Story by Liesel Schmidt
As a cigar aficionado, Kyeneil Tippett knows his way around a good cigar. He appreciates the smell, the ceremony of smoking it and the craft that went into rolling it. As the owner of UpTOP Cigars, he shares that with other enthusiasts, welcoming them to share their stories, make new friends and relax and enjoy the rich fug of a beautifully-created cigar.
Launched in 2019, UpTOP Cigars was born of Tippett’s love for cigars and “the conversations that happen with others while smoking. I have a deep passion and respect for the tobacco leaf,” he says. “For me, it is a great teacher. Not only spiritually, but in reality. The process of making a fine cigar takes time, patience and years to perfect. My passion is to share this knowledge and smoking experience with everyone and to have great conversations while we smoke.”
A Marine who served four years, Tippett’s self-described “ridiculous and sickening” work ethic is something that he credits to his time in active duty—something that he has called upon often now that he is a business owner. “I never stop working,” he says.
As an event vendor, he travels and rolls cigars at events. In this way, Tippett brings the experience to his clients, making their event more memorable and all the more special. “Most people have not seen a cigar rolled from scratch and do not realize the skill it takes to create one. I provide this experience,” he says. Having come to Alexandria in 2017, Tippett found his niche in the business community, working closely with Sonoma Cellar to create regular events. “They have made my business experience here very comfortable,” he says. “I love the community and how close the people are here. Makes me feel right at home.”