A day on the cigar trail…

Yesterday (Monday 24th May) was an excellent day for a herf. The temperature was rocketing in London, and any decent cigar store, being climate controlled, would provide excellent respite from the relentless sun.

And so it was, after a brief bit of ‘business’ at lunch-time, I hopped on a train to Teddington with fellow UKCF member Max. We were, of course, heading to La Casa del Habano – the officially franchised cigar store of the Cuban cigar giant Habanos SA. Ajay Patel, the store’s passionate owner showed us the delights of his humidors, and they were certainly delightful! One of the advantages of being a LCdH store is access to all kinds of brilliant goodies, and eyeing up the various anniversary humidors for the likes of Cohiba and Partagas made me seriously consider a stint as a bank robber.

Perhaps a more realistic target for us mere mortals would be to purchase some of the massive range of Regional Editions which Ajay stocks. It is almost a case of just naming what you want (he’s probably got it somewhere…) Swiss, Spanish, Canadian and even Lebanese are just a small selection of the regions he’s managed to source from. One piece of advice given to us later in the evening – and I feel that I must share this with everyone – is not to take a credit card with you. Get the cash out and leave everything else at home, the store is such a treasure trove that you will spend lots of money if you’re not careful. As it was, I bought three cigars on the day. The one I sampled in the lounge was the Bolivar Simones (Canadian RE from 07) – it has had a lot of good things said about it – all correct. I’ll try and post my thoughts soon.

Ajay and his wife also organize a cigar smokers club, members are able to store their cigars at the store in an excellent humidified box and make use of the lounge for ‘sampling’ – Thursday night’s late session by all accounts is very popular and it certainly sounds as though the members are a welcoming and sociable bunch.

Following our, longer than expected, visit to Teddington, we made it to the No10 Manchester Steet Hotel for Hunters and Frankau’s cigar tasting evening – with the Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro being the focus of attention. Thankfully things had cooled down a bit by the time we got there, and despite missing Simon Chase’s talk on Don Alejandro the person (who sadly passed away a little over a month ago) and some background about the cigar, the evening was an excellent finale. As ever at these events, the social nature of cigar smoking shone through. Despite knowing many of the attendees from UKCF, I spent a good deal of time chatting away with new acquaintances on subjects as diverse as nuclear deterrence and bikini mud-wrestling (as you do). The cigar was paired with a vodka martini (not a martini then…), though Max was able to persuade them, with little trouble, to substitute the vodka for a real spirit – gin!

My verdict on the Don Alejandro will be up in due course, but I hope you enjoyed the account of the day. If you are able to get into London for any of the events coming up then you really must – you won’t be disappointed.

Link: LCdH in Teddington

A couple more pics from the members’ lounge at LCdH, Teddington (just click):

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