My Favorite Cigar
Alexi Giannoulias • Illinois Secretary Of State
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2
Alexi Giannoulias is a man who likes to move. A former basketball player (division one at Boston University, pro ball for a time in Greece, pickup games with Barack Obama, who he has known for years) and longtime businessman, Giannoulias is now trying to speed up government as the newly elected Illinois Secretary of State. His role is a big one, overseeing a 4,000-employee office with around $3 billion in annual revenues, covering everything from drivers’ licenses to libraries. “This office was held by the same guy for a quarter century,” he says. “We’re moving faster than government normally moves.” Cigars help him slow down.
“By nature, I am a restless, constantly keyed-up person. Cigars are one of the rare instances where I’m coerced to be deliberative and patient. Knowing that I have an hour, or an hour and change where you can’t rush it.” He lives in Chicago, so naturally smokes more in the summer. Along with his beloved Hoyo Epi 2s, he also enjoys Davidoffs and likes to experiment. “I definitely love to try new cigars—I tell people it’s my only vice.” And one day, he might just dive deeper into cigars. “My dream,” he says, “is to one day have a cigar lounge.”