Well, IPCPR 2017 has come to an end.

Did you find yourself constantly kept up at night with nagging questions like, “man, how do these guys cover over 150 cigar booths, write, photograph, record, edit and post in a timely fashion, while still having time to Viva Las Vegas?”

The following is a post from Melissa Libutti, who served as halfwheel’s offsite text and video editor during the show. I asked her to write a blog about her experience as someone with no real knowledge/experience of cigars handling the editing during the four busiest days of the cigar year. — Charlie Minato.

Well, your wait is finally over; introducing (cue drumroll) the text and video editor for this year’s show, me, Melissa Libutti (Li-boo-ti).

For essentially 96 hours, I sat glued to my desk chair, in New York because I didn’t score a ticket to Vegas,[ref]I am not bitter[/ref] reading and editing all things cigars. I went from knowing nothing about cigars, to now knowing that I still know nothing, but apparently cigars are all different and that there should be a word for a cigar “sommelier.”[ref]Editor’s Note: Melissa should read this post.[/ref]

Just kidding, I wouldn’t say I know nothing; I definitely learned some new concepts. Like the word tobacco isn’t always the way to say tobacco. Sometimes you throw in a word like “viso” or “criollo” or “this cigar’s light oaky flavor comes from a Nicaraguan habano.”

There are also different cigar sizes. Being experts like yourselves in this arena, you may be thinking “this is a gimme,” but being a 22-year-old recent college grad, who has seen cigars mostly in frat boy graduation photos or at the occasional wedding, the difference between a robusto and a toro is still lost on me.

When it came to cigar descriptions, I felt like I was back in Europe at a wine tasting where they would say things like “you should taste the blackberries” or “let the wine swish in your mouth to really get the flavors.” Meanwhile, all I got out of the tastings was this one is sour and this one is sweet, and I wish they would just let me drink them all instead of spitting in an already used bucket.

So, I found some similarities when I would read that the cigars had different subtleties and distinctions or that there is a range of smoke that can be produced, which could lead to a “better smoke.”

It was interesting to see how so many companies were family-owned or that the name of the company was directly related to the person selling and creating the product. It’s an industry that seems to be very unique.

It was amazing reading about different companies, and the pride they take in their work in crafting the perfect cigars that not only give you a good cigars, but also provide a cultural and all-inclusive experience.

As I reflect on my week’s work I realize that I still don’t know much about cigars themselves. I’m not an expert in the inner-workings of a complicated industry with hundreds of years of history. However, I do know more than when I started.

I also know one thing in particular; hundreds of you responded and commented on the articles I posted for Charlie, Patrick, Brian and Brooks each day, so the guys must be doing something right.

Until the next time,

Melissa Libutti

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
Avatar photo

Melissa Libutti

I am the 2017 IPCPR editor. I am a recent graduate from Wake Forest University about to head into my first year of law school at Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan, N.Y. I graduated from Wake Forest with a major in English and minor in Journalism. I was the news editor for Wake Forest’s newspaper the Old Gold & Black, and the co-creator of the paper’s inaugural podcast series. While I’ve written, edited and explored subject matter from sports to sustainability, cigars are a first. I am excited to delve into this industry, where the extent of my connection to cigars comes from shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” and uncles and cousins perched outside with cigars in hand on family occasions. I am originally from the D.C. area, but since I was born in Manhattan I prefer to call myself a New Yorker. Some of my hobbies include reading, cycling, and travelling.