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As Cigar Journal's Asia-Pacific Editor, I write features and report on cigar news, issues, and events from the Asia-Pacific region.  


Click on a title to read the pdf.

CJ Cover 1 - 2024.jpg

Hanoi & Havanas

My quick jaunt to Hanoi begins in earnest upon arriving at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel. Part of the Accor group, the hotel has, since 1901, welcomed heads of state, celebrities, raconteurs, and now increasingly, international tourists exploring the capital of Vietnam and who then venture out to northern Vietnam’s tourist spots such as Halong Bay. The cigar adventure begins at the Metropole Hanoi; angelina allows guests to escape the ordinary through enticing premium cigars, an extraordinary whiskey collection, and expertly crafted cocktails.

Cigar Journal 1/2024.

Le Cigare Ambassadeur

From humble beginnings in France, Eric Piras has played a significant role in the cigar industry across multiple continents for over 25 years. From sales executive to distributor, to cigar lounge owner, and now cigar brand owner, traces of Eric’s role in the cigar world can be found in Asia, China, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Cuba, Honduras, and Canada.

Cigar Journal Cover Story 3/2023.

Habanos in Ho Chi Minh City

Once a long-time smuggler’s haven, with fakes flooding the market and parallel importing the norm, Vietnam is quickly embracing Cuban cigars from the official suppliers due to the Herculean efforts of three parties, Avanti Group Co. Ltd., Golden Phoenix, and Vinataba.

Cigar Journal 1/2023.

Sold! Cigar auctions delivering online & off

Cigar auctions are increasingly becoming a method for everyday cigar lovers to have the chance to own rare, vintage, and hard to find cigars and humidors that were once only available through private channels. Are they also showing a glimpse of the where the market for regular production cigars is headed? Three auction hosts share their insight.

Cigar Journal 1/2023.

PCA Acts in New Zealand and Malaysia

Taking a more active international role, Premium Cigars Association (PCA) recently submitted commentary on premium cigars on behalf of the industry in New Zealand and Malaysia. Proposed legislation in New Zealand would ban all people born on or after January 1, 2009, from ever buying tobacco products, while similar restrictions in Malaysia would ban all people born on or after January 1, 2007.

Cigar Journal 4/2022.

Honduras: Land of Diversity

The tobacco and the people are core ingredients, but diverse growing regions supporting a range of tobacco varieties, and the country’s stability have contributed to making Honduras the cigar country it is today.

Cigar Journal 3/2022.

DH Boutique Cigars: A fusion of History, Science, and Art

Didier Houvanaghel, the man behind DH Boutique Cigars and author of the recently published second edition of The Cigar From Soil To Soul, considers the book a an evolution of his arrival in the world of premiums cigars. He admits he has come full circle, from an academic in Cuba, to producing cigars with long-time partner A.J. Fernandez, and now returning to an academic approach with his recently published book.

Cigar Journal 2/2022.

El Artista: Investing in the Dominican Republic

The last time I met with Radhames “Ram” Rodriguez, the General Manager of El Artista Cigars, was in Shenzhen, China at the International Cigar Expo in November 2019, where he was a member of the Dominica Republic’s delegation. Little did anyone know what tumultuous times awaited the world just a few months later.

Cigar Journal 2/2022.

Seoul and Habanos

Born in Paris, Pierre Cohen- Aknine has been in South Korea longer than he has been in his homeland. “I arrived in Korea on April 17, 1981 to do my military service at the French Embassy and I enjoyed my time so much I have been in Seoul ever since,” says Cohen-Aknine who was appointed as the country’s exclusive independent Habanos S.A. distributor by Pacific Cigar Company in 1994.  

Cigar Journal 4/2021.

Pierre tragically passed away in September 2022. RIP Pierre, it was an honour to share a small part of your life.

Kempinski Hotel Cigar Lounges

A glass of Champagne or a Negroni on arrival? Will it be a Padron, Fuente, or Cohiba? A seat near the window, at the bar, or closer to the fireplace?

Cigar lovers around the world know that the enjoyment of one’s cigar is heavily influenced by the setting. So, when you enter one of the decadent cigar lounges on the premises of a Kempinski Hotel, these questions are to be seriously considered. 

Cigar Journal 3/2021.

Cigars and Negronis

The Negroni has captured the attention of many cigar lovers around the world. Unlike rum, whisky, and Cognac cigar-pairings which exude a traditional aesthetic of the cigar experience, a Negroni and cigar pairing brings a taste of Italy to cigar culture. Indeed the Negroni personifies La Dolce Vita; cruising Lake Como, weaving through the canals of Venice, appreciating Turin’s Palazzo Madama; these are activities warranting a Negroni with cigar in hand. 

Cigar Journal 2/2021.

The Cigar From Soil To Soul Vol.2

Didier Houvenaghel counts the Covid-19 air travel stoppage as a breathing point. It has given him time away from a normally very busy schedule that includes managing his cigar brands, hectic international travel, and the demands of a young family, to put the finishing touches on the second edition of The Cigar From Soil To Soul.

Cigar Journal 2/2021.

Padrino Cigars Powering Ahead in Cambodia

Five years in the making, Padrino Cigars, made in Cambodia with international financial, technical, and raw material input, will debut their first cigar the Padrino Maduro Serie 1 in mid-2021.

Cigar Journal 2/2021.

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