I like cigars in case you haven’t been around here much over the past few years.

I am always looking for a new venue where I can indulge this little obsession. And I found a new one. Well, actually, Cigarscity.com found me, if we want to tell the truth here.

I don’t know which of my posts caught the eye of one of the owners of Cigarscity.com. It might have been this one:

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Or possibly “Salt Life, Baby.”

Doesn’t matter. Anthony contacted me and I thought that I would introduce him to you fine folks. So with no further verbosity, I would like you to meet Anthony of Cigarscity.com.

Guys, Anthony….Anthony, Guys…and Gals, of course. Ok. Softball question first. How long have you been enjoying cigars?

I smoked my first cigar in high school but really didn’t put much thought into cigars until I got to college. Even at that point, cigars were more of a casual interest. I can remember there was a gas station near campus that had a small humidor and carried a tiny line of premium sticks with some Fuente, Macanudo and the other usual suspects. We didn’t know what we were doing but mostly just buying on price point. I didn’t have the knowledge to know what factors played a role in the cigar’s body and flavor profile at that point but the more I started to learn, the more I started to enjoy cigars.

I can remember smoking some pretty awful cigars in college also. 

To start, it was just a complement to a night of relaxation among friends. We didn’t know the difference between what we chose to smoke and at the start, I can remember cutting our cigars with a steak knife! As I learned more about how growing conditions, blends and other factors play a role in the cigar experience, I was hooked.

So, you started learning about cigars and business. What made you want to start your own on-line company, Cigarscity.com?

I had a couple of impersonal experiences buying from some online shops. We thought we could find a way to make cigars less intimidating and deliver a better experience for customers. So, along with a business partner, we wanted a chance to combine passion with something that would be a “job” that pays the bills. Also, both my business partner (Frank) and I are pretty staunch supporters of personal liberty. In many ways, cigars are under attack and we thought there was no better way to defend what we enjoy while making a statement that we support individual freedom. 

Maybe less intimidating for you, but me? I still agonize over what stick to buy. What is your go-to smoke?

I’m kind of lucky in that respect. I have the chance to try a lot of different cigars and as more and more boutique blends pop up, the choices get even more diverse so I rarely smoke the same cigar two days in a row. I do have a couple favorites though that are close to that every day price most of us look for. Punch’s Grand Cru is a solid smoke that’s $5-$7/stick. Maybe a little high to enjoy every day depending upon your budget, but it’s a great stick for the money, in my opinion.

A $5-$7 stick is a daily smoke for me. What is your special occasion cigar?

I hate to say it because of all the hype around the Melanio over the past year, but the original Oliva Serie V is an awesome cigar, in my opinion. Although, I don’t know that the price is all that expensive; I love the big belicoso and the perfecto is great too at about $8-$10 a stick. I enjoy the Fuente Opus X as well when I can get them but at about $30 a stick, I just don’t know if the benefits are there with the Fuentes to make it worth the additional cost. I’d love to dive deeper into Padron but that’s an expensive education!

Ok. Last question as I don’t want to bore you to tears asking a bunch of questions…..and truth be told, I have a couple of cigars you sent along that are dying to be smoked. So, Are you going to be attending, or promoting your own cigar convention? Knowing full well, that I want to be first in line for tickets…..

No, not yet at least. We’re a small outfit with just two of us manning the site. To head to IPCPR or one of the others, we’d have to basically shut down our shipping. We get orders out the door the same day so in order to make sure we don’t break that promise to our customers, we’d have to hire more folks and we’re just not there yet to be honest. As for hosting a convention, I’d love to do that at some point in the future. We’re in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is a gorgeous part of the country. I know the guys down at Burns Tobacconist (nice group of brick & mortar) shops do a tweet up each year about 80 miles south of us in Chattanooga. We’ve attended it in the past; It’s a great time and they do a fantastic job with the weekend.

Anthony, I appreciate your time. Thanks for talking with me about Cigarscity.com. And, talk to your partner about setting up a cigar weekend in the near future. I know a few of the folks who stop by here regularly would appreciate it as much as I will.

Thanks again.