Spotlight: Darius Namdar - Habanosommelier 2017

Spotlight: Darius Namdar - Habanosommelier 2017

When we returned from the 20th Habanos Festival (read our report direct from the festival on EGM's Cuban Cigar Blog), we could not wait to let our marketing team in London know about the British winner of The Habanosommelier Contest. Needless to say, the team were ecstatic and extremely proud of Britain’s victory at the world famous event.

The winner, Darius Namdar, has gone from success to success in the past year. He has been interviewed by Mr. Porter, written about in The Rake and talked about in Vanity Fair. It’s clear to see that this gentleman is one to watch.


Video sourced from @differencecoffee via their Instagram. 

Namdar initially began a career in Finance, but thankfully pursued his true passion in hospitality. His career has seen him be maître d’ at The Wolesley in Piccadilly, preside over the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone and more recently the Director of the very successful and suave Mark’s Club in Mayfair. Already an impressive CV, Darius will also be acting Cigar Sommelier at the new Annabel’s on Berkley Square. Where will this man go next? Well after being titled Cigar Sommelier of the world by Habanos S.A, he can go absolutely anywhere.

Photo sourced from

In anticipation of the contest and with high hopes of winning the title of Habanosommelier, Darius Namdar spent most of his days surrounded by cigar books, pen in one hand and cigar in the other, determined to know all that there is to know about them. The contest is very competitive and to be titled as champion is extremely difficult. The competitors must not only be able to provide excellent customer service, design pairings of cigars with food and drinks, but they also have to demonstrate their comprehensive knowledge of cigars. With the odds stacked against him, many spectators believed Cuba would go home with the title; or stay home should we say. But to our surprise and to countless others, Darius was honoured as 2017’s Habanosommelier and all of his hard work was recognised.

Nevertheless, the cigar enthusiasts, aficionados and experts in London were all very aware of Darius Namdar’s ability to be the best in everything he does and we really should have seen it coming. Darius, despite overseeing multiple operations with large and stressful amounts of responsibility, is best known for being charismatic, charming and humble, as well as always being exceptionally well dressed.

His role as director at the Mark’’s Club in Mayfair has meant great things for cigar connoisseurs everywhere. The Cigar Terrace is unbeatable, unquestionably one of a kind and the club possesses a humidor filled with an extensive collection of Regular Production Cuban Cigars and Limited Edition Cuban Cigars. At this exclusive and halcyon club, smokers can relax and enjoy the premium Trinidad Topes Cigars and some from lesser known brands too. Tom Chamberlin, Editor of The Rake, agrees and states that the dinner he attended there held by Darius himself ‘was a triumph’ and ‘the fact that it is all conducted under the eagle- eye of someone not yet in his 30s, bodes well for the future’.

It’s clear to see that Britain, particularly London is still maintaining its reputation as a country and city that not only upholds tradition, but one that welcomes the new generation too, and Darius Namdar obviously knows exactly how to do that in his roles at these prestigious, iconic clubs.

We can not wait to see what’s next for the Habanossommelier and look forward to his next venture at Annabel’s opening up this Spring.

See our blog post: 20th Habanos Festival: Day 5- Friday 2nd March 2018 to find out what Darius Namdar had to do to become Habanosommelier of 2017.