23rd January 2013
Place of Work:
Hyde Park Corner
020 7259 5599
What do you enjoy most about working with cigars?
Working with cigars is not just about selling an item, it is selling a passion and trying to make it a unique experience for my guest, whether he/she is a connoisseur or a novice. Behind every single cigar there is a fascinating history to tell as well as all the technical details. Most importantly a Cuban cigar is a true pleasure in life.
What first interested you in cigars?
I came across the cigar world while working in the Garden bar at the Lanesborough. From day one I literally fell in love with the atmosphere that it creates when people gather together and enjoy a true passion.
Do you remember your first cigar?
How can I not remember my first cigar? I was in France while visiting the Krug Champagne House. After a memorable dinner and champagne tasting the host came across with a selection of Cuban cigar. I picked a Cohiba Siglo VI, smoked it all the way through and last thing I remember were my colleagues taking me to bed on their shoulders. It must have been the champagne.....
What is the best piece of advice you have for someone just starting to smoke cigars?
Because of my job I often deal with people that are new to smoking cigars. My best advice is to start with a medium size light body Cuban cigar as a first step. As there are not precise rules, after my professional advice, I always try not to influence much my guest as I want them to enjoy it in the most natural way.
What are your favorite three cigars?
Without shadow of a doubt the one on top of my list is the Partagas Salomones La Casa del Habano I think it is the best expression of the partagas flavour. It has a lovely light peppery start, it then dramatically change to more intense pure tobacco flavour and nutty flavour, and it finally intensify to leathery, earthy flavours leaving your palate truly satisfied. The Cohiba 1966 LE 2011 is a great cigar, a classic Cohiba, elegance and power. Because of the history when talking about Cohiba we all have high expectations. The 1966 is a really complex cigar very well balanced, very smooth at the beginning, turning in a powerful explosion of coffee and chocolate flavours. The Ramon Allones Specially Selected is what I define an exquisite affordable everyday smoke.
Has becoming a Master in Havana Cigars helped you in your profession?
Becoming a Master of Havana cigar has definitely helped me in my job. I would recommend it to anyone who want to improve professional skills.