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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

(continued from page 1)

Wong: Oh definitely. I think that is the way to go…to buy the cigars young and to taste the difference with age. If you have a box of cigars, you can try one now, then you can try one in a year's time, then try one in two years' time, and so on. Then you know when it is the best time to smoke your cigars. Then you can smoke the whole box! It's fabulous. You get such enjoyment out of that.

CA: What is the humidity and temperature that you keep your cigars at?

Wong: I like to keep them a little bit dry so you don't run into too many problems. So I like a humidity of about 65 and a temperature of about 19 to 20 degrees centigrade [66 to 68 Fahrenheit].

CA: Have you ever had a problem with weevils or beetles in your humidor?

Wong: Touch wood—not so far. One or two boxes here and there, but nothing too bad. You have to keep them cool all the time, and I go through the cigars every now and then to check the boxes. I am not too worried about the old cigars if the bug has come out already. But it is the new cigars you have to be careful about. The new stuff, you have to go through it.

 

CA: What sizes would you buy if you were just starting out? Robustos, double coronas?

Wong: I think it is a personal preference. Sometimes I am not too keen about all these new releases being 50, 52 ring gauge. Sometimes you do enjoy a corona or petit corona. Sometimes you don't have the time to enjoy a big cigar.

CA: What time of day do you enjoy your favorite cigar?

Wong: In the afternoon. Unfortunately, I don't smoke too much at work now.

CA: And do you drink something with a cigar?

Wong: Coke always. Coca-Cola. It is the best cigar drink.

CA: Is it? You're joking, right?

Wong: Yes, it goes well.

CA: Because of the sweetness?

Wong: You know, that is all I drink now. Rum and whiskey are good, but Coke is my favorite.

CA: Well, you are a wine collector, so what do you think of wine and cigars?

Wong: Wine and cigars for me? Well, they don't go so well together. So you have to enjoy the wine first and then just relax with the cigar. That is the best thing to do.

CA: Probably one of the best moments for you is just kicking back and hanging out with your dad and smoking a cigar, right?

Wong: Yeah, all the time. We always have casual meetings in his office and we will be puffing away.

CA: Do you smoke at home?

Wong: Well, right now no with the baby and stuff. But I don't need to smoke at home anyway. I usually smoke after dinner [during] karaoke with some friends.

CA: Do you smoke in the morning with coffee or not?

Wong: Every once in a while I do. In the morning, maybe once a week. I like to smoke something with a bit more kick to wake me up, like a Davidoff Haut Brion. It gets you going.

CA: Didn't you once tell me you smoked in bed when you were in university in London?

Wong: Yeah. Yeah, I used to smoke in bed.

CA: What did you do? Or maybe I shouldn't ask. Were you reading and smoking in bed?

Wong: When I was in London I smoked a lot. I smoked like six cigars a day.

CA: Really?

Wong: Yes, five or six cigars a day.

CA: And now?

Wong: Now? One or two a day. But I still enjoy it.

CA: Have you ever been to Cuba?

Wong: Once, in 2000. For the millennium gala dinner.

CA: I forgot.


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