President of Cigar Rights of Europe
A bit about yourself.
My main job as an assistant to the management of a food company is sometimes a stressful job with a lot of responsibility. Enjoying a cigar alone or with friends in the evening is therefore always a time-out for me.
How did you start to smoke cigars?
I've always been fascinated when, for example, men used to meet in the library after a meal, drinking whiskey with a good cigar and discuss world politics. I always felt more at home there than in the women's rounds.
What does smoking cigar mean to you?
What is fascinating about cigars is the peace they give me, the variety of taste, which is similar to wine. In the end, enjoying cigars also means sociability and the bridge to many good conversations with interesting people whom I would otherwise never have met.
What was the most interesting reaction of a man seeing you smoke a cigar? Could toy share an anecdote?
It is interesting that women are unfortunately still in the minority and therefore often seem exotic to men. But sometimes you are also categorized as a woman - it is indirectly assumed that you have not much knowledge about cigars, or that you are only the smoking companion or do not like to smoke large formats or stronger cigars.
When do you like to smoke the most?
There are many opportunities for a cigar: In addition to my regular cigar reunion, I sometimes meet with friends and let the week end with a nice cigar. Here in that region there are a lot of events, so that you have a variety of opportunities to meet other aficionados. I also enjoy attending the annual CSWC Cigar Smoking World Championship (Slow Smoke) events in Germany, Austria and other countries.
What is your favorite vitola?
Which cigar I smoke often depends on the situation, how much time I have, if I had a meal before. I have a few proven brands to which I always like to return, but sometimes I also stick to the saying: The way is the goal. I have been a member of the Blind Tasting Panel of the Cigar Journal for two years. Through this I also get to know many new cigar brands and formats that I would otherwise never have bought and smoked.
I know you manage a cigar club, how did you create the club and how is it going?
A friend had been smoking cigars for a long time and introduced me in 2005 to the pleasure of smoking a cigar. Since then we meet regularly at a cigar meeting in Cologne. This is not a club in the true sense of the word, but a group of nice people who enjoys good food, drinking and cigars. Since 2010 I have been the one who, as La Presidenta, brings together the pleasure round on a monthly basis.
Recently you were elected as the first woman President of Cigar Rights of Europe (CROE). Could you please explain a bit about CROE and also what your goals ate in your tenure as the president? How do you see the future of the cigars?
Cigar enjoyment has had a cultural and social value for many centuries. Through legal paternalism and over-regulation, we are increasingly restricted by the state in our individual freedom to enjoy cigars.
Therefore the association CRoE - Cigar Rights of Europe e. V. was founded about two years ago and I have been its president since February. We are an interest group of consumers who oppose these restrictions at the European level. We have ambassadors in many countries who operate at the local level because many regulations vary from country to country. The more people who revolt against it, the greater is our voice in public and in politics. Therefore, our primary goal at the moment is to generate a large number of members. The European elections are scheduled for the end of May. Here we will approach politics and present our position.
The politics has not yet realized that there is a striking difference between cigarettes and artistically handmade cigars. These two products could not be treated the same from a regulatory point of view. It makes no sense at all to put these product categories on an equal footing, because cigars do not produce chain smokers and do not attract young people.
In recent years, the anti-tobacco movement has spread not only in Germany but also in Europe and the world. The tasting and enjoyment of cigars has not only been very restricted in restaurants and pubs, but also in cigar lounges and has been partially banned. There are now general smoking bans for indoors and outdoors in many countries. "Plain packaging" is already a reality in Australia and is imminent in the Netherlands.
Thoughts on Cuban vs New World cigars?
Very good cigars are produced in Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Every aficionado has his individual taste preferences, but as with all things in life, there should be a good price-performance ratio. A tasty cigar that is poorly processed and has no draw makes no fun - no matter where it is produced.