I recently sat down with Jenny Leigh who happens to be one of Houston's favorite cigar ladies. She is very knowledgable about this wonderful hobby of ours and is one of the sharpest people I've come across in the industry. Her knowledge of cigars is matched only by her beauty and I'm honored that she was willing to share a little of both with our readers.
How did you get involved in the cigar business?
I fell into the business by just simply looking for a job in the Houston Chronicle. I was going to school to be a Dental Hygienist and bartending at the same time. Bartending was getting old so, I was looking for a new job when I ran across the ad in the Houston Chronicle. It said ladies encouraged to apply. Must be over 21. Since I fit both of those needs, I applied. It was for tobacco store in the he Rice Village, The Briar Shoppe. Two days later, I got the job. And look, 10 years later, I'm talking to you!
How long did ago you get certified and how important is your certification to what you do?
I was certified in 2010. I think my certification is important on many levels. You had to have so much experience just to even take the test. I genuinely love what I do so when I took the test it just made me even more proud of myself. Just a reassurance that I got this :)
How long have you smoked cigars?
This year makes 10 years.
What is your favorite type of cigar and why?
My favorite type would be a med - full smoke, In a corona or Lancero size. Med - Full is my happy place. Not to mild, not to strong. As for the size, corona and Lanceros are where its at. You get all that yummy wrapper. That's when you know you are a aficionado and true tobacconist.
How do you rate the Houston cigar scene versus other areas?
I can only speak for Houston. I haven't had the opportunity to experience any other cities yet.... But I know that we are one of the top 5 of best cities for cigar smoking. We have so many stores and every store offers some different kind of vibe. Which i dig alot. But... Stogies being the best of course ;)
What tips or advice do you have for new smokers?
Lean of your local tobacconist to help you. Let us walk you thru your first experience. And don't buy online. Walking into a lounge and soak up the experience for the first time can be intimidating... But that experienve, Nothing compares.
What's in your humidor now?
I no longer have a real humidor. But I keep at locker at Stogies. Now, if you were to open that, you would find gems! I have a lot oldies but goodies that you can't get anymore. My babies! But my travel case I carry everyday...right now I have:
1. New Nestor Miranda ( not available yet)
2. La Aurora Cien 100 anos Mad robusto
3. Camacho Ecuadorian
Are there any new or boutique cigars that you recommend?
That's my speciality! I'm a huge fan of boutique cigars. Here's my list of must try!
1. La Palina Mr. Sam Corona
2. Quesada 40th
4. Room 101 Daruma Gold Mutante
5. Matilde Corona
7. Houstonian (House Blend)
How do you feel about cigar ratings and does the rating influence your choices in what you smoke?
Cigar rating are interesting. Depending on what magazine. I'm not much of a Cigar Aficionado fan. I think its all about advertising, personally. But..My favorite magazine is Cigar Snob (pay attention boys to this magazine, the girls) and Cigar Press. The ratings don't influence what im smoking. But I like to catch up and know what's what in the industry.
What is your favorite drink and cigar pairing and why?
Well... Being that I'm a professional drinker. I think everything taste good! LoL...No, I think its personal. I do think rum pairs the best. But I don't have a favorite pairing.
Are there any must have products that you recommend?
A good cutter. You have to have that. I recommend Xikar. They are the best. Lifetime warranty. Can't go wrong with those guys.
What is next for you in the cigar world?
Cigars are my life. So the way I look at my future is infinite. I will continue to help run Stogies but ultimately I would love to have my own cigar line.
If you could only smoke one cigar what would it be and why?
That's easy. I'm obsessed with this cigar...La Palina Mr. Sam Corona. It gives me everything I want in a cigar. Its full flavored, not full bodied. Creamy. A little pepper. Smooth.. Just yummy!
You can find Jenny at Stogies Houston and can follow her on twitter @ashes_n_lashes.