Celebrity Smoke - Oris Erhuero

Boisdale Life’s Ricardo Carioni meets the London-born, award-winning actor and jewellery designer who rose to fame in the Nineties as one of the most sought-after international male models of the decade.

By Ricardo Carioni

July 6 2023

Oris has starred in a series of films including The Adventures of Sinbad; Highlander: Endgame; Black Mask 2; Sometimes in April; The Cursed Ones; Road to Yesterday; and Redcon-1, for which he won the HBO Actor of the Year Award in 2022. Oris is also the 2022 Boisdale Cigar Smoker of the Year.

RC: What was your first, and perhaps most memorable, cigar?

OE: I smoked my first cigar in the summer of 1995 on location in Cape Town, South Africa, where I was filming the first season of the The Adventures of Sinbad. I was one of the lead actors on the show and it was my first major, really full-on acting job. One evening after dinner at a restaurant, I was on my way to the bathroom and somehow walked into a room where gentlemen were smoking. I apologised, only to be called back in by one of them, who said he had recognised me from a news story about actors filming in Cape Town. He asked if I smoked. I said no. He then proceeded to not only gift me a cigar, but give me a full-on cigar lesson and experience, from cutting to lighting and smoking. The cigar was a 7 x 47 Cohiba Espléndido, created in 1966 for Fidel Castro. He invited me back a few days later, gifting me a box of 25 cigars, a humidor, a cutter and lighter. I was blown away! It was only later that I understood the importance of what I was smoking. It was the beginning of a cigar journey that, in 2018, took me to the world famous Laguito Factory in Havana. That cigar in 1995 changed the course of my destiny.

RC: What, where, and with whom do you normally smoke, aside than when we’re together?

OE: I usually smoke with friends that I have gathered over the years from around the world, so depending on what part of the world I’m in, we all meet up to share and exchange our latest cigars and engage in endless conversations. For example, if in London, it’s Boisdale of Belgravia and Canary Wharf and the Soho Whisky & Cigar Club. If I’m in Lagos, Nigeria, then it’s The Cave, or the rooftop at some hotel on the Island. In Los Angeles it’s the V Cut on Melrose Avenue, or the Grand Havana room. If I’m in Norway, my second home, it will be Augusto Cigars.

Boisdale Cigar Smoker of the Year 2022, Oris Erhuero
Boisdale Cigar Smoker of the Year 2022, Oris Erhuero

RC: Do you have any cigar habits and superstitions?

OE: I like to make sure my cigars are well kept at the right temperature, as if they just walked out of their region of origin. It’s important for me to show them respect so they serve me well in mind, body, and spirit, especially when you gift them to friends. It’s also nice to hear older friends and very experienced cigar aficionados say, “Wow! That was a beautiful smoke. Where did you get it from?” Or when they say things like “Hey! You really know how to take care of your cigars”, as I always believe a man’s or woman’s choice of cigar reflects their character. I make sure I eat properly, and my mind is absolutely at peace before I smoke, or I just don’t bother. I’d rather wait until my head is clear because to me it’s a very rich, spiritual, and powerful moment from the second I strike that match to the last draw.

RC: Tell us what your favourite cigar paring is.

OE: This is a very personal and debatable topic! One of the things that was made very clear to me earlier on in my cigar journey, was to keep in mind that the most important thing is the hand-rolled premium cigar experience, period. Nothing else. The sole purpose of the smoker is to enjoy the taste and his or her own company, so the only thing needed to pair with a cigar is a jug of water and a glass. For me, the cigar is the superstar, then come good conversation, the people you are surrounded by, and the atmosphere, which all make the greatest pairing ever.