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The New Geneva

Hong Kong smokes Cuban Davidoffs, Dunhills and anything else great and rare
James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Michael Jordan, July/August 2005

(continued from page 2)

"People really enjoy the opportunity to try one of these rare cigars. And besides, who can afford a whole box?" said Tse. "But some of my customers come back and buy a box because they just can't get enough of these cigars."

The vintage selection in the shop was originally started when Bohrer, with the help of a handful of others in Hong Kong, bought a huge cigar collection from an American, whose identity will remain anonymous. There were thousands of boxes of everything from Davidoff to pre-Castros. Part of the haul went to start the shop and the rest to the investors. Although most of those cigars have either been sold or smoked, the shop continues to source cigars from around the world, as well as from collectors here in Hong Kong -- it's a sort of rare-cigar thrift shop for some of the biggest cigar collectors in the world!

Cigarro is not the only cigar shop in Hong Kong, of course. There are a handful of others in chic hotels and affluent shop centers. The two others I know well -- the Red Chamber Cigar Divan and Cohiba Cigar Divan -- have excellent stocks of current cigars from Havana and an informed staff. Cohiba Cigar Divan also sells aged cigars and puts away 40 or 50 boxes of top newly released smokes to sell a few years later. The shop calls those cigars its Vintage Selection.

All cigar shops seem to be good places to hang out, to smoke and to find out the latest news in Hong Kong -- from big business deals to the hottest new restaurants. Plus, prices are no longer much higher here than in other cities around the world due to recent price increases. I figure prices in Hong Kong are only 15 to 25 percent more than Madrid, Paris or Geneva -- and much less than London.

Smoking a 1995 Bolivar Royal Corona in Cigarro and looking at all the Cuban Davidoffs around me, I began to think back to the early 1990s when I visited the late great cigar guru Zino Davidoff in his shop in Geneva. He smoked cigarettes and I smoked a Davidoff No. 2. We spoke for hours about cigars, Havana and life in general. It was one of those great cigar moments in my life. Although Zino is no longer with us, we can still experience his dreams and his cigars in Hong Kong -- which for me is the new Geneva for cigars.

Hong Kong Cigar Shops:

Habanos Holdings
Unit 1901 19/F Chaung's Tower
30-32 Connaught Road
Central
Hong Kong
Telephone: 011-852-2522-8490
E-mail: wine@habanos.com.hk

Red Chamber Cigar Divan
Shop M1, Mezzaine Floor
Pedder Bulding
12 Pedder Street
Central
Hong Kong
Telephone: 011-852-25370977

Cohiba Cigar Divan
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road
Central
Hong Kong
Telephone: 011-852-28254074

Cigarro
Shop 5, G/F
St. George's Building
2 Ice House Street
Central
Hong Kong
Telephone: 011-852-28101883
E-mail: bensontse@cigarro.com.uk


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