When did it all start? At what age did you start smoking?
When I was a kid growing up, I always remembered my dad smoking his pipe and I loved the smell and the aura. Years later when I was in college in California, I wanted to buy a cologne which smelled like pipe tobacco or Cuban cigar - but with no avail. So I decided to actually start smoking a pipe. Soon my interest grew into cigars and I joined an online cigar club with some of my friends. The club sent us a collection of cigars weekly and we all gathered in an old hotel in Berkeley, California and smoked and talked about physics and mathematics (in the early 90s, you could still smoke indoors in California)
What was your first cigar?
Back in the days at university in California, we couldn't get any Cubans as the result of the embargo, so I'm pretty sure my first cigar must have been a Nicaraguan Montecristo (probably a knock-off). But soon I got my hands on a real Montecristo No 4 petit corona and I loved it. Even to this day, I still smoke the Montecristo No 4s frequently.
How would you describe the pleasure of smoking cigars?
I frequently smoke cigars by myself ...reflecting on the past and remembering the awesome adventures I've been on. And that's pure pleasure!
Which are your favorite cigars?
I love all sorts of cigars but my favourites are probably the Cohiba Robusto and Partagas D4.
How many cigars do you smoke?
I probably smoke way too much! Around 3 or 4 a day.
At what time of the day do you enjoy your cigars the most?
I enjoy smoking cigars from dusk till dawn. But if someone put a gun to my head and forced me to pick a time, I would say just before sunset.
7. What are your favorite cigars for special events?
For a special occasion, I'd probably chose a Cohiba Behike these days, although I've smoked Romeo y Julieta Churchills at many celebrations - i.e. at the end of an successful expedition etc.
How do you light your cigars? Do you have a special lighter?
I'm not much of fan of fancy laser lighters etc. I like to light my cigar with good old long matches. But for me nothing is more rustic and cooler than lighting my cigar from the burning log of a campfire
Your favorite five Cigar Lounges/Hotels worldwide?
I usually don't smoke my cigars at fancy lounges and hotels. For me, the best place to smoke a nice cigar is by a campfire somewhere in Africa. Having said that, I've enjoyed a number of stogies at Annabel's and 5 Hertford Club in London .
Your favorite Cigar Members Clubs worldwide?
I'm not a member of any cigar club, so wouldn't know which is the best these days!
Your favorite five Cigar Shops worldwide?
I really love the humidor at Alfred Dunhill on Davies St. and the Dunhill shop on St James's in Mayfair. I also like Davidoff of London on St James's and Sautter Cigars on Mount St.
With which personalities would you like to smoke a cigar?
I particularly enjoy smoking cigars with big game hunters
Is there a special ‘cigar moment’ in your life you would like to share with us?
Well, I guess smoking my Partagas D4 while aiming to shoot a Cape Buffalo in Zimbabwe with my .375 Holland & Holland rifle. The smoke was going in my eyes but I did manage to get the buffalo
Where do you keep your cigars?
I keep my cigars in an antique wooden humidor at home.
You enjoy your cigars with a glass of … ?
On special occasions, I do enjoy a glass of fine cognac with my cigar. By a campfire, gin & tonic will do.
How would you describe your passion for smoking to a non-smoker?
For me, cigar smoking is a ritual. It's a form of meditation. It's a modern version of the Native American use of a sacred peace pipe in a spiritual ceremony
How much money did you spend on your most expensive cigar?
The most expensive cigar I've ever bought - and smoked immediately - was a pre-embargo Cuban cigar (1950s) at a hotel in San Francisco. I paid $150 for it, but it had no labels - I just took the vendor's word for it! - so am not sure which brand it was.
Is there a cigar you would love to try that you haven’t smoked yet?
Am not sure. Do you recommend any?
The most beautiful humidor?
I love antique Victorian oak humidors.
Who has to be featured in a cigar book? Which unique cigar personality worldwide?
Cigars and women?
I'd love to hang out with girls who dare to out-smoke me.