Thursday, May 23, 2013

Belated Report - Lone Star Cigar Bash 2013

Hey! Val here - just finished finals and grading... so here is our belated Lone Star Cigar Bash Report!
From Right to Left: Val, Bill Finck Jr., Emily Finck and Thomas showing off our donated ashtray

Thomas' father with his spiffy new bag

The Finck's outdid themselves this year. More vendors, 30 cigars, a beautiful nice duffel bag, cigar ashtray, Boveda bag and more! A very rewarding way to turn out for charity.

There were a lot of great deals, I think that Thomas and I wanted one of everything.

From memory, clock-wise around the room was: Finck's table,  Camacho, Casa Magna/Quesada/Pinar Del Rio, Perdomo, Ghurka, General Cigars, Oliva Cigars/Studio tobac, H. Uppman, Villager, Fuente, Xikar, Alec Bradley Ashton/Aroma de Cuba, Drew Estates,
Curivari, Miami, Torano, La Flor Dominicana and the Finck's rolling demonstration.

There were other cigar companies, unfortunately, grading a pile of essay exams seems to have an etch-a-sketch effect on my memory. Feel free to correct me in the comments.

There were a lot of great door prizes, including our custom made Lone Star Cigar Bash ashtray.

We spent a lot of time browsing the tables and talking to the vendors. Besides the cigars that the various cigar manufacturers donated, several representatives gifted us with cigars to try.  It is hard to really taste some when it gets smoky but the ventilation was much improved from last year.

The highlight of my evening though, was spending quite a bit of time discussing cigars and women cigar smokers with Cynthia Fuente and her daughter Christine.

I smoked 3 cigars during the event. The cigar donated by the Fuentes, The La Aroma de Cuba El Jefe, and then Gurkha Cellar Reserve.

I don't need to tell you all about the quality of the Fuente. It was well-made, and smoked beautifully.

The El Jefe was a very enjoyable cigar, at this size the filler flavors are even more apparent, and had a rich, full-bodied flavor. It is a bit too much cigar for me, lengthwise. I tend to prefer robustos, so I could almost cut it in half. Still, very enjoyable, and Aroma de Cubas tend to be one of my favorite smokes.

The representative for Gurkha allowed us to try the Cellar Reserve - it was absolutely delightful - man I wanted to buy a box of them after I tried it. This cigar burned smoothly, starting out with a white pepper and spice then building up to taste like tea and spices. It is a very short cigar, so it is hard to break it up into more flavors than that.
Gurkha had a reputation for expensive cigars in awesome packaging that perhaps did not live up to the presentation. They are turning that around with many of their latest offerings such as the Ghost, Red Witch and the Cellar Reserve.

Overall, I was really impressed, and had a great time. The only criticism I could give is that the food was almost identical to last time, and a variety of options would be nice. HOWEVER, their food choices did take into consideration Thomas' allergies. The other is that I wish the event were a little longer.

The other highlight for me was giving away the ashtray we made. Knowing that it was appreciated made Thomas and I really happy. Not only did the winner thank us, but his wife did as well and commented that everyone was stopping by to admire it.

This event more than doubled what they raised for Fisher House last year. I think it is incredible how generous the cigar community is when it comes to supporting our veterans.

Thomas here:
   I didn't think it was possible, but this year's Lone Star Cigar Bash was better then last year's: Great food, great people, and a great time. There were tons of great deals from all of the cigar companies and some wonderful door prizes as well. I was truly humbled that the ashtray we had made was so well recieved among all the other entries.

   The food was outstanding again and had a little bit of everything for everybody. The beer was cold and the samples from Rebecca Creek were smooth and tasty. Speaking of which, they announced the imminent release of a Peach flavored vodka that is flavored with peaches from Fredericksburg!

 When we got there it was nice to see that the layout of the tables was a bit more spacious and that a larger exhaust system had been installed. It got VERY smoky last year and it was much more pleasant this year.

All the reps were out in fine force more than willing to talk cigars beyond just what they had for sale. As Val and I walked around they each spent quite awhile just chatting with us and letting us know about New Stuff coming down the pipe.

In the handsome bag at the door was a wonderful selection of stogies, a commemorative ashtray, super spiffy hat (as modeled by me below), Boveda bag and humidifier, and more

 A hat so cool that it even looks good on my melon head.

 The Arturo Fuente company was represented by non other than Cynthia Fuente herself. She shared with us all the great things they are doing "back home" to spread education to children that would otherwise have to go without. In her speech she touched on the generosity and charitable spirit that the cigar community has and how touching it was that we all had turned out to help the Fisher House and the families it served.

This spirit of giving was evident throughout the event. Everyone got great deals on our cigars, but knowing it was going to such a great cause made us more generous as well.
In that vein, Val and I just felt the need to do something more than just attend. So we planned and created an ashtray for the event. An all metal patio ashtray painted to look like an ash stand cigar with the Lonestar Cigar Bash Logo on it. I was a little self conscious about it. Being the perfectionist I thought it was okay, but I had done better. Val's painting of the Logo was what really pulled it together... But the joy in the face of the fellow who won it really made me feel better about it. The fact that there was a crowd over at his table looking at it and oooing and aaahing made it all worthwhile.

So, once again, the Finck Family and their volunteers pulled off a great party for a great cause. I can hardly wait till next year!

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