Smoke Speak: Buzz Tang of The Anthology

Smoke Speak: Buzz Tang of The Anthology

By Rikesh Chauhan

Buzz Tang has a way of always looking immaculate, whatever style he so wishes to wear that day. His understanding of clothing, of shape and texture, of cloth, is up there with the very best, and the way he puts his ensembles together — when he’s not designing them — is again, second to none. Don’t take my word for it, however. Ask anyone in menswear, any customer of The Anthology, or anyone that follows Buzz on Instagram. Splitting his time between London, where he currently resides, and Hong Kong, Buzz is not elusive, but just a very busy man. The Anthology certainly keeps him on his toes, as does his passion for the arts, and constant want to learn and develop his skills and understanding of the world, the industry and cultures he’s exposed to. We were naturally delighted to get some time with him over lunch — and some specially curated cigars — at Chiltern Firehouse.

A curated selection of cigars, available on EGM Cigars.

A curated selection of cigars, including a Hong Kong regional edition Bolivar.

Share a memory of your first ever smoke...

It was a Juan López Seleccion No.2, a robusto vitola. Frankly, I had a very faint memory of the first one I smoked as I did not have a palette for them. I could only tell I didn't hate it, and of course, it was also the company that made up for it. I only started documenting and remembering names, flavour profiles and learning things that I like, only until a while later I picked up cigar smoking. The very first one that I actually ‘smoked’ and indulged in was the Montecristo No.4.

What's your favourite current cigar, and why?

Thinner smokes are right up my alley. The Por Larrañaga Montecarlo is usually my conversation starter. It's mild, easy to consume, and the aromatic aftertaste is soothing and indulging. I specifically enjoy the mild hints of chocolate and woody notes, while with an occasional spicy kick to it, it’s quite a delight. Besides, the price is friendly and would not be offensive to anyone. Unfortunately, the downside is it's been so sought-after. It has not been easy to get hold of these days.

Magnums are also my usual to-go as they are generally crowd pleasers, but an aged Punch Punch, Partagas 8-9-8, Sancho Panza Belicosos or Hoyo Du Maire would always have a special place in my heart.

Buzz Tang enjoying a Bolivar at Chiltern Firehouse, London.

Buzz Tang enjoying a Bolivar at Chiltern Firehouse, London.

What have you done recently, for the first time?

Both start with a ‘D’, but they are opposing as one’s good for the body whereas the other goes the other way - diving and drinking! I last dived in Tenerife, the Canary Islands, last summer — truly an eye-opening experience! It was intriguing as I almost felt like exploring another dimension of the planet. Previously, I only got to do scuba diving but I can now go a few tens of metres deep down into the ocean. It might sound a little childish, but it suddenly felt like the world expanded! I only started drinking last year. I used to be allergic (and I still am I believe, I just recklessly neglect it). I already expect to get refitted by our team with my bespoke garments!

Tell us about your journey in menswear, and how The Anthology came to be...

Having the privilege to run The Anthology is a matter of serendipity and also “right time, right place”: I met Andy, who is the other pillar of The Anthology when I was 18. We share the same goal in terms of how we perceive a brand, but also have very different perspectives. Thus, we effectively fill each other’s gaps which, in turn, makes the label more all-rounded. With his expertise in bespoke tailoring and my prior experience moonlighting on Savile Row as a cloth merchant, whilst also being a design student at school, Andy and I knew there would be an opportunity to start a tailoring-focused label that is imbued with a strong creative identity.

Buzz's ensemble, perfect for a spring afternoon in London.

Buzz's ensemble, perfect for a spring afternoon in London.

We wanted to convey the story of a modern man that carries tasteful eclectic identity, with slight reminiscence of the appreciation for traditional craft — a bricolage of the modern and the old. We've heard countless stories about menswear designers attempting to contemporise mens tailoring by 'simplifying' things. Throughout the process, it is often that they make compromises on the craft level and design integrity. We wanted to make a mark in this industry, rectify the fallacy and bring in a new perspective to the world of tailoring, hence the establishment of The Anthology.

Favourite summer pastime?

Spending time in Southeast Asia if not Southern Europe. The beaches, resorts and delicious food ranging from hawkers' stores to tapas are always the perfect ways for me to unwind and forget about all the troubles. Otherwise, a picnic in London on a pleasant day is also enjoyable.

Best place to enjoy a cigar?

I value privacy a lot. My garden’s great, but it’s even better when you have good ambience. The courtyard at Corinthia Hotel in London reminds me of The Ritz Paris at night. I love that space. It's semi-open, spacious, and would not cause any irritation to anyone who's in the vicinity.

Chiltern Firehouse, London.

Chiltern Firehouse, London.

Your top three restaurants in London...

Always a hard time when one has to narrow down the choices. Gosh, three is definitely not going to be enough, but I shall try. My partner and I visit Bocca di Lupo for light, refreshing suppers. The Mediterranean seafood dishes and pastas are impeccably done. One thing we love about this place: dishes come in small and large plates, depending on choice. We can always go a bit greedy and order multiple plates to share by adjusting the portions if the menu looks mouth-watering that day. Always end the night with their affiliated gelato store right across the street!

Sabor. Similar but in a Spanish setting. Although we learnt to make some of their dishes, I still think the friendly environment makes it a worthy experience. Always visit the counter downstairs for tapas. The arroz negro and their famous tortilla are always on my mind.

Lastly, it would be Roketsu. Whenever I desire a traditional kaiseki (not sushi, manage your expectations!) experience from Japan without having to fly all the way back to Asia, this is the place. Kaiseki to me would never be mind-blowing, but it is soothing and comfortable.

Lighting up at the Firehouse.

Lighting up at the Firehouse.

Something you regret not buying...

Nothing much, materialistically, or there would never be enough if we think it that way! I would say, however, time and distance. I wish I got to be living in London while getting to see my parents and my team a lot more. They are currently based in the Far East. Despite the amount I fly back to see them, it is still never enough.

What's in store for you for the rest of 2022?

Quite a handful of things! We launch things by drop. Every time our designs come in a different setting and evoke a different feel, which is the charm of The Anthology style — the versatility and adaptability, while being all coherent. The upcoming few weeks will be very exciting. Allow me to string you along just a little longer!

Buzz Tang, pictured outside Chiltern Firehouse, London.

Buzz Tang outside Chiltern Firehouse, London.

Keep an eye out for more from our Smoke Speak series, with some of our favourite people, and let us know who you would like us to feature next. For all your Cuban cigar needs, be sure to explore our collection now.

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