It’s a weekend filled with the smoke of handmade cigars, premium spirits and fine dining, and for cigar aficionados, this is the ultimate three-day experience: The Big Weekend Smoke Las Vegas. Now in its 24th year, the Massive Cigar Celebration took place last weekend at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, drawing an international audience of nearly 4,000 people.
During the evenings, which took place on Friday and Saturday evenings, guests partied with their friends and family and also smoked, drank and took photos with some of the biggest names in the premium cigar world, including Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars, Rocky Patel of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo of EPC Cigar Co., maker of Cigar lovers Cigar of the year 2018, the Carrillo Encore Majestic EP.
Guests who stopped by the Ventura Cigar Co. had the chance to roll their own cigars under the guidance of cigar roller Indiana Ortez.
While many flocked to Big Smoke from different parts of the United States, others came from thousands of miles away. A cigar fan, Louis Fu, made the trip from Beijing, China, to participate in the festivities.
âIt was about a 17 hour trip from China, if you count [flight] transfers, âsays Fu. âI’ve been smoking cigars for three and a half years, but this is my first Big Smoke. These are mostly Cuban cigars in China, but I’m a big fan of Oliva.
Nish Patel of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars handed out cigars to enthusiastic enthusiasts at the event.
Fu would have the chance to catch more than Oliva that night. With a Cigar lover bag and a book of Big Smoke coupons grabbed in his hands, Fu disappeared into the crowd to exchange his tickets to vendors for dozens of premium cigars. Each Big Smoke attendee was able to collect and take home cigars from Aging Room, AJ Fernandez, Alec Bradley, Arturo Fuente, Balmoral, CAO, Casa Turrent, Diesel Whiskey Row, EP Carrillo, Foundation, Hamlet Paredes, H. Upmann , JC Newman, Joya de Nicaragua, La Aroma de Cuba, La Flor Dominicana, Macanudo, Montecristo, My Father Cigars, Nat Cicco, Nub, Oliva, Oscar Valladares, PadrÃ³n, Plasencia, Rocky Patel, Romeo y Julieta, Tatuaje and Ventura Cigar Co.
The Johnnie Walker booth, which poured samples of Johnnie Walker Double Black, Johnnie Walker 18 and over.
Steve Favors, a Las Vegas resident, and his two brothers Ron and Fred from Arizona, finished gathering their cigarettes and relaxed at a side table with plentiful platters of food and frozen cocktails. They were eager to light up their favorites (Arturo Fuente, Oliva and Rocky Patel) and said one of the highlights of the evening was taking photos with Litto and Tony Gomez from La Flor Dominicana, as well as Rocky Patel.
âWe’re having a great time,â said Ron Favors. âThis is my second year at Big Smoke. The experience we had last year made us want to come back for more.
Prepare for the crowd at the well-stocked Dewar booth.
As guests socialized, puffed cigars, and shook hands with the men and women who made their cigarettes, they also sampled a nice selection of spirits, beers, and cocktails. The line of drink vendors included Bacardi, Bird Dog Whiskey, Cardenal Mendoza, Calumet Bourbon, Dewar’s, D’UssÃ© Cognac, Grand Brulot, Glengoyne, Guinness, Hennessy, Jack Daniel’s, Johnnie Walker, Kentucky Owl, Lagavulin, SantaTeresa 1796, Talisker , Tequila Indianos and WhistlePig Whiskey, as well as San Benedetto water.
In addition to cigar and drink vendors, there was also an extensive buffet of food, with specials from Delmonico’s Steakhouse, Texas de Brazil, and Cocolini. A live band filled the hall with music and guests had the opportunity to explore lifestyle exhibits from Bugatti lighters, Carl F. Bucherer watches, Dominican Republic tourism, cigar cases in leather Peter James and Rabbit Air smoke eaters.
The Friday festivities were repeated on Saturday with a roaring second night of cigars, drinks and camaraderie. By the weekend’s end, many attendees were already planning a trip to next year’s event, such as Adam Windsor of Atlanta, Georgia. It was his fourth year at Big Smoke.
Dressed in trendy tuxedo jackets, left to right Raj Maddali, Jim Spehar and Sai Nennelli enjoy their cigars.
âIt’s always entertaining,â says Windsor. âGreat sellers, great atmosphere, great libations. You discover the brands and new cigars to smoke. And you leave with a lot of good cigars. I’ll be back.
Save this date
The next Big Smoke will take place in Hollywood, Florida from April 3-4, 2020, with Big Smoke meets WhiskyFest, an event combining the best of cigars and whiskey.
The Big Smoke Las Vegas returns to the Mirage from November 20-22, 2020.
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