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Cigar Aficionado Hosts Record-Breaking Night to Remember

Last week, I saw Greg, our chief operating officer, walk out of his office with a particularly badass pair of cigars—a Padron Family Reserve No. 45 and an Opus X Perfecxion No. 77 Shark—and I couldn’t help but wonder where they came from. When I saw an article on Cigar Aficionado’s website about this year’s Night to Remember, I realized that these two cigars, along with a Partagas Benji Menendez Majestuoso, most definitely came from this event.

The event, which took place last Tuesday at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, raised a record-breaking $1.8 million to benefit prostate cancer research, according to Cigar Aficionado. Auctions were held and appearances were made by such cigar celebrities as Alejandro Turrent, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Rocky Patel, and Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley, among many others.

This year’s auction lots were more impressive than ever. Among the items that sold were vintage wines, including 1929 and 1959 bottles of Château Haut-Brion, which were taken home by Jamie Coulter, former head of the Lone Star restaurants group, and Pete Johnson of Tatuaje for $15,000 and $18,000 respectively. Also auctioned were 40- and 44-year-old bottles of Glenfiddich and Gold Bowmore, each of which fetched $8,000.

As you probably guessed, thousands of rare, ultra-premium cigars were also auctioned off. Among them were a lot of 564 Fuente Fuente Opus X cigars, which Rocky Patel took home for a cool $24,000, a lot of 700 La Flor Dominicana, cigars, which Lee Einsidler of Sidney Frank Importing took home for $25,000, a humidor with 300 E.P. Carrillo cigars, which sold to Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, for $18,000, and last, but not least, Cigar Aficionado publisher Marvin Shanken’s Mystery Box, which included a custom-made humidor by Elie Bleu, and sold to Jamie Coulter for a jaw-dropping $160,000.

A bunch of extraordinary vacation packages were also auctioned off, and don’t get me wrong, I love vintage Scotch and cigars as much as the next guy, but these almost brought me to tears. Among these packages was a trip to the Ross-shire, Scotland (the home of my Scottish ancestors), which included golf, a tour of the Glenmorangie distillery and a liter of Glemorangie Pride 1981, a newly-released 28-year-old whisky finished in Château d’Yquem casks. Robert Levin, creator of the Ashton brand, won a five-day vacation at the Palm Beach Breakers with golf and Ashton cigars, for $16,000, and Jamie Coulter won a trip to Honduras for a tour of Rocky Patel’s cigar factory, along with 100 cigars, also for $16,000.

These kinds of stories remind me of why I like being a part of the cigar scene. As much as it frustrates me that I can’t afford any of this, it makes me happy to see such generosity in a culture that is unfortunately widely stereotyped as greedy and pretentious. Despite enduring blows from tax increases and smoking bans, the big players in the cigar business appear to have taken it all in stride.