Jelena has a very easy-going and sophisticated personality that forces you to immerse yourself in her words. And by forcing we mean it in a good way. Very inspiring and very in love with the cigar world. Jelena also has one of the most unique products related to cigars, giving a new purpose to some of the materials. Keep scrolling and we are sure that you will be surprised.
Thank you very much for accepting our interview, it is a pleasure to personally meet you. Who are you?
My name is Jelena Mölter. I come from Germany and have been working in the cigar industry for almost 10 years. For four years now I have been the shop manager of one of the most beautiful cigar specialist shops in Germany. The shop is called Zigarrenwelt and is an incredibly beautiful and modern place with an impressive humidor. I’m a passionate aficionada, an attentive host at events, and very creative. I love my job.
What motivated you to start producing content for the community?
First and foremost, Instagram is an information portal for me in which I am always quickly informed about new international cigar releases. You can also expand your network easily and when I’m here anyway I can share my happiness with others in the form of pictures. Although I often don’t have enough time to share everything with the community on Instagram I would like to.
How is the cigar scene in your country?
In my opinion, it is by no means dusty as many non-cigar smokers would think. It is varied and very relaxed, and above all, it is also “willing to try”, I would say. We have a very young generation of aficionados and of course, there are always too few women. For example, in an outside cafe, I’m always a big surprise as a woman smoking a cigar.
Do you prefer having a cigar alone or with others?
Clearly together with other aficionados. The cigar connects in a special way. My private smoker’s group is called KOTL, the boys didn’t agree with queens of the leaf.
Enjoying a cigar: inside or outside?
It depends, but generally more indoors. Outside is in many cases problematic for enjoyment.
We’re going to talk about cigars, no matter their origin. However, we have to ask: are you more of a Cuban or a non-Cuban cigar person?
Definitely Cuban. It was my first love and will be my last. To visit the 22nd Festival del Habano was a big dream for me that came true. An incredible experience that exceeded all of my expectations. In fact, I also like cigars from other countries of origin, no doubt. What I appreciate about other countries of origin is the usual — and unfortunately — significantly better quality of craftsmanship. The availability of non-Cuban cigars is also highly valued as a consumer. But Cuba is simply charming in its own way, the taste of Cuban cigars is unique and as a lover, you can easily forgive mistakes.
Imagine that the embargo on Cuba is lifted. What will happen next?
I think that would help the Cuban population a lot. The availability of all everyday necessities would change in a positive way for the Cuban people. As for the cigar, I’m sure that there will be a demand for Cuban cigars in the US. I cannot estimate the exact impact, but most of them will definitely continue to consume what they have smoked before.
We have to talk about your amazing keychains. What is the inspiration behind them?
They just show my passion and creativity. I love every detail of a cigar box. It’s too bad to just throw these ribbons away so I wondered what I could do with them. Et voilà the idea of the keychain was born. I have a sewing machine at home as a hobby anyway.
I also used it to make loops that can be attached to the jacket. I also made mouse pads from the fabric covers of special cigar boxes such as the Montecristo 80 Aniversario or the Linea 1935, for example. It’s just nice to be able to reuse these things and turn them into unique accessories. You see that in regards to being creative, the sky is the limit.
Usually, people have two first-time moments: the first cigar and the cigar that ignited the passion you have today. What were yours?
My first cigar must have been one that I stole from my dad, which I then secretly tried to smoke with my brother. My first consciously smoked cigar was a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2. I had respect for a Cuban cigar, worrying if I wouldn’t make it to the end, even though I was told it was mild. It amazed me how well I could smoke and enjoy them until the end, since then I was hooked. I liked the patience and leisure that you have to take.
What’s the best cigar you have ever had?
Emotionally, it was the cigars served on the final gala evening of the Festival del Habano. This spectacle overwhelmed me emotionally. Surrounded by many international friends in Havana was an absolute moment of happiness. Apart from that, the Montecristo 80 Aniversario is a cigar that stuck in my mind so incredibly positively! A great vitola, every cigar in a box had absolutely flawless wrappers, excellent craftsmanship, simply a delight. Likewise, the bolivar Tesoro, which I would like to have in the standard portfolio.
Based on that, what’s the perfect pairing for that specific cigar?
Rum! My absolute favorite spirit. At a vintage tasting event, there was a Cohiba Siglo III from May 05 with a Havana Club Union Cohiba Atmosphere rum, which complemented each other perfectly, but maybe it was just because of the beautiful evening that I remember so positively. There is even a cocktail that I created as the perfect pairing with a cigar for a well-known bar in cologne including a cigar lounge, called the Grid Bar. It is based on rum from Jamaica, hazelnut spirit, rhubarb, and maple syrup. Served with a large ice cube and dark chocolate. In the end, it’s a matter of taste.
Everyone has their ritual when starting a cigar session. What’s yours?
Everything you need must be ready. A glass of rum or my coffee shouldn’t be missing, then let’s start. As a ritual, one could perhaps name my intensive examination of the cigar. I would like to be able to predict the smoking behavior of the cigar and therefore I take a close look at them beforehand.
Tell us about your collection. What does your humidor look like?
Some cigars for consumption and even one that I rolled myself in a larger table humidor. I have a few special cigars and boxes in large Humisave bags.
When we meet someone, we usually give away one cigar as a gesture of good faith. What was the best cigar you have been offered?
An Arturo Fuente Opus X Lancero that I got from Cynthia Fuente at dinner in the Dominican Republic.
And the worst?
When I got a Ramon Allones Mille Fleur, I was happy and excited. Unfortunately, the cigar was a total letdown and not smokable.
What do you think about cigars as a type of investment, like watches and cars?
Cigars are there to be smoked. Buying cigars solely for later, more expensive resale is a job and not a passion. That is my mindset.
You can have as many cigars as you want, forever but it always has to be the same. What would you pick?
Such a tough question. I choose Montecristo Edmundo. Great cigar, perfect vitola.
As a customer, what do you look for in a cigar retailer?
Of course, I am happy to have staff with a certain level of expertise. I would just like to wish that every customer is treated equally. In foreign businesses, I am often not trusted to have a clue about cigars straight away. Women should also be taken seriously in cigar shops.
With the smoking restrictions in almost all places, do you see the private club scene growing?
In any case, I clearly see this tendency in Germany as well. The consumer also looks for it because otherwise it is hardly accepted.
What’s your favorite cigar accessory?
My adorini puroso lighter. There are so many unreliable lighters out there, which this isn’t.
Are you a soft-flame or a torch lighter person?
What is your favorite personality in the cigar community and why?
I can hardly answer that. Because I’ve been organizing Bigsmoke Germany for three years and I know so many. An event where the who’s who of the international cigar industry comes together. Likewise, all of my professional trips have allowed me to get to know so many personalities. No matter where I was always given a warm welcome. In general, I am constantly getting to know new people in my job through events or trade fairs. The industry is so relaxed. I have great and unique memories of so many. I use this question to say thank you! Thank you for letting me get to know you all, thank you for your support, your commitment, your warmth, your generosity. I am happy to be part of you.
Fake cigars are a real problem, we see them popping everywhere. What’s your take on the counterfeit industry and what can we do to minimize the damage?
The consumer should stop offering this market a living. I’m annoyed by people trying everything to save money and support dubious internet shops. There will always be the market for unsuspecting and gullible tourists, too. That will never change.
How do you see the future of cigars on social media?
Honestly a bit difficult. I suspect that we will be confronted with more and more bans when it comes to tobacco products.
Did something surprise you in the cigar community?
Indeed. When I visited the Kelner boutique factory in the Dominican Republic, I was shown how to do shaggy foot or footloose cigars. It is a fully rolled regular cigar where they carefully shorten the wrapper at the lower end with a razor blade so that the filler comes out below. I always thought they would roll it already like that, with a shorter wrapper.
What brand have you never smoked and probably never will?
There are many brands that I haven’t smoked yet, but none that I wouldn’t smoke for a reason. Can for sure tell you that I never buy machine-made cigars.
What is your “unicorn” cigar?
I haven’t had any Cuban Dunhills yet so I wouldn’t say no.
What are your top 5 favorite cigars?
A message to the community
Thank you very much for giving us a bit of your time by reading this article. It really means the world to have you with us. If you want to follow our daily activities head to our Instagram, where we try our best to bring the community together by sharing our love and knowledge for cigars. Have a great day.
Please note that smoking is bad for your health and we do not encourage it at all. These articles are written to show the differences between cigars and never to influence anyone to start smoking. If you are a cigar smoker, please respect others around you.