At this point, almost every single person on Instagram has seen at least one of Ali’s fantastic videos. His distinct signature look — that manly beard — hits your phone and you feel compelled to watch and learn from this very friendly and knowledgeable personality. It was a real pleasure to get to know Ali in detail and we hope you enjoy this interview as much as we enjoyed doing it.
Thank you very much for accepting our interview, it is a pleasure to personally meet you. Who are you?
The pleasure is mine. My name is Ali Al-Lami, a Former oil company employee. I have a passion for cigars, culture, and tradition. And I also like to share it with everyone else.
What motivated you to start producing content for the community?
My love for cigars and trying to spread the right cigar culture in our regions.
How is the cigar scene in your country?
There have been cigars in our region for 70 years, but only Cuban and Davidoff cigars, and I began to introduce non-Cuban cigars in 2006 to the region.
Do you prefer having a cigar alone or with others?
I prefer smoking cigars with my friends unless I’m at home. I smoke in my office.
Enjoying a cigar: inside or outside?
Because of the hot weather almost all year round, we smoke inside, but in the winter we go out and smoke outside, and our winters are only two months.
We’re going to talk about cigars, no matter their origin. However, we have to ask: What is your favorite cigar-producing country?
I prefer Cuban cigars, followed by Nicaraguan cigars, then Dominican cigars.
Imagine that the embargo on Cuba is lifted. What will happen next?
I think it will be difficult to get Cuban cigars because, in my opinion, the American market will consume production at the expense of other countries.
Usually, people have two first-time moments: the first cigar and the cigar that ignited the passion you have today. What were yours?
My first cigar was a Cohiba Robustos and now I’m in love with Bolivar Royal Coronas.
What’s the best cigar you have ever had?
I was Davidoff Dom Perignon Churchill 1985.
Based on that, what’s the perfect pairing for that specific cigar?
For me Colombian coffee and Swiss chocolate.
Everyone has their ritual when starting a cigar session. What’s yours?
There is nothing special, the most important thing is to have an excellent cigar, delicious coffee, and good companionship.
Tell us about your collection. What does your humidor look like?
I have a large assortment of all types of Cuban, Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Honduran cigars divided into 2 walking humidors.
When we meet someone, we usually give away one cigar as a gesture of good faith. What was the best cigar you have been offered?
It was Hoyo de Monterrey Diademas 1980 by a great friend and I will never forget the moment we smoked it together.
What do you think about cigars as a type of investment, like watches and cars?
Yes, I think cigars are a type of investment and they can reach the value of investing in watches and cars.
Plume and mold. Same thing?
No. Plume is a good thing. Mold is the result of extra humidity and it is harmful to the smoker.
Cut and light or light and cut?
Both can be done but I prefer to cut and light.
You can have as many cigars as you want, forever BUT it always has to be the same. What would you pick?
I will go with Bolivar Royal Coronas.
We all made some honest mistakes on our cigar journey. Tell us about your most embarrassing one.
I’m not perfect, but I don’t remember making an embarrassing mistake, except that I let the ash stay too long, and either it fell on my clothes or on the floor of the lounge.
As a customer, what do you look for in a cigar retailer?
A distinctive and varied selection of cigars, as well as an excellent humidification room, with controlled humidity and controlled temperature.
With the smoking restrictions in almost all places, do you see the private club scene growing?
No, of course, on the contrary, it has become a difficult and futile task from a financial point of view.
What’s your favorite cigar accessory?
A Cigar Cutter gift from Patek Philippe.
Are you a soft-flame or a torch lighter person?
I prefer matches and torch lighter.
What is your favorite personality in the cigar community and why?
Zino Davidoff because he gave so much to the cigar community and established the cigar culture.
Fake cigars are a real problem, we see them popping everywhere. What’s your take on the counterfeit industry and what can we do to minimize the damage?
Yes, I agree with you, counterfeit cigars are a real and developing problem, so we must join hands and work to educate the cigar community and thus protect the smoker from exploiting counterfeiters by exposing them and revealing counterfeiting methods through the platforms available to us.
How do you see the future of Cigars on social media?
It is progressing, but we need people who will take it upon themselves to work harder.
Did something surprise you in the cigar community?
Yes, there is a lot of show-off at the expense of important information.
What is the most overrated cigar for you?
The Cohiba Talisman EL 2017.
What brand have you never smoked and probably never will?
Guantanamera and Quintero.
What is your “Unicorn” cigar?
Montecristo Sublimes LE 2008.
What are your Top 5 favorite cigars?
- Bolivar Royal Coronas
- Padron Hermosos
- Arturo Fuente Don Carlos
- La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull
- My Father La Flor de Las Antillas
What are your Top 5 favorite Instagram accounts?
Finally, do you want to send a message to the community?
My message to the cigar community is to stay away from hating each other and get united. Let’s focus on spreading the right cigar culture, and with that, we will fight cigar counterfeiters because they are destroying our community.
A message to the community
Thank you very much for giving us a bit of your time by reading this article. It really means the world to have you with us. If you want to follow our daily activities head to our Instagram, where we try our best to bring the community together by sharing our love and knowledge for cigars. Have a great day.
Please note that smoking is bad for your health and we do not encourage it at all. These articles are written to show the differences between cigars and never to influence anyone to start smoking. If you are a cigar smoker, please respect others around you.