Habanos
English Market Selection
Masters of Havana Cigars

Masters of Havana Cigars

The Higher Certificate, developed by Hunters & Frankau, represents the most extensive & prestigious qualification within the UK Habanos market.


Joe Berg

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Davidoff London

35 St James's Street
London
SW1A 1HD

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020 7930 3079 info@davidofflondon.co.uk https://www.davidofflondon.com/


Passed: 2nd November 2022

Master of Havana Cigars : Joe Berg

What do you enjoy most about working with cigars?

Cigars have been a love and passion of mine before it also became my profession, so I’m incredibly privileged to work in a field that I love. For me its the opportunity to share my passion for it with others, whether advising someone them on their first cigar and starting them off on their journey, or talking to connoisseurs and collectors who have enjoyed cigars I’ve never even seen.

What first interested you in cigars?

My interest in cigars stemmed from my interest in whisky. I’d collected whisky for a long time and as a massive geek I went to lots of tastings and learnt everything I could about it. After joining a whisky club I noticed that after the tastings a lot of people went outside onto a terrace and continued the conversations about whisky over a cigar, so I started to join in. It was here I realised that everything I loved about whisky, you could find in cigars; a handmade product, intrinsically linked to the soil, climate and culture of it’s origin, with a rich history to learn about. From then on I was hooked, and wanted to learn everything I could about the subject, and explore and improve my palette with these new flavour profiles.

Do you remember your first cigar?

I had enjoyed an occasional cigar at weddings and events, but to be honest wouldn’t have known what it was I was smoking, not knowing anything about the subject. The first cigar I truly enjoyed with an understanding of what it was was the H Unman Connoisseur A, only just released at the time. So enamoured with it, it also became the first ever box of cigars I bought, the very first stepping stone of my collection.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone just starting to smoke cigars?

When starting out, especially for your first few cigars, receive some good recommendations. If your first cigar is too overpowering in strength or size it’s likely to put you off. Start with a lighter brand and a smaller size and work your way up from there. Your palette will develop as you go, and you’ll begin to work out what you enjoy for yourself.

What are your favourite three cigars?

That's always a tough question as for me it’s all about context; the occasion, the company, the pairing with food or drink. My go to cigar Is the Ramon Allones Specially Selected, a blend so smooth I can have it in the morning with a coffee but strong enough to be enjoyed in the evening with a rum or whisky. A perfect first smoke of the day for me is the Por Larrañaga Montecarlos, a delicate, slim vitola that delivers a nice hit of black pepper. My third choice, as a harder to find and limited edition smoke would be the Montecristo 520, the limited edition from 2012 which was difficult to find even when I started smoking, but I was lucky enough to get a box of. Now the remaining cigars in that box are a special occasion treat, for important milestones.

Has becoming a Master in Havana Cigars helped you in your profession?

I think the Master’s has presented a huge step forwards for me in the profession, both in the process of studying for it and the accolade in which achieving it brings. The confidence that comes with obtaining the qualification is useful on a day to day basis, as is the welcoming into an exclusive club and network of masters in the industry.

Meet the Masters

Claudio Chesini

Claudio Chesini

No.10 Manchester Street

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Jorge Gonzalez

Jorge Gonzalez

La Casa del Habano James J Fox in Harrods

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Cristian Secchi

Cristian Secchi

Tomtom Cigars & Coffee

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Maurizio Zatti

Maurizio Zatti

No.10 Manchester Street

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*There are also a number of Masters of Havana Cigars working in private members clubs that are not listed here.

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