Set to be Kuala Lumpur’s biggest whisky and spirits tasting event, WhiskyPLUS 2018 at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur on Saturday 28 July will be offering a range of whiskies and other spirits from Malaysia’s top spirits importers, distributors, and wholesalers.
Guests at WhiskyPLUS will enjoy unlimited tasting and a selection of chef-curated light bites to complement the session, as well as opportunities for indulging in masterclasses, pop-up bars, a VIP Premier Tasting Room, and an exclusive special selection of purchase-by-the dram rare whiskies, some of which are truly one-of-a-kind offerings..
The Cabinet, an intimate, comfortable, and cosy lounge which opened in Kuala Lumpur’s Bangsar district recently, will host an inaugural whisky and cigar pairing event on Thursday 7 June.
Japanese Whiskies including Yamazaki 10YO, Nikka Yoichi 10YO, Nikka Taketsuru 17YO, Ichiro’s Malt Wine Wood Reserve, and Yamazakura 963 21-Year Old Blended Malt Whisky will be paired with a Gurkha Royal Challenge Torpedo.
In mid-June, famed Nicaraguan cigar producer Joya De Nicaragua will be celebrated in Hong Kong with a series of events hosted by recently appointed distributor Cigraal.
“In the middle of June, Cigraal will celebrate the newest addition to its portfolio, Joya de Nicaragua, with a series of events in Hong Kong,” said Eric Piras, head of Cigraal. “It’s a proud time for Cigraal to be part of Joya de Nicaragua’s worldwide celebration of the brand’s 50th anniversary.”
Last month, Davidoff and Hennessy held a combined VIP event at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, featuring Mr. Maurice Richard Hennessy, Global Brand Ambassador and 8th generation of the Hennessy Family.
Hennessy presented their cognacs to an enthusiastic audience, with the Hennessy Paradis Imperial was showcased. Mr Hennessy’s insights were invaluable, especially as he will be retiring later this year.
The number 8 is auspicious in Asia, however the Asia Pacific’s latest Regional Edition Cuban cigar, the Rafael González 88, was also named to commemorate the 88th anniversary of the marca. 8,888 boxes of 10 were made, which has increased demand for special numbered boxes across the region.
A Britanicas Extra, the 88 measures 48 ring gauge by 5.4 inches in a perfecto shape. Interestingly, the perfecto shape hasn’t been used as an Asia Pacific Regional Edition since 2009, when the region welcomed the Ramon Allones Celestiales Finos.
Yesser Ferrera, a third-generation Honduran tobacco grower and cigar maker has commenced a month-long cigar rolling stint in Malaysia and will feature at Trinidad Cigars’ upcoming event SmokeFest 2 on Saturday 28 April at Hugo’s KL in the Ramada Suites Kuala Lumpur.
Illusione cigars have appointed Cigar Malaysia (www.cigarmalaysia.com) as their exclusive distributor in Malaysia. Illusione cigars creator Dion Giolito set up the company with the approach to “do the opposite from everyone else in the industry”.
“We’re excited to partner with Cigar Malaysia as we begin our international expansion,” said Brian Motola, Director of US and International of Sales for Illusione Cigars. “Our cigars will reach Cigar Malaysia’s two stores at the end of April.”
The second Asian qualification round of the Cigar Smoking World Championship for 2018 was held on Friday evening at Saigon Cigar Club in Vietnam. 20 competitors and a large group of spectators filled the club. It was standing room only to applaud the final three competitors, with Ms Luong Phan claiming victory with a time of 1.30.23.
The first Asian qualification round of the Cigar Smoking World Championship for 2018 was held on Wednesday evening at Whisgars in Bangkok, Thailand. 20 competitors and a large group of spectators filled the club, with Swedish expatriate Mikael Petersson claiming victory with a time of 1.54.37.
International Women’s Day on 8 March is all about collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity. Cigar brand owner Maya Selva will be celebrating the day with events in Hong Kong, Paris, and Tegucigalpa on 8 March.
Cigar Malaysia has opened a second store which features a cigar lounge at the Ansa Hotel. The hotel is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and KLCC district, opposite Pavilion Mall.
Roberto Duran Cigars’ head roller Crisanto Cardenas will be commencing a three-month rolling tour of Malaysia from the beginning of November, with the showcase event “Evening with A Torcedor 2” slated for 25 November.
The premier event of Cardena’s tour will be “An Evening with a Torcedor 2” on Saturday 25 November in Genting Highlands, a casino and resort precinct situated 1700m above sea level one hour from Kuala Lumpur. Brand owner Roberto Duran will be flying in for the event, while Cigar Journal is an official partner. Last year the first edition of the event drew hundreds of local cigar and pipe lovers.
Master Cuban cigar roller Marleny Martin Montesino concludes her tour of Asia this week with live rolling demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Available exclusively at Davidoff of Geneva stores and lounges across Asia, the Macallan 1991 whisky is a single cask, cask strength (53.5%) expression aged for 25 years in a sherry butt cask and bottled in 2016.
This rare Macallan cask has been distilled and bottled by the very best in the world of whisky and reinforces Davidoff of Geneva’s position as purveyors of fine experiences and cigar pairings. Only 494 units are available, with each 700ml bottle is beautifully presented in a decanter and plush veneer box.
In late August, five Japanese bartenders will be showcasing their skill behind the bar as part of the Essence of Havana Cocktail Competition at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo’s Maduro Bar.
The competitors will be challenged to create an original cocktail using Havana Club 7 that pairs with either a Cohiba Short, Montecristo Open Club, or Partagas Serie Club.
Thailand Cigar Club will have exclusive access to Phuket’s newest restaurant “etHo’s” days before its official opening for an upcoming cigar dinner on 27 July. Managed by Thomas Brack, etHo’s sweeping views across Kalim Beach and the bay make it a great venue for watching the sunset and the lights of Patong.
China’s Great Wall Cigars recently hosted a two-day cigar festival, welcoming guests from the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA), provincial tobacco companies, local government, media, foreign guests, and cigar loving consumers.
The opening ceremony included a cigar tasting banquet which saw guests exchanging opinions on Great Wall Cigars and cigar culture in general.
Chef’s Night, held at recently opened Passion Wan Chai in Hong Kong, saw 150 chefs who work in Hong Kong and the surrounding region brought together for a night of industry camaraderie.
The evening was organized by food industry suppliers Gerard Dubois and Jacques Boissier and held during the annual HOFEX Food and Beverage trade event held in Hong Kong.
Australian craft brewer 2 Brothers has celebrated its 1000th brew by producing a cigar infused stout beer aptly named “The Smoking Jacket”.
“We wanted to mark the occasion of our 1000th brew at 2 Brothers with something celebratory,” said brewer Andrew Ong. “A nice Cuban and balloon of cognac felt right, but we could see an opportunity to execute this in a beery context and share it with others.”
It sounds like a match made in Heaven: Deep dish pizza and cigars. Johnny Fontane’s Bar, the newest haunt in Sydney to offer cigar lovers a relaxed and welcoming outdoor area that complies with current legislation, certainly comes close to Heavenly!
Johnny Fontane was the fictional crooner in the Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, and the bar and restaurant’s mob theme is evident from the moment you walk in. Images of infamous mob identities are located throughout the restaurant, while Italian liquor and cocktails feature heavily behind the bar, including three varieties of Negronis.
Read more at Cigar Journal (April 2017)
Art Basel partners Davidoff and Ruinart held a combined VIP event on the first evening of Art Basel Hong Kong on 21 March. “Guests enjoyed dinner with a series of Dom Ruinart vintage champagnes, Davidoff 702 Series and Davidoff Yamasa cigars,” said Laurent de Rougemont, Managing Director of Davidoff Asia.
Guests included Davidoff CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, Davidoff Board Member Andreas Schmid, President of Ruinart Frederic Dufour, and well-known cigar smoking chef Alvin Leung. The former Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke was also a guest of honour.
La Casa del Habano Malaysia, located in the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, is a corporate sponsor of the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) currently taking place on the beautiful island of Langkawi.
A VIP cigar lounge was constructed where LCDH Malaysia Manager Azliza Razali and her team are on hand to serve cigars to military and civilian guests. Some of those guests included the Malaysian Chief of the Defence, businessmen, top local and foreign dignitaries.
Marko Bilic’s Cigar Smoking World Championship turned its attention to Asia for the first time, with Whisgars Silom Road hosting the region’s first ever qualifying event in Bangkok, Thailand on 16 March. Whisgars also launched Jeremy Casdagli’s Bespoke cigar brand at the event.
Marko Bilic was present to officiate the first World Championship qualifying event in Asia. “I have always considered South-East Asia as one of the most beautiful corners of the world,” said Bilic.
Bespoke Cigars, headed by Jeremy Casdagli, are now available in Thailand through Hathor Hospitality venues. Hathor Hospitality, a division of Hathor Investment Group, led by Hillman Lentz, distributes cigars and single-cask whiskies throughout South East Asia, and operates private clubs and whisky and cigar bars including The ChindAsia Club and three Whisgars locations in Thailand.
“The Asian market is obviously an interesting one for any luxury brand but it is all the more important due to the recent legislation against our premium product in the USA,” states Casdagli.
There’s nothing better than a fun cigar event to start a new year and La Casa Del Habano Malaysia, located within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, is doing just that by hosting a Long Ash Contest from 9 to 16 January.
“The Long Ash Contest is a great way to start 2017. It’s a fun event and one that customers can indulge in by themselves or with a group of friends,” said Serena Ong, Market Manager for Pacific Cigar Co. Malaysia. “The objective of the competition is to see who can smoke their cigar without breaking off any ash whatsoever.”
Davidoff of Geneva Asia celebrated the launch of the Davidoff Royal Release at an exclusive event held at Sevva in central Hong Kong. Davidoff Yamasa and Royal Release cigars were showcased alongside two very special and Dom Perignon Champagnes.
“Guests experienced the ultimate in cigar and champagne pairings at our recent event,” said Laurent de Rougemont, Managing Director of Davidoff of Geneva Asia. “Davidoff Yamasa cigars and Dom Perignon Vintage 2006 champagne were enjoyed with dinner, and subsequently the Davidoff Royal Release and Dom Perignon’s Plenitude 2 1998. The positive feedback received regarding the quality of both Davidoff cigars and Dom Perignon Champagnes was testament to both brands’ investment in quality craftsmanship.”
Manila cigar lovers recently gathered at 1824 Whisky and Cigar Bar for an indulgent affair that previewed two of Tabacalera Incorporada’s newest blends, the Don Juan Urquijo 20 Anniversario and the 1881 Perique Bold.
“Guests enjoyed the 1881 Perique Bold, available in a toro size with a maduro wrapper, and the Don Juan Urquijo 20 Anniversario corona, which were identified with pre-release private launch bands,” said Jose Perfecto, Tabacalera Incorporada’s Head of Domestic On-Premise & Corporate Sales. “Our new cigars were complemented by The Macallan whiskies including the 12 Years Sherry Oak, Fine Oak, and Double Cask while live cigar rolling throughout the night added plenty of atmosphere.”
Thai cigar and rum lovers met recently to enjoy Dictador rum and cigars at Bangkok’s Novotel Ploenchit. Co-hosted by Dictador and 2 Cigar Guys, the event attracted over 50 guests who made the most of the venue owner’s beautiful private lounge after being forced inside due to poor weather.
Guests sampled the Dictador 12 and 20 YO rum and Dictador’s Ortodoxy & Treasure gin, while lighting up the Dictador cigars on offer. These included the Pavo Real half corona and grand robusto, the J Nelson 1974 robusto, and the XO 1913 double robusto.
Australian artist Gria Shead’s latest exhibition LA BELLE EPOQUE: Casinos and Cigars is inspired by the romance of the Belle Epoque and the opulence of casinos and cigars. Living and working in Sydney, Shead’s interior views of the Monte Carlo Casino complement paintings based on vintage cigar boxes.
“I love the BELLE EPOQUE and upon finding postcards from my grandmother who lived in Monte Carlo, I wanted to bring that era to life,” said Shead. “I have always loved cigar boxes, collecting them, appreciating their art, and using them on occasion to store paint brushes.”
John Alexander, owner of Melbourne-based Alexanders Cigars will host a cigar and cocktail event on Thursday 1 December. This will Alexanders’ second cigar evening for the year and provides an opportunity for clients to acquaint themselves with each other, and of course enjoy cigars and cocktails in a relaxed environment.
“I am personally looking forward to creating a cigar community where people who appreciate the art of smoking can gather together, smoke fine cigars, and discuss their favourite topics in a friendly setting,” said Alexander.
Roberto P. Duran, manufacturer of Duran Cigars, and master blender and torcedor Cristano ‘Santo’ Cardenas will officially launch the brand at an event on 22 October at Abah & Son Moto Café in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The event is set to attract over 120 cigar lovers from across Malaysia, many who are members of cigar clubs including Malaysia Cigar Journal and Malaysian Pipe Smokers. Santo has been in Malaysia for most of September as a guest of local distributors Trinidad Cigar Company. Santo’s cigar rolling has been featured at cigar lounges, hotels, and private events, while also used as a training component for hospitality staff in Malaysia.
Maya Selva, manufacturer of the cigar brands Flor de Selva, Villa Zamorano, and Cumpay, will be visiting Hong Kong and Japan in mid-October. A number of events planned by distributor Eric Piras of Cigraal will allow experienced cigar lovers and newcomers to discover Maya’s cigars alongside her.
“Europe has welcomed our cigars and today with 10% market share Maya Selva Cigars are established brands. We want cigar lovers from Asia to discover the taste of the tobacco from Honduras and Nicaragua through the character of Flor de Selva, Villa Zamorano, and Cumpay,” said Maya Selva. “We are convinced the refinement that exists in Hong-Kong and Japan will be an incredible opportunity for us.”
Linda Giang, former manager of Sky Tobacco in New Jersey, has taken on a new role with Hathor Group as Brand Ambassador, Cigar Curator, and Social Media Liaison. Hathor Group distributes cigars and single-cask whiskies throughout South East Asia, and operates private clubs and whisky and cigar bars including The ChindAsia Club and Whisgars in Thailand.
Linda will represent Hathor Group in the US, attend events on their behalf, curate Hathor Group’s cigar selection, and maintain a cigar blog/forum to educate the Asian market on non-Cuban cigars and trends.
In the digital age, most cigar retailers are looking to build or improve their eCommerce offer. However one South-East Asian cigar retail operation has done the opposite. Cigar Malaysia, owned and operated by British ex-pat Abdullah for close to three years, recently opened the doors to its first brick and mortar shop in Glo Damansara Mall, Kuala Lumpur.
Cigar education informed and entertained Japanese hospitality staff recently when Intercontinental Trading Corp, an exclusive sub-distributor of Pacific Cigar Company, hosted an informative training event for ‘Habanos Point’ bar and lounge staff.
Mr Yutaka Kobayashi, of Intercontinental Trading Corp, hosted the event at Tokyo’s Tableau Lounge, discussing cigar history, culture, and cigar customer service.
Over 50 members of Australia’s Cigar Society of Victoria met recently for a sit-down cigar dinner in Melbourne.
Organised by Stan Gyles, the dinner featured a three-course meal featuring Flametree and Helen’s Hill wines, and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum. Cigars featured included Vegueros Mananitas, H. Upman Connoisseur No 1, and the Romeo Y Julieta Churchill. Cigar Journal was featured, with all guests taking a copy of the magazine home.
Garo Cigars will be launched in Vietnam, with three events in as many cities. Brand Owner Dr Garo Bouldoukian will be present for the launch and further develop the country’s appreciation of cigars.
Trung Nguyen, of Volado Vietnam, is hosting the cigar events across the country and will be introducing five lines of Garo Cigars to the Vietnamese cigar community. “Vietnam is a developing country and knowledge of cigars is still limited,” says Nguyen.
Established in 2004, Auckland’s Havana House, owned and operated by The Pacific Cigar Company, has relocated and customers will find a reinvigorated retail space in Auckland Central.
“Following the demolition of the Westfield Downtown Mall in mid-2016 where the store was located, to make way for the upcoming underground city rail link, the team decided to relocate and reinvigorate the retail space for the new store,” says Francesca Butler, Havana House’s Manager. “The move consolidated our position as the leading supplier of Cuban cigars and cigar accessories in not only Auckland, but nationwide, as our national wholesale distribution service also operates from the same location.”
After the successful US launch of Dictador cigars at IPCPR 2015, Dictador will be releasing four new sizes and new packaging at this year’s IPCPR.
“We have made some great inroads to the US market over the last 12 months and the consumers have expressed their love for all three of our blends,” said Jason Nelson, Global General Manager for Dictador Cigars. “Based on the feedback I have been receiving after attending numerous events around the country over the past 12 months, we made the decision to expand our sizes and revamp our packaging.”
Australian Gerard Hayes is launching a self-funded, boutique cigar line that pays homage to the people of Nicaragua: Nicoya Cigars.
Hayes’ love affair with cigars started as a young boy, smelling the cigar aroma coming from his father’s study and his fascination with cigar boxes, cutters, and lighters. This long-term passion led to him creating Nicoya Cigars, which is produced by A.J. Fernandez. “Nicaragua is, I believe, leading the cigar world with its constant innovation which is coupled with traditions that go back over 50 years,” states Hayes.
Gurkha Cigars has opened its first cigar lounge in India. Cigar Lounge at Artisan, within the Hotel Sofitel Mumbai BKC is located in the heart of Mumbai’s financial business district’s Bandra Kurla complex.
The grand opening was hosted by Anish Trivedi, a prominent Indian radio and theatre personality as well as a cigar enthusiast himself in conjunction with Biswajit Chakraborty, general manager of Hotel Sofitel Mumbai BKC, and Danny Carroll, Brand Ambassador India for Gurkha Cigars. More than 300 guests were treated to Gurkha cigars along with complementary glasses of Single Malt Scotch.
Davidoff of Geneva Asia recently launched the Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed cigar at an exclusive dinner at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.
Event partner Hennessy presented their cognacs to an enthusiastic audience, with the Hennessy Paradis Imperial showcased.
Mr. Renaud de Gironde, the 8th Generation of Fillioux Master Blenders was present and his insights were invaluable.The Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed and Hennessy Paradis Imperial pairing was a very elegant combination and enjoyed by all in attendance.
A recently organised tasting event for local connoisseurs and cigar newcomers in Hong Kong celebrated the official launch of Flor de Selva Cigars and Cumpay Cigars in Hong Kong. Part of the Maya Selva Cigars portfolio, Flor de Selva and Cumpay are represented outside France, Germany, and the USA by Mr Eric Piras through Cigraal Ltd.
“These cigars are made by a woman, a rare occurrence in the cigar world, which is why we thought it would be nice to gather more women than what is usually found at cigar events. It is to be noted however, that Maya Selva Cigars are not made for women,” said Piras.
Produced in Colombia since 1913, Dictador Rum recently added a premium cigar line to help create the Dictador Experience and will be officially launching the cigars on the German market on the 10th of March at CigarWorld in Düsseldorf.
This launch follows Don Stefano’s appointment as Dictador Cigars’ “master” European Distributor in October 2015 and the success of the line – the Pavo Real half corona and the J. Nelson robusto are both close to being sold out since launching in Germany in November 2015.
To celebrate the chinese horoscope’s year of the monkey, Siglo Accessory has announced the release of both a corresponding limited edition humidor as well as an ceramic ashtray. Featuring mother of pearl inlays and five layers of piano lacquer, each humidor comes in a calligraphy design which resembles a monkey holding a peach and can be locked via key.
The boxes store up to 75 cigars and will be delivered with a humidifier and a digital hygrometer. Only 200 serial-numbered pieces will be produced.
Read more at Cigar Journal.
A well-functioning lighter is essential for a perfect start to smoking a premium cigar. Kurt Van Keppel, CEO and founder of XIKAR, shared some tips on good lighter performance.
The most common lighter issues encountered by cigar smokers stem from two factors: improper maintenance and unclean fuel. These can both be easily avoided bybleeding the lighter each time it is refilled,proper storage, andcleaning the combustion chamber.
Dictador Rum, produced in Colombia since 1913, has recently added a premium cigar line to complement their rum, gin and coffee. Concept direction is led by Jason Nelson, with Abe Flores producing the cigars in the Dominican Republic.
The line includes three cigars. The peacock , the bird of many feathers lends its name to Dictador Cigar’s lightest blend the Pavo Real as it’s a cigar that pairs with many things including a morning coffee or white spirits such as gin.