Stogies World Class Cigars, the premiere location for craft enthusiasts in the Houston area, hosted their 3rd annual BDCJW event on October 15, 2016. Big Damn Cigar Jamboree & Wingding (try saying that three times fast!) has climbed its way into the arena of the nation’s best mega-HERFs over the past few years—easily securing their claim as “Houston’s biggest cigar festival”.
In 2015, the event was moved to Houston’s Bayou City Event Center, where it returned for 2016. It is a modest-sized, outdoor facility with a covered roof—this holds the 600-plus attendees in an intimate setting, making it easy to get plenty of face time with the 30 cigar manufacturers in attendance. Although, with the event growing quickly, Stogies may have another move in their future—we couldn’t imagine the facility holding more than 1,000 guests.
Stogies secured 30 of the most buzzed-about brands in the industry, with most all being represented by their respective “cigar celebrity”. Of course there’s the expected event-exclusives, such as deals that take advantage of Texas’ already-irresistible 1¢/cigar tax rate; bringing costs low enough to make filling any modest-sized humidor a breeze. There were over 4 breweries in attendance, as well as an equal selection of food trucks, and the expected live band—which, by the way, was the most talented we’ve come across at a cigar event (for what it’s worth).
Then there’s the cigars themselves. As you’d expect, tickets include a healthy selection of craft smokes at entry—but it’s the deals at the booths themselves that keeps you circling. Stogies World Class Cigars has become well-known for their exclusive “H-Town” series over the past few years, where the industry’s top manufacturers collaborate with the shop to introduce lancero vitolas of their existing (or non-existing) brands. And just in time for the event kickoff, it was announced Stogies would introduce the 12th H-Town cigar: Herrera Estelí Edicíon Limitada H-Town Lancero. These were being sold (and signed) by Willy Herrera himself, along with many of the previous H-Town releases and their respective brand-runners. Other notable offerings included a special “Stogies World Class Cigars” blend by AJ Fernandez, LFD’s new La Flor Andalusian Bull (which completely sold out within minutes), Xikar’s new XO cutters (which were $40 off MSRP), Espinosa’s Warhead III, and more.
The event is a predictable setup, and it works! What helps to set the BDCJW apart are the superior prices (better than just about anywhere but similar events in Florida and Pennsylvania), a large selection of exclusives (perhaps the largest you’ll come across), an A-list collection of cigar personalities with ample opportunity for talking shop (when’s the last time you’ve seen Kyle Gellis, Skip Martin, and Robert Caldwell in the same venue [aside from the IPCPR?!]), and perhaps best of all, the base location of the Stogies World Class Cigars lounge.
This is what turns the event from being a single-day affair into a full, 3-day weekend getaway. Stogies, headed by Jorge Ahued and Jordan Finn, has expanded year-after-year (literally) to become one of the best humidors and lounges in the country. The shop features one of the best selections of craft and boutique cigars you’ll ever find, with a large lounge area and even larger VIP lounge area. The shop is BYO (as with all Texas lounges), but let’s just say guest’s glasses were never allowed to dry over the weekend. There’s even an exclusive gambling night for the vendors—we hate to mention this, but it was a lot of fun… and another clue as to why the event is chock-full with the biggest names in the industry.