Every year we are asked by countless people attending the annual IPCPR Convention & Trade Show variations of the same question: what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen at the show?
The answer varies from person to person—we all see certain booths, miss certain booths—and even for the ones we see, the opinions of the halfwheel staff members are quite unique, except of course if you are talking about our thoughts on moving back to the Venetian/Palazzo/Sands Expo next year. Hint: Yes, please.
So with that said, my annual list of the top three things I saw at the trade show along with my annual disclaimers.
A. No Cigars — I smoke very few cigars during my time at each trade show and quite honestly, most of them aren’t new. By my count, I probably smoked less than a half dozen new items. There are a lot of reasons why I smoke less than you might expect: it’s challenging to do so on the trade show floor given the cameras, pens, notepads, microphone and/or monopod I always seem to have in my hand. In addition, Las Vegas is not a hospitable place for cigars. As such, while I could tell you my favorite cigars out of the five I smoked, it’s probably not that great of an exercise.
B. I Missed A Lot — Here’s a list of some notable booths—off the top of my head—I never went in or spent less than five minutes in: Alec Bradley, Altadis U.S.A., Caldwell et al., Colibri, Crowned Heads, Drew Estate et al., E.P. Carrillo, Foundation, Illusione, La Flor Dominicana, Mombacho Cigars S.A., Padrón, PDR, Perdomo, Plasencia, Prometheus, Viaje, XIKAR. The point is, the show is crazy and almost all of my time is either spent in booths I’m assigned to cover, writing about said booths or walking to and from those booths.
De lo mejor que pudimos pedir este año, grandes colaboraciones y por mas proyectos Pinturas y murales expuestos en @ipcpr, con todo el @colectivoatol y @foundationcigarcompany Las Vegas, Nevada #paint #ipcpr2018 #lasvegas #art #paintings #artcolective #foundationcigars #arthub #artist #expo #streetart #acrilyc
1. Foundation Cigar Co.’s Booth — The company turned its booth into an art gallery with cigars in it. I’m not entirely sure why Brooks didn’t mention it in his booth review, but I certainly took notice when I strolled by the structure. The brand worked with Alex Garcia and Colectivo Atol for custom pieces, including gigantic installations on the outside of the booth that were impossible to miss.
2. Daniel Marshall Art Cigar — I’ve spent some bit of time making fun of the fact that I had to write about a cigar wrapped in gold with koi fish painted on it. It’s just one of those things I never would have imaged doing a decade ago.
The concept is ridiculous, the execution is also ridiculous, just in another sense of the word. The detail is stunning, particularly the terminator skull version. Could you buy a large quantity of very good cigars for $1,000? Yes. Will they be this memorable? Unlikely. There’s not a ton of innovation in how cigars are constructed, and while I don’t think edible gold and food safe-ink is what the cigar world needs, it’s what we got—at least at one booth—and I certainly appreciated it.
3. RoMa Craft Tobac’s Vitola Displays — RoMa Craft Tobac’s office and trade show booth are filled with custom pieces by Wicked Anvil, a Houston-based metal studio. The company made these custom displays based off of math formulas to showcase the various sizes in a line. What’s interesting is it creates a floating effect for the cigars, all while contrasting metal.