Charles Awad is Senior Vice President Global Marketing & Innovation at the renowned Oettinger Davidoff AG. He has been in the luxury industry for a long time, and on his free time, he enjoys attending polo tournaments, and has developed a critic eye for the sport. In this interview we ask him more about the Brand, its latest cigar Oro Blanco, and the latest initiatives, and we find more about the relationship between cigars and polo.

Which is your role in Davidoff?
I have been with Oettinger Davidoff AG for the past three years, leading the Global Marketing & Innovation Division of the company. I used to work for Esteé Lauder in New York, and before that I was in Procter & Gamble where I focused on the luxury products division working on prestige fragrance brands like Hugo Boss, Gucci, Lacoste and luxury skincare such as SK-II. I have been working with Davidoff for the past three years, looking to revive the gorgeous brand that it is and making sure that aficionados around the world have a chance to discover and experience it.

We learned that you are an avid polo aficionado, what is your relationship with the sport?
I am an aficionado, indeed, and love to attend Polo Masters events. Polo is really popular in Switzerland and I have been privileged enough to attend the the Jaeger Le-Coultre Polo Masters in Polo Club de Veytay and the Megeve Polo Masters in the stunning winter setting. My wife is also really keen of the sport and we both got to discover polo through a friend in Paris that spent some time in Argentina and practices the sport.

How would you relate your inclination for polo with your career in the luxury industry?
Polo is a sport for very discerning individuals. It is a sport that requires a lot of preparation, especially the horses. Polo takes place usually in gorgeous settings, associated with timeless beauty. It is a beautiful sport to watch, in an environment that I would say that it is full of cultured aficionados. It is for those who enjoy a certain lifestyle and look to fill their time beautifully. The people who appreciate the sport have a good sense of luxury and you see similar-minded people who appreciate a sporty and luxury lifestyle.

We learnt about Davidoff’s latest cigar, Oro Blanco. We read that it is very special and a result of 13 years of ageing and blending, and we instantly think about the process of horse breeding. What is your opinion about this new cigar, and do you also see similarities between them?
This is a very interesting question ! When I found out about what horse breeding requires — the stringent selection, conditioning, preparation and training — , I cannot help but associating it with a rare cigar like Oro Blanco. To craft such an exceptional cigar, you have to discover and select the right tobacco, it has to be „trained and conditioned“ too, as well as aged while you make sure that it is blended to deliver a memorable experience. It is a similar process, both rigorous procedures deliver a very special product and experience. Both disciplines, cigar blending and horse breeding are a craft that you need to master, and it is not for everyone because of the effort, preparation and a talent that is innate. You prepare the rare tobacco for a special moment of enjoyment, and breed special horses for a special moment of performance. There are definitely a lot of similarities!

Bridgehampton Polo Club has designated you as their official cigar, would you tell us more about this venture?
This initiative comes from our US headquarters. We sponsor several polo events in USA. I think that a long-term cooperation with the sport is definitely fitting: we have the same target, and you often encounter polo aficionados who are also cigar aficionados. I see a synergy between cigars and the sport. The cigar is also frequently saved for the celebration of the polo player after a match, often the cigar pops up, both men and women, the end of the game is a moment of celebration, deeply associated with the cigar culture.

Which is your unique and special moment for Oro Blanco?
I have had only one, on New Year’s eve. Unfortunately, Oro Blanco is so rare and difficult to find, that I was only able to get one for December 31st. I could unfortunately not share the experience with others as I only had one cigar. I loved the cigar. You need to pay attention to this cigar, it is a very interesting one, and it truly requires the right moment and the right place to fully enjoy it.

Please tell us about your new initiative, “The Hourglass Lounge”.
We have just launched it in the US. We partnered with one of the world’s leading luxury lifestyle concierge service, Quintessentially Lifestyle, to launch the Hourglass Lounge: the first global luxury concierge service dedicated to the cigar aficionado. The Hourglass Lounge helps aficionados around the world to have more time in life to enjoy exceptional cigars and live incredible experiences thanks to its expert around-the-clock concierge support. It is the ultimate cigar aficionado luxury for those who believe that time is the ultimate luxury.

The Hourglass Lounge enables its members to enjoy unparalleled levels of service: from responding to their everyday needs to fulfilling their extraordinary requests and wishes. This service is designed to fill the cigar aficionado’s time with unforgettable and exquisite experiences. From travel experiences to help in relocations, or if you wish to spend a week with our blender in Dominican Republic, or have a walk-in humidor lounge in your house, we can do it. For polo aficionados, we can arrange you to spend unforgettable experiences with professional polo players, and any dream they may have. Each Hourglass Lounge member will have round-the-clock instant access to a team of Concierges who are knowledgeable, fully trained, and committed to delivering worldwide service excellence, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I invite your readers to discover it further on hourglasslounge.com

Do you see the brand collaborating in another way with the polo scene in the future?
I think we definitely look into it. Polo aficionados will definitely value our brand as well, and I look forward for future collaborations.