Victory in Big Alpine Smoke!
Unfortunately, this year I went to Switzerland for Big Alpine Smoke with a bit of mixed feelings. The reason is obvious, the painful incident at Atatürk Airport. For this reason, although I told you before, I do not broadcast live as in Big Smoke Paris.
After arriving in Zurich after a short trip, I take the train to Bad Ragaz. The contest is the next day, but it is important to have a conversation with old acquaintances the night before and meet for new acquaintances. We spend another pleasant night with about ten people, enjoying the weather outside and different cigars, in a slightly cool but warm weather for Switzerland.
The next day, on the day of the competition, this year, as I did the programs last year, we had a comfortable day at the hotel, thinking that I would hang out at the Swiss Seniors Open at the nearby golf course, and the phone rings and we agree with Gian Carlo and Marko for lunch. Gian Carlo says he will take us to the restaurant named Adler by the renowned gourmet chef Siggi Tschurtschenthaler from Südtirol. A restaurant in the narrow streets of Flaesch, one of the small villages right near Adler Bad Ragaz, but what a restaurant. Whether it is with its menu or with its wine cellar, in such a small village, this kind of place is a really nice surprise. The good thing is that such an unexpected flavor can come out in such a small place, in an unexpected corner. After a nice, tasty and fairly long meal and smoking, we break up again to prepare for the competition. The weather is still warm but occasionally the rain is snacking.
After completing my preparations at the hotel, while waiting for my vehicle at the reception, I meet the Scandinavia Tobacco International Marketing Chief. We met from Paris and attended the night with his wife. Road and chatted for quite a long overnight and the overall cigars, in particular the new tobacco law in the United States and of course we talked cigar in Turkey. We arrive at the place after a not very long drive.
This year, Big Alpine Smoke is hosted by Hotel Restaurant Weiss Kreuz Malans. First, a cocktail starts in the hall where the competition will be held on the cellar floor of this small hotel in Malans village. During the cocktail, you get information about their products and cigars from familiar or new sponsors and you have the opportunity to try the cigars. Among the cigars, there are also Brun del Re, Patoro and other small brands that the companies offer to the market. Brizard and Co., which has just entered the Swiss market. He found a small place for himself with his accessories. Announcement for the competition is made gradually after everyone is integrated and the recordings are started to be taken. I want to give bunsefer Marko a number of his own choosing while competing with number 8 each time, and thus, I register as number 5.
After registration, everyone takes their places and now it is time to choose one of the most important points, the competition cigar. Macanudo Inspirado's, prepared under Marko's own supervision, are presented to every competitor on a tray. So I choose one and start waiting for the next instructions. Everyone chooses their cigar and instructions for both cutting and burning are given one after the other and the competition is started. Marko begins showmanship with his usual sincerity and warm style. Besides the humorous anemtodes he makes, he constantly repeats that the first 30 minutes must be paid attention to. Because nearly half of the competitors usually lose their cigar fire in the first 30 minutes. My goal is the first 40 minutes this time. Why because last year I was able to last 39 minutes here, and then 32 minutes at the most in Paris. While I concentrate on my cigar with all my seriousness, the seriousness of my face, especially at our table, is a bit of a joke.
As the seconds and minutes pass on the stopwatch, just as Marko said, the competitors start to fall one by one. Although my ear is on Marko to find out who fell and who is left, my concentration on the cigar passes the first hour not catching much. Up to 40 minutes to 60 minutes, I am quite happy, I feel the need to make a situation assessment with a bit of surprise and when I listen to Marko more carefully, I understand that we are left with 5 people. Now, of course, after this time, my goal is suddenly the top 3. Among the top 5, the cigars of two people are now very close to the band and they are competing with each other. If it does not go out, I look like the first three are guaranteed, with a good distance from the tape. After a short while, as I guessed, two people one after another were out of the race by putting out the cigars in order not to burn the tape. Now I'm in the top 3 for the first time. Now, I am starting to wonder if I am the one who has no training and participates for my own pleasure. Again, a short time passes and another person among us says goodbye to the competition. From now on, I pay close attention to the burning of my cig, and on the other hand, Marko's faded out for the other competitor's cigar! I'm waiting for him to yell. But the news is that, unfortunately, his cigar is farther from his band than mine. But, whatever happens, it probably comes down to almost the same paint as me, from smoking too fast with the extinguishing excitement, too quickly. The stopwatch shows almost 1 hour and 30 minutes, and everything is now measured in seconds. I try to keep the cigar on fire with as little pulls as possible in order not to extinguish the cigar and not to burn my tape. What I expect from Marko "It is extinguished!" announcement sounds. It's almost burning my tape now, and I'm too late, when the stopwatch shows 1:29:59, holding up my number and saying "Done!" For the contest. I say, and I'm really ending Big Apine Smoke first. It really feels amazing.
Unfortunately, because people are hungry so much, we first take a short drink break on the terrace and then move on to dinner. After the dinner, of course, there is an award ceremony and a raffle with a Carl F. Bucherer watch. Now let it not be jealous, I will not count the gifts, but of course, first of all, me, the other winners and other participants in the lottery, end a very pleasant night with lots of chatter after dinner.
By the way, until I taught this post out of time, the final qualifying round of the Championship was held in London and now the final round in Split awaits the qualifying round winners, including me. If I can schedule my time and participate, I'm sure it will be another great night and of course I'll share the details here. Another funny thing is that if I can participate, I will be racing on behalf of Switzerland.
Enjoyable smoking for everyone ...