The Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival was held on the last Sunday of August during 2011, in Boulder, Colorado. This was the second year for the event and it was a huge success. There were close to 1500 people in attendance including the exhibitors. The event was hosted at the Millennium Harvest House Hotel, which had a huge garden area, a fantastic venue for this event. There were 20 sponsors for the festival, including the Cigar Rights of America and the main sponsor, the 'Smoker Friendly' corporation. Even some of the cigar greats were there, like Rocky Patel, Jonathan Drew, Jose Sejas, Joe Chuisano and Bobby Newman. There were a total of 32 cigar manufacturers repesented, and more than 40 vendors offering tastes of local beers, local vodkas, imported wines, and scotch, and the Colibri company showing off (and selling) their excellent selection of high altitude lighters. After all, the event was in Boulder, Colorado, which is up around 6,000 feet above sea level. What better place to demonstrate lighters.
The attendees were cigar smokers from all walks of life. Each one paid $100 to attend the festival, and everyone walked away with at least triple that in cigars and gifts, plus there was plenty of food. I got a chance to sample some great beer like Twisted Pine Belgium Ale, Colorado Native Lager and Boulder Beer. Colorado Native is a 100% local beer including the hopz and barley and, of course, fresh clean Colorado mountain stream water. One of the spirits I tasted was Class V Vodka from the Syntax Distillery. This was as good if not better than any vodka I have had in Moscow or Siberia, and that is about the best compliment I can give. Among my other favorites was the booth set up by Buz Dabkowski, Key Account Manager for Macallan Whiskey. He was there in his Scottish kilt, and presented a nice array of scotches to taste; Highland Park, Famous Grouse and of course Macallan Single Malt. My favorite was his Black Grouse; blended, smooth, with a touch of sweetness and very nice with a cigar.
I had a little excitment of my own other than the great cigars, beer, vodka and scotch tasting. I got a chance to chat with Dave Garafolo on The Cigar Authority webcast. If you click on the link, my interview is 45 minutes into the segment recorded during the last Sunday in August 2011. Speaking of interviews, I got a chance to sit down and talk with Jose Sejas, Joe Chuisano, Bobby Newman and Doug Kaufman. Doug is the Regional Sales Manager of Colibri, whom I met at the IPCPR. Doug got me a phone interview with Les Mann, Colibri, Executive Vice President. Both gentlemen were very helpful in getting me information I have been looking for about their high altitude lighters, which I am following up with a feature article.
This was a great time for all in attendance, and I am really looking forward to next year's 3rd annual event. Why was I not at the first one last year? I just happended to be spending last August 2010 in sunny Afghanistan. I took plenty of photos at this event and they are all posted on the About.com Cigars Facebook Page.