How to Become a Cuban Cigars Expert
TRAINING. CERTIFICATES. KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED
For some cigar smokers, enjoying a habano and connecting with fellow aficionados is not enough. The past-time is more than a lifestyle choice, it’s a blood-running, heart-pounding infatuation that occupies their mind like a personal trainer absorbed in exercise. The only problem is; no one asks if you want to become a Cuban Cigars sommelier. There’s no careers advisor in college, recommending you the finest experts to help you craft your knowledge. So, where does one go? What is the secret to a position with Cuban Cigars, if you’re not rolling, running or planting tobacco in Havana?
CIGAR TRAINING COURSES – Unlike wine sommeliers who have been helping people decipher between the best red and white wines for years, the world of cigar sommeliers seems new. Which it isn’t, of course. Cuban Cigars have past through numerous generations and sommelier’s have been required for particular decades like the 90’s, when a cigar revival burst through Vogue and Hollywood. The International Association of Cigar Sommeliers, has been producing certifications for more than twenty years. They operate in various countries, including China, Jamaica, Canada, America, Spain and Mexico. In the UK, importers Hunters & Frankau have created one of the most prestigious Cuban Cigar qualifications of all. This we explored on our post: Master of Havana Cigars. After serious studying, a habano devotee can take the exam, incorporating 5 categories from agriculture to brands and specialities. If they pass, they receive the prestigious right to call themselves a Master of Havana Cigars.
Partagas Serie D No. 6 Cigar
"it's very similar to a wine sommelier"
KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED – What precisely makes an expert? When we spoke to head cigar sommelier Adam Lajca for our feature: Where to Smoke: Corinthia Hotel London, he gave us a taste of what is expected. “You could say it’s very similar to a wine sommelier. But to be a cigar sommelier – recommend the cigar with the drink or with the food as well, look after the cigar – store in the proper condition, know when the cigar is ready to smoke...” It’s an extensive and in-depth list. Considering the various vitolas, the yearly Limited and Regional Edition Cigars, the differences in brands – combine that with the requirements of cigar smokers, and there’s a lot of slices to cut. A new smoker may not want a thin ring gauge, and if they do, maybe they want a stronger flavour than light, but maybe they don’t want vanilla or leather or espresso. An example of knowledge required, is to reveal a popular habano – Partagas Serie D No. 6 Cigar, would struggle to pair well with a light drink. A Por Larrangna Montecarlo Cigar - 159mm by 33 ring gaude delight, pairs beautifully with Oolong Tea. These touches of wisdom are what makes a Cuban Cigars Connoisseur, as shared by World Habanosommelier 2018 Darius Namdar, for our post on Best Cigar and Tea Pairings.
Top Left: Cigar Vixen - Delicia Silva, cigar reviewer and cigar show host, Bottom Left: John DeCosta, founder and owner of Cigar Sanctum, Right: Milagro C. Morales, Cuban Cigars ambassador
"habano roles are expanding"
HABANO EXPERTS IN DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES – With the ever-growing popularity of Cuban Cigars, habano roles are expanding. Influencers are helping a younger a group of people to experience the enjoyment of cigar smoking, such as Herficonado – making her mark on the typically male dominated industry. John DeCosta founded Cigar Sanctum – a line of jewellery specifically for cigar smokers, and Sarah Saunders created Women’s International Cigar Club. Females have long been disassociated with the industry, and now many are taking their passion and rivalling the expertise of men. It seems the belief that a life in Cuban Cigars means moving to Havana is out-dated. Our present admiration for habanos – according to statistics, is not slowing down anytime soon. From photographers, to sommeliers, retail store workers – counting luxury La Casa del Habano stores, and social-media influencers, how much passion and devotion one wants to the opulence of Cuban Cigars, is open and optional. Just be sure to continue smoking the very best cigars for sale online.