The PCA Convention & International Trade Show
The annual PCA Convention & International Trade Show is the place to be if you want to hear about the latest cigar types and the top cigars 2022 has to offer. This exclusive show, presented by the Premium Cigar Association is only open to select retailers like Smoke Inn and premium cigar makers. Smoke Inn has had a presence there for a number of years. We like to keep our ear to the ground and it’s always exciting to discover new cigar types, brands and concepts. We get great ideas for cigar gifts and packages to offer you all back at home too. Let’s dig into this year’s show and give you our take on PCA 2022.
Abe’s Take on the 2022 PCA Cigar Show
Like most conventions, the pandemic in 2020 forced the PCA to cancel the expo that summer. The double whammy fueled some inner compassion and guided by some sense of solidarity. I attended the 2021 PCA Tradeshow in the hopes that the extra time would allow for some dramatic change. Those expectations were not met other than the dramatically smaller footprint of the show. The 2021 PCA Show took a lot of criticism that year. Resigned not to give up all hope, I registered to attend again this year, and what a better year it was. Décor and layout were much better this year. Even little things like the new badges, directional isle stickers on the carpeting, & floor map stands scattered throughout the exhibit made for an esthetically more pleasing show. It was obvious they put some real thought into the smallest details this year.
As far as the exhibit floor, there was two magical moments that one could feel the electricity in the air. One was the Fuente & Padron collaboration reveal. Unfortunately, the execution fell a little short as one could barely hear anything that was said. The other was Guy Fieri at the Espinosa Booth and walking the show floor. I think if the PCA can find a way to create these types of excitement every day of the show, it would not only go a long way to make it a more memorable experience, but also entice more people to stay the duration. One personal note from this year’s show, I was blown away by the amount of new exhibitors present. It seemed everywhere I looked there was a new company, many of whom I have never heard of. It will be interesting to see how many return over the next three years. All in all, it was a great time seeing all my peers and I will undoubtedly look to return in 2023.
The Takeaway on PCA 2022
Like many of our favorite industries, the cigar world has made a strong comeback following COVID-19. One of the most encouraging developments was the presence of a fair number of smaller cigar makers and the appearance of some exciting new cigars from distinctive independent houses and others. While we all enjoy our stalwart and reliable favorites, one of the best parts of the cigar life may be partaking of the new stuff. Seeing what indie makers and creative master blenders in the industry come up with is one of the highlights of any PCA Convention. This year’s show was no exception. Smoke Inn found some enticing new cigar types that we’re excited to share with our Smoke Inn family, so let’s dig into those.
Here’s a list of some of the highlight brands and cigar types from the PCA Show Smoke Inn is offering:
Bandelero is one of the new cigar types launched by Selected Tobacco S.A. The founder of Selected, Cuba-born Nelson Alfanso is also known for helping to creating the Cohiba Behike brand. Bandelero’s are handcrafted in Costa Rica. Their namesakes are the legendary tobacco bootleggers of 18th century Central and South America who produced cigars outside Spain in open defiance of the Spanish crown. The three Bandelero cigar types are the Aventureros (Serie A), Clandestinos (Serie C) and Traficantes (Serie T).
Bandolero Adventureos (Serie A):
Fully bodied with complex flavors a light brown, oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Selected Tobacco is known to keep the blend close to the vest, and the Aventureros is no different, not disclosing the binder/filler recipe. This version of the blend is fuller-bodied than its siblings, offering hearty notes of charred oak, leather, espresso, and dark spice.
Bandolero Clandestinos (Serie C):
This Bandelero office makes use of a dark and oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper too, this time with a Peruvian filler blend and a top-secret binder. Notes of spice, cedar, dark chocolate are a treat for the senses. We can’t wait for you to try this stick. The Clandestino comes in a few cigar types and shapes so you’re sure to find a match.
Bandolero Traficantes (Serie T):
The Traficantes also features a succulent, glistening Ecuadorian wrapper that promises a rich flavor experience. This time Nicaraguan filler and a top-secret binder are on board. The Traficantes cigar types are just a bit spicier with notes of mocha, red pepper, earth and a creamy finish.
Another win from Selected Tobacco S.A. out of Costa Rica. Atabey Cigars are named for Atabey, the mother goddess of the Taíno, the indigenous Caribbean peoples who first introduced Columbus, and the western world to cigars. The high-end and exclusive Atabey sticks come in several cigar types and relative strengths. Connoisseurs frequently draw parallels between them and the very best of the Cuban classics. They showcase a delicious Ecuadorian wrapper is used to sheath proprietary and closely guarded binder and fillers. Atabey cigars reward with notes of hickory spice, maple, pepper, and molasses and a delicious aroma. Atabey cigar types range from the stubby robustos Atabey Idolos 4″ x 55 all the way up to the giant toro Atabey Dioses 8″ x 50 with almost a dozen choices in between. We’re sure the Smoke Inn regulars are going to love them.
Nelson Alfanso is also the man behind the super-premium Byron cigar brand. The Byron was introduced in 1998 and has made quite the name for itself among discriminating aficionados. Inspired by the Cuban classics of past centuries, these luxuriant sticks receive wide acclaim. The Cigar Authority rated the Byron Londinenses a stellar 98. Fine Tobacco NYC rated the Byron Reserva 5 Anos Habaneros a 91 among many, many others. The Byron cigar types are delineated according to the century of Cuban cigarmaking which inspired each of them.
19th Century Selection:
Petit Poemas, Poemas, Grand Poemas, Epique Poemas.
20th Century Selection:
21st Century Selection:
Distinguidos, Elegantes, Honorables, Artistocratas.
Stay tuned for more details on the Byron Cigars lineup.
El Septimo Cigars
Like the Selected Tobacco selections above, El Septimo cigars come out of Costa Rica. El Septimo prides itself on the purity of its product among other attributes. Their over 40 puros blends are all made using organically grown Costa Rican tobaccos grown at an optimal 6500 feet above sea level. They are hand rolled in the traditional Entubar method and aged between 5-15 years. El Septimo is the brainchild of cigar enthusiast and luxury brand czar, Zaya Younan. These ultra-premium sticks are a no compromise delight for the senses, so naturally the price reflects the love and commitment that goes into making them. They are the kind of cigar you reward yourself or someone you love with. Best appreciated by true aficionados
From their Sacred Arts Collection, the El Septimo Botticelli is a masterpiece in its own right. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the unique cigar shape. Known as a Salomon, it’s got a tapered foot with the rest resembling torpedo cigar types you’ve seen before. It’s a medium strength stick that features flavors of toasted oak with tantalizing notes of sweet island cane sugar, named after Sandro Botticelli and inspired by The Annunciation. The El Septimo Bomba Orange from the Zaya collection, named for the founder, is another fantastic smoke that you owe it to yourself to try. Featuring fine Costa Rican tobaccos aged 15 years, it’s truly a labor of love and the product of patient stewardship. It’s mellow, mature flavor is framed by rich leathers with cocoa and roasted espresso beans.
Smoke Inn is Your Cigar Place
Your local cigar place is more than just a spot to grab some cigars and go. If they’re doing it right, and we believe we are, then there is a sense of atmosphere there. Your cigar place should have a vibe that makes you happy to be there and want to spend some time. We hope enjoyed our quick look at the annual PCA Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas. We’re betting that many of you are as excited about the new cigar types and styles we’re bringing into the shop as we are. Smoke Inn has some very cool stuff in store for you all in the second half of 2022, so stick around and we’ll see you at the bar.
As always, if you’re local or happen to be visiting South Florida, be sure to reward yourself with a visit to one of the country’s best cigar shops in person. We’d love to see you.
Our South Florida Locations: