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“I have been taught to read a cigar; when I smoke a cigar, I wonder about the writer's touch, his literary style, which is extremely pleasant”, Adrien explains.


“I have been taught to read a cigar; when I smoke a cigar, I wonder about the writer's touch, his literary style, which is extremely pleasant”, Adrien explains.

Category: Europe - Switzerland - Suppliers - Providers - Interviews
Interview made by Vanessa Guerrier-Buisine on 2023-06-01

Cigar-sommelier, a meaningful profession, a job that instantly inspires a journey of the senses. It is in this dreamlike world of cigars that Adrien Dalang chose to escape 16 years ago, when he was only 18 years old.
Destined for a career in the hotel industry after attending the prestigious EHL Hospitality Business School, Adrien embraced his passion to the point of throwing himself into it body and soul a year ago by joining Mosh le Cigare.

A sunny personality, a positive view of life that he fully grasps, a radiant energy, these are the words that could sum up Adrien Dalang. When the young man creates his own cigar recipes and develops experiments that sublimate the cigar, he dreams above all of elsewhere. Elsewhere, that would lead him to cultivate his tobacco plants in Central America. The cigar-sommelier dreams of being a farmer, but in the meantime, he draws his guests into his voluptuous dream, made up of meditative puffs and olfactory tastings.

There is just one step between the world of cigars and that of wine and gastronomy. This is how Adrien has skilfully entered the world of palaces, where he offers guests a relationship between cigars, wine, drinks & food experiences. These experiences are complemented by a unique range of training courses dedicated to palace teams.

We had the opportunity to have a delicious chat with Adrien Dalang, who took us on a journey through the world of cigar-sommeliers.

Journal des Palaces : What was the trigger that led you to the cigar-sommelier profession?

Adrien Dalang : 16 years ago, I was on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, and the idea came to me to smoke a cigar in the middle of the lake. I went into the first cigar shop I could find. It was dark, I didn't know anything about it and there I was greeted by Dominique Boyer from Arcachon, who said, welcome to the age of time, of transgenerational knowledge and the explosion of taste buds”. And it grabbed me.

He must have noticed something in me, and he offered to come back every Sunday, which I did for the following years. He became my godfather at heart, invited me to his table, introduced me to epicureanism, sharing, exchange, giving. When he died a year later, I decided to smoke a cigar he had given me to help me mourn him.

Instead of a sad moment, it was a moment of joy because I knew, at that moment, that I was going to share the cigar with the world, as he had shared it with me.

How does one go from the EHL to a career as a cigar-sommelier?

I went to the Cours Florent in Paris. After a one-man show in a small room with 30 people, I was asked to continue. But, I went to the EHL. I would say that this experience of entrepreneurship, management, and theatre led me to the path of the art of public speaking coaching, helping people to express themselves in public. I became interested in time management, then in energy management and finally in emotional management.
After Covid-19, I did a series of small jobs to make this transition. I realized that I liked simplicity.

After the EHL, where did you train to become a cigar-waiter?

I trained at the IACS, the International Association of Cigar-Sommelier. I loved it because it was a distance learning course that covered the theory of working in the field, right up to serving the cigar, where you go through more than 300 steps.
So, I really got to understand how a cigar was made, why it was made, what it took, all those quality controls and really getting a theoretical understanding of that world.

I then took my master sommelier course on-site at The National institute of Tobacco in the Dominican Republic, where I learnt how to smoke the different types of cigars. Compared to a vine, where all the bunches have the same organoleptic properties, for the tobacco planes, the lower leaves do not have the same organoleptic properties as the upper leaves and so it was very fascinating.

For the first time in my life, I was able to learn to read a cigar. When I smoke a cigar, I wonder about the writer's touch, his literary style, which is very pleasant.

How did your adventure with Mosh le Cigare begin?

I decided to join them to start all over again, by going to the Dominican Republic, looking for a factory, to blend and therefore create recipes. I had about 50 varieties of tobacco in front of me, and I started blending them to create cigars with wood and cocoa flavours.

I determined seven criteria when I went looking for the factory we were going to work with:
  1. Choose farmers, who cultivate their tobacco;
  2. See curing farms, to dry the leaves;
  3. Checking the fermentation;
  4. See the ageing process in the warehouses;
  5. Meet the rollers, to choose them according to their quality of work and energy. Carlos and Jake roll all my cigars;
  6. Know the amount of stock available, to have consistency through the years;
  7. Finally, to ensure a friendly relationship with the factory, with the staff.
There are two ways to design a recipe. Either I go to the Dominican Republic, and I have access to the tobacco, which I take, roll and smoke, and try it out. Or here, in Switzerland, as the air is dry, at altitude, with less humidity, the oxygen is different, I am in real conditions to read and taste it. For example, I order the same cigar with 22 different recipes adaptations, and I select one.

Do you also work on food and cigar pairings or wine and cigars?

Today, I truly enjoy what I do thanks to Mosh le Cigare. I meet cheesemakers, butchers, chocolate makers, people in the spirits business, winemakers.

I taste 15 to 20 of their products, which I compare with the cigars, and I choose three to five of them, which I combine as the cigar evolves.

For example, I worked with a winemaker for the Torpedo. We start with a very fruity white wine, with floral and mineral aromas. Then, little by little, we bring in the sweetness, with a rosé with raspberry aromas. Finally, we associate a red wine, which has been aged in oak barrels. The barrels that have rounded out the tannins. We had the cheerful, spring and summer side of the rosé, and then this slightly more shady, powerful side of the autumn with this red wine. And we finished with a 43° from 1983 red wine pomace brandy, to accompany the last powerful end of this cigar.

What other services do you offer to hotels?

I offer three trainings:
  1. Allows the staff of a hotel or restaurant to open up to the art of cigars, by combining theory and practice. To teach how to serve a cigar, which cigar for which person, initiated or not, in which conditions, for which occasion.
  2. Develop the customer experience by creating pairings with the different products of the establishment.
  3. Creation of a humidor, which includes a course on brands.
For example, I was assigned a one-month mission to the Dusit Hotel in Doha, Qatar, to train the staff.
Finally, I will be giving a workshop at the InterTabac festival in Dortmund, Germany, on blending, cigar creation, choice, and collaboration with the manufacturer and also on acquiring a reading grid for tasting.

Could you tell us about your creations?

I really wanted to create Swiss flavours, based on wood and cocoa flavours because each country has its own identity and what I like in Switzerland are the forests, the mountains, and therefore the wood and the chocolate.
For my first cigar, I created 12 recipes and retained two, which I have adapted further.

The first one contains six different tobaccos. The Wide Churchill has a light cocoa flavour, with a woody, slightly spicy side, a very light mix. I increased the ring gage of the cigar to have an easier draw. We really have a very fresh, and sky-like draw. It is our bestseller.

The second cigar, the double Corona, contains five different tobaccos. In this one, we're really on dark chocolate Ovomaltine powder, as a sweet, which will progress calmly, gently. You have to invest some time, smoking calmly, to really extract those cocoa flavours. This one is my favourite.

My latest creation, the Torpedo, which includes seven different tobaccos, is inspired by Ravel's bolero. What I like about Ravel's bolero is that you start calmly and have this evolution until the firework’s like finish. We start with something very soft, a bit vegetal. Then we're going to have mineral notes, to finish on sweet and bitter notes of dark chocolate with 85% cocoa. We'll really develop this powerful aromatic palette. The beginning is light, and then, little by little, it gains in intensity. It is a cigar for someone more experienced, who really wants to have an evolution in his cigar.

A fourth creation is coming with eight different tobaccos, and I am working on a fifth recipe, which will be released at the end of the year after my travel to the Dominican Republic.

How is the cigar a unique experience?

We all come from different worlds and cultures, but when we are reunited around the same product, we see how much we have in common. To be able to come together with a cigar is one of the most beautiful things.

Before Columbus came to Central America, the Taïnos people in the Caribbean smoked cigars to connect with God, to learn to hunt, to fish, to resolve conflicts, to live in peace.

Ithink that this magic has been passed on to us, as it still allows us to come together today. I would like to help make the world, in my own way, happier through the magical world of cigars.

How do you ensure that you enjoy your cigar as much as possible?

Smoking a cigar is a meditative moment, which plunges us into a state of trance where we leave the mind aside and are only in our feelings, which allows us to make better decisions, to avoid pitfalls and also to meet new people and create new collaborations.
Often, people meet during a cigar, and when the cigar is finished, we say goodbye. Cigars bring people together, so for me, the best cigar is the one we smoke with people we love.

What would be the ideal outcome of your career?

I'm not a businessman, when I will have my tobacco factory in Central America, I won't be the president of my company, I'll be the farmer, the chef. My goal is to work with tobaccos that I like and to create cigars with flavours.

More about...
MOSH le cigare
Rte de Champ-Colin 18
1260 Nyon


About the author

As a journalist and luxury hotel expert inspired by the men and women who embody it, Vanessa aspires to enhance and sublimate the beauty and elegance of palaces through her writing. "In a palace, simplicity serves the quest for excellence" she admires.

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