VirtualCons meets the Covid moment by bringing the convention – or Con – experience to entertainment fans via virtual programming that allows subscribers worldwide to gather via remote access. Created by 3fams Productions, whose recent SopranosCon allowed more than 15,000 fans from around the world to interact with more than 50 stars from the hit show, VirtualCons is a free downloadable app that allows the con community to virtually attend conventions and special events throughout the year. The latest offering invites subscribers to follow along as VirtualCons CEO Michael Mota and award-winning actor and VirtualCons partner Armand Assante visit Nicaragua in pursuit of the perfect cigar.
Broadcast live on Instagram, and then later viewable at any time via the VirtualCons app, Mota and Assante invite members/viewers to travel along on their visit to Nicaragua’s Plasencia Cigars, one of the biggest tobacco growers and cigar manufacturers in the world. Their quest? To find the optimal cigar tobacco combination for use in a proprietary, Assante-approved cigar. “Our President, Brandon Siemion, has been very close to the Plasencia Family,” said Mota. “When Armand, a true cigar aficionado, decided to become a partner in VirtualCons, we brought up the idea of crafting his own cigar. Armand has always had a passion for cigars, so it was a perfect marriage. We flew down to Miami and met with the Plasencia Family, and after meeting Armand – they knew it would be a great fit. Two legends coming together. The end result will be a custom Armand Assante Cigar that will be sold by VirtualCons.”
“A cigar allows me to pause, to retreat and absorb, to distance myself from what I may or may not decide upon,” said Assante, who developed his own OraVivo Cigar in the early 2000s with Victor Vitale of Legacy cigars. He went through about 60 blends of superior Nicaraguan Tobacco (Jalapa, Condejo, and Esteli, selected by Eduardo Fernandez) before finding the balance that most suited him. He’ll do the same with Plasencia, choosing a proprietary VirtualCons product that will bear his name.
Assante says he occasionally smokes socially with friends but admits to a preference for a solo smoke while alone in his studio as he writes or thinks. “Sometimes a cigar is a singular companionship,” said Assante, an Emmy award-winning, four-time Golden Globe nominee. “I use a cigar in a way, especially when I’m working, to pace my thinking. l do not permit myself to rush into anything anymore or be influenced into a conclusion. I treasure quiet, silence, or almost a form of meditation. It’s my way of life.”
With his Plasencia effort, Assante hopes to develop a cigar that a woman too will appreciate, one that complements a great drink or espresso, one with which the smoker can linger. Such consideration and analysis take years of acquired taste. “Every facet of our lives and the way we express ourselves is a matter of taste,” said Assante. “Suffice it to say I wouldn’t associate myself with a cigar that didn’t enjoy a ‘rating’ in at least the ‘90’s’ and the Alma Fuerte and the Alma Fuego by Plasencia are simply two of the greatest cigars ever created.
“To be partnered now with Plasencia is both a great honor and a complete surprise, and I have to express my illimitable gratitude to my major partners, especially Brandon Seimion and Michael Mota at VirtualCons for initiating this.”
The VirtualCons app and accompanying Instagram page serve as a virtual passport, providing remote access for fans around the world to interact with their favorite celebrities in one-on-one meet and greet personal shout-outs and university-style classes. For more information, and to purchase Armand Assante’s bespoke Plasencia cigar, visit www.virtualcons.com.