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Cigar sommelier If you love nothing more than lighting up a stogie, as Winston Churchill did, then you’ll be pleased to know that your cigar-loving ways don’t just have to be relegated to hobby status for life. Oh yes, it’s entirely possible to build a whole career out of sharing your cigar knowledge and, while it’s considered a niche profession, someone’s got to do it and that someone might as well be you. Cigar sommeliers are cigar-tasting experts sometimes also known as catadors. Although most of us have heard of wine sommeliers, cigar sommeliers tend to fly under the radar for a number of reasons. Blame the anti-smoking movement, blame the increase in knowledge about the ill effects of cigar smoking, blame the lingering odour that comes with cigars – whichever way you look at it, cigars aren’t as popular as they used to be. And it’s for this reason that cigar sommeliers aren’t as well known as wine sommeliers. Working with hotels, restaurants, high-end cruise ships and casinos, cigar producers and sellers, and the media, cigar sommeliers work hard to inform and educate others on the joys of smoking cigars. They put together cigar menus for luxury hotels and bars; write articles on cigar trends for magazines, newspapers and websites; teach cigar tasting in workshops; and sit on cigartasting panels at cigar awards shows. Cigar sommeliers live and, quite literally, breathe their work. Not convinced that cigar sommeliers are needed in this world? Well, just like a fine wine, cigars have flavour notes. Yes, beyond that strong initial taste, there are subtle flavours to be detected – from moss to tea, molasses, cherry, caramel, leather, honey and beyond. As cigar-smoking newbies gag at their first puff, discerning cigar lovers can detect different flavours.

A cigar sommelier must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the cigar industry, from the production process to tobacco growing. A good cigar sommelier will also know about dining and food trends, in order to put together top-notch cigar menus for restaurants (yes, cigars can be matched to food and wine). If you don’t know how to cut and light a cigar properly, then you’re definitely not the right calibre to pull this career off. The best cigar sommeliers in the world are discerning, thorough and utterly obsessed with cigars. If you make it to the top of this career, then you’ll get to enjoy frequent travel and visits to world-class hotels, luxe bars and highend restaurants. In all likelihood, you’ll also get to rub shoulders with everyone from tobacco growers in South America to expert rollers in Cuba and billionaires in the Middle East. And you’ll get unlimited access to the best cigars in the world. This is one smokin’ hot career.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: No specific official qualifications needed, however, the Habanos Academy offers training courses in cigar construction, tasting and preservation. Experience required: Experience smoking countless cigars and cultivating a broad palate is essential. Training: None, although there are cigar-tasting courses and workshops offered around the world. Restrictions: Must be old enough to legally smoke cigars.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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