In just a few days, I'll be boarding a Delta flight bound for New Orleans to attend the 2010 International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers annual convention at the Ernest N Morial Convention Center. The first time I attended the show in New Orleans was just a month before Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. Since then I've been back almost every year to support and attend Emeril Lagasse's Carnivale du Vin. Last year's trade show was in New Orleans and we're returning again this year since the accomodating folks of NOLA are willing to let us smoke on the show floor.
I'm always reminded as the show nears some of the great launches of IPCPR's past (formerly called RTDA). The first show I attended was in Nashville in 2003. For me, the hottest release of that year was the La Aurora Cien Años.
In 2007, the annual trade show descended onto the city of Houston, TX. I really enjoyed Houston. It's a fun town with great restaurants, and great accessibility to everything. The Avo brand released the Avo 787. Though AVO cigars have been available for many years, and there were already several different lines as well as a collection of annual limited editions, the 787 line was different.
Finally, last year's show stealer at the 2009 New Orleans convention was the Queada 35th Anniversary. Thsi was the first cigar to bear the Quesada brand name. It also marked the introduction of the Quesada family's sixth generation of cigar makers to the industry. Though they've been active and involved since a young age, Quesada patriarch, Manuel Quesada handed the reigns over to the "young ones" to have a go for themselves. They knocked it out of the park!
At 6" x 49, this box pressed toro was begging to be smoked. Only 10,000 boxes of 20 cigars were available. And they sold out within the first 36 hours of the show. We were fortunate enough to premiere this cigar at our Madison Avenue location last year. Click here to read my blog on the event. The unique Ecuadorian-grown Arapiraca wrapper really made this cigar stand out! If you can find any... buy them. FYI- the Quesada Tributo is now available. Check out my Haute Living piece on the new release.
SO- now it's time to prepare for the 2010 release. I'm quite sure it will be filled with countless new cigars and accessories as well as opportunities to catch up with my fellow retailers and favorite manufacturers. Stay tuned for updates!