Cigar Lifestyle: Miami Mega Herf

Miami, an international city with a Cuban influence with its glamorous neighborhoods, trendy nightclubs, white sand beaches and iconic art deco buildings. This past weekend Miami was the host to the Dolphins and Lions football game, the final Formula One (F1) Festival of 2018, and the Miami Mega Herf.  For those that are not familiar with a what a “herf” is, it is a gathering of cigar lovers to share time and cigars, reunite with old friends and meet new friends of the leaf. 

The Miami Mega Herf, is the brain child of Lui Mahal and her fiance Michael Pugh, both avid cigar smokers. Building on the success of two Los Angeles based California Mega Herfs in 2014 and 2015, the couple set their sites on Miami and the city’s beautiful Biscayne Bay. The couple knew they would need a mega yacht, to host the well over 300 attendees. To solve that, they selected the 111 foot Biscayne Lady to cruise the bay for 3 sun filled hours of eating, drinking, dancing, and of course, puffing on premium cigars.

Lui and Michael, kept everyone informed, leading up to the event, with live, online videos and regular posts. The kickoff to this weekend actually started off with Friday nights LADIES OF THE LEAF. “LOTL” event at Casa Blanca Cigar Lounge in Miami Beach. This event was produced & hosted by Miami Mega Herf Assoc. Producer Tawana Brown. Karen Berger from Don Kiki Cigars and Yadi Gonzalez from Flor de Gonzalez were both present at the event.

There were also event participants at the Miami based, Cuban Crafters Cigar Store and Factory. I was not able to attend the pre-party but based on the social media posts, they were well attended and enjoyed.

Boarding the Biscayne Lady

The main event started Sunday October 21, at 12 noon as the attendees lined up to get ready to board the Biscayne Lady. As we walked down the dock towards our final destination, we registered at a welcome table, received our lanyards (if we did not attend the pre-party) and were presented our swag bag filled with 17 premium cigars, a gorgeous Xikar cutter, a lighter, a can of butane fuel, and a small packet of Whiff Out deodorizing powder (which I highly recommend if you have a cigar cave at home) .

Mingling with Friends of the Leaf

The next stop, was at the top of the gang plank, where we were presented refreshing mimosas and then headed off to mingle with friends as this magnificent yacht was boarded.

The Food – Oh Yea!

Once we had some time to mingle it was brunch time and I am glad I brought my appetite. There were 3 seating’s for brunch, starting with the VIP attendees followed by the General Admission participants. There was a full spread of food from bagels and cream cheese to prime rib. The full list of delicacies included:

  • Tropical Fresh Fruit 
  • Fresh Assorted Breakfast Breads and Pastries
  • Private selection of sweet butter, jams and homemade marmalades
  • Imported Smoked Salmon 
  • Warm Belgian Waffles, fresh strawberries and whipped cream
  • Oven Roasted New and Sweet Potatoes
  • Warm Pasta Salad
  • Medley of Salad Greens
  • Carving Station of Prime Rib
  • Assorted Quiches
  • Hickory Smoked Bacon

There was an open bar of top-shelf spirits, beer, wine, and soft drinks throughout the 3-hour event.

Raffle – Cigars for Warriors

Any herf is not complete without a raffle, and the Miami Mega Herf 2018 did not disappoint. With many donations of product from the event sponsors, Cigars for Warriors raised hundreds of dollars to support U.S. deployed troops overseas. Cigars for Warriors is the only 502C approved charitable organization that provides premium cigars and accessories to U.S. troops serving in active combat zones.  Of course the more you tickets you purchase the better your odds of winning, as was proven by the small groups of friends who seemed to command the winning. – of course, the purchased over $100.00 worth of tickets.

The Cigars for Warriors raffle was hosted by Robert Allan, the Director of Operations for Operation. 

Robert Allan and Michael Pugh

Vendors

The event also included some familiar faces that set up tables to sell their craft, including shirts, swag, and jewelry.

Cigar Royalty

Walking about the yacht, you could not help but bump into a number of cigar men and women including Jonathan Drew, Willy Herrera,  Karen Berger, Christian Celuzza, Tobacco Kennedy, Dirty Fabian, Joe Gro, Cigar Mike, and of course Lui Mahal and Michael Pugh the Miami Mega Herf 2018 producers. 

Also in attendance were, Sean Williams with Cohiba, Yadi Gonzalez of Flor de Gonzalez. Rafael Nodal was planning to attend but got stuck in Boston, but Carlos Nodal, Rafael’s son was there to represent the family.

Additional Cigar industry figure heads included the likes of:

  • Eddy Guerra of Altadis USA
  • Tony Guerra, former GM of Casa de MonteCristo Prime
  • Michael Celluci , the previous President of Drew Estate and current owner of Xikar
  • Jay Fifield and Rob Gagner of Boveda Inc
  • Todd Vance of Cornelius and Anthony
  • Lawrence Milten Berger of Cubanacan along with the owner of Cubanacan Robert Madeiros
  • Matt Gossett with Flor de Gonzalez,
  • Benigno Rosario with K by Karen Berger

We also were blessed to have boxing featherweight champion Gamboa.

After Party

As we finished our three-hour tour of Biscayne Bay and disembarked, but the party continued at Casa de Montecristo Prime Cigar and Whiskey Bar in downtown Miami. We were greeted with a free cocktail and live music to chill out and further relax before heading home.

I would like to thank Lui and Michael for producing an amazing event and hope to see them do it again next year. The attendees were able to meet old friends and make new ones and connect with those they follow social media ciagr sites for first time. The effort involved in putting on something like this is enormous and this dynamic duo pulled it off.  The $190.00 VIP ticket was well the price not only for what you received in the swag bag, but the food, drinks, and service was first class all the way.

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