The first PCA Convention & Trade Show is in the books—although our coverage will continue for another couple of days or so—and as we have for a number of past trade shows, each of the writers will be publishing a post detailing some of the things that caught their eye during the four-day jaunt, or perhaps an observation they want to expand on.

As always, it should be noted that the four writers do not come close to visiting every booth, so there are always things that I unfortunately never get to see, although that list is noticeably smaller this year on my end due to the fact that there were fewer booths on the floor overall.

1. The New J.C. Newman Booth — This is probably going to be included in more than one Top 3 Things posts this year and for good reason: it rocked.

Made entirely of recycled cardboard, this new booth is an amazing quarter-scale model recreation of J.C. Newman’s historic El Reloj cigar factory located in Tampa, Fla. It was an amazing sight—according to the cigar company, it is the largest cardboard trade show booth in the world—especially with the addition of a 26-foot-tall clock tower.

2. La Palina 125 Años Jar — The older I get, the more interested I become in historical items, so it was no surprise to me that this ended up on my list this year. Scheduled to be released later this year as a commemoration of La Palina’s 125th anniversary, this jar is made to look similar to versions used by the cigar company in the early 20th century, albeit enhanced with modern graphic and printing technology. Cigars being packaged in jars is nothing new of course—in fact, La Aurora showed off its Hors d’Age 2020 Gran Toro in jars at the trade show as well—but very few (non-Cuban) cigar companies have been around long enough to be able to recreate an item like this from its own history.

3. The OpusX Society Accessories — The new brand from Manny Iriarte—who has collaborated with Arturo Fuente on a number of different releases, including the OpusX 20th—was showing off the much-anticipated creations from his new company, and they were worth the wait.

The humidors were absolutely gorgeous when viewed in person, while both the ashtrays and lighters feature very distinct designs in complementary and pleasing color combinations. Extremely nice products—with prices to match—that do a great job differentiating themselves from the other OpusX products, not to mention from the ones that Prometheus releases every year.

Overall Score

Drew Estate is the sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show
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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.