8th April 2014
Place of Work:
James J Fox
19 St James’s Street
What do you enjoy most about working with cigars?
It’s nice simply just to see the camaraderie born from the mutual appreciation of the product. People of every walk of life just getting on with each other, laughing, debating and so on. Brothers of the leaf, as it were.
What first interested you in cigars?
I knew very little of cigars when I started working with them in 2002, but was instantly hooked, I must of smoked at least 100 different cigars in my first 6 months in the trade, I wanted as much as anything to discern WHY I like a particular smoke rather than simply IF. It's a lot of fun learning what tastes in particular you gravitate toward in a cigar.
Do you remember your first cigar?
My first handmade cigar was a Partagas Serie D No 4, a classic in every sense, and I've loved the smoke ever since. Such a failsafe Habano, despite possessing a relative full-bodiedness.
What is the best piece of advice you have for someone just starting to smoke cigars?
Experiment! Try it all! Establish your go-to smokes while dabbling in new vitolas and brands as often as possible. And if possible, learn to appreciate different strengths of cigars, as big bold flavours, and complex amalgamations of subtleties, in my opinion, are equally satisfying. Pacing is especially important also, as so many people get put off of a cigar that they have smoked too quickly.
What are your favorite three cigars?
My favourite regularly produced cigar is the Bolivar Belicosos Finos, closely followed by the Ramon Allones Specially Selected, and the Partagas Lusitania. I've also been extremely lucky to try many heavily aged, rare, pre-embargo smokes etc over the years, and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.
Has becoming a Master in Havana Cigars helped you in your profession?
For sure. It’s great to have something to physically document my experience, appreciation and product knowledge to show as well. It is an honour to have such a title.