Big Smoke Miami
The weekend of April 7 saw 11 Cigar Studio customers travel to Miami for the Big Smoke. Put on by Cigar Aficionado, and hosted at the Fontainebleau Hotel, 40 cigar vendors along with a variety of Food and Beverage sponsors put on a terrific evening of premium cigars, music, and hospitality. We all had a great time, and I got to hang out with cigar legends, Rocky Patel, AJ Fernandez, Alan Rubin and Jose Blanco. And leaving Toronto with snow of the ground while arriving in Miami at 85° was not too bad either. First time back at the Fontainebleau in 15 years, and what a hotel! I have the event booked for 2018.
Perdomo Cigar Factory Tour, January 2017
January 17 to 21, saw Cigar Studio travel to Estelí Nicaragua. My main goal was to visit Perdomo’s Cigar operations and factory, and participate in 2.5 days of product knowledge and on site “training” by none other than Nick Perdomo Jr himself.
Let me simply state this; in my 21 years of being in this business, I have done many factory visits and “tours” by other cigar manufacturers in Cuba, Honduras, the DR and Nicaragua. Some were awesome, other forgettable, but I learned more in 2.5 days with Nick, than I have on all those other tours, in all those other countries. Starting with the genetic composition and sorting of the seeds that Perdomo uses, to the packing of cigars in boxes that they ultimately ship to my store, it was an A to Z information session like non other I have ever seen. My main takeaway? There is not a single step in their entire operation that does not focus on quality and a total commitment to make and deliver the best cigars to their customers that they possibly can.
The following pictorial is but a miniscule snapshot of what we saw, touched and smelt. Enjoy.
Smoke Free Ontario
Government interference into the private activities of ordinary Ontarians ramped up significantly on January 1, 2015 when new regulations to the Smoke Free Ontario kicked in. These changes dramatically altered the way tobacco is sold and enjoyed in Ontario. The biggest impact was the smoking ban on all patio’s where food and beverages are served –even those where age restrictions limit patronage to adults 19 and over. This limited the places Cigar Studio is able to host our events.
As we have talked about many times since then, this is not the first time that the government has encroached on our personal freedoms –like the freedom of the bar owner to run their establishment as they see fit or the freedom of cigar smokers to enjoy a legal product. That the government levies huge taxes on cigars yet profits financially from their purchase while limiting consumers ability to enjoy that product to a few places, is in itself a big hypocrisy. I know of many non-smokers who defend our right to enjoy a legal product because of their concern that the government appears willing to go after legal public activities that they deem socially unacceptable. What’s next? “No cheeseburgers for you, you could lose a few pounds”?
Since then we have complied with the new laws and continue to look for legal alternate sites where we can enjoy cigars together. 10 meter, self serve F&B zones have been established at many golf and private clubs. While not perfect, they are legal as are the homes, back yards and cabanas of many of our customers who host events on our behalf. We will let you know 2017 details soon. In the meantime, we have had Toronto Public Health to the shop and our small table out front is legal.