9. Places to Smoke
New Smoking terraces at the Langham and Dukes Hotels
When two great London Hotels open Cigar Terraces within weeks of each other it is a sign that things are on the up for London cigar smokers and the many visitors who flock to London in search of the very finest Cuban cigars.
The Langham Terrace Garden and Champagne Bar
The Langham Hotel is one of London’s grandest and nestled at basement level away from the hustle of Regents street is the wonderful new Terrace Garden and Champagne bar.
It is the ideal place for a quiet cigar and a refreshing glass of Laurent Perrier champagne after a busy days shopping in the West End. The team have done extensive testing to ensure they can recommend the perfect cigar from their well stocked humidor to go with each champagne.
As you relax in this flower filled oasis with rattan chairs under shady umbrellas you will forget your sore feet.
If you are a sports lover this is the best place to watch key fixtures. The champagne bar has comfortable leather chesterfield’s, a large plasma screen and they serve a fabulous meze platter which will keep you going until full time.
The Cognac and Cigar Garden at Dukes Hotel
At the wonderfully discreet Dukes Hotel in St James the Courtyard Garden has recently been refurbished and now povides the most peaceful of spots for a quiet cigar. The hotel has the air of relaxed elegance that only comes with years of experience.
Whether on a summer evening or at a cooler time of the year this is a great spot to sit with a drink and a cigar. The bar offers a great range of cognacs or you might be persuaded to try one of the famous Dukes Martini’s. Dukes has long been famous for producing the very best Martini in London, Ian Flemming was a regular here and he inspired the hotels famous Vesper Martini, but don’t take my word for it. Take your taste buds along and try one or two, but no more!
The Cognac and Cigar Garden is open all year round with heating in the winter; open from 8pm daily.
10. Travel to Cuba
Just imagine, a whole week of pleasure among friends with a common link: the passion for Havana Cigars. Sautter Events will transport you to Cuba and cigar paradise.
Europeans have been travelling to Cuba since 1492, when Columbus first set foot on the wonderful island. Among the many discoveries he made here was the indigenous Indians love of smoking tobacco.
Cuba is still drawing tourists from all over the world and is truly a fascinating destination. It has wonderful colonial architecture, UNESCO preserved habitats, breathtaking scenery and a wealth of unspoilt tropical beaches.
For any serious cigar lover a trip to Cuba must be on the agenda. Whether you travel to join one of the Cigar Festivals in February or in November on a small exclusive trip, it will be an unforgettable experience. These days Havana is in easy and comfortable reach of the UK with two Virgin Atlantic flights each week.
In 2011 Sautter will launch a range of Cigar tours to Cuba starting with a trip to the Habanos Festival which runs from February 21st to 25th 2011.
The Annual Festival is the largest international meeting for the lovers of the best tobacco in the world. Each year attendees have the chance to be the first people to sample the new vitolas that Habanos S.A. will launch to the markets during 2011, and to discover for themselves the secrets of a deep-rooted centuries old tradition.
During the Festival week there are opportunities to visit the plantations, factories and some of the wonderful historic cigar stores. The Festival closes on February 25th with the Gala Dinner that includes the traditional auction of some rare and wonderful Cuban cigars and humidors.
Spaces at the festival will be limited so if you are interested contact Sautter Events urgently for more details. firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Cuban Cigar Memorabilia - The original Behike Humidor
Today the most collectible items in the cigar world are those with the highest quality and the smallest numbers. The original Behike cigars and the wonderful humidors are prized by collectors all over the world.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cohiba it was decided to produce just a unique cigar. The size was specially selected to be the length of the longest Cohiba the Lancero (7 ½” /192mm) and the width of the widest, at that time the Siglo VI, (52 ring gauge).
The leaves selected for the cigars came from the finest producing regions in Cuba. The filler from selected Vuelta Abajo plantations and the wrappers came from the vegas of three of the region’s most celebrated farmers: Alejandro Robaina, Pancho Cuba and Antonio Maria Paz.
The Cohiba factory at El Laguito was founded in 1966 and shortly after this also became the first
school where women were taught to roll cigars. For this reason one woman, Norma Fernandez, was selected to produce the cigars.
Only four thousand of these incredible cigars were produced and each cigar band is individually numbered.
The materials used to construct the Elle Bleu humidors were as carefully selected as the leaf for the cigars they contained. The exterior of the box is decorated with rare materials including manta-ray skin, ebony, mother-of-pearl and ox bone and each box was engraved with the name of the end purchaser.
12. The History of Mount Street , Home of Sautter
Nic Wing of Cities in Sound runs the Cuban Cigar Walk London an Audio Guide to the finest cigar stores in Mayfair and St James. In this extract from the walk Nic tells the history of Mount Street the home of Sautter.
Mount street is part of the Grosvenor Estate. This is an area of some of London’s most valuable real estate which was brought together in 1677 when Sir Thomas Grosvenor married the young Mary Davies. Mary was the daughter and heiress of a City Scrivener or administrator. The development of Mary’s land brought the Grosvenor family great wealth and reward. In 1874 the heir was appointed Duke of Westminster. Today much of the land is administered by a trust but the Duke remains one of the richest men in the country.
Mount Street takes its name from Mount’s field and from a Civil war fortification known as Oliver’s mount reputed to be one of Oliver Cromwell’s fortifications. The street dates from about 1740. At that time it contained many small but respectable houses. The whole street was rebuilt between 1880 and 1900 and features the fine pink terracotta Queen Anne style houses with shops below.
The Cuban Cigar Walk London is an audio guide around the finest cigar stores in London.
13.Cuban History - The development of Cohiba
The History of Cohiba
As befits the most prestigious cigar produced in Cuba the very name ‘Cohiba’ goes back to ancient times. Columbus, on his first visit to the island, saw the indigenous Taino Indians smoking roughly rolled bunches of tobacco leaves which they called ‘Cohiba’, a very early form of the cigars we smoke today.
The legend of the current Cohiba brand is shrouded in some mystery. The story goes that one day Castro remarked that he liked the aroma of the cigars his body guard was smoking and discovered that they were rolled by one of the guardian’s friends, a cigar roller called Eduardo Rivera.
This was at a time when there were suggestions that the American CIA were searching for ways to kill Castro and knowing his love of cigars this was one obvious way.
It was decided to set Rivera up in a top secret factory at an old villa in a Havana suburb called El Laguito.
The best cigars require the very best rollers and a team of Cuba’s finest torcedores were recruited to work their magic and produce the Cohiba range of just three cigars in those days: Lancero, Corona Especial and Panetela.
Security at the plant was total and the cigars produced in addition to being for Castro’s personal consumption, were restricted to senior government figures and used for diplomatic gifts.
It was clear from the start that Cohiba was a very special cigar. The tobacco leafs used for the cigars were the very best selected from the five finest tobacco plantations in the Vuelta Abajo region in Cuba.
One reason for the success of the Cohiba brand is the fermentation of the leaf. Unlike other brands whose leaves undergo just two fermentations, two of the filler leaves used for Cohiba cigars, the seco and ligero, undergo a third fermentation in barrels, which adds smoothness to the blend.
In 1982 the Cohiba brand was released onto the open market as Cuba’s flagship cigar brand and today is enjoyed by cigar enthusiasts all over the world. The rich, earthy yet mellow aromas have captivated many a smoker and the brand has quickly become the benchmark for others to try and follow.
The original Linea Clasica, to which the Esplendido, Robusto and Exquisito were added in 1989, was followed in 1992 by the Linea 1492 (the Siglos) which marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to Cuba. In 2007 three new Maduro cigars were introduced and 2010 saw the introduction of the wonderful new Behikes: 52,54 and 56.
14. Social Calendar
Every issue we will bring you details of the key sporting and social events so that you can update your diary and to make sure you have sufficient stocks of Cuban Cigars before you set off.
The Ascot Food Fair Ascot 9th October
Champions meeting Newmarket Oct 15th - 16th www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk
Open Meeting Cheltenham Racetrack Nov 12th -14th www.cheltenham.co.uk
The Winter Festival,including the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Newbury Racecourse Nov 25th - 27th