The eponymous vision of Winston Churchill harbouring a Romeo and Juliet cigar has changed leap and bounds since the 1950’s, it is no longer seen as a man’s world, or is it?
I write this piece as self-proclaimed cigar enthusiast (not a regular smoker), is it the allure of entering a masculine hobby or the elegance and historical proclamation that goes with it? I would suggest both, since gaining significant knowledge of the cigar market I have become obsessed with the story-telling and craftsmanship behind the product. My first encounter was a luxury affair, on-board a yacht at the Monaco grand prix, dispelling the deep and somewhat woody smoke from my gaze, I asked my close friend if I could try his cigar, the rest is history. I love the effortless charm and emphatic curiosity it brought, from the carved marble cigar ash-tray to the gold-plated cutters, it truly is a luxurious and wealthy looking hobby (none the less extremely unhealthy)
Cigar manufacturers all over the world, specifically Cuba, are re-focusing their attention to their burgeoning female audience, back in 2015 the company Habanos – an arm of Cubatabaco, the country’s national tobacco company – announced a mission to overcome perceptions among women that Cuban cigars are made up of “only strong tobacco for men”.
There is still a stigma surrounding female smokers, whether it be the environment that smoking takes place, unceremoniously in dimly lit back rooms with antique furnishings and machismo portraits adorning the walls, however re-invention and celebrity adornment from the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Jodie Foster, Demi Moore and Madonna have ignited the flame of sultry women joining there male compadre.
Cigar clubs have long been serving as both networking and social outlets for progressive business dealings, truth be told since becoming part of the 10% crowd (8-10% of cigar smokers around the world are female – Habanos research) I have gained exclusive access to cigar orientated events, insider clubs and made great partnerships in both friendships and business.
Lifting the embargo on cigars, for me personally has led to experiencing a whole host of new bucket list options, such as the annual Habanos festival in Cuba and watching first hand crafting in Nicaragua. The is no doubt cigar smoking is deemed upon as a status symbol, however for women who make up a small hidden part of the market, it is left to be said how much adoption will take place in the years to come.
Here are some of my favourites!