Michael W. Asimos has a passion for cigars. As a cigar enthusiast, he sees similarities between his passion and that of foodies. He loves the intricacies of different cigars, the places around the world from which they originate and the ingredients used. For him, each cigar has its own unique qualities and a distinct story to tell. From the condition of the soil to the quantity of sun received by the tobacco plant to the way in which it is hand rolled, each cigar comes together as a combined work nature and art.
When did you become passionate about cigars?
I have been a lover of cigars for as long as I can recall. In fact, there is a running joke started by my mother that even while in her stomach I was smoking cigars.
Where do you get your cigars? Do you prefer online or local shops?
To widen my horizons and become acquainted with some of the best cigars across the world, I travel to new cities or countries a minimum of three times per year. While nearby countries like the Dominican Republic and Cuba are better known for cigars, I have found that Honduras has a lot to offer. Some of the regions in Honduras that are remarkable for cigars are the Jamastran Valley and the Danli in El Paraiso. I prefer local shops where I can immerse myself in the culture of the people.
What’s your view on cigars as a business?
Even after discouragement from my friends, I still decided to pursue my passion for owning a cigar business. I recognized that although legislations had decreased the number of public cigar smokers, cigar sales were still strong. Additionally, a number of options are available for those who want to start their own cigar retail business.
What advice do you have for people looking to get in this industry?
There is really no magic formula involved in getting started in the industry. However, it is important to prepare yourself by learning about the industry, the tax requirements and knowing the associated expenses of running this type of business. To be successful it takes passion, hard work, and a love for the industry. I’d advise anyone to read more about my story in this interview to get a better idea of what it takes to be successful in the industry.
Are there a lot of upfront costs in opening a cigar retail business?
Starting this type of business can be quite costly and it is vital to know the amount of money required for opening up the business. In addition to the start-up fees, other costs include insurance, license fees and legal fees.
Cigars are used in celebratory events, especially in business when you close a deal. Is there a proper way to smoke a cigar?
Before lighting up, the end of the cigar should be clipped with, ideally, a purpose-built cigar clipper. A knife could also be used but biting off the end should be avoided. For lighting the cigar, the best choice is a torch lighter. Wooden matches can work as well; however, they are harder to keep lit for extended periods, which could be challenging for beginners.
What advice do you have for people new to smoking cigars? Which brand should they start off with?
When starting out, you should find a mild cigar like Macanudo Hyde Park or Casa Torano. Beginners might find some cigars too strong and this could ultimately ruin the whole experience. Additionally, mild-flavored cigars are slightly less expensive, which could make it easier to get started in the hobby. I aim to help others become educated about cigars and update my Twitter frequently with advice, tips and pictures of my travels.