PCA 2024 Day 1 | Part 2 Coverage: Best Boutique Cigar Brand Booths & Big Name Displays

After hitting happy hour at the Aliados Cantina behind the Oliva Cigars booth, I stowed my straw hat at the Klaro kiosk and began to venture deeper into uncharted territory. Which basically meant exploring more of the central section of the hall.

By that point in the day, it was nearing happy hour, and a multitude of cigar manufacturers started popping bottles. While I may not be much of a drinker these days, I did take liberties with a few choice top-shelf tequilas and sampled a snifter of rum later on. All of which I found to be quite delightful, and for good reason. 

As we all know, cigars perform best when paired with a beverage, so this aspect of PCA is just something that one comes to expect when in attendance. Hell, the first event of Day Zero/setup day included a rum tasting and pairing with our friends at La Aurora. Which as you can clearly see by the picture below, was a heavily attended seminar.

On an unexpected side note, gourmet chocolate was in heavy supply this year, and not just coffee. Both of which only made my ADHD-ass even more manic than it normally is in such situations... 

4 Best Boutique Cigar Brand Booths From PCA Day 1 

Don Doroteo Booth PCA 2024

Boutique cigar brand booths are either a hit-or-miss experience for me. While significantly smaller in scale than the big guys, the creativity that some of these brands put into their displays and layouts often borders on the applaudable. Especially when their limited budgets are brought into consideration. 

On the flip side, quite a few boutique brands (and big names too) either fail to make a memorable presence due to a lack of creativity and/or budget or simply just don't give a shit. Whatever the reason, the presentation remains an integral part of the PCA package for potential buyers who are in attendance and actively on the hunt for new cigars to stock. So I always try to take note of what stands out as a memorable or well-thought-out display.

Some of the winning boutique booths that I sauntered into on Day 1 that struck my fancy included: 

  • Dapper Cigars (Simple and stylish, with deep leather seats that can't be beat for when it's time to meet.)
  • Black Works Studio (Where lowrider culture meets heavy metal, hip-hop, glam rock, and post-apocalyptical ambiguity.) 
  • Oscar Valladares (Electric green neon tobacco leaves, wrap-around layout with loads of roaming space, and plenty of cigar options to consider.)
  • Don Doroteo (Expect big things from this boutique brand as it continues to grow... while growing tobacco in its booth at PCA!)

Big Brand Booths Keep Getting Bigger and Better 

Drew Estate Cigars PCA 2024

While the return of Drew Estate at PCA this year definitely drew a crowd, its water tower watering hole, Metallica Ford C.O.D. Hauler and full-blown filming studio snagged my attention. The place was a complete zoo, just the way Jonathan Drew surely wanted it to be.

On a far more refined scale, and located just next door, was the Plasencia booth. With its slat board siding/roofing, carefully comprised layout, coffee bar, live jazz band, and tastefully finished interior, this large-scale operation felt welcoming and cozy. Considerably larger than last year's layout, Plasencia's presence at PCA 2024 was a real treat and provided a perfect refuge for those in need of a bit of respite from the maelstrom around them.

Finally, there was the colorful fiesta that is Arturo Fuente. Although it may seem relatively unchanged over last year in its layout, there is something undeniably appealing about this booth to me. With every imaginable form of memorabilia decorating display case after display case, I felt like a kid again, snooping around inside my grandfather's study. 

Up Next: More Shenanigans & Mike Tyson?! 

Mike Tyson Cigar

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Day 1 of our coverage from PCA 2024, as I bump into some old buddies, make some fresh friends, eat some shaved prosciutto, and get within swinging distance of Mike Tyson.