The nondescript façade of a building undergoing renovation makes it easy to walk past the cigar lover’s delight I’m searching for, as I did one February afternoon walking up D’Aguilar Street in Hong Kong. Kinlonz 1492 is located on the 14th floor, where Annie Kao greets me with a H. Upmann Magnum 56 EL 2015 and lights one up herself. With co-founder James Wu, Annie tells me the story of this hidden treasure of a cigar shop. Offering vintage cigars by the stick is Kinlonz 1492’s main claim to fame: the club offers open boxes of cigars from the 1940s through today, and sticks are priced individually.
“The philosophy of making vintage cigars accessible through individual stick purchases is what drives the club,” Annie tells me. “Cigars are meant to be enjoyed, even if you can’t or don’t want to buy the whole box.” Kinlonz 1492 opened three years ago and welcomes members and referred guests. An annual outlay of HKD100,000 (EUR 11,972) on cigars and whisky (also available by the bottle or glass) qualifies you to apply for membership.
James and Annie’s own collections provide many of the club’s vintage cigars, and the co-owners also import aged and current production cigars from Swiss and UK retailers. With offsite storage facilities in Hong Kong and Europe, the duo seeks to offer aged and vintage cigars now and for the next 40 years. When sourcing cigars, ensuring that they have enough stock for members who want to buy boxes as well as for those who are keen on singles is paramount. What’s also a top priority is considering what is going to be delightful in the short and medium term.
“We are in the business of recommending cigars, not selling cigars,” says Annie. “Kinlonz is about offer- ing the best, and we don’t sell cigars purely for the sake of turnover. The notion of accessible exclusivity attracts decent people from a myriad of industries who share a passion for cigars and whisky.” Setting the lounge apart is its cozy, welcoming atmosphere. It feels more like a living room in which friends can relax and talk cigars and whisky – my type of living room! Kinlonz 1492 is open to members and referred guests every day of the year except for three days after Chinese New Year.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Autumn Edition 2017. Read more