Late last year, Benji Menendez was coming to Dallas to promote his brand new cigar, the Partagas Master Series, as part of his “Benji Menendez Socials” when he had a medical issue that made it impossible to attend.

He said he would be back this year to meet everyone, and last week, he made good on his promise with an event at Chamberlain’s in Addison, Texas.

This was the first time I met Menendez and I was extremely impressed. He obviously had a love of not just cigars themselves, but also the history behind them. I was introduced by the ever present Frank Seltzer and I asked for about seven minutes of Menendez’s time to take a quick portrait for my Icons of Cigars Portraits project.

Benji said no problem, and away we went. And here is the portrait that resulted.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.