Cigar Keep's global community requires legendary figures from all over the world to join us in spreading the news and championing the cause of togetherness. This time, we speak to Muhammad Usman Abid, one of our very first members on Cigar Keep and a serious Cuban cigar enthusiast.
1. What kickstarted your passion for cigars?
A: This goes back to 2007 when I was a student in London. One day, I was enjoying the great British weather (please remember I am from Pakistan and for me; rain and temperatures up to 25 Celcius are the best thing in the world) on a Saturday late afternoon when I saw a sign board saying JJ Fox - The Great British Cigar Merchants and an insignia sharing their appointment as Royal Cigar Merchants which intrigued me to walk inside the store. Little did I know there was a piece of history in the form of the Churchill Cigar Museum downstairs which tempted me to try a cigar.
I walked back upstairs and requested to go see the walk-in humidor area where a gentleman observed me for a while before approaching and asking if I had ever smoked a cigar before and he got the obvious answer as a "No". However my curiosity and openness to try one, encouraged him to impart a bit of cigar knowledge and in no time we were looking for my first cigar. After a few minutes of him explaining, a cigar was chosen - a Montecristo No. 3. I still remember when I pointed towards it, he was happy that I went for a good Cuban brand. He cut and lit it for me and I enjoyed it while sitting upstairs in the "sampling lounge" looking outside from the window at a seat towards the end of the hall with views of St. James Street (this had always been my favorite spot since that day and I have always tried to sit there and smoke when in the UK). So, that's it - no looking back since then however initially it was on special occasions and celebrations with now almost a decade that I enjoy cigar smoking and the "me time" they provide me with as a regular more serious one.
2. What is your favourite cigar?
A: This is the most difficult one to answer as I have many that happen to be my favorites. They change with time as well however there are a few which take consistent spots and hence I have listed down one from each of the different categories in terms of Production lines.
· Regular Line - Cohiba Robusto
· LCDH Line - Trinidad La Trova
· Anejados Line - Romeo Y Julieta Churchill Anejados
· Limited Edition - H Upmann Magnum 56 LE 2015
· Classic Line - Hoyo De Monterrey Double Coronas
3. Do you have a favourite lounge or terrace to smoke in?
A: The seat next to the window overlooking the St James Street at James J Fox had always been my favorite spot, however what made me a regular cigar smoker was a corner seat downstairs at the Club Havana (Karachi, Pakistan) as it was one of the most peaceful and heavenly places to enjoy a cigar. Sad that Club Havana closed its doors during the peak COVID days and since then it has been my terrace at home where I spend my time while enjoying a Habano.
4. What is your most memorable cigar moment?
A: COVID19 impacted the world in different ways. For us friends in Karachi (Pakistan), it was no different and we had not met for a few months. We had a few zoom herfs too however that was no match to meeting in person and enjoying cigars together. In July 2020, once the COVID19 vaccination was available; the first thing we all did was get the shots done and one day gathered in my lounge at home (since the public places were still closed for gatherings) and man that was an evening I can't forget!! Hours of laughter, cigars and catchup is what made it the most memorable one for me.
You can see the same in my profile too. For me it is the company and friends that I have made due to cigars that makes it fun and memorable more than anything else.
5. What cigar do you think is underrated?
A: Vegueros Centrofinos in my opinion are very underrated cigars and I fail to understand why they are rated in the volume based category in Habanos portfolio where they are nothing less than any good cigar even when newly rolled.
If you'd like to explore Usman's Keep, you can do so here: