When you scroll down on @roccoheidelberg’s Instagram profile your mouth will immediately start to water. He is the proud owner of one of the most epic cigar collections out there. A great down-to-earth personality combined with a lot of knowledge is a winning recipe for a great interview.
Who are you?
My name is Bedri but everyone calls me Rocco. I was born in the beautiful city of Heidelberg, Germany, but my roots are Albanian. I am married and have two wonderful daughters. I am also an engineer and work for a big energy company. My passions are cigars, coffee, and travel.
What motivated you to start producing content for the community?
What motivates me is first of all to meet new people who share my passion for cigars. I also like to serve the community by sharing my pictures and my knowledge. The world is so big that such a community is ideal for communication.
How is the cigar scene in your country?
It is a split situation. Mostly there is a big community in the big cities in Germany. Many cigar lovers have their own community on cigar clubs. But the supply of Cuban cigars and non-Cuban cigars is excellent.
Do you prefer having a cigar alone or with others?
Definitely it is more fun and more scientific with friends.
We’re going to talk about cigars, no matter their origin. However, we have to ask: Are you more of a Cuban or a non-Cuban cigar person?
Every cigar has its own story and its own flavor. It is up to you what you smoke and I definitely have nothing against it. My preferences are actually 95% Cuban cigars. Why Cubans? My personal feeling is the taste, the composition, and last but not least the story behind it.
Imagine that the embargo to Cuba is lifted. What will happen next?
Due to the higher demand, there is a danger that Cuban cigars will become scarce. This would automatically change the price/performance ratio.
Usually, people have two first-time moments: the first cigar and the cigar that ignited the passion you have today. What were yours?
I owe my first professional cigar to a good friend. And this passion and procedure ignited my personal connection to the cigar.
We all did some nasty mistakes on our cigar journey. Tell us about your most embarrassing one.
My embarrassing moments are the moments when I lose every single long ash competition!
What’s the best cigar you have ever had?
My absolute favorite cigar is the Cohiba Behike and I think it will remain so for the rest of the time.
Based on that, what’s the perfect pairing for it?
It depends on the season and time of day. I prefer a good coffee in the Morning and a refreshing long-drink at noon. In the evening after an excellent meal, wine or a glass of whiskey is the best pairing.
Everyone has their ritual when starting a cigar session. What’s yours?
- Perfect cut;
- Slow Ignition;
- The first & strong move.
Tell us about your collection. What does your humidor look like?
A closely guarded secret. But I can reveal that I have 90% Cuban-cigars and only a small selection of non-Cuban cigars.
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?
First and foremost I am happy about every gift and it doesn’t matter what value or brand the cigar has. A gift comes from the heart and is an excellent gesture.
What do you think about cigars as a type of investment, like watches and cars?
Quite possible and the market gives it also. But unfortunately nothing for me. I do not really manage to age a cigar because I smoke it away before the aging begins.
You can have as many cigars as you want, forever BUT it always has to be the same. What would you pick?
What a question! If this arrangement existed, it would be definitely Cohiba Behike 54.
What’s your favorite cigar accessory?
I think my favorite accessory is the perfect lighter and cigar case.
Are you a soft-flame or a torch lighter guy?
Definitely torch lighter.
Enjoying a cigar: inside or outside?
If the weather is bright and there is not too much wind, I like to be outside. If the weather is gloomy and windy, I prefer to be inside. I don’t like poorly ventilated places. But if I had to choose a perfect spot, it would be with the sea in front of me.
What is your favorite personality in the cigar community and why?
There are so many cool personalities in our community of cigar lovers.
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?
Fortunately, I have had contact with a fake cigar only once in my life. Counterfeit cigars are not only harmful to the cigar producers but especially for the people who buy them and mostly it is ignorant people who won't touch a cigar afterward.
How do you see the future of Cigars on social media?
I think it is constantly changing. It is becoming more and more difficult for us because social media is distancing itself from cigars.
Did something surprise you in the cigar community?
I am amazed at the large community and the passion that is shared. I have met many nice and interesting people. As the “botl” and “sotl” say, in the world of cigars, there are no competitors, only connoisseurs.
What is the most overrated cigar for you? And he most underrated?
I don’t think there are overrated cigars, I think they are just overpriced. The most underrated cigar for me is the Quai D´Orsay, I think it is one of the best value cigars on the market, relatively cheap and very delicious.
What is your “Unicorn” cigar?
I always wanted to try a Behike 58, if someone would buy me one!
What are your Top 5 favorite cigars?
- Cohiba Behike
- Quai D´Orsay
- Partagas Presidentes
- Cohiba Maduro 5
- Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill
A short message to all the community
Thank you for your time to read this profile interview. It means the world that you dedicated a bit of your time to do it. Share your thoughts on the comments. We are eager to listen to you and bring you value every single day. Have a great one!