At James J. Fox, we pride ourselves on the impressive expertise we hold in our shop on St James’ Street. In fact, three of our store members have such great knowledge, they hold the prestigious Masters of Habanos certificate. So, what is this prestigious certificate, what does it mean, and why is it so important?

What is the Masters of Habanos Certificate?

The certificate recognises those who are experts in their field. It is a prestigious qualification to hold with only 22 Masters of Havana Cigars working in the UK. These 22 make an elite group of people whose expertise is second to none. The Higher Certificate was developed by Hunters & Frankau back in 2013 and has seen 26 people pass the exam in total.

How is the Certificate Awarded?

To receive the Higher Certificate, candidates must sit a comprehensive and challenging exam which is split into five categories. These categories include:
  • Agriculture
  • Production and Presentation
  • Brands and Specialities
  • Vitolas
  • General
This exam is not the only step of the process, however. Candidates must then pass an oral and practical exam in front of three members of the Hunters & Frankau Board of Directors. These steps make for an incredibly challenging exam process and candidates must achieve a mark of 75% in order to pass. If a candidate can achieve a mark of 75% or higher, they are awarded the Higher Certificate and named as a Master in Havana Cigars, becoming part of this elite and prestigious group.

Why is This Expertise So Important?

We believe that this expertise and knowledge is incredibly important. As we have three store members who hold the Higher Certificate, we are able to provide a better and more informed service to each person who walks through our door. This expertise can help you to enjoy a better experience as you benefit from expert advice and informed suggestions.

Masters of Habanos at James J. Fox

Our flagship store is lucky enough to have three store members who hold the Masters of Habanos Higher Certificate. Nic Barker passed the course in April 2014, and Dirk Seyfried and Halil Osman in November 2014. When asked if becoming a Master in Havana Cigars has helped in the profession, Dirk Seyfried answered, “I now feel I can speak with confidence about the various stages of the cigar industry, the history, as well as being able to advise. This confidence comes across to the customer, giving them faith in your decisions.” It is not only these store members who benefit from superior expertise, however. Each member of our team has a wealth of knowledge surrounding cigars and the industry (from how cigars are made to which ones are better paired with a glass of wine) so, when you visit our store, you can be guaranteed excellent advice and suggestions from our entire team of experts. We would love for you to visit us in store where you can benefit from our expertise. We are open Monday-Saturday, so please do pay us a visit if you have any questions and we will be more than happy to help.