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The Fuggedaboudit Herf!

Yet another one of my successful business and social trips last week saw me arrive in Sunny Tampa USA! For the 69th Annual Convention and International Trade Show of the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America! (RTDA) 

For those who don't know RTDA is probably the biggest trade show in the world as well as a wonderful opportunity to meet suppliers, customers and most importantly friends living on the other side of the pond. 

My close friend Elliot picked me up from Tampa Airport and we immediately smoked some wonderful Saint Luis Rey cabinet selection Churchills, matured to perfection since 1997.... Great way to start my trip! :-) 

Tampa was a perfect location for RTDA as it has a long history and association with premium cigars. The days were spent going from booth to booth at the trade show and seeing every possible variation of cigar cutters, lighters, humidors and various other accessories. Most of the major manufactures and distributors were well represented with some exquisite stands. In particular the Caribe Cigar Inc of Christian Eiroa which became my regular hang out. Caribe produces some of the finest cigars to come from Honduras including the wonderful Camacho Corojo which can of course be obtained via our US partners http://www.cigarking.com 

The Davidoff stand was very classy with Avo Uvezian tinkling the ivories to everyones enjoyment. The Cigar Family area hosted by the dapper and knowledgeable (as well as very young!) Drew Newman was truly incredible 

Not only were the wonderful range of Fuente cigars on display but Fuente even make wonderful coffee ...... I should know, it helped keep me awake! 

It was great fun to meet up with so many friends from Cigar Family and ASC and I ever got to meet Carlito Fuente! 

Evenings were spent enjoying fine food at the Columbia Restaurant (thanks Chuck and Gordon) in Ybor City followed by smokes and drinks as well as Live Jazz at the King Corona Cigar Shop which is highly recommended if you visit Tampa. Later on in the evening everybody met up at the Marriot Waterside Hotel near the convention center to continue drinks, smokes and great conversation until the very early hours of the morning. 

RTDA is the showcase for all existing and particularly new products relating to Cigar Smoking and of course we will be introducing some excellent interesting and great value new lines of accessories to our online store over the next few weeks which I'm sure will be of great interest. 

From Tampa to New York City........  I was truly spoiled in New York City and my dear friend Marc Goldstone put together a most wonderful evening at the Manhatten Grill 

Friends and clients were kind enough to attend from all over New York and New Jersey. It was an excellent opportunity to put faces to names of people who I have known through the power of the Internet for so many years but never actually met in person before. 

The wine (thanks Cigar Baron) and food were quite superb and the company was........... simply the best 

We smoked some pretty wonderful cigars too! It would take another page or two to fill in all the thank you's for the wonderful evening at the Manhattan Grill, so I hope it is sufficient to say thank you to everyone that attended, it really was a most wonderful evening. 

My last evening in New York was spent with my dear friend David in the company of a few select friends. There really are few words to describe what an exquisite evening had been organised at Davids home or should I say Castle! 

I'll give you a few clues..... 1959 Montecristo No. 1...... Trinidad Diplomats ...... Black Bowmore 1965! My fellow Herftone Karen Starke and I were simply in heaven and we can't thank David enough for this most memorable evening. 

Click on the picture to view a larger image

Ernesto Carillo in Tampa Tom & Debbie Lyons MO, Debbie, Allison,
Dan Evers (Ezdad), and Frank Plato
Carlito Fuente and Kaju Kaju and the Mob! And Again!
Tom Lyons with Carlito Tom, Allison & Smokeymo Gordon and Lisa
Smokeymo & Gordon at the Columbia Restaurant Gordon & Lisa at King Corona in Ybor City Christian Eiroa RTDA
Chuck Wilner & Smokeymo Avo Uvezian Rami, Elliot and Smokeymo at RTDA
Avo at the Davidoff area of RTDA Richard Carlton Hacker RTDA Smokeymo - as usual on the phone!
Perelman and Rudman RTDA Paul Gamarian RTDA Smokeymo arriving in Tampa
Duke, Barry and Smokeymo RTDA Michael Chunko of Csonka RTDA Dave 'Izeman' Fantl
Mike & Grace Mike C Louis Yurcsak & Smokeymo
Marc & Suze Mike C from ASC, Smokeymo and  Mike K from CF Neil Ross, Smokeymo and the lovely Karen Starke from Herftones
Steve Saka and Smokeymo Allison & Smokeymo Herfing at the Marriot
The Manhatten Grill herf in NY Smokeymo & The Izeman Panama Jacks at RTDA