Mario is an avid cigar aficionado. A Cuban cigar aficionado to be exact and a Cuban culture enthusiast. With his words, you can clearly see that the passion for the leaf runs deep in Mario’s soul. In his collection, there are a few jewels that we had the pleasure to discover, almost always paired with some very nice rums. Hope you enjoy the read!
Thank you very much for accepting our interview, it is a pleasure to personally meet you. Who are you?
I’m Mario just a guy who loves Cuban cigars and collects them. Very interested to learn more about cigars and the Cuban culture. I try to collect as many things as possible about those topics.
What motivated you to start producing content for the community?
Well, what I show is just a bit of the cigars I enjoy. There is more but I like also to keep some things private. I don’t see myself as an influencer I just do my thing. For example, my friends’ wives see me as a bad influence because I’m so passionate about it, it motivates my friends to buy/collect more. I don’t mind about this because I don’t force them to do it.
How is the cigar scene in your country?
We have a nice cigar scene over here, we still can enjoy a cigar in a lounge so we cannot complain. What’s also nice is that there are also many young people that enjoy cigars.
Do you prefer having a cigar alone or with others?
It depends on the mood and the cigar. I enjoy both. it’s nice to enjoy a cigar with friends or people you meet. A special cigar I prefer to enjoy alone so that I can focus on the cigar and get the most out of it.
Enjoying a cigar: inside or outside?
It depends on the weather. When the weather is good, I prefer to enjoy a cigar outside, but most of the time you can find me in a lounge.
We’re going to talk about cigars, no matter their origin. However, we have to ask: What is your favorite cigar-producing country?
Hands down Cuba! I have to say 99% of the time I enjoy Cuban cigars. A few times a year I try new world cigars most of the time It’s not my cup of tea, until a few weeks ago when I was gifted a Cavalier cigar, a cigar created in honor of Tabac Rhein Geneva (the oldest cigar shop in Geneva). It’s called Rhein 1905, it was an amazing experience that opened my eyes, sometimes it’s good to step out of your comfort zone. But my focus will always be Cuba.
Imagine that the embargo on Cuba is lifted. What will happen next?
To be honest, cigar wise I don’t care. Cigars will always come and go, sometimes there are many sometimes there is almost nothing. The only thing I hope is that the people in Cuba will benefit from it, this is more important than thinking about luxury.
Usually, people have two first-time moments: the first cigar and the cigar that ignited the passion you have today. What were yours?
Well, it started a long time ago with Phillies cigars (nothing fancy) it was part of the Hip hop culture here. Then after a few years, I got the idea to try a proper cigar, so I went for a Cohiba Esplendido, I loved it. So, from time to time, I enjoyed a cigar. Then I stopped for more than 10 years because of other interests and too many cigarettes. When I met my wife, I made a deal that I would quit cigarettes but the day that I set foot on Cuban soil, I would start enjoying cigars again, a few months later we were in Cuba, from that point it is out of control.
What’s the best cigar you have ever had?
The one I had yesterday. No, to be honest, I had some many amazing cigars that it’s hard to say that only one was the best. If you talk about the best experiences, I will pick the time that I enjoyed a Cuaba Diademas at the bar from Pinar Del Rio hotel. We had a great time with friends and family, the whole experience made it unforgettable. I prefer the unforgettable moments instead of remembering a cigar, the whole experience that’s what counts for me. And I’m looking forward to make many more experiences.
Based on that, what’s the perfect pairing for that specific cigar?
Back then we had a lot of Havana Club Especial and mojitos in between. When I’m not on fire, I prefer sparkling water, coffee, or tea to pair.
Everyone has their ritual when starting a cigar session. What’s yours?
I just make sure I have everything I need, sit down, relax and light it up.
Tell us about your collection. What does your humidor look like?
I have a few humidors, one big electric, an Adorini, and some Tupperware boxes. It’s never enough, to be honest. I think there are around 1000 cigars, I stopped counting. Sometimes I’m even surprised by what I find in the humidor because I forget what I bought. I also collect books about cigars, I have to say I collected some great ones. The holy grail for me is Alejandro Robaina: Tradition and Magnanimity.
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?
I appreciate every cigar that I got gifted and I do remember who gifted me which cigar. To pick the best is too difficult and the list is too long. Recently when I meet someone in person and I get a cigar as a gift, I light it up immediately out of respect for the person, and then I’m sure it doesn’t end up in the collection.
What do you think about cigars as a type of investment, like watches and cars?
They are meant to be enjoyed.
Plume and mold. Same thing?
Let’s say it’s there to be brushed off.
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?
Without thinking I go for Mario’s Reserva.
We all made some honest mistakes on our cigar journey. Tell us about your most embarrassing one.
This is too funny, for a few times I had a plugged cigar one after the other so I sit down in a lounge try the cold draw and I thought it was plugged, I almost lost my mind, then my friend tells me if you cut your cigar it will go better.
As a customer, what do you look for in a cigar retailer?
This is very important: first of all, they need to be friendly with every customer it shouldn’t matter if you buy 1 cigar or 100, knowing what they talk about. A nice selection of cigars, and that they take care of the humidor.
With the smoking restrictions in almost all places, do you see the private club scene growing?
Yes, and the more restrictions there will come the more it will grow. In many countries, there is no other option anymore.
What’s your favorite cigar accessory?
My Bic lighter and my potato peeler. No, the accessories I really like, I have but there is no need to mention them.
Are you a soft-flame or a torch lighter person?
I don’t mind if I can light my cigar.
What is your favorite personality in the cigar community and why?
You make it very difficult I don’t like to choose. Well, I see it as two communities, real-life and online. I prefer to meet people in person I had already many nice experiences and they know I appreciate them a lot. On the other side, I have people online with who I have nice conversations and that I look forward to meeting them. Two different worlds.
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?
There are 2 sides to this topic. let’s see it on both sides. First of all, I’m against fake cigars and they should do more to prevent it. I like it a lot that you guys inform us a lot about this topic. Outside of Cuba: it’s very bad and they have to do more to stop this. Inside Cuba: Also very bad, but how can you blame someone that tries to make a living, can you imagine you earn 15 euros a month, you need to step up your game to try to make a living. This I call surviving. The worse is that people refuse to understand that as long as they keep buying it there will always be a supplier. So stop buying!
How do you see the future of Cigars on social media?
It’s becoming more and more difficult and maybe we go back to the era before social media.
Did something surprise you in the cigar community?
Well, the generosity and the fact that it doesn’t matter where you stand in life we share the same passion. I’m also very surprised how many rare cigars you see passing by on IG, almost like it’s becoming regular production. Soon regular production will become unicorn cigars.
What is the most overrated cigar for you? And he most underrated?
I don’t care for underrated or overrated, enjoy the cigar that suits you. Try every cigar that you can find from the country you like. More important is never break the bank for a cigar, it’s not worth it, there is no guarantee that it will be amazing.
What brand have you never smoked and probably never will?
There is only one Cuban brand that’s in production that until now I never smoked, but never say never. Who knows maybe my next cigar will be a Guantanamera. How can you say that you don’t like something if you never tried it?
What is your “Unicorn” cigar?
Saint Luis Rey double corona one day it will find its way to me.
What are your Top 5 favorite cigars?
Ok so for me those have to be cigars that I enjoy at least on a regular basis. It cannot be a cigar that I only had once.
- Mario’s Reserva
- Partagas Salmones LCDH
- Cohiba Piramides Extra
- Cohiba Siglo VI
- Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro
Finally, do you want to send a message to the community?
Yes, I want to thank @allthingscigars for giving me this opportunity, and everyone for reading this article. The message I want to give to the community is: Don’t believe the hype. It doesn’t matter which cigars you enjoy as long that you enjoy them, you won’t be a better aficionado if you only enjoy special things, enjoy what suites you, this is the most important. Don’t wait for that special moment to enjoy that special cigar before you know it can be too late. That special moment was yesterday.
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.