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.


Maximilian Foulkes

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Davidoff of London

35 St James’s Street
St James’s
London
SW1A 1HD

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020 7930 3079 info@davidofflondon.co.uk www.davidofflondon.com


Passed: 14th June 2018

Maximilian Foulkes

What do you enjoy most about working with cigars?

What I enjoy the most about working with cigars is introducing a younger generation to them. Sometimes I feel a little out of place being so young and working in the cigar industry so it reassures me when a customer my age smokes a cigar I have suggested they try and they come back for more! It’s such an elegant hobby that is now being enjoyed by young rappers and skateboarders alike and I’m incredibly happy to be involved in the movement.

What first interested you in cigars?

My father has been an avid cigar smoker since he was first given a Montecristo no.4 to smoke by his father in law and so I’ve grown up around the blue smoke of Cuban puros. I would also regularly visit the Davidoff of London shop, owned by the great Edward Sahakian, on the corner of Jermyn Street as a child. I vividly remember trying to catch the beautiful smelling smoke that would emit from the slender cigars Mr Sahakian was always accompanied by. I believe it was the aroma of the smoke that first interested me however I then remember becoming fascinated by the bands or ‘anillas’ used to distinguish between brands. After lighting up my first cigar I instantly realised why my father has been enjoying them for so many years.

Do you remember your first cigar?

The first cigar I remember actively enjoying was a Hoyo de Monterrey Du Maire, the little entreacto. The smoke was so smooth and rich that I smoked it all the way down until it started to burn my fingers. The next day I picked up the Hoyo Du Depute, the Trabuco size, and was delighted to find the same flavour but with less finger burning.

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

Start off with a cigar in a smaller size and lighter blend so as not to be deterred by the punch some cigars have to offer. Gradually work your way up, if you so desire, to a cigar of a fuller body in a larger size however I still regularly enjoy smokes of the Perla vitola which are considered very small by today’s standards.

What are your favourite three cigars?

My first would have too be the San Cristobal La Fuerza. It is a gordito size cigar from a brand founded in 1999 in which the first four sizes, La Fuerza being one, were named after the fortresses that defended Havana when it was the centre of the Spanish American Empire. I find it a smooth, floral and almost fruity smoke at points. It stays relatively mild towards the foot but does pick up a little bit of a smokey and spicy flavour as it progresses. One of these cigars will take me around an hour to enjoy.My second would be the Vegas Robaina Unicos. A cigar in the piramides format with a beautifully smooth earthy, woody, nutty but spicy flavour to it. It is from a brand created to commemorate one of the best if not the best farmer in Cuba , Alejandro Robaina. The blend is more similar to what a working farmer would be smoking, something punchy and strong, but has been toned down to make it a more approachable smoke. A Unicos would last me maybe 1 hour and a few minutes down to the very end.My third would have to be the Hoyo de Monterrey San Juan.A late addition to the Hoyo range, a 54 ring gauge cigar made entirely from leaves harvested in the Vegas de Primera of the San Juan y Martinez region int the Vuelto Abajo growing zone. It has rich, creamy notes with hints of roasted nuts and leather. At a leisurely pace, the pace at which all cigars should be enjoyed, this cigar takes me 1 hour and ten minutes to smoke.

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

I currently work at Davidoff of London, the shop I mentioned I used to visit as a child, and so it most certainly has. I can now answer almost all questions customers have to ask about Cuban cigars and I can now introduce them to blends they have not tried before according to what they regularly enjoy.

Meet the Masters

Slawomir Bielicki

Slawomir Bielicki

La Casa del Habano (Harrods, London)

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Martin Kemlin

Martin Kemlin

The Arts Club (private members club)

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Giuseppe Moccia

Giuseppe Moccia

Boisdale of Canary Wharf

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