One of my favorite activities is jet setting off to different locations where I am lucky enough to experience new places and the people who bring them to life. Recently I was introduced to Teresa also known as the Smoking Hot Cigar Chick. Creator of the Smoking Hot Cigar Chick website, Teresa shares her great love of cigar culture with the world. But she is much more than a pretty face slapped on a cigar review. She is a passionate soul with a grand presence. She appreciates all the little luxuries life has granted her from strong family roots to her successes as a model in the fashion arena. She will intoxicate you will her thrill for life and educate you on the importance of appreciation. Let’s see what Teresa has to tell us about how cigars became such a big part of her life.
Tell me a little about the first cigar you smoked.
The first cigar I smoked is very much like the first glass of wine I ever had, I can’t recall either of them and wish I could. It was less about the item and more about the people and events around me. It took me years to finally realize that I needed to begin truly appreciating and learning about what I was smoking and what I was drinking. I think the same was true of food, but I grasped onto the importance of the culture to it much sooner. I’ve always loved reading about the history and culture of food, so wine, spirits, and cigars fell right into place. I do remember the first cigar band I kept though- it was a La Flor Dominicana DL700. The first wine that held a true personal significance to me was a Zepaltas Pinot Noir.
What inspires you most about cigar culture?
I think one of the most unique factors about cigars and the cigar culture is that everyone is on the same level. Everyone can afford to smoke “the best cigar” and it really is about the blend and experience, not the price. The cigar community is like a very close family. No matter where you come from or what you do, none of it matters. All that matters is the moment you share, that experience of indulgence brought by the beauty of the cigar. It’s different than any other hobby really and I don’t know if I am able to explain just why that is. There’s almost an instant connection when you share a cigar with someone or with a group of new friends (and they do become friends). I think in other hobbies it can take some warming up, but the cigar community is so close that it is like one family right from the beginning. There’s no need to impress, it’s about the enjoyment and relaxation.
What is your favorite cigar occasion?
Every day is an occasion to me, but my favorite is a difficult one. Hmm, I know my favorite setting is one with a cigar, spirit or cocktail, and a well prepared meal. I adore tasting menus. Unfortunately it is difficult with the laws to find places where the combination of the three are permitted indoors. Honestly it would have to be the day of the week where all of our friends get together and celebrate the day with great food, special drinks, and cigars. We are a “food family” so to speak. Some are chefs or bartenders, others are amazing people with the same passion for taste. Everyone contributes to the group, be it preparing food, bringing beer, wine, whisky, or cigars, and we share it all. It’s always special, sometimes there’s even a theme involved like a specific country. It’s always so much fun and a treasured memory as we look forward to the next gathering.
You talk about creating memories. What is one of your favorite memories involving cigars?
My favorite memories are the unexpected ones, and by that I mean the circumstances were unexpected to me. I adore being a part of that moment where a dear friend of mine who adores wine or food has that first cigar that they really connect to. It strengthens the bond of our friendship and just the new-found excitement of it all makes me smile, even now. Certain people come to mind, with stories of their childhood and travels. Another great memory I have is a recent one after the funeral of a dear family member. After the funeral, we gathered together as a family and while sitting outside sharing stories and fond memories, we all smoked some very special cigars. It was the first time we all smoked cigars together as a family.
Smoking cigars, like drinking whisk(e)y, is often perceived as a masculine activity. How do you let women know that they can feel comfortable indulging in these luxuries?
There is a certain elegance in both cigars and whisky, which to me stands out over the masculine verses feminine perception. I don’t think most women take issue with including pants within their wardrobes they’ve made them their own. I don’t think the masculine aspect of cigars or whisky is a negative thing, unless you determine it to be a limiting factor. I love adding my own feminine twist to things, it’s how I make things my own. There’s a balance. You enjoy what you enjoy because of how you connect to it, not how it is perceived. I would say to not worry about it, focus on the luxury of indulging and grow from there. I’m quite proud of the things I like, because they mean a lot to me. What another person has to say about them or my partaking in the activity is irrelevant to my beliefs and certainly won’t change them. I like being the lady in the frilly dress and high heels with a Glencarin of whisky in one hand and cigar in the other. It’s who I am and it makes me happy.
I see you have written quite a few posts that involve whisk(e)y, do you have a passion for this spirit as well?
Whisky was my first fascination when I began drinking. I just loved the complexity of the flavors and adored the nose! It was like perfume… perhaps why I enjoy cigars so much as well. I’m very sensitive to smells, and wonderful ones like these make me very happy. I went in a funny order, I began with whisky than moved to wine, then beer and then cocktails. I made the move to wine rather quickly and was distracted away from whisky for a while. My focus was primarily on food and then wine at that time. I think this was because food and wine were more accessible at the establishments I was around. There were more options to explore. But whisky always returns to me with such grace, I adore it. I’m especially fond of rye and single malt whiskies (from Scotland or Japan). I tend to enjoy rare or limited releases which force me to constantly have dusty bottle searches at random shops, but there is a part of that I enjoy as well. I try to give attention to all my passions equally and am determined to continue learning more.
What is something about you that may surprise people?
Depending on where or how you meet me the answer is always different, haha. For those who meet me in the modeling world it is that I enjoy whisky and cigars. In the whisky and cigar world it is my fashion and image obsessions. Though I think in both, many are surprised by my taste in music. I enjoy industrial and electronic music. I love classical as well, but I greatly adore artists like Underworld, Nitzer Ebb, Front Line Assembly, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Meat Beat Manifesto and Cabaret Voltaire to name a few. I’m kinda random!
What is the strangest reaction you have gotten while smoking a cigar?
The strangest reaction I’ve gotten is someone coming up to me and asking “why”? Nothing else, no hello first just a direct question with wide confused eyes, waiting and staring at me. It was a little awkward. It seemed like they were ready to attack or just simply couldn’t understand how someone like me (whatever that means) could not only be doing this but also enjoy it. I answered that I am obsessed with taste and that I wish to eat my way through the world. I reflect on my passion for cigars along with wine, spirits, and food all in the same statement. They are one and the same to me and so I treat them that way. When the person connected with the wine they started thinking and were fascinated. They became really interested and kept asking me questions- good questions. I was delighted. It could have gone a different way but instead this person walked away understanding a world they had otherwise completely dismissed. They had a new understanding and respect, and oddly enough they were excited by it!
When do you feel sexiest?
When I am lounging in the house in my vintage peignoir with either a Glencairn or antique cocktail coupe beside me, a cigar in my hand, and either music playing in the background or a book in my hand. The moment is mine- all mine, and I love every moment of it. Often there will be a cat or two in my lap to complete the moment, but that is when I feel sexiest.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Definitely my mother. She is the reason I am who I am. She was orphaned as a child and survived so much in her life. Her stories were incredible. Nothing was easy and everything she did was for those she loved. She was expected to pass away when I was very young, but to the surprise of doctors survived for just over a decade longer. I would watch her cook and help in any way I was allowed to. We would host brilliant parties and she was always such an exceptional host. Everything she struggled through in life was so that I could have the freedom to enjoy the simple luxuries. For me, if I am not indulging and appreciating these amazing freedoms, then I am not respecting her. She taught me everything, and more importantly she taught me to look at things with a different perspective. I take nothing for granted and am incredibly blessed.
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