Victory Cigar co-owners and brothers-in-law Julian Luke (L) and Kevin Newell (R).
HOH: When was Victory Cigars established?
Kevin: Victory was established officially on November 20th 2009 during the huge economic crisis – what were we thinking?!
HOH: Tell us a little about your house blend cigars.
Kevin: We have a Nicaraguan Toro and Robusto, as well as a 6 x 60 called The Terminator. Our most popular house blend is called Summer of ’79.
HOH: What the most expensive cigar you’ve ever sold?
Kevin: The most expensive cigar I’ve ever sold was the Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Reserva Double Corona. Like they always say, if you have to ask the price – you can’t afford it.
HOH: You and Julian have done some travelling within the industry over the years. What’s your favorite ‘cigar place’ to visit?
Kevin: Though Esteli [Nicaragua] is an awesome region whether it’s AJ Fernandez, Drew Estate or Roberto Duran, I have a soft spot for Rocky Patel’s compound in El Paraiso, Honduras. I’ve just had so many great times there over the years.
HOH: Who is the nicest and most personable industry personality that you’ve had the pleasure of meeting and why?
Kevin: Jose Blanco comes to mind for sure. Just a great cigar ambassador, and a fountain of information with a great sense of humor. It was an honor to have him to my home.
HOH: What cigar events does Victory Cigars throw or associate itself with?
Kevin: Every fall – Covid pandemic aside – we have an Oktoberfest celebration. Live music, kegs brought in from Germany, great food – and of course lots of fantastic cigars. Hashtag epic.
HOH: What’s your go-to cigar of the moment?
Kevin: The Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro Robusto. So tasty and balanced. I am best off not telling my business partner Julian how many of these I have smoked!
Julian and a canine co-worker inside Victory
HOH: What advice would you give to someone who is just getting into enjoying cigars?
Kevin: Start mild and work your way forward. This journey could last the rest of your life. Experiment with new cigars and enjoy pairing with new beverages and foods you wouldn’t usually try. Have fun with it!
HOH: A quick glance on the web and across social media shows that Victory Cigars is among the more ‘media-savvy’ retailers in Canada. How has communication changed over the years in terms of reaching out to cigar smokers?
Kevin: Everyone should be well aware of the tools that are available out there at your disposal. The key is to have a savvy marketing director – [shouts] that’s you Gill! – who follows the trends of what is new and making it work for your business.
HOH: Tell us something interesting about Victory Cigars that most people don’t know.
KEVIN: During the pandemic we opened our cannabis store called Old West Cannabis Company on the second floor of the century home that also houses Victory. We just celebrated our first anniversary in the spring.