On Friday, October 18th, over a hundred cigar enthusiasts participated in the first annual Foxtoberfest Golf Classic at the Western Skies Golf Club in Gilbert, AZ.. While beers were flowing, cigars were smoking, and clubs were swinging, Tony and I, with our significant others, made the six and half hour drive from El Paso to Phoenix. Figuring we already missed the Friday fun by the time we pulled into the Phoenix area, we settled in at the hotel anxious to get a little rest for the main event the next day. Well, that didn’t last long. After the guys over at Fox Cigar Bar gave Tony a hard time for not stopping by, we caved into the peer-pressure and were back on the road. At Fox Cigar Bar, we rummaged through the humidor to grab our cigars for the night. Making our way to the Ashton Members Lounge that opened just the day before, we were introduced to the few manufacturers who were still functional after a day of golfing and drinking.
The Ashton Members Lounge is done up top-notch with leather chairs, ten flat panel TVs, private cigar lockers, and much, much more. According to Cliff Coen, owner of Fox Cigar Bar, the lounge is still a work in progress. The place already looks fantastic and I can’t wait to return to Fox Cigar Bar to see the final product.
Smoking our way into early Saturday morning with Wes Thornton of Crowned heads and Cliff, we headed back to the hotel to finally get some rest for the Saturday festivities. After a couple hours of rest, the wives were up ready to begin their shopping adventures and Tony and I were excited to get down to Fox Cigar Bar and enjoy what the day had offer.
Saturday was turning out to be a beautiful day with the sun shining and the high being in the low 80’s. At 1:00 manufacturers began to arrive and Fox Cigar Bar staff put up the final touches before the gates opened at 2:00 for Foxtoberfest 2013.
There was an unbelievable turnout at this year’s event. Those in attendance included Eddie Ortega from Ortega Cigar Company, Jose Ortega from My Father, Jesus Fuego from J. Fuego Cigars, Matt Booth from Room 101, Nish Patel from Rocky Patel, Fabian Ziegler from Drew Estate, Tony Gomez and Anthony Cantelmo from La Flor Dominicana, Rafael Alejandro from Boutique Blends, Wes Thornton from the Crowned Heads, Clint Aaron from 262 Cigars, David Fraser from Xikar, Meera Levin from Ashton, Terence Reilly from SAG Imports, Jeff Nolen from Oliva Cigars, and Glynn Loope from CRA.
Tony and I had an opportunity touch base with several manufacturers throughout the day. Below, you will find highlights of the events but in no way does this encompass all of the day’s shenanigans.
Wes Thornton of Crowned Heads happened to be in the best shape when we arrived at Fox Cigar Bar Friday evening. While I am not sure of Wes’ official title, a blog post at crownedheads.com refers to his position as an ambassador of Crowned Heads who acts as a liaison between the company and their retail partners. Making our way to some open leather chairs, we sat down with Wes to shoot the bull and see what was in the works at Crowned Heads. One topic of discussion was the 2013 limited edition Headley Grange Drumstick. In Wes’ opinion, the Headley Grande Drumstick is the best cigar to come out of Crowned Heads to-date. The first shipment went out the previous Tuesday but had yet to arrive at Fox Cigar Bar the day of the festival.
The Crowned Heads booth showcased all three of their regular production brands: Four Kicks, Headley Grange, and J.D. Howard Reserve. A sampler made up of two cigars from each line above, named the 6 Shooter, was available for under $50.
Ortega Cigar Company
Making his second appearance at Foxtoberfest, Eddie Ortega, owner of Ortega Cigar Company, made quite the arrival with his Foxtoberfest exclusive cigar, appropriately named “The Fox”. Check out Tony’s review here. While The Fox was the talk of the event, the Ortega Serie “D” and Ortega Minis were also out on display. The Ortega Serie “D” has been a staple in my humidor since its release and I do not see that changing anytime soon considering the flavors and excellent price. And if you are looking for a great commuter cigar, I highly recommend trying out the Minis.
Tony and I were able to spend a good amount of time with the lady-killer throughout the day. While most conversation did not involve cigars, I did ask what his favorite cigar was in the Wild Bunch series. According to Eddie, Dandy McCoy (see Tony’s review here) ranks high up there. He even hinted of a possible continuation of the cigar after the completion of the Wild Bunch.
Cliff puts on a great yearly event and I’m very glad to be part of the manufacturers he invites. It was great event again this year, I think it just keeps growing and getting better every year. – Eddie Ortega
La Flor Dominicana
Tony Gomez and Anthony Cantelmo manned the LFD booth. For those unaware, Tony Gomez is Litto Gomez’s son. Also, you may be familiar with Anthony Cantelmo’s work at cigarbrief.com . Anthony was present at Foxtoberfest in 2012 but in a much different role, as an employee of Fox Cigar Bar. In Early 2013, he moved from Arizona to east Texas to start a new job with La Flor Dominicana as the Southwest Area Manager. Anthony must be a good salesman because he was able to get Tony Gomez to attend this year’s event. LFD has grabbed my attention this past year and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab the La Flor Dominicana Foxtoberfest exclusive cigar. The cigar sports a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Cameroon binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. Keep your eyes out for a review of this special cigar in the near future.
My impression was that it went really well and that the Folks at Fox are doing a fantastic job at creating a wonderful destination spot for cigar lovers in the Valley of the Sun. Our sales this year were great and we had a fantastic time making a special cigar to commemorate the festival. – Anthony Cantelmo
I thought the event was just awesome. Mitch, Rob, Cliff, and the crew over there are top notch. You couldn’t ask for a better venue to enjoy a smoke & a cocktail with good company. It’s definitely an event worth going to. – Antonio Gomez
Tony found his soul mate during the event, Mr. Terence Reilly of SAG imports. Not only is Terence a cigar guys, but he is also a huge beer guy. As I smoked away, Tony and Terence lost themselves in conversation over beer. But for real, Terence is one of the most friendly, down to earth guys in the industry.
The SAG Imports table showcased the seasonally released Quesada Oktoberfest that first appeared in 2011. The cigar is blended to be paired with Marzen style beers that are enjoyed during fall season. Tony reviewed the 2011 release here and absolutely loved it. In conversation with Terence, he mentioned that while the 2011 and 2012 releases had very similar flavor profiles, he does note some profile difference in the 2013 release.
Foxtoberfest is an incredible event because it captures everything people enjoy about cigars. The store is incredible to begin with and has an amazing bar selection, and when you combine that with food music anda bunch of cigar lovers it creates an amazing atmosphere. – Terence Reilly
Room 101 Cigars
Just a few days before Foxtoberfest, Matt Booth of Room 101 was in our neck of the woods for an event at a local shop. It is extremely rare for El Paso to see individuals of his caliber from the cigar industry. Our busy schedules kept us from hanging out with Matt during his stay, but a couple of our smoking buddies stopped by. Chatting with Matt on Saturday, he mentioned that he really enjoyed El Paso. Hopefully, this is a first of many things to come for the cigar community in El Paso.
If you have ever met Matt you know he is quite the character with a quick wit. It was a good thing Tony had a few drinks in him because he was able to dish it back out. I on the other hand had to go hide in a corner. For a $100, attendees could pick up a 10 pack of Room 101 cigars and an awesome ashtray. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I didn’t jump on the deal. I am kicking myself for that.
The cattle are dying, the answer is Room 101. – Matt Booth
Cigar Rights of America
Last year, Patrick Carr, Field Manager, managed the CRA booth single-handily. Whether it was from the great membership turnout the previous year or just not wanting to miss an awesome cigar and beer festival, Glynn Loope, Executive Director, made his way to Gilbert, AZ to enjoy the festivities, as well as represent an organization that is fighting for our rights to enjoy fine cigars.
If you are unaware, “Cigar Rights of America (CRA) is a national advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the Consumer, Retail Tobacconist, Supply Chain and Manufacturers of premium cigars. In an effort to combat the threats of enjoying, selling, and producing premium cigars, Cigar Rights of America serves as a voice at each level of government and with the public at-large on issues of significance to the industry as a whole, and the cigar consumers of America, specifically.”
I took the time to renew my membership at the event which only took a couple of minutes. The guys over at CRA were kind enough to throw in a travel humidor with the renewal. If you are not a member, I encourage you to sign up here.
CRA was well represented at this year’s Foxtoberfest, during the event we signed up over 75 new members and proceeds from the golf tournament also went to fight the battle to protect our rights to enjoy premium tobacco products. We would like to thank Fox Cigar Bar and its staff for allowing us to be part of this year’s event, Fox is a model B&M shop supporting CRA and our efforts to help protect our rights to enjoy premium cigars and keep our passion alive! – Patrick Carr, Field Manager
Below is a gallery containing all photos we took at the event. I know it may be a bit of a cumbersome gallery so if you’d like to view them on Facebook instead (no account required) click here.