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A Great Collector

A 30-year-old Hong Kong businessman could have the greatest cigar collection in the world
James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Richard Branson, Sept/Oct 2007

Alex Wong is perhaps the world's greatest cigar collector. Along with his father, George, the 30-year-old Hong Kong resident has been purchasing cigars for about a decade and has amassed close to 5,000 boxes.

The cigars are stored in a walk-in humidor in their office that resembles a fine cigar shop more than a storage room. The Wongs also have a cigar-smoking room in the building that features part of their vast cigar collection as well as an impressive array of art and wine. Many of the cigars featured in Cigar Aficionado's Connoisseur's Corner have been drawn from smoking sessions with the Wongs, including the 100-point Grisel Bolivar Chatelet featured in the August issue.

Earlier this year, I sat down with Alex Wong in Hong Kong and discussed his passion for the leaf and his amazing cigar collection. Alex and his father run a family business, The Hong Kong Parkview Group Ltd., that develops major residential and commercial complexes in Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Singapore and London. They also have a financial interest in Pacific Cigar Company Ltd., the key agent for Cuban cigars in the Far East.

Cigar Aficionado: Do you remember the first time you smoked a cigar?

Alex Wong: Well, I can't really remember the first time, but I remember the first great cigar that I smoked was a Dunhill Malecon, and this is when my father came to London and took me to Dunhill. It was when they were selling some of the stock from the lockers of some of their customers.

CA: So you smoked some of the pre-Castro stuff then?

Wong: No. They were mostly Dunhills from the 1970s. That is when I thought, "Wow, this stuff is amazing."

It is easy to start in London. Back then there was so much access to old cigars. Everywhere, [there were] old cigars. And talking to Desmond Sautter, you learned a lot. I also went a lot to Davidoff and spoke to the owner, Edward Sahakian. And then Christie's started to have auctions of cigars as well.

CA: What is it that you like so much about cigars, then?

Wong: I enjoy the complexity and the different tastes that you get from different cigars, and also the experience of letting yourself go and relaxing with friends. It's great!

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