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Ron Perlman & Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

Maybe you know him as the cigar-chewing Hellboy or as the cigar-smoking “Clay Morrow” from Sons of Anarchy. In any case, Ron Perlman is not only an accomplished actor, but also a cigar aficionado in real life.

What Cigar Does Ron Perlman Smoke in Real Life?

Ron Perlman smokes a variety of very good cigars. He has said that he got started the right way, never smoking “candy store cigars.” A friend who was fond of the finer things in life got Perlman going in the 1970s. Perlman took a liking to the Arturo Fuente Corona.

“It was of a shape and size that were very manageable,” Perlman told Cigar Aficionado. “It was not too big, not too small, not intimidating. I became obsessed with Fuente cigars. I discovered many different sizes through Fuente: the Hemingway, the Corona, the Churchill. That’s where I developed my taste for certain sizes and styles.”

But that just led to more exploration, and to smoking multiple cigars on a daily basis.

“Then I branched out and became a serious fan of cigar smoking. It felt right; it did so much for me spiritually. Smoking a cigar, you have to take your act down a notch. It’s such an esoteric thing; it demands that you give it your attention. Some people meditate; I smoke cigars.

Ron Perlman’s Favorite Cigar

Perlman began acquiring more and more cigars. He kept a half-dozen or so humidors in his Los Angeles home.

“Some of them are exclusively for Cubans, some are just for Dominicans, and some are a hodgepodge of things,” he said. “To this day, I like to experiment, to find things I wasn’t aware of.”

Since puffing on his first cigar, and through his subsequent quest to experience others, Perlman has a list of favorites. He likes the shape of the Joya de Nicaragua Antano Gran Consul, 4.75 by 60, about $9.50, a very full-flavored smoke boasting a lot of earthiness, cedar and espresso. The finish is considerably spicy.

“It’s got a phenomenal design,” Perlman said of the Gran Consul. “It’s the perfect size with incredible flavor—and a great price. It may be the best value on the market. It’s what Clay smokes on the show. Although the Churchill is delicious: You want to be able to take your time and smoke it and just let life happen.”

But wait, there’s more!

“I like the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, too—although that’s probably too much for one sitting,” Perlman said of the iconic Cuban cigar. “Plus, they’re hard to get; I remember when Bill Cosby was on the cover of Cigar Aficionado and said he smoked those. Suddenly you couldn’t get them.” Perlman has also said his “favorite cigar on the planet” is the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey Churchill.

A Ron Perlman Cigar?

At one point, Perlman became so serious about cigars, that he considered creating his own label. He was impressed with a local New York tobacconist who was, to Perlman’s thinking, something of a tobacco alchemist who rolled his own cigars.

“He’d get this cheap tobacco—really shitty stuff—and it was like turning water into wine, it tasted that good,” Perlman, the New York native, recounted. “They were the shittiest rolled cigars you’ve ever seen—practically like an exploding cigar, because they’d fall apart while you smoked them. But he was a magician when it came to flavor.”

Perlman traveled to the Dominican Republic and spent a week tasting different tobaccos, trying to come up with a blend he liked. In the end, he didn’t find what he was looking for. No problem. He had other things to do.

“My career kicked in; I got distracted and never did end up developing it. But my love for cigars was such that I wanted to present the world with my version of the cigar you could smoke every day.”


Throughout his career, Perlman has put cigars in the hands of several of the characters he’s played.

“Just to make sure I was smoking throughout the day, I started adding cigars to some of the characters that I played as an excuse to keep smoking even as I was working” Perlman explained. “Then it became a thing where people would hire me, and they’d go, ‘You know, we like this guy smoking like we saw you do in this other picture,’ so it started to become a thing and it kind of came to a crest on Sons of Anarchy. Clay Morrow, the character I played on there for six years, was a degenerate cigar smoker.”

Perlman isn’t done yet, though his career has been more successful than he imagined. Even without his own cigar brand.

“The things that have happened to me as an actor have so far exceeded my expectations,” Perlman said. “If it all ended now, I could say I had as satiating a career as I wanted, in terms of the opportunities I was given. Things continue to come in, almost in spite of myself.”

On his doctor’s advice, Perlman, now 72 years of age, has cut back on his sometimes five or six cigars a day, but he surely has ample reason to celebrate his dreams having come true by enjoying a great smoke.

“I stopped dreaming because my real life exceeded what I could have dreamed of. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve lived a life that’s exceeded my dreams—and I’m a big dreamer.”

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