Friday, November 16, 2007

Not Everything is Created Equal

A couple of years ago, my brother, a couple of friends and I went to the Whiskies of the World Expo in San Fransisco. It was GREAT! We sampled over 100 different scotch's, and got to try some high-end tequilas an bourbons. We chatted with the distillers, made friends, and got to sample a few "Private Stashes". We even went to a discussion on pairing cigars with scotch. We had so much fun!

So, with that memory in mind, I signed my brother, pop's, and myself up for the Cigar Aficionado's Big Smoke Las Vegas. It promised to be fun and enlightening and crazy good. Instead, the event was crowded, loud, and more like a cattle call than an expo.

First, the cool things...Pop's, James, and I looked good...

The three of us had a great time hanging out together...eating some sweet food (you know, cookies, doughnuts, and the Golden Nugget's world famous Bread Pudding), enjoying the craps tables, and even sampling some of our Cigar Samples...okay, they really weren't samples, per se, but rather the real deal full smokes...very nice pull! Actually came home with over 50 cigars! I need a bigger humidor.

We got to sample some great Rums and even a new offering from the folks at Crown Royal, Cask 16. That stuff was serious good, especially for a blend.

The bad...well, we arrived just as the doors were opening. Sure, I expected it to be a bit crowded, but HOLY COW...there were 3000 people in line. It wrapped around the convention center, then doubled back, and there were two lines on either side!

When we finally walked in, they handed us a canvas bag and a coupon book. Each page of the book was numbered and had a cigar manufacturer's name on it. I think they even slapped us on the butt and yelled "GO" when we passed through...although that could have been the cross dresser named "Bobby" we hung out with, but that is an entirely different story for an entirely different time.

Anyway, we were expected to walk through this maze-o-booths, wade through the crowds, turn in our appropriate numbered coupon and they would graciously give us a cigar...No, we did not get to chat with the owners or cigar makers. No, I did not learn anything about cigars. No, I did not even get a chance to cash in all my coupons...Did I mention it was crowded?

We did however, get a chance to chat with a watch maker, hold a $100,000 watch, try on a $45,000 one, and fall in love with a $10,000 Diamond Encrusted Timepiece. Now, how does this relate to the Big Smoke? I don't know, but that part was pretty cool!

So for all of you that were "jealous" about me going to this event, be more jealous that my brother, pops, and I got to be in Vegas for a vacation weekend, play some roulette/craps/video poker, see a Cirque show, and generally have a great time...but please, don't be envious of the Friday night event...It was certainly no W.O.W. Convention. Anyone interested in joining me next spring?

No comments: