14th November 2014
Place of Work:
James J Fox
19 St James’s Street
What do you enjoy most about working with cigars?
Cigars seem to cross all borders, social and political. Fellow cigar smokers do not care where you are from, your social standing or what your beliefs are. At any one time in our lounge at Fox’s you can find a huge selection of people from all over the world and all types of background, happily enjoying the moment with fellow cigar smokers. A cigar seems to give you that moment of utter bliss which you do not seem to find with many other things. You also end up meeting the most interesting people at cigar tastings.
What first interested you in cigars?
The attention to detail, the ability of what seems like an incongruous leaf to offer such a wide range of taste and flavour.
Do you remember your first cigar?
I do, but cannot quite remember what I smoked. It may have been a Montecristo No.4. I do remember inhaling too deeply and coughing a lot at the beginning, but once I got past that, I realised just what a good cigar could deliver. I’ve enjoyed them ever since.
What is the best piece of advice you have for someone just starting to smoke cigars?
Start mild, but try as much as you possibly can. Experiment with ring gauges to see how it influences the taste of the cigar. Don’t be afraid to speak to experienced cigar smokers for their advice, but don’t take everything as gospel as everyone has a different palate, so trust your own judgement.
What are your favorite three cigars?
The Ramon Allones Specially Selected, the Bolivar Belicosos Finos, the Upmann Robusto LE 2012, although the new Bolivar Super Corona LE 2014 is fast becoming a favourite.
Has becoming a Master in Havana Cigars helped you in your profession?
Absolutely! Having joined the trade relatively recently, one picks up a lot of knowledge in everyday conversation. By sitting the exam it has helped me consolidate this knowledge, put it all in its various places and fill the gaps. I now feel I can speak with confidence about the various stages of the cigar industry, the history, as well as being able to advise. This confidence comes across to the customer giving them faith in your decisions.