Entertainers, like actors and musicians, often enjoy premium cigars. Rocky Patel, an entertainment lawyer, was inspired by sharing cigars on movie sets with clients like Bruce Willis. This led him to sell his law firm and thrive as a successful cigar manufacturer.
Some entertainers take the step too, from just being an afficionado, to having their own brand. No, Silvester Stallone is not one of them, he has got nothing to do with Stallone Cigars. We are leaving professional athletes out of this list; they will get their own list soon. Some of these are just collaborations, some are one-offs, and some go deeper than that with the entertainer becoming the main investor in a cigar company. Not all are as successful as others as you can see in the list below. If you know any other celebrities with their own cigars, let us know in the comments and maybe we get enough names to write another part.
Chuck Norris and James Belushi
In the midst of the cigar boom of the 1990s, actors and friends Chuck Norris and James ‘Jim’ Belushi, both known cigar afficionados, decided to take the leap. The duo founded Lone Wolf Cigars, a passion project, with a few other investors. “We all went down to the Dominican Republic, and they asked us what kind of cigars we wanted. I said that I wanted a very mellow cigar. I didn’t want a cigar that was going to burn my throat. Jim said he wanted a cigar that would, in effect, blow his head off. So we have different blends of our cigars that go from mellow to strong.” Norris explained in a 1998 interview.
Norris and Belushi may have disagreed about what exactly makes a fine cigar. Yet, they agreed on one thing: Lone Wolf Cigars would be for everyone instead of only for the super-rich. From the get-go, the more affordable price point made these sticks famous for everyday smokers. In 2000, they sold the company to their retail manager David Weiss. Some Lone Wolf cigars are still available online, but google shows that the Lone Wolf Cigar Shop in Santa Monica is permanently closed.
One of the latest celebrity cigars is the collaboration between celebrated actor Jeremy Piven and Illusione Cigars. It was actually Jeremy Piven who gave me the inspiration for this article when I was watching the 2006 masterpiece Smoking Aces. Piven is one of the main characters in this underrated movie with the star cast (Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, Taraji P Henson, Ryan Reynolds, Alicia Keys, Common and many more famous faces) and I said to my wife “this guy has his own cigar.” That was it, I had to write about celebrities and their cigars.
Jeremy Piven made a name for himself portraying the foul-mouthed agent Ari Gold on the smash hit Entourage of the mid-2000s. Since then, he’s found himself on the cover of Cigar Aficionado not once, but twice. And this wasn’t just for show, as Piven’s such a cigar fanatic that he sought out the golden palate of Illusione’s Dion Giolito to craft a signature smoking experience to bear his name: The Jeremy Piven Collection.
The first cigar in The Jeremy Piven Collection is the PIV Robusto, custom blended by Dion Giolito at the acclaimed Aganorsa Leaf factory of Nicaragua. Dion made use of Cuban-seed AGANORSA tobaccos throughout the blend, though the cigar sets itself apart with a unique double binder, showcasing a Corojo 2012 seed that brings depth and creaminess to Ilusione’s signature balance and sweetness.
The Bronx Tale, the 1993 movie with Robert DeNiro as the main character, is based upon Palminteri’s autobiographical play from 1989. And as of 2023, Palminteri also has a cigar, aptly named “Bronx Tale”. The reason to create this cigar? “To dedicate a cigar to my grandfather, Calogero, he came to this country with nothing and made a life for himself,” Palminteri says.
Palminteri’s late, cigar-smoking grandfather —whom he is named after — immigrated to the U.S. from Sicily in 1910 in search of a more prosperous life. “I thought we could dedicate this cigar to all the immigrants who came to this country and made a life for themselves – it’s a cigar for them,” Palminteri added.
2023 marked the film’s 30th anniversary and that was a good time to launch an eponymous cigar in partnership with Epic Cigars and La Casa Grande cigar shop in The Bronx.
Our non-American readers might say “who?” as celebrity chef Fieri has not had television shows in Europe or Asia yet. But he is immensely popular in the United States. As many other chefs, who are known for their great palates, Fieri enjoys premium cigars. He enjoys them so much that he collaborates with Erik Espinosa from Espinosa Cigars for the knuckle Sandwich.
Fieri is a longtime cigar smoker. He says he came to love the smell of cigars when he would visit his grandfather, who smoked “Tiparillos and White Owls.” Fieri himself started off that way before coming to embrace the premium side of cigars. “I went through my good, bad and ugly era of cigars,” he said. Fieri remembers that his first premium cigar was a Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Maduro. “I tasted it and I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. Now I understand.’ I still have two or three boxes in my humidor. I’ve gone through the gamut, an Avo fan, always a Fuente fan, Short Story was one of my all-time faves.”
Since the first release, several Knuckle Sandwich cigars have been released. Most, or all, are made at the San Lotano Factory from A.J. Fernandez in Nicaragua. Espinosa works with Fernandez often as his own La Zona factory in downtown Estelí is at maximum capacity already. Knuckle Sandwich seems like a huge success and Inspector X can see many more releases in the future.
From rags to riches, Jay-Z truly lives the American dream. From a poor kid slinging dope in the streets of the projects to a billionaire serial entrepreneur. Both Jay-Z and his equally successful wife, singer Beyonce, are known cigar afficionados. They caused some media outrage when they visited Cuba and were seen smoking Cuban cigars.
But Jay-Z also teamed up with General Cigars for a one-off collaboration with the non-Cuban version of Cohiba. The Brooklyn born star and blenders from General worked for two years to create a cigar that blends, “leaves from the most revered Caribbean and Central American growing regions.” With Jay-Z involved, the packaging had to be top notch and thus the cigars come in a selection of stunning cases. With three sets to choose from, you can take your pick from; The Comador Humidor with 21 cigars and a small travel case, The Comador Travel Humidor with 7 cigars in a Spanish cedar lined case, and The Comador Toro Box containing 7 cigars in a matt box.
Jay-Z commented back in 2013, when the cigar was released that “I worked with Cohiba because I knew they’d take my vision of a luxury cigar and bring it to life in the right way. We took our time working on this, to get the blend to exactly where I wanted it to be. Comador looks and tastes the way I think a cigar should.”
The last person on our list is Nas, another rapper from New York. One of the other names that Nas uses is ‘Escobar’ and that’s the name he uses for his endeavors in the cigar industry as well.
Nas is one of the most accomplished artists in the music industry. He’s now a cofounder of Escobar Cigars, adding his talent and passion to the storied Nicaraguan cigar manufacturer. “When the team at Escobar Cigars initially approached me, I was immediately drawn to the brand by the exceptional quality of their product, from the craftsmanship to the enjoyable smoking experience. The name instantly stood out to me as well, since ‘Escobar’ is an alias, I’ve been going by throughout my career.” Nas said in 2021 when he became co-owner of the brand. It was full circle to hear that the name [of the cigar brand] was inspired partially by my persona and entrepreneurial spirit,” he says, “so it was a natural fit.”
For Nas, who became a brand ambassador for Hennessy after famously name-dropping the spirits brand on his debut album, Illmatic, working with Escobar was a chance to delve into one of his other favorite vices. “I’ve always had a love for cigars, especially early on in my career,” he says. “I truly developed an affinity for cigars as an artist since I was surrounded by people who were smoking them, whether it was relaxing or celebrating, so from there my interest continued to grow and the rest is history.”