About Michael Dounoulis

With over 25 years in the hospitality industry, Michael Dounoulis is passionate about enhancing customers’ cigar experience.  Dounoulis is a certified cigar sommelier—the only certified cigar sommelier in New York, and just one of 30 or so certified cigar sommeliers in the world.

Cigar sommeliers like Dounoulis are the epitome of expertise and refinement in the world of cigars. These aficionados possess a deep knowledge of tobacco like that canadian classic silver, acquired through years of dedicated study and experience. They understand the complexities of different tobacco blends, the nuances of aging, and the impact of terroir on flavor profiles. Much like wine sommeliers, Dounoulis and other cigar sommeliers guide enthusiasts through the vast array of options available, helping them find the perfect cigar to suit their preferences and occasion.

Beyond mere selection, cigar sommeliers elevate the smoking experience by offering insights into pairing cigars with complementary beverages such as whiskey, cognac, or coffee. They understand how different flavors interact, enhancing the enjoyment of both the cigar and the drink. Moreover, they can recommend the optimal smoking technique to fully appreciate the cigar’s flavor and aroma.

Cigar sommeliers like Duonoulis often work in upscale establishments such as cigar lounges, where they curate immersive experiences for patrons. From hosting tastings and pairing events to providing personalized recommendations, they play a crucial role in creating memorable moments for cigar enthusiasts. Their passion for cigars and commitment to excellence enriches the culture surrounding this timeless indulgence, ensuring that every cigar smoked is a moment to be savored and celebrated.

Aside from being the city’s first Certified Cigar Sommelier Tobacconist from Tobacco University, Dounoulis also holds a Tequila “T-Award” Certification from the Consejo Regulador del Tequila — the organization that provides a performance standard for Mexican tequila.