Meet Daniel, a cigar aficionado from Brazil with an amazing down-to-earth personality that hides his immense knowledge about cigars, Cuban cigars in particular. On his Instagram profile you don’t need to scroll for long before you find some of the most desired Cuban cigars in the world.
Thank you very much for accepting our interview, it is a pleasure to personally meet you. Who are you?
Thank you for the invitation! It’s my pleasure! My name is Daniel, I’m 39 years old and I’m a lawyer in São Paulo, Brazil. I began my journey in the cigar world in 2006 and since then I’ve been studying — and smoking — more and more so I can bring people quality information and tips about cigars, mainly through my Instagram page and now also through my personal website (www.thecigarlwyer.com).
What motivated you to start producing content for the community?
I can’t remember exactly, but I started my Instagram page in 2012 when I posted just a few pictures of personal content and realized people were far more interested in the cigar’s pictures than my face’s.
How is the cigar scene in your country?
The cigar scene in my country is growing every day. I live in São Paulo and here we have many cigar lounges around the city and a wide variety of non-Cuban cigars also. This scene has changed a lot in the last few years and today I see a growing consumption of cigars even by a younger public.
Do you prefer having a cigar alone or with others?
I love to smoke among my friends and the cigar can become even better depending on the people around. On the other hand, I feel like the experience of trying a new and special cigar can be more enjoyable when I am alone.
Enjoying a cigar: inside or outside?
Both places have their pros and cons. I just don’t like smoking outside when it’s windy — and of course, rainy. However, I believe that the best place to smoke is at any cigar lounge that provides a decent ventilation system and great bar service.
We’re going to talk about cigars, no matter their origin. However, we have to ask: What is your favorite cigar-producing country?
My favorite country will always be Cuba, 100%.
Imagine that the embargo on Cuba is lifted. What will happen next?
I thought about this situation and after some time I came to a conclusion: in the short-term Cuban cigars would probably be sold out but in the long term, I believe the production and the supply would stabilize.
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 was a Montecristo (can’t remember which one, unfortunately), and I don’t have a specific cigar that ignited the passion but my first trip to Cuba in 2010 was absolutely a watershed. Of course, some cigars may have a special meaning to us and my special one is the Partagas D4, which is with me in almost every happy moment.
What’s the best cigar you have ever had?
The best cigar I have ever had was maybe the Cohiba 1966 EL 2011. But I just smoke this cigar on very special occasions, so it could just be the excitement of the celebration that enhances the smoking experience. Guess I will never know!
Based on that, what’s the perfect pairing for that specific cigar?
A Burmester Vintage Porto wine from 2003. I love to pair this cigar with good port wines or a sauternes wine.
Everyone has their ritual when starting a cigar session. What’s yours?
I like to take my time to cut and light up the cigar. Sometimes I like to use cedar or a soft flame lighter. Taking pictures of the process is also part of the ritual, so I can share the experience with the community.
Tell us about your collection. What does your humidor look like?
I have an “electric” humidor that does all the job, so I don’t have to worry about humidity and temperature oscillations. My entire collection has about one thousand cigars and I prefer to age them in their own boxes. Most of the cigars in my humidor are Cubans (about 95%) and they have an age range from a few months to 60 years old (pre-embargo). I still have a cedar humidor that I bought on my first trip to Cuba, and I like to use it to store the next cigars I will smoke.
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?
It was a H. Uppman Supremas No. 2 Replica Antique Humidor Series from 2014. I can say I have good friends indeed.
What do you think about cigars as a type of investment, like watches and cars?
I don’t look at my cigars as an investment because I believe they’ll only be an investment if I’m actually willing to sell them one day, and I don’t think I will. Of course, the process of aging cigars adds value to the product, and I’ve already received some good offers, but not enough to change my mind yet.
Plume and mold. Same thing?
Tough and tricky question! I’ve heard of an experiment in a laboratory that concluded that there is no such thing as “plume” as they didn’t find any difference between plume and mold on the cigars they’ve tested. I don’t remember the exact same terms.
In my experience, I had cigars that were perfectly aged, and they showed that plume after some years of storage. This plume doesn’t infect other cigars and if you just rub your finger — gently — over the wrapper it goes away.
I can’t tell if plume isn’t mold or if it’s a “good” kind of mold, but I can appreciate it in most of my aged cigars and it is most frequent in oily wrappers.
Sometimes it simply disappears.
The Internet gives voice to everyone, and once I read some guys saying that you should throw your cigars away if they have plume on them and I went crazy with that!
Don’t throw your cigars away, just clean them very gently and smoke them!
Cut and light or light and cut?
Cut, light, and smoke it!
You can have as many cigars as you want, forever BUT it always has to be the same. What would you pick?
It needs to be a cigar to fit in every occasion. You need to relax and meet your friends with it, go to a party with it, it needs to be a good gift and it needs to have good aging potential. I believe that I would go with Cohiba Siglo VI.
We all made some honest mistakes on our cigar journey. Tell us about your most embarrassing one.
When I was younger, and I had less experience I bought fake cigars… Who hasn’t?
As a customer, what do you look for in a cigar retailer?
First of all, the cigars need to be original. A good warehouse is also crucial, and the retailer needs to take good care when shipping. I know that you guys are doing a great job!
With the smoking restrictions in almost all places, do you see the private club scene growing?
Yes, sure! That’s what happened in São Paulo and it will happen all around the world as long as the restrictions are getting worse.
What’s your favorite cigar accessory?
I love all products from Les Fines Lames! Especially the Le Petit cigar cutter.
Are you a soft-flame or a torch lighter person?
Both have their value. I love those vintage soft lighters and if I’m in a cigar lounge I would rather go with them. Otherwise, if I’m smoking outside, the torch lighter is the best choice!
What is your favorite personality in the cigar community and why?
I believe that Zino Davidoff was one of the most important personalities in the cigar community. I believe that he set new standards in the cigar industry and every brand follows his quality standard.
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?
Unfortunately, they are everywhere! I believe that most of the Cubans that we see on social media are fake. The only thing we can do to minimize the damage is spread information on how to know if a box of cigars is fake or real. You guys are doing a great job in this subject by the way!
How do you see the future of Cigars on social media?
I believe that cigars will be more and more restricted on social media because they treat cigars the same way they treat cigarettes, and that is unfair. So, I believe that we need to fight for our freedom of speech and support new social media that are based on freedom of speech.
Did something surprise you in the cigar community?
The biggest surprise was that cigars will connect you to people all around the world and you can make friends just because you share this hobby. This is the best thing about the cigar Community, you can go for the first time to a cigar lounge, in another country, and make a friend for life.
What is the most overrated cigar for you? And he most underrated?
I believe that the majority of the most expensive cigars are overrated (won’t say any names). You don’t need to pay a fortune to smoke a good cigar. What you need is to age them properly and you will have an incredible final product at an accessible price. Regular production Cubans are often underrated because people are going wild on the “Limitada” game. One of the most underrated is the Vegas Robaina Famosos. It’s a Robusto (Hermosos nº 4) with 48 ring size by 127mm length. Robaina’s farm is legendary and produces one of the best leaves of Vuelta Abajo, the wrapper is oily and literally shines like no other. It provides a medium body with sweet flavors along with cedar and leather.
What brand have you never smoked and probably never will?
I would love to smoke a Cuban Davidoff, but the prices are going insane these days… But I never say never.
What is your “Unicorn” cigar?
Cohiba 1996 EL 2011 for sure!
What are your Top 5 favorite cigars?
In no particular order:
I believe that when I’m ranking my favorite cigars it’s unfair to include Ediciones Limitadas, Ediciones Regionais, or Reservas/gran Reservas.
What are your Top 5 favorite Instagram accounts?
It’s very hard to quote my top 5 because I have a top 30. But the names that came to my mind are:
Finally, do you want to send a message to the community?
Don’t stop fighting for freedom of speech and feel free to hit me anytime if we meet at any cigar shop around the world!
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.