Exactly two years ago, I started this blog about my cigar experiences and wow, what a journey I’ve had so far!
During the first year (2021), I set myself a cigar challenge to smoke as many cigars as possible from the A-Z of cigars in ‘The Cigar Companion: The Connoisseur’s Guide‘. I managed to smoke 1x cigar from 43x different cigar brands in total. You can see that complete list and my ratings for each cigar I smoked here. Although it was expensive, it helped me establish what I like and don’t like when it comes to cigars. The blog also gave me something to do outside of work and helped me mentally get through COVID-19. I also wanted to go from cigar novice to cigar aficionado, but I am very far away from that as there is still so much to learn about cigars.
Some of my favourite cigars that I smoked during this time included:
Cohiba – Maduro 9/10
Cohiba – Robusto 9/10
Hoyo de Monterrey – Epicure No. 2 8.5/10
Montecristo – 80th Aniversario 9/10
Partagas – Series E No.2 9/10
Trinidad – Topes 8.5/10
Camacho – Corojo Robusto 9/10
Davidoff – Winston Churchill The Late Hour Churchill 9/10
Drew Estate – Liga Privada No 9 10/10
My Father – Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo 9/10
Padron – 1964 Anniversary Series Principe 8.5/10
Plasencia – Alma Fuerte Sixto II 8.5/10
The second year (2022) was all about venturing out to as many different cigar stores, bars, terraces and lounges in London and beyond.
Cigar Club LDN’s Anniversary Party at Boisdale’s, Canary Wharf
It was a great start to the year. I was absolutely bricking it before heading there solo, but the members of Cigar Club LDN made me feel totally welcome from the moment I arrived. I also got to meet many familiar faces whom I had been following across my social media and met over ‘Zoom’ during many of the virtual cigar herfs. Matt has done a superb job of creating and keeping this cigar community thriving – if you are based in the UK and are keen to join, do sign up at https://cigarclubldn.com/ – he introduces a new cigar once a month for under £20. An excellent way for newbies to get into the cigar scene via their monthly online and in-person herfs.
Cigars and cocktails at The Ritz, London
I had always had my eye on venturing into this place, and Luca and the team made me feel totally welcome when I popped in here on my birthday. I even got to smoke one of their own in-house Ritz cigars. Alongside the Ritz afternoon tea, this was the perfect way to celebrate a birthday.
Meeting Rocky Patel at Havana House, Windsor
The Havana House crew have been running some tremendous cigar evenings. During the summer, I ventured to their Windsor store to attend the launch of Rocky Patel’s Sixty cigar. He rocked up at the event and told us all about the cigar, and took the time out to chat with us all after. I also met some fellow cigar smokers who mentioned they had been following my cigar journey on my blog and across social media. I really appreciated this, and it has definitely given me the encouragement to continue to blog more often. All in all, it was a superb evening, and I can’t wait to return for the Windsor Cigar Cruise, hopefully in 2023!
Wandering the streets of St James, London, smoking cigars at various venues, including CGars Ltd’s new flagship cigar store
CGars Ltd is the leader of the cigar industry on the web; they provide excellent service online. It was great to finally visit one of their flagship stores in St James, London joining the other great cigar houses down that neck of the woods, such as Davidoff and JJ Fox.
Inside, their cigar assistant Sam got me to try a Vegas Robaina cigar, which was absolutely delightful.
I hope to visit a few more of the CGars Ltd stores up and down the country in the year ahead!
Visiting Cigarworld in Dusseldorf, Germany
If it weren’t for this blog and my social media, I wouldn’t have come across this venue. And the fact I flew out to Germany just to visit Dusseldorf and turn it into a city break – is definitely proof that I have become a bit nerdy in visiting all of these different places.
I’ve heard many say that Cigarworld is definitely up there as one of the best cigar lounges in Europe, and I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Yep, it’s a shame they don’t have many Cuban cigars, but wow, their walk-in humidor is incredible. I could spend hours there!
I enjoyed it so much… I went back three more times during my trip.
Attending my very first Cigar Smoker of the Year awards dinner
I attended the Viña Carmen Cigar Smoker Of The Year 2022 awards dinner at Bosidales Canary Wharf. I must give a big shout-out to Harry, another cigar smoker who I met through social media and whom I attended this very special event. It matched all my expectations and more and was by far the highlight of my year.
Hosted by Tom Parker Bowles and Ranald Macdonald, the banquet and vintage cigar auction culminated with Oris Erhuero winning the award for Cigar Smoker Of The Year 2022.
You can book your tickets for the Cigar Smoker of the Year 2023 awards dinner now!
Meeting the Sahakian’s of Davidoff, London
At the event, I got to meet Eddie Sahakian from the legendary Davidoff store in St James. It was such an honour.
I met his father, Edward Sahakian, a couple of years back on Nic Wing’s Cuban Cigar Walk in 2012-2013 (I think?!).
If you ever get the chance to head to St James, London, do pop into their cigar store. It was the first ‘proper’ cigar store I had ever been inside – a recommendation from ‘The Cigar Companion: The Connoisseur’s Guide‘.
I plan to pop into the Edward Sahakian Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge at some point in 2023.
And just a couple of days ago, I travelled 152 miles to visit Cigar Lounge Derby
Wow, what a stunning cigar lounge! It is a must-see. A place I’ve nicknamed a hidden gem in the heart of the UK’. For more details, check out their website https://www.cigarloungederby.co.uk/.
My most memorable cigars of 2022
Whilst visiting these cigar venues and meeting people online and offline, which I want to continue in 2023, I also smoked some wonderful cigars, my most memorable included:
Quai D’Orsey 54
H Upmann Magnum 54
AVO *I can’t recall the name of this specific stick*
Oliva Serie V Melanio Gran Reservation
I also finally got to smoke a Cohiba Behike cigar
The year ahead
So what’s in store for the year ahead? Who knows! I want to visit more cigar venues in London and beyond! As well as conquering the fear / anxiety I have upon walking into all these places, that I still get and sometimes puts me off of visiting these places. I’d also like to see some of the cigar stores in Geneva, Switzerland, and of course, I’d love to visit Havana, Cuba. But who knows what the future holds… let’s see.
What would you like me to blog about in the year ahead?
I would like to hear what you think I should do next. I’ve created a quick feedback form here https://forms.gle/GzsxXMLEw2mKr1gt9 – it’s anonymous, so be honest 🙂
Happy new year! And thanks all for reading my blog this far 🙏