Stepping into Davidoff of Geneva on Madison Avenue, you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a luxurious oasis of relaxation amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City. You’re surrounded by many of the finer things in life – S.T. Dupont lighters and pens, intricately lacquered humidors, and of course, a well-curated selection of some of the world’s finest premium cigars.
I can’t recall why exactly I started to fixate on Davidoff when I was just getting into cigars about two years ago, but the brand possessed an undisputed aura of quality, timelessness and integrity that exercised a strong gravitational pull on me.
So when I’d pull into Penn Station and hop on the E bound for Queens, I started to make regular stops at 5th Ave/53rd St because just a quick right turn towards Madison, there’s Davidoff of Geneva. And once there, as a fledgling cigar smoker, I’d ask tons of questions and pick the brains of the staff. One individual, in particular, became my go-to resource and my cigar “guy.” And that guy was Robert Seise.
With over 20 years in the business – all of those at Davidoff’s Madison Avenue store, mind you – Robert’s entrée into the world of cigars was pure happenstance. Looking for a career change in 1995, an opportunity with Davidoff materialized and the rest, as they say, is history.
A sharply dressed man, who professes to be “not much of a brand guy,” Robert’s knowledge of premium cigars is second to none. He single-handedly helped guide me from being a completely uneducated cigar consumer, to someone who has developed a much more refined and adventuresome palate.
It’s that social aspect of meeting great people from all over the world and sharing his knowledge of cigars that Robert considers to be one of the best parts about working at Davidoff.
Robert’s 5 Tips for Beginning cigar Smokers
1. Be open minded. One of the best things about cigars is the wide variety available. If you’re just staring out, be open to suggestions. It will take some time to dial in your preferences but eventually you’ll start to know what you prefer to smoke.
2. Try many different origins and sizes. This follows very closely to the first point. Tobaccos from different places have different characteristics. Similarly, different sizes can reveal a different flavor profile. As your palate develops, you’ll learn to appreciate many different strengths and flavors.
A seasoned cigar smoker will choose a tobacco based on many things, including time of day, what he or she just ate and even mood. While different lengths can have some effect on flavor, length is a consideration mostly based on the time one has to smoke.
3. Ask questions. A walk-in cigar humidor like the one we have at Davidoff can be overwhelming to a beginning smoker. Luckily, cigar aficionados tend to be a very polite and knowledgable bunch. Ask what they’d recommend for you and what they think. Guys love to share this stuff.
4. Complement your cigar with your favorite drink. It’s just like pairing food and wine. They can go great together, or one can really overpower the other. Choose wisely! Me, personally, I love rum with my cigars.
5. Relax. And enjoy! As you say, a cigar is a commitment to relaxation. It’s something to be savored, explored and enjoyed slowly. And in good company!
You’ve got to imagine that anyone who’s been in the cigar business for over 20 years has gotten to sample an extremely wide variety of smokes. Robert’s favorite cigar? The mild and creamy Davidoff 5000.
And his most memorable? A Sancho Panza panatela Cuban for its chocolate notes and smoothness, which unfortunately for us, was discontinued in the 1970s.
Chime in with your favorite and most memorable smokes in the comments!
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style
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