Everybody, meet Mikael. A very active cigar aficionado on Instagram. Mikael is one of those people that you can immediately tell his love for cigars the moment you start talking with him. Very down-to-earth and extremely serious about his collection that we now invite you to get to know in more detail.
Thank you very much for accepting our interview, it is a pleasure to personally meet you. Who are you?
Thank you for interviewing me! I love reading the interviews you did in the past. I am a father of two living in Gothenburg, Sweden, who loves cigars.
What motivated you to start producing content for the community?
I have always been fascinated by cigars but I haven’t been that into social media. But one day, roughly three years ago, I was smoking a cigar on a porch in Spain and I thought to myself, there must be lots of other people that share my passion for cigars. So I started my Instagram account and through the magic of the Instagram algorithm, I found lots of other cigar accounts that I started to follow.
How is the cigar scene in your country?
I think there’s a great cigar scene in Sweden. In the city of Gothenburg, there are two lounges and several well-stocked cigar stores. But like many other governments, the Swedish government thinks that cigars are the same thing as cigarettes. As an example, there’s a coffee shop here in town called ”cigarren” (the cigar) where you were able to smoke a cigar while enjoying an espresso. Now we’re not allowed to that anymore, which is a shame.
Do you prefer having a cigar alone or with others?
I like winding down and have a cigar by myself, but nothing beats smoking a cigar and share the moment with friends. I have the best discussions when smoking a cigar with others.
Enjoying a cigar: inside or outside?
Smoking a cigar outside late in the evening on a hot summer day in Sweden is unbeatable. But those days are few and far between so that’s why I have a cigar room in my house so I can enjoy a cigar no matter the weather. It only took me ten years to persuade my wife.
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?
I’m more of a Cuban person. One could argue that the construction of Cuban cigars sometimes is subpar and that Cuban cigars sometimes are plugged but I see cigars as craftsmanship and don’t mind that much if a cigar is plugged, even though it’s not fun when it happens. Can’t explain why I’m a Cuban cigar smoker other than that I just love the Cuban twang.
Imagine that the embargo on Cuba is lifted. What will happen next?
The price of the cigars will probably rise considerably and the quality will suffer. I think that there is a mystique surrounding Cuban cigars in the US that will probably fade away pretty quickly once they can be easily obtained so it might be a temporary problem. From what I understand it’s not impossible for someone in the US to buy Cubans so those who want it can get it.
Usually, people have two first-time moments: the first cigar and the cigar that ignited the passion you have today. What were yours?
The first cigar I ever smoked was a cheap short filler that I bought in a kiosk when I was in 7th grade (yeah, back in those days there was no age limit). The cigar that really ignited my passion was when I was handed a cigar by a Swedish magician named Joe Labero who taught me how to light the cigar and how to smoke it.
What’s the best cigar you have ever had?
I’ve had a couple of best cigars, haha, but one that stands out is the Montecristo 80th Aniversario.
Based on that, what’s the perfect pairing for that specific cigar?
I would say a Camus cognac extra. The taste blends together really well. Another pairing would be sparkling water which I love having with cigars.
Everyone has their ritual when starting a cigar session. What’s yours?
My cigar session usually starts in the morning or during the day when I start to think about what cigar to smoke in the evening. I then take out the cigar from its box in my cabinet and put it in another humidor. Later in the evening when it’s time to smoke I take out the cigar and feel and squeeze it. After smelling it I cut it, careful not to cut it too much because I prefer a tighter draw. After a couple of cold draws, I roast the cigar a while. Only then I’m ready to kick back and enjoy the cigar. Now when I describe all the steps I feel that I might need to seek some help!
Tell us about your collection. What does your humidor look like?
I have one cabinet with cigars in boxes that I use for aging. Just the other day I was looking for my box of 25 Edmundos and it took me a while to find it so I might have too many boxes… then I have a Daniel Marshall Black Ambiente where I keep my Cuban singles. Lastly, I have a smaller tabletop humidor where I have my non-Cubans.
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?
And the worst?
One time I was given a short filler that wasn’t that good but I always appreciate the gesture.
What do you think about cigars as a type of investment, like watches and cars?
The problem with cigars is that it’s really hard to own them without consuming them. The same goes for whisky. A watch you can use and appreciate while the value goes up. I have cigars that have doubled in price but I still want to smoke them. I can’t help myself. Cigars are there to be enjoyed.
Plume and mold. Same thing?
There is no difference according to the research I just read. But what do I know… I’m just a humble cigar smoker.
You can have as many cigars as you want, forever but it always has to be the same. What would you pick?
Partagas Serie D No. 4. You know what you get and there is always a place and a time for that classic.
We all made some honest mistakes on our cigar journey. Tell us about your most embarrassing one.
I can’t think of any special mistake I’ve made except dropping ash from time to time. I might have asked a stupid question or two back in the day.
As a customer, what do you look for in a cigar retailer?
Passion and knowledge about cigars! When I can talk to the retailer and he/she can teach me something new or share their tasting notes about cigars I haven’t tried.
With the smoking restrictions in almost all places, do you see the private club scene growing?
I think that that’s the case. Even without the restrictions, it’s really awesome to meet other cigar smokers in a private club.
What’s your favorite cigar accessory?
When I’m going on a longer trip I always bring my cigars in a Xikar travel case and my Peter James cigar case for shorter trips. I recently bought the new green cigar case from VSB London that I really look forward to trying.
Are you a soft-flame or a torch lighter person?
I’m a torch lighter kind of guy. But I can also light a cigar using cedar wood which is one of the things the previously mentioned Joe Labero taught me.
What is your favorite personality in the cigar community and why?
I would probably say @dutchcigars. I find his reviews on youtube to be honest and informative. I just wish he had more time so he could make them more frequently.
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?
Information, information, and information. I think it’s really awful that it exists but that’s life so I think that we as a community have to share our knowledge.
How do you see the future of cigars on social media?
As long as Instagram won’t ban accounts that post pictures of cigars I think it will only grow.
Did something surprise you in the cigar community?
That everyone is so friendly and that there are people that are even nerdier than I am! There are cigar aficionados from all over the world but we all understand each other.
What is the most overrated cigar for you? And he most underrated?
Can’t think of an overrated cigar but I think that the most underrated is Por Larrañaga Montecarlos.
What brand have you never smoked and probably never will?
That would probably be the Gurkha.
What is your “unicorn” cigar?
A Cuban Davidoff.
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.