Go Columbia

5 minutes with cigar aficionado Justin White of The Cigar Box

Justin White at The Cigar Box.
Justin White at The Cigar Box. Submitted

Cigars are the rewards of the hard worker. Similar to wine, there are many options on the market that it can be intimidating for a novice to decipher what’s good and how best to enjoy it. Luckily for Columbia patrons, there’s Justin White at The Cigar Box.

Q. Tell us a little bit of the history of The Cigar Box.

A. Quiet, quaint and relaxing. The Cigar Box initiated with a cozy little spot on Rosewood Drive. After being acquired by Brian Stockard a little over six years ago, it has blossomed into a sophisticated establishment with several locations in the greater Columbia area. Family owned and operated, we sought to provide the perfect environment for all to enjoy premium tobacco.

Q. What got you into cigars?

A. Going to college in Myrtle Beach, cigars were everywhere. I found that a cigar was literally a mini vacation that everyone could afford. I became interested in learning all about the cigar process. Small companies seemed more appealing to me. Why smoke something that I can get anywhere and anytime?

I quickly discovered that small companies generally made better quality and more enjoyable smokes. When Brian decided to open a second location on Main Street, I was brought in to introduce the capital city to boutique and craft side of cigars.

Q. For folks who want to get into cigars but have no clue what to choose, where do you suggest they begin?

A. Starting the journey down Tobacco Road is simple: don’t smoke the same thing twice before smoking at least 10 different cigars. You need to consider time frame, nicotine content, and flavor profile when selecting a cigar. Are you enjoying this cigar with a meal? After a meal? Perhaps it’s being paired with a beverage. Different types of tobacco from different regions render unique flavors. At The Cigar Box, our goal is to offer the perfect pairing of cigar and beverage with an amazing smoking atmosphere.

Q. What’s your favorite cigar this year?

A. For me, I enjoy mixing it up. I’ve never understood smoking the same thing all of the time. Do you eat the same food every day? No. Tatuaje and Warped are my go-to smokes. So far this year, the Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988 are smoking fantastic, especially to start the day. I’ve found that my palate generally prefers Nicaraguan tobacco.