From Charlie Chaplin's masterpiece City Lights in 1931 to the most recent decade's runaway success Titanic, cigar smoking has been, without fail, the ascertained gesture to make an influential understatement in the world of business.
“After all, style isn't about being loud but being powerful and cigars are just the right way to say that.” Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Stalin and Che Guevara – political icons on both sides of the divide – are all well known for their companion piece, the cigar. Men of affluence, and power, have historically indulged in the consumption of fine handcrafted cigars imported from Cuba and Central America.
As well in Beirut, great minds run in the same channel when it comes to cigars. And why not? Cigars in this city are Men’s best friend. Their love for cigars dates way back long.
But just why do people relate corporate success with cigar consumption?
Cigars have customarily been viewed as exclusive, imported, hand-crafted items that corporate and political leaders consume. Even though they may have been around for hundreds of years, cigars became a symbol of wealth, privilege and success during the late 19th and 20th centuries. “Smoking rooms at the turn of the century became places for English aristocrats to retire to after dinner. Men and their (male) guests retreated to the confines of these rooms to discuss the business of the day and any political concerns they might have.” Expensive cigars were accompanied by an equally expensive glass of whisky or cognac. From this time forward, power and success became inevitably linked with smoking well-blended imported cigars.
In Beirut in 1979, LA CASA DEL HABANO has been launched in Beirut International Airport; it was the first Cuban cigar shop ever in an airport at that time. The shop was then named La Casa del Habano in 1997, the first La Casa Del Habano shop in the world at that time. In 2003, the shop was transformed into a 450 sqm area, the current one, and the first VIP Lounge with Casa Del Habano in an airport. Today LA CASA DEL HABANO is an inviting spot for passengers who are successful and powerful in the business world.
Today, Joe Hayek, owner of Merchant of Venice Cigar in Saifi continues to link success, wealth and corporate culture to the smoking of premium cigars. The Store has contributed to the image of the business leader whose success and lifestyle are highlighted through the consumption of cigars.
“Success and a Cigar go hand in hand,” he says.
Business executives at the present time puff on a very fine cigar compilation at Cigar Boutique and Lounge in Dbayeh, and launching very soon in Tabarja and Ashrafieh. Owner Charbel Abi Karam talks of the most coveted and well-loved cigars in the world savored by business leaders in society whose corporate success has made them indulge in luxury and elegance at the boutique. A cigar can up the ante in business meetings, fostering an environment of power and sophistication.
Further, smoking an exclusive brand of cigar is symbolic of membership, social position and level of corporate success. If we take a look at SkyFall Cigar Club ; members at the Cigar Lounge club enjoy conversations while smoking a cigar around like-minded people.
“The best conversations are done over a cigar. After an hour of this high quality of conversation you feel as relaxed as ever; when someone lights up a cigar the only people who usually can put up with the smell and smoke are fellow cigar smokers, ” one of the members says.
Also Fidel covers the same ground. The Cuban and the non Cuban cigar industry have been struck a serious blow at Fidel in Antelias, especially selected and assorted for their customers who are “often portrayed with the necessary willpower and determination needed to sit at the top of the corporate and social ladder,” as Dany Ibrahim, owner of Fidel cigars says to BIM POS.
To a cigar smoker, the cigar is an accessory on a long list of objects that signifies control, power and a bank account big enough. “With a cigar in his hand, a man is ready to do anything to close the deal, attract women, and reach the top.”
To every cigar lover, cigar means something;
To Winston Churchill “smoking cigars is like falling in love; first you are attracted by its shape; you stay for its flavour; and you must always remember, never, never to let the flame go out!”