From a 9 to 5 job to a pro-MMA career, Anthony sure is a dedicated man. Very dangerous with his hands but with the sweetest of hearts. Cigars are one of his passions, along with his amazing family and the incredible island of Bali, where the cigar scene is growing.
Thank you very much for accepting our interview, it is a pleasure to personally meet you. Who are you?
Hey guys thanks for the invite! I’m Anthony Engelen. I’m a professional MMA fighter and online coach, 36 years of age, originally from The Netherlands, and happily living in Bali, Indonesia with my wife and 2 doggos!
What motivated you to start producing content for the community?
I’ve been a cigar enthusiast just for almost a year now. Asides from the act of smoking a cigar and enjoying the taste of it, I like the whole bespoke lifestyle around it as well. It’s something I’ve always appreciated. And now, in combination with my newfound passion for cigars, this goes well with creating some content for my social media.
It’s one of the things that I like to point out as part of my own online program. You need to enjoy life. Quality over quantity. Work hard and play hard. No use in saving all your money and it’s going nowhere, but it’s also useless in spending it all on cheap whiskey and cigarettes.
You need to have balance in your life. Be a responsible family man on the one side, and enjoy a good cigar and a fine whiskey on the other side. Of course while in combination with a healthy active lifestyle by adding plenty of exercise like MMA to it.
How is the cigar scene in your country?
Indonesia is a tobacco-producing country. And with a population of 272 million people, the tobacco industry of Indonesia is the 2nd largest in the world by retail volume.
However, the cigar scene is a bit different. Even though there are plenty of cigar factories that use an Indonesian component for their cigars, the locally produced cigars are average at best over here.
And in regards to the scene here, even though I’ve been a part of it since very recently, I would say it’s quite small and they definitely prefer the imported cigars.
Do you prefer having a cigar alone or with others?
I do prefer enjoying a cigar with one or more good friends.
Enjoying a cigar: inside or outside?
Inside, that way you can really enjoy the flavors betters.
We’re going to talk about cigars, no matter their origin. However, we have to ask: What is your favorite cigar-producing country?
Imagine that the embargo on Cuba is lifted. What will happen next?
Since I don’t live in the US I’m not affected by this. Although when it’s lifted I’d expect a huge increase in demand of course. And with the current Covid pandemic already making it impossible for Cuba to meet the global demand, it’s probably not a good idea to lift the embargo right now. Imagine what it would do with the prices of Cuban cigars!
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 was a locally produced Dos Hermanos Churchill. Over at my favorite cigar bar El Laguito here in Bali. My friend liked cigars so I took him with me to El Laguito. I’ve never been there before but I know the owner Roy from back when I was living in Jakarta.
So my friend handed me Dos Hermanos cigar, and we smoked it while sipping some single malt whiskey. And I was enjoying the experience!
Then one of the staff came up to me and handed me a cigar, with compliments of Mr. Roy he said. It was a Vegueros.
I saved this until maybe 1 or 2 weeks later and decided to light it up while in the company of another few friends and immediately got a different taste and experience from it. I wasn’t sure what exactly yet but it was pleasantly different! Those 2 moments were actually my 1st first-time moment.
My 2nd first-time moment where I really started to appreciate the taste of a cigar properly came when a friend of mine offered a selection of Cubans and pointed out I should try the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure De Luxe LCDH. Well, that was a treat indeed. Up till now, it’s one of my all-time favs!
What’s the best cigar you have ever had?
Tough one… What’s the “best” cigar? The most expensive? The best tasting one? Or one that reminds you of a certain moment when you smoked it?
I recently had the privilege to smoke a Romeo & Julieta Reserva Cosecha 2008 which was amazing. Furthermore, I’ve smoked a Partagas Serie D Especial Limitada 2010 and just 2 weeks ago a Trinidad Limitada 2010 Short Robusto which were also just fantastic. Those were the most expensive ones I’ve had so far.
The best-tasting one was probably the Trinidad Media Luna and Trinidad Esmeralda. I brought the Media Luna with me to watch a football game with some friends and was just blown away by the creamy flavor. Trinidad has been my favorite brand since then.
And lastly to quote my good friend Asier aka “CigarsTropical”, “The best cigar I’ve ever had, is the one I’m smoking right now!”.
Based on that, what’s the perfect pairing for that specific cigar?
I like to pair my cigars with a good whiskey or rum, or an old-fashioned or negroni.
Everyone has their ritual when starting a cigar session. What’s yours?
I make sure I have a good drink ready. My lighter is filled and my schedule is cleared for 1–2 hours!
Tell us about your collection. What does your humidor look like?
Since I’ve only started my cigar journey a year ago I’m still a bit in the exploration phase. I’ve narrowed it down where I have a few permanent favorites, but I still try to buy some brands and types that I haven’t tried yet.
At the moment my humidor is a healthy mix of Cubans, Dominicans and some Nicaraguans. Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas, Trinidad, Montecristo, Por Larranga, EP Carillo, Fuente, Balmoral, Joya de Nicaragua, Oliva, Rocky Patel, Punch…
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?
The Romeo & Julieta Reserva Cosecha 2008.
What do you think about cigars as a type of investment, like watches and cars?
I’d say as for investments goes, watches would be the safest option. When it comes to cigars and cars, if you buy a box of rare Habano’s and don’t touch it for 20 years, then yes it might be a good investment. But once you open it and smoke a few… Same goes with cars. Cars are probably the worst investment. Unless you are buying a rare classic better invest your money in crypto.
Plume and mold. Same thing?
Had to research this one, and according to what I just read, it’s the same.
Cut and light or light and cut?
Cut and light.
You can have as many cigars as you want, forever BUT it always has to be the same. What would you pick?
We all made some honest mistakes on our cigar journey. Tell us about your most embarrassing one.
The only mistakes I’ve had so far is when I encounter a cigar with a terrible tight draw, and I try to poke it with whatever I can find laying around the house in order to make the draw a bit looser, but then having to give up 20 minutes later because it’s not working… Note to self, get a cigar draw tool!
As a customer, what do you look for in a cigar retailer?
That they have a decent collection or regulars, some special/limited editions, the price is fair and their knowledge is 2x more than mine!
With the smoking restrictions in almost all places, do you see the private club scene growing?
I’m blessed to live in Indonesia where we are free to smoke almost anywhere except hospitals. So if I want to enjoy a cigar in a restaurant or in a bar, that’s possible.
In regards to outside Indonesia, I think cigar lounges are a good alternative, or otherwise organize a get-together at someone’s home!
What’s your favorite cigar accessory?
My Colibri V-cutter.
Are you a soft-flame or a torch lighter person?
What is your favorite personality in the cigar community and why?
Eddie and Edward Sahakian. When I started my cigar journey, the first videos I watched on youtube were from them. I learned a lot from them. And they are just so proper, friendly gentlemen. I’d love to go to London and enjoy a cigar in their presence!
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?
If people don’t mind smoking a fake cigar then I’m not going to stop them. They have to deal with it not me. But for those who think they are buying an authentic one, and instead, they are smoking who knows what, that is a problem.
Education is the only way. Educate people on how to spot fakes, appearance, taste, price, availability. And name and shame the fake sellers.
How do you see the future of Cigars on social media?
I think it’s growing. More people are associating cigars with a more positive lifestyle instead of an unhealthy one.
Did something surprise you in the cigar community?
Yes, it surprised me how friendly and welcoming it is. If you meet someone who is smoking a cigar, you for sure will have something to talk about with him or her!
What is the most overrated cigar for you? And he most underrated?
I personally think Cohiba is a bit overrated. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful cigars, but a bit on the pricey side… Expensive doesn’t always mean better.
Underrated might be the smaller lesser known Cuban brands. Por Larranga and La Gloria Cubana.
What brand have you never smoked and probably never will?
I’m open to giving anything a try. You can’t judge something if you haven’t tried it!
What is your “Unicorn” cigar?
Probably a Trinidad Fundadores 1998, Trinidad Robusto Extra or the Davidoff Dom Perignon 1980.
What are your Top 3 favorite cigars?
What are your Top 5 favorite Instagram accounts?
Finally, do you want to send a message to the community?
I’m thoroughly enjoying my cigar journey and I’m looking forward to meeting more interesting like-minded people and enjoying good cigars with them!
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.