Normally, I am the first one to publish my Top Three Things post, but this year, I was swamped with booth posts, so this has taken a lot longer to find time to sit down and write. That’s not to say this list was difficult to come up with, three things really stood out much more than anything else and I’m pretty sure I’d seen all of them by the time Day 2 of the trade show wrapped up. As I typically mention for this type of thing, it’s inherently much more challenging for cigars to make this list. During the show, I might light up two new cigars per day and it’s unlikely I’ll get through half of either one. Even now, some two weeks after the show has wrapped up, I’ve smoked just one new cigar that I was given at the trade show.
As such, I rarely mention cigars on this list and if I do, it’s not usually because of how they smoke, something that played out this year. I also thought about trying to make sure I included something from a smaller company, but in the end, I figured this list should be what it would be in its purest form: the three things that stood out to me the most.
About a week ago when I started thinking about this article, I made the same decision Patrick did: I’ll leave the Arturo Fuente/Padrón Legends discussion for someone else.
It is the obvious place to start a post like this. Not because of how good the cigars are, no one has smoked them. Not because of how many sold were sold, there were no orders taken. And not because of exciting this is, the project was announced two years ago, no one smoked them, no one bought them, no one was told when they could smoke or buy them, and it’s not as if either company was very forthcoming on details. In fact, outside of just physically seeing what the product looks like and figuring out its official name, nothing else was revealed on Sunday, July 10.
Bonus points if you can spot Henke Kelner.
But the picture above is precisely why it’s on here. Never before has a new product hogged as much attention as Legends did. It was the talk of the trade show, particularly before the Sunday afternoon unveiling, in a manner that is unparalleled. For the first two days, it felt as if I could not go to a booth without having a conversation about the project with another manufacturer. While a lot happened at the 2022 PCA Convention & Trade Show, it should be regarded as the one where Legends was announced as that was clearly the most important thing that happened during the four days of the trade show. So while my initial thought was “this is so obvious, I should ignore it,” the reality is, it was impossible to ignore.
This cannot be surprising. The singular most impressive product I saw at the trade show was the Boveda 25th Anniversary Humidor, a limited edition humidor made by Elie Bleu to celebrate Boveda’s 25th anniversary. What I saw in Las Vegas was not a finalized version, Boveda is still determining the interior layout, but even as-is, the humidor is outstanding. To be honest, I’m not sure Elie Bleu makes humidors that aren’t impressive-looking, but the details here are great.
I think what separates this from other very well-done humidors is that Boveda wasn’t afraid of putting elements on the humidor that some would think would cheapen the overall look. Those include a reference to marijuana on the top medallion area—the cannabis industry is big business for Boveda—and a copy of the Protected by Boveda seal that many cigar boxes have.
Pricing and release date details are still unknown, but for the lucky few that get a chance to buy a humidor, you are going to get one of my favorite branded pieces ever.
Last year, “smaller booths” made it onto this list and this year, one smaller booth made it onto this list. The 2021 booth from Ashton was pretty barebones, but this year the company unveiled a booth that took up the same footprint but was substantially nicer. This seems like a very well thought out conclusion to the question: what are we trying to accomplish in the trade show booth?
The answer is likely some combination of showing off new products and meeting with people.
To do this, there’s a small rectangle in the center of the booth that contains four walls. Each wall can be used to display new products, some in more elaborate displays than the other. Inside the rectangle is storage space, but the rest of the booth is basically used for meeting space. Ashton incorporated a number of screens throughout those four walls to help show off its new products, new marketing campaigns and others. My favorite screen was placed on the door in a vertical standpoint. In the picture above, it’s not immediately clear which picture frames contain screens and which ones contain printed graphics—though it was very easy to tell in person.