The 15th Annual Big Smoke Las Vegas Evening occurred on two different nights—Friday, November 12th and Saturday, November 13th, from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Tickets for each night were $240 each and included over 25 premium cigars, drinks, and gourmet food. Smokey Butts, Papa Gar, and I attended the Big Smoke Evening on Saturday night.
For those who haven’t attended a Big Smoke Evening in the past, the event goes like this. Thousands of cigar smokers get in a long line hoping to get in as early as possible. At 6:30 pm, the doors explode open and we all rush in. As we enter, each person receives a bag and a coupon book full of coupons good for a free cigar. We all rush around the room getting our cigars as quickly as possible. Then we all fight for the free food and drink. We then exclaim how wonderful the event was. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit. The event is fantastic but somewhat of a frenzy.
The room was setup in long rows with multiple booths. There were 6-8 rows and all the major cigar manufacturers were represented. This included Fuente, Patel, Padron, Torano, Pepin, Gomez, Oliva, etc. Other booths included Macanudo, Cuba Aliados, H. Upmann, Avo, Camacho, La Gloria Cubano, and Nub. There were a cornucopia of cigar manufacturers handing out their finest or at least their newest released cigar.
The weirdest booth of the event was Villiger. Villiger? What’s next, Dutch Masters? Maybe one of those companies that sells cigars at 7-11 could be at the event next year. I love the pineapple flavored cigars. . .
Smokey Butts, Papa Gar, and I decided on a different strategy than most to obtain our cigars. OK, I actually came up with the strategy and told Smokey Butts and Papa Gar what the plan was. My evil plan was a simple plan—go left to right instead of right to left like we Americans have been trained to do. For each row, we started on the left and worked our way to the right. We kind of pushed our way into the lines going from right to left. This actually worked out pretty well but irritated a few of the right to left folks.
We quickly gathered all of our cigar booty except for cigars at the Rocky Patel and Alec Bradley booth. The lines for these two booths were incredibly long. I certainly understand the line at the Rocky Patel booth as Rocky was present and he is a cigar manufacturer rock star. As far as the Alec Bradley line. . . what the hell? Maybe I missed a memo on Alec Bradley popularity. To get our Rocky Patel cigar, I took Smokey Butts’ and Papa Gar’s coupon and stood in line for 30 minutes. Rather than stand in line at the Alec Bradley booth, we gave our coupon to a fellow cigar smoker who had nothing better to do.
Side Note 1: As we were walking around the event, a few very attractive women in their mid 20s were wandering around as well. They were hot. Smoking hot. Bizarrely smoking hot. Out of place smoking hot. Everyone noticed. Everyone looked. Every guy stared. Every other woman stared at every man staring. I wondered what the hell they were doing at the Big Smoke. None were smoking cigars and they were all dressed to the nines. I and everyone else at the event saw them multiples times. They were friendly, talking to just about anyone who had enough guts to talk to them.
Side Note 2: Hookers at the Big Smoke? So, as I was standing in line at the Rocky Patel booth, two of the smoking hot ladies walked by. A guy with no fear walked up to them and began a conversation. I was within earshot and was surprised to hear their pitch. The fearless guy went into his best pickup line. . . Something like, “Hey girls, if you like the size of my cigar, you should check out the size of my cigar.” OK, I made up his pickup line but you get the point. Before he could get another line in, one of the girls made her pitch, something like, “I’d love to go to your room. For $500 we’ll have a fantastic time.” Mr. Fearless cigar shriveled up into a short story, politely declined, and everyone went their separate ways. One thing I never thought I would see at the Big Smoke was a hooker. I guess I’ve seen everything. I probably should have bought Smokey Butts a few hours with the ladies as a birthday present. Maybe next year. . .
The Food and Drink
Once you get all your cigars, there is only one thing left to do at the Big Smoke Evening. . . smoke a cigar while eating and drinking. We bellied up to the food area and tried a number of different items. As with prior Big Smoke Evenings, a number of restaurants from the Las Vegas area provided a wide selection of food, mostly tapas oriented. Andre’s Restaurant and Lounge, Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, Canevino’s Italian Steakhouse, and Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse were present, among others. My favorite item was fresh made ice cream made by a company that I do not remember. One nit was that where was not enough seating to enjoy the food. You’d think after 14 of these that Cigar Aficionado would have this figured out, but unfortunately they did not.
People who smoke cigars are the greatest, most accommodating, and accepting people I have ever met. The folks who attended the Big Smoke Evening were no exception. We spoke with people from all walks of life from different parts of the country with vastly different cultural and financial situations. If you want to find a place where there is no discrimination and everyone is accepted, find a group of guys smoking cigars.
The End. . . Until Part III is published!