We were sitting in a garage talking about modified Mercedes-Benz cars from the 1980s, and Phil S. Zanghi III suddenly begins to tell us a story about how Jean-Claude Van Damme was living with his family before Van Damme became famous. Zanghi, the owner of Debonaire House, wasn’t name-dropping, he was just telling a story about growing up. If you’ve ever spent time with Phil you are likely to learn a few things:

  1. He consumes too much coffee
  2. He can and will talk about anything
  3. He has been in the cigar business a long time
  4. He has lived an interesting life

If you’ve never heard the story(s), I’d recommend reading this interview he did a few years ago with Cigar Press, pretty early on you’ll understand that living with Jean-Claude Van Damme isn’t even that interesting in the grand scheme of Zanghi’s life. — Charlie Minato.

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For those of you that want to know more technical details, this portrait was taken in open sun in Dallas, Texas with a Sony a7RIII and a Sigma 105mm ƒ/1.4 lens set to ƒ/1.4 and 1/500 of a second. The ISO was set at 100 and there was only one source of light: natural sunlight diffused through cloud cover directly above Zanghi’s head. The photograph was converted from RAW in Photoshop 2018 and adjustments were made using custom actions.

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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.