my favourite size … the Panetela.
Much like a Lancero, it takes a special touch to ensure a Panetela is rolled just right. If you’ve ever tried to “roll your own” premium cigar, you know what I’m talking about.
A panetela can range in size anywhere from 5″- 7.5 inches. The ring gauge can go anywhere from a 34 to a 38.
It’s an easy smoke that will give you an hours worth of relaxation!
July 2018. After spending a bit of time in the wonderland of the Beatles Suite it was time for dinner, so I ventured to the main floor of the Brown Palace Hotel to enjoy a hot meal at their famed Tavern restaurant.
Since it was a Sunday night the seating was plentiful – there really wasn’t too much of a crowd in the Tavern just after 4pm. I liked the bright colours of the tavern and the staff was very helpful & friendly. The steak dinner I ordered was delicious – with fingerling potatoes and fresh asparagus … it was just perfect!
After that satisfying meal it was time for an after-dinner cigar at the Palace Arms Churchill Bar.
Churchill Bar was really busy when I walked in. There was only a couple of tables available so I settled into a table in the centre of the room. Please note that for privacy reasons, I didn’t take any photos while there were other identifiable patrons in the room.
The bartender, Ibrahima, arrived to my table with a drinks menu and then escorted me to the hotel humidor where I selected an AVO cigar.
As Ibrahima was expertly lighting my AVO cigar, I decided on a glass of Bourbon from the extensive Spirits menu. I was absolutely impressed with the cigar & whiskey knowledge Ibrahima communicated. Without a doubt, he was an absolute professional cigar sommelier & whiskey connoisseur. It was a real pleasure listening to his calm demeanour as he described the cigar humidor & the selection of spirits.
Overall, the visit to the Churchill Bar in the Brown Palace Hotel was a a really nice way to spend the evening.
As I headed back to the Beatles Suite for a good nights rest, I stopped by the fountain to refill my water bottle. This hotel is very proud of their well-water supply. There was a plaque honouring the Natural Artesian Water.
As well as plaques showcasing the hotel numerous awards:
July 2018. After driving 1400kms / 900miles from SK, Canada to CO, USA, I was ready for the overnight stay at the legendary Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in downtown Denver, Colorado. This hotel was recommended to me by my cigar-friend Patrick Carr, based on the fact I was looking for a hotel with a cigar-lounge. Walking into this grand establishment, I was awe-struck by the beauty of it all.
Diners were just finishing Sunday Brunch and there was a buzz of excitement & joy through the entire building.
I was greeted heartily by Tom, the front desk clerk who welcomed me to both the hotel and to the city of Denver. As he checked me in, Tom proceeded to tell me about the different amenities the hotel offered – of which there are many … so many! Of course, I was interested in hearing all about the spa, the shopping, the dining options, the water … but finally – almost hesitantly – he mentioned “Churchill’s – The Cigar Bar” within the Brown Palace Hotel. That’s when I smiled, handed him my @CigarHerf business card and replied … “That’s why I’m here”.
Tom was genuinely happy to get to know a sister cigar-smoker! We started talking about premium cigars, with the conversation soon turning to whiskey & bourbon. It turned out Tom knew his Brown Spirits as well as he knew the Brown Palace Hotel! I do wish I’d had more time to visit with Tom, but I could hear the call of a Robusto, so I accepted the suggestion of a suite, collected my luggage from the valet who was parking my SUV and headed toward what would become one of the most exhilarating days of my life!
When I opened the door to the “suite” I was thrilled with the sights before me! The hotel’s “Beatles Suite” is a vision to behold! According to legend, this is the room the Beatles stayed in when they played Denver in the early 60’s.
There are so many things to see in this room, it’s astounding! There’s the brilliant Wurlitzer Juke-Box just to the right of the lobby of the suite. It’s loaded with tons of Beatle’s Tracks which I started playing as soon as I saw it! Love, Love Me Do!
Directly across from the BeatleMania Juke-Box is a collage of tickets & photos from The Beatles one night stay at the Brown Palace Hotel on Wednesday August 26, 1964. Can you imagine paying Six Dollars & Nine Cents ($6.60 with tax) to see THE BEATLES! at the Red Rock Amphitheatre? The Beatles, people. Think about it! I’m thinking I’m pretty lucky to just be in the same room they stayed in – in 1964! When I’m 64? in 2021!
As I made my way through the living room of The Beatles suite at the Brown Palace Hotel, I took a moment to look through the many coffee-tables books dedicated to The Beatles.
Although it was only 4pm in the afternoon, when I saw the luxurious bedroom of the Beatles Suite / Brown Palace Hotel, I was tempted to just crawl under the opulent covers and sleep the rest of the day away!
But, I couldn’t lose sight of my reason for booking a nights stay at the Brown Palace Hotel … which was to enjoy a cigar at the Churchill Bar … after all, the purpose of this journey is right there in the headline: “the Cigar road-tripto IPCPR2018!” I’ll be writing about the cigar lounge in the next instalment of this blog.
Until then, here’s a bit of history about the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Denver Colorado:
“Henry Cordes Brown, a carpenter-turned-real-estate entrepreneur from Ohio, came to Denver in 1860 after several adventures in California, Peru, Nebraska and St. Louis, Missouri. In Denver, Brown purchased several acres of land, including a triangular plot at the corners of Broadway, Tremont and 17th street, where he grazed his cow. Brown made a name for himself by donating land for the State Capitol building, and by giving $1,000 for the founding of the city’s first library.
Henry Brown had made a fortune selling off the rest of his land on Capitol Hill and no expense was spared for his “Palace Hotel”, hiring Architect Frank E. Edbrooke to design the hotel.
Work on The Brown Palace began in 1888 with efforts to make it one of the best hotels in Colorado. Edbrooke designed Brown’s hotel in the Italian Renaissance style, using Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone for the building’s exterior. For a finishing touch, artist James Whitehouse was commissioned to create 26 medallions carved in stone, each depicting Colorado animals. The hotel’s “silent guests” can still be seen between the seventh-floor windows on the hotel’s exterior.
For the interior, Edbrooke designed an atrium lobby, with balconies rising eight floors above ground, surrounded by cast iron railings with ornate grillwork panels. No one knows for sure whether it was done intentionally, but two of the grillwork panels were installed – and remain – upside down. Edbrooke imported onyx from Mexico for the lobby, the Grand Salon (now the Onyx Room) on the second floor, and the eighth-floor ballroom. No wood was used for the floors and walls, which were instead made of hollow blocks of porous terracotta fireproofing, making The Brown Palace the second fire-proof building in America.
After an expenditure of $1.6 million – a remarkable sum for the time – and another $400,000 for furniture, The Brown Palace celebrated its grand opening. It had 400 guest rooms (compared to 241 today) that rented for between $3 and $5 a night.” courtesy: Brown Palace Hotel & Spa
July 8, 2018. It was a full day planned for the Colorado leg of my 2018 Cigar Road-Trip! Cigar Lounges visited: Havana Manor & Cigars on 6th.
My 1st visit to Havana Manor in Longmont, CO was amazing! It’s very easy to find – adjacent to a Smoker Friendly right on Main St.
As I walked through the front doors of Havana Manor, I realized the storefront is a little deceiving because the design makes the location look quite narrow. In fact, the place is massive!
Immediately upon entry, there’s 2 banks of big, comfy chairs to the left, so I thought I’d settle in there for a smoke.
But after Thomas Bliss sold me a Padron cigar from their gigantic humidor, I was guided ’round the corner to a couple more fantastic seating areas.
There’s several tables & chairs for individuals or groups who want to have an informal meeting or …
… go down a couple of steps to enter a huge media | entertainment lounge where there’s coffee & other beverages. There’s also the option to sit outside – the fabulous Havana Manor Patio area is perfect!
I decided to make myself comfortable at one the tables in the front lounge area where there are plug-ins for computers and lots of room to spread out whatever files are needed to get work done – just like being at the office!
I lit the Padron and enjoyed an hour and a half of pure #CigarHerf relaxation … and got caught up on Social Media!
After Havana Manor/ Longmont, I drove into Denver to visit Cigars on 6th … keep scrolling down!
Havana Manor 1136 Main St | Longmont, CO 80501 | (303) 776-2332 Havana Manor: Davidoff Appointed Merchant Member of Tobacconist Association of America
Since I had some time before I could check into The Brown Palace Hotel, I decided to squeeze in one more lounge visit: Cigars on 6th 707 East 6th Avenue | Denver, CO 80203 | 303.830.8100
July 2018. Cigars on 6th is a really cozy cigar lounge that’s very popular with cigar enthusiasts in the area.
There’s a very vintage feel to Cigars on 6th. The seating in the 2 main lounge areas feels like a throwback to the Speakeasy / BarberShop days.
Just like the establishment itself, Cigars on 6th has all kinds of hidden gems within & along its walls. Seeing some of their collectibles is like being part of a treasure hunt!
But one of the biggest delights for this Canadian was seeing the packaging for World Whiskey of the Year – Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye! Go Canada!
From the humidor, I selected a nice Lancero for my #CigarHerf at Cigars on 6th.
And for a little privacy, I chose to sit in the quiet back room area where I was able to just reflect on the hundreds of miles I’d driven to that point and all the wonderful experiences along the way. And then I really started to look forward to the things to come … like the long-awaited stay at The Brown Palace in Denver, Colorado.
A road-trip to the 2018 PCA cigar trade show – formerly known as IPCPR – was my only option … I’d developed a reluctance to get on an aircraft. The shortest distance from Regina SK Canada to Las Vegas Nevada is 2,292 kilometres (kms) / 1,424 miles, but there were good reasons to add a few miles.
July 7, 2018. The 1st leg of the trip included a stop at Underriner Volvo in Billings MT to get some minor service done on the XC90. After checking into the hotel, it was time to grab a bite to eat. Shrimp & Grits dinner was enjoyed at Cajun Phatty’s, a restaurant that I highly recommend. Food was astounding & service was great!
Bright and early the next morning, I headed south to another interesting stop – the Sinclair gas station in Kaycee, Wyoming. I loved the map with pins showing “Where Are You From? If you look really close, you can see the pin on Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada!
After that stop, the Casper Cigar Company wasn’t too far off the I-25, so I decided to take a break & enjoy a cigar. For the @CigarHerf blog, I interviewed Josh – the store manager who showed me the store humidor & coveted Espinosa / Cigar Dojo accreditation – before moving into the lounge to chat with a couple of friendly patrons. It was a great experience learning all about Casper & the surrounding Wyoming area.
The CigarHerf selection was the Southern Draw – “Rose of Sharon“
In 2018, it was a cigar that had been getting plenty of attention from the cigar community and it delivered a great smoking experience.
“The Rose of Sharon embraces a unique blend that will enhance the current Southern Draw Cigars core line including the Kudzu – Oscuro and Firethorn – Rosado blends. A very well-balanced cigar with Mild Body – Medium Flavor.
The natural cloud cover of Ecuador has supplied us with a prized wrapper, a velvety feel, gentle sweetness and a toasty burn, our beloved Nicaragua has gifted us with rich and elegant binder and filler tobaccos while the distinct Piloto Cubano of the Dominican Republic adds a dose of boldness and spice that allows this blend live up to its moniker. “She don’t know she’s beautiful!”
Besides the apparent beauty of The Rose of Sharon in its semi box pressed format, the release is a celebration of Grace and the devotion of Sharon Holt as she continues her daily service via strong faith and daily fellowship. “Much like a Rose, Sharon exemplifies the Southern Draws brand with her beautiful soul, humility and a “subtle” boldness which has made an incredible impact on so many lives. We truly needed to acknowledge her.” – courtesy of Southern Draw.
Imagine being at a huge trade show, chatting with a customer who suddenly stops talking because he’s spied a luxury backpack … “Is that a HENK?” he asked. To set the scene – the HENK ipack wasn’t in a showcase, it doesn’t have a gazillion logos splattered all over it. The ipack was 30 feet away, tucked safely under a table, with a whole bunch of other things blocking the view!
That speaks to the eye-catching features that HENK produces in each of its luxury leather products!
I first learned of HENK while researching material for Smooth Draws Cigar Radio. It was 2017 and at the time, HENK wasn’t that well known in North America, but I definitely wanted to find out more!
It was fascinating to learn HENK made bullet-proof briefcases and the company president is a cigar aficionado.
During the largest cigar trade-show in North America, I met with Heiko Poerz who dazzled us with the history of HENK and the marvellous products they make – Travel Goods, Travel Accessories, Cigars & Fine Spirits … maximum luxury!
MEET THE IPACK
The interior has been designed to allow a maximum of load you really need for your daily trip, for example, plenty of accessories, a 15“ laptop or a big tablet. Also Flight tickets, passports and business cards are easily accessible from the front. Your laptop/tablet is stored securely at the upholstered back compartment. The main compartment in the middle is big enough to put in a big file folder or some extra clothes for an overnight stay.
The front compartment is a real organizer. You‘ve got space for your glasses, flight tickets, passport, business or credit cards. Also all necessary power cables, chargers, adapters or a powerbank find their place there. For the cables and chargers you have an extra pouch that is retractable and is located right at the top for easy access. Even when you have your iPack® in the overhead bin. Just open the compartment and you have access to all what you need without taking the iPack® out. And perhaps, the zipplock inner front pocket has a RFID protection so your cards are safe – courtesy of HENK website.
If you love premium cigars, the HENK Carbon attache is perfect for you!
PASSION FOR DETAIL
THAT’S WHAT DRIVES US.
Excellence is achieved when every detail is perfected. That’s why we do not just make products … we go further! And, we take into account your personal wishes, down to the smallest detail.
The unique HENK story was inspired by the desire to succeed where others had made compromises in the world of luxury travel goods. Dissatisfied by the briefcases and hand luggages he used on his frequent trips around the world, a Dutch businessman – named Henk – decided to create something better … much better!
He assembled a team of the world’s most experienced designers and engineers to develop the ultimate hand luggage. The team was instructed to spare no expense and make no compromise. The aim was to fulfill the demanding needs and desires of business people and international travelers who required ultimate style, luxury, convenience and efficiency.
Henk and his team spent ten years doing research and development to meet these objectives. His design brief called for an extremely strong, yet exceptionally light case. A case, which would not only be functional and very comfortable to use, but also a real eye-catcher. Henk refused to rest before having found the ultimate balance between these essential – yet often contradictory – demands.
We don’t believe in off-the-shelf solutions. Tell us how you want your HENK and we’ll make it just for you. Each of our products is made by hand through our master craftsmen. An infinite range of options is available to make your HENK unique. We will create your custom product according to your own demanding standards and fulfill your design wishes. – courtesy of HENK website
This year Spirit of Toronto offered a unique tasting experience by inviting participants to receive a tasting kit accompanied by a Zoom session. We registered for the”Whisky & Sherry” option which sold out within a couple of hours.
A couple of weeks prior to the Zoom session, we received the “Spirit of Toronto 2020 Whisky & Sherry Kit”.
Four Scotch Whiskies, tightly packed in a keepsake wood container, accompanied by a tasting mat & a pipette. We were able to purchase branded Glencairns at an additional cost. All-in, with FedEx shipping, it came to about $250.00.
Was it worth it? I’d say yes.
Shipping alone was $45.00 and the glasses were well-priced for a box of 6. So, for ease of math, the whisky clocked in at about $150.00 for 4 drams, for an average of 37.50 per pour.
It took the group, led by Regis Lemaitre, about 2 hours to go through the tasting. So, that’s $75.00/ hr … not a lot of money to pay for solid whisky education & the opportunity to taste the following: Linkwood 1992. 48% Glen Moray 1994. 56.7% Glen Scotia 19y. 59.6% The Macallan 8yo – made for the Italian market.
These were very special offerings and I considered myself fortunate to be able to taste a bit of each. The pipette was a nice touch, giving everyone a chance to experience what a controlled drop of water can to do enhance or subdue a dram.
The actual Spirit of Toronto event has been re-scheduled for Oct 15, 2020. I’d attended in 2014 and consider it one of the best whisky experiences in North America.