Great selection and three locations: Cigar Man has something for everyone!
From the experienced connoisseur looking for a good cigar to the yet to be initiated, Cigar Man is Ottawa’s go-to place for cigars. The store’s original location on Bank Street just south of Billings Bridge is a sight to behold and owner Eli Ayoub is a true gentleman whose knowledge of cigars is unparalleled.
Ayoub loves everything about cigars. “It’s a natural product to enjoy . . . a way of life, and a way to relax.” On smoking he says, “I don’t do it often in the winter because I like to sit outside.” He adds, “you don’t buy a cigar to smoke like a cigarette, you smoke it to enjoy it.”
Ayoub initially worked in the convenience store business where he sold cigars, magazines, and other newsstand-like items. As that market changed he shifted to selling only premium tobacco products along with pipes and the tools of the trade, such as humidors, cutters, and cigar lighters.
In store, you’ll find thousands of cigars from all over the world. The shop carries cigars from Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Ayoub says, “they all make good stuff; some people prefer Cubans still, but the best cigars in the world, according to cigar magazines, come from Nicaragua.”
Ayoub proudly boasts having the best selection in all of Ontario saying, “I love to buy things and to try new things, so I can always give the customers what they like.”
The cigar industry has changed in Canada in the past couple of years. Plain packaging laws have come into effect, so the cigars bands are all the same colour with muted text, frustrating customers accustomed to recognizing favourite brands by their bands. Canada is the only country to plain package cigars. Australia, the country that invented plain packaging for cigarettes, doesn’t apply the same regulations to cigars.
Ironically, the plain packaging regulations don’t apply to cannabis products and cigars are also taxed at 83 per cent, adding difficulty to the industry in Canada. “It’s a legal product,” says Ayoub, “I don't know why they don’t allow us to advertise, but you can advertise cannabis with a big sign, but I can’t put up a sign saying I sell cigars, I had to take my signs down but they love the tax the make of my product every month.”
Despite this, Ayoub says that business is doing well. Cigar Man has two newer locations: Richmond Road in Westboro and at Lansdowne Park, and sales get better every year. The Covid lockdowns have been good for business. Ayoub says that working from home has allowed people who enjoy cigars to have one outside after lunch, or even while working.
For the cigar lover, Cigar Man sells some hidden gems. Their house Cubans retail for under $15 and are made by the same factory that produces the world-renowned Cohiba brand.
You can find anything you’re looking for at one of Ayoub’s three stores. If you want to get a recommendation for something new, Cigar Man’s friendly and professional staff can help you pick the perfect cigar for you. But, if you are new to cigars, Ayoub is the man to talk to.
The sign in front of the counter sums up perfectly why people keep on coming back: “A good cigar is like tasting a good wine: you smell it, you taste it, you look at it, you feel it – you can even hear it. It satisfies all the senses.”
Drop by and visit Ayoub at 1555 Bank Street, Ottawa or call him at 613-523-6424.