23rd September 2015
Place of Work:
The Arts Club (a private members club)
40 Dover Street
020 7499 8581
What do you enjoy most about working with cigars?
When I started working in the world of cigar, Edward Sahakian had a nice joke about our industry that happen to be reality. He said "Manu, you will only meet nice and successful people. I don't know if they smoke cigars because they are nice and successful or they are nice and successful because they smoke cigars." We are passionate people working for passionate people. it's always a fantastic feeling to open a box of cigars and nose them thinking about the long journey until we highlight them in our establishments.
What first interested you in cigars?
Being passionate about wine and gastronomy cigars came naturally as the ultimate epicurean experience. As a champagne lover, a Cuban cigar is in a way very similar in its making process. Both are protected denomination of origin. Both are natural product highlighting a specific terroir. Both undergo some long period of ageing before being ready to consume. Both have been imitated (reproduced?) and never equalized. And both offer a wide range of taste and experience creating great memories.
Do you remember your first cigar?
How can I forget it! Bolivar Britanicas extra in the fantastic company of Mike Choi, Eddie Sahakian and Eric Chalvin in June 2012 at the Edward Sahakian cigar shop.
What is the best piece of advice you have for someone just starting to smoke cigars?
Most of us know the big world famous brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo or Romeo y Julieta. As a novice it is therefore natural to direct ourselves to what we know. However these particular brand may not be suitable for an introduction to the world of Cuban cigars. It is important to consider the strength and the length of the cigar not to be overwhelmed by the smoke and to fully enjoy the cigar development.
What are your favorite three cigars?
Trinidad Fundadores 1999. H. Upmann Sir Winston (with some age even better. I have a great memory of a box from 1996). Bolivar Britanicas, it all started with this cigar. Any cigars in good company
Has becoming a Master in Havana Cigars helped you in your profession?
Having the immense chance of being in charge of an incredible humidor was already a great step in my career. Being now a Master of Havana Cigars gives me the credibility sometimes complicated to gain in the past due to my young age. However my daily job hasn't changed I share my passion to everyone the same way I have always done and everyone deserves the same smile and attention.