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.


Nic Barker

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James J Fox

19 St James’s Street
London
SW1A 1ES

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0207 9303787 freddie@jjfox.co.uk www.jjfox.co.uk


Passed: 8th April 2014

Nic Barker

What do you enjoy most about working with cigars?

It’s nice simply just to see the camaraderie born from the mutual appreciation of the product. People of every walk of life just getting on with each other, laughing, debating and so on. Brothers of the leaf, as it were.

What first interested you in cigars?

I knew very little of cigars when I started working with them in 2002, but was instantly hooked, I must of smoked at least 100 different cigars in my first 6 months in the trade, I wanted as much as anything to discern WHY I like a particular smoke rather than simply IF. It's a lot of fun learning what tastes in particular you gravitate toward in a cigar.

Do you remember your first cigar?

My first handmade cigar was a Partagas Serie D No 4, a classic in every sense, and I've loved the smoke ever since. Such a failsafe Habano, despite possessing a relative full-bodiedness.

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

Experiment! Try it all! Establish your go-to smokes while dabbling in new vitolas and brands as often as possible. And if possible, learn to appreciate different strengths of cigars, as big bold flavours, and complex amalgamations of subtleties, in my opinion, are equally satisfying. Pacing is especially important also, as so many people get put off of a cigar that they have smoked too quickly.

What are your favourite three cigars?

My favourite regularly produced cigar is the Bolivar Belicosos Finos, closely followed by the Ramon Allones Specially Selected, and the Partagas Lusitania. I've also been extremely lucky to try many heavily aged, rare, pre-embargo smokes etc over the years, and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.

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

For sure. It’s great to have something to physically document my experience, appreciation and product knowledge to show as well. It is an honour to have such a title.

Meet the Masters

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.