Date: April 2019
Author: Inspector Z

Limburg gets a new Habanos Specialist. The Southern province of The Netherlands has lost a few renowned retailers in the last few years. Those included Habanos specialists like Augustus van Neer and Eduard Dekkers. But from January 1st, Sigarenmagazijn Eygelshoven will be a Habanos Specialist.

Eygelshoven is a small, tight-knit, community in between Heerlen and Kerkrade. And a few years ago, Sigarenmagazijn Eygelshoven owners Wil and Tom Winkelman decided to specialize more into cigars. That meant fading out a lot of the convenience store items they sold. It turned out to be a great vision, as, in the years after their decision, more and more legislation arose. With their call, they stayed a step ahead of the legislation and turned out the be ready for the future. They will be one of the few tobacco only shops in the country.

Ministry of Cigars - Limburg gets a new Habanos Specialist

The shop used to sell cigarettes, roll your own tobacco and the famous dry-cured short fillers which are still very popular in The Netherlands. Five years ago they added premium longfillers as well. Especially Tom, the son of the father and son team, is passionate about premium cigars. He wanted to expand in that part of the tobacco business. A walk-in humidor was built. And two years ago, a smoke lounge was realized at the back of the shop.

Ministry of Cigars - Limburg gets a new Habanos Specialist
Ministry of Cigars - Limburg gets a new Habanos Specialist
The cozy lounge of Sigarenmagazijn Eygelshoven

The why

We heard the news through the grapevines. We reached out to Tom. He explained in an e-mail his decision to become a Habanos Specialist. “When we started with premium cigars, Cuban cigars were well represented in the region, while Non-Cubans were harder to find. Back then we decided not to invest in an extended portfolio of Cubans but focus on niches that would suit our customers”. And that was a good choice, the sales numbers exploded, customers came from everywhere in the region. With no cigar lounge in the whole province, the Winkelmans decided to build one as an extension to the shop.

“We were the first with a lounge in Limburg” Winkelman continues. “And that expanded our customer base even more, and with new customers, a new demand for Cubans came. After several shops in the area closed their doors, it made sense for us to obtain a Habanos Specialist status. We will be Habanos Specialist from January 1st, but we will steadily increase the variety in Cuban Cigars in our humidor from now on”.

Habanos Specialist criteria

To become a Habanos Specialist, shops have to meet certain criteria. Those include having a walk-in humidor, carry a minimum number of Cuban cigars and a Habanos Specialist must have visited Cuba on a tour with Cubacigar. Winkelman will be traveling to Cuba in early next year to receive his certificate.

“This will be my third cigar trip. So far I have been to Nicaragua with Agio Cigars, where we did the Drew Estate Cigar Safari. And I visited Brazil with Ritmeester Cigars. I am looking forward to visiting Cuba as well” Winkelman concluded his e-mail.

Ministry of Cigars - Limburg gets a new Habanos Specialist

Sigarenmagazijn Eygelshoven is not the only cigar lounge in Limburg anymore. The La Casa del Habano Maastricht has a lounge too. But it is still the only lounge without an admission fee. The La Casa del Habano charges admission to enter the lounge, even when you buy cigars from their humidor.

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