Hi Manu, please tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to cigars?
I was very lucky to bump into the legendary Eddie Sahakian in 2012 at the Bulgari Hotel in London where he manages a lounge. He gave me my first ever cigar and shared with me his knowledge, and most especially, his passion for cigars. I was 20 years old and I knew instantly that I wanted to be a part of this world.
After finishing my hotel management studies I was fortunate enough to join Eddie and his team at the Bulgari Hotel cigar lounge to work there and learn more about this fascinating product: a real craft, from a unique terroir, made and shared by incredible people.
What would you say is the most fun, and the most challenging part about doing what you do?
The most fun is the people without any hesitation. Cigar smokers are women, men, from all around the world, from all sorts of backgrounds, with one thing in common: their love for fine cigars. In my events you can for example bump into a passionate 25 year old at the start of their career, a 65 year old banker, and a 35 year old former football player. The crowds are very eclectic and this is part of the magic.
The most challenging part is probably the low supply. It is very frustrating not to be able to fulfill all demands due to the low production of fine Cuban cigars. We wish we could be providing our clients with everything they want. I guess it’s also a good problem to have.
What is an exhilarating experience that stands out in your mind from your cigar journey?
Our vineyard cigar dinner. I hosted a cigar dinner at the Dom Perignom Abbeye in champagne, where we smoked the extremely rare Cuban Davidoff Dom Perignon from 1985 and drank some incredible vintages.
The success of this first edition inspired me to organise a similar dinner at the incredible estate of Leoville Barton the following year at Chateau Cheval Blanc. A group of 10 friends linked by their passion for cigars, sitting around a table inside the most incredible wineries for a unique dinner.
Tell us about some special cigars you currently have in stock, and what makes them so special?
I guess all our cigars are special, but if I had to pick a few boxes I would say the first one is the Trinidad Fundadores cabinet of 50 from 1999. This cigar was for many years reserved in Cuba for diplomatic purposes (gifts for heads of states) and was first released to the public in 1998. Therefore 1999 is the second release of what is now a mythical cigar.
The second box would be the Bolivar Británicas, regional edition made exclusively for the United Kingdom in 2011... the simple reason being this was the first cigar I ever had with Edie Sahakian. Like I said... a great part of what makes cigars so special is the people.
You’ve come up with a great idea of cigar subscription packs. Please tell us a little bit about how they work, and what different formats are available?
More and more rare cigar boxes are being bought but not smoked. The idea was very simple at the beginning, to allow people to taste cigars which are very hard to buy currently.
We will always strive to bring up unusual or under-rated cigars which all my team believe are worth tasting at the moment we send them to you.
We want to share our passion and our collection as much as we can to allow you to get outside of your comfort zone without having to buy a full box of something.
More information on Manu's cigars can be found on www.manuhcigars.com