When did it all start? At what age did you start smoking?
I had my first cigar when I was 27.
What was your first cigar?
It was a Montecristo No. 4.
How would you describe the pleasure of smoking cigars?
For me, it’s not just about the cigar itself. While that’s obviously the main element of the experience, the location, company, atmosphere and comfort (as far as how comfortable the chair you’re sitting in is) are all huge factors in the overall cigar smoking experience.
Which are your favorite cigars?
I don’t have a particular favourite, as I always choose the most appropriate cigar per occasion.
How many cigars do you smoke?
On a normal day,, I would smoke between two and three. If I’m on holiday I tend to smoke between seven to eight cigars.
At what time of the day do you enjoy your cigars the most?
It depends on how busy my day is; however, I tend to smoke most regularly in the early afternoon. I usually like to begin with a Robusto.
What are your favorite cigars for special events?
I would choose a limited edition cigar - the particular selection would depend on the event and atmosphere.
How do you light your cigars? Do you have a special lighter?
If I am sitting outside, I tend to use a b,utane lighter. Otherwise I tend to use a regular cigar lighter, ensuring I do not affect the tobacco when lighting.
Your favorite five Cigar Lounges/Hotels worldwide?
The Wellesley in London has the city’s best cigar lounge with two exterior terraces, both covered and heated with comfortable chairs for smoking cigars. When I’m in Istanbul, I visit Çırağan Palace and sit outside on the wonderful terrace, which is perfect during the summer. In Los Angeles, I frequently visit Ten Pound Bar in Beverly Hills.
Your favorite Cigar Members Clubs worldwide?
I tend not to frequent members clubs; however, I know China Club is highly sought after.
Your favorite five Cigar Shops worldwide?
Davidoff here in London’s Mayfair, La Casa Del Habano in London, La Casa Del Habano George Town in Grand Cayman, La Casa Del Habano at the Habana Libre in Havana and, finally, La Casa Cubana in Singapore.
With which international personalities would you like to smoke a cigar one day?
Bill Clinton or Fidel Castro.
Where do you keep your cigars?
In my bespoke humidor.
You enjoy your cigars with a glass of … ?
I don’t drink alcohol, so I generally tend to enjoy a cold soft drink such as a Diet Coke or Diet 7up. Occasionally, I will enjoy a coffee with my cigar.
How would you describe your passion for smoking to a non-smoker?
I classify myself as a social smoker. I use my time smoking to make the most of spending time with friends on the terrace. The discussion around cigars is always a topic of conversation and I enjoy hearing co-smokers thoughts on particular cigars.
How much money did you spend on your most expensive cigar?
I don’t want to remember!
Is there a cigar you would love to try which you haven’t smoked yet?
I've been fortunate enough to have tried all the cigars I've wanted to date.
The most beautiful humidor you have ever seen?
The Wellesley’s walk-in humidor, which I designed, certainly makes the top of my list. It was manufactured by deART in Italy.
Who has to be featured in a cigar book? Which unique cigar personality worldwide?
Edward Sahakian here in London, Valerio Cornale in Grand Cayman, Jimmy NG in Singapore, Reynaldo Gonzalez in Cuba and, of course, Amir Saarony in Canada.
Cigars and women?
I feel it’s a nice development to see that more women are smoking cigars and beginning to understand the culture of smoking. At The Wellesley, we are now seeing groups of women visit the terraces to enjoy the atmosphere and discover new cigars.