Yesterday was a pretty good day all told. I made my way into London to spend a day herfing with a friend and had quite a day smoking, eating, drinking and looking at some real gems from the cigar world.
Upon arriving at Paddington I decided that the weather was just fair enough for me to take a morning stroll across to Sautter’s of Mount Street in Mayfair. I made a quick caffeine stop at the Mount Street Deli before my first cigar (the Deli: good coffee, very slow service). I moved a couple of doors down to Sautter’s, which is situated opposite the Connaught Hotel, the home of de Gaulle throughout the Second World War. As I entered, I spotted the familiar face of Nic Wing (Cities in Sound – Cuban Cigar Walk London) who was, if I recall correctly, trying out a Fuente Opus X of some description. A brief trip to the humidor in search of a Hoyo de Monterrey ‘Le Hoyo’ of some description – an ideal morning range in my opinion – yielded a du Maire, a tiny little smoke, and the only Le Hoyo that is available as a single from Sautter’s well stocked but small walk-in humidor. It was a nice, light and quick start to the day’s smoking, taking around 30 minutes to smoke – aside from a slightly tight draw, it just about hit the spot.
Just as Nic and the team at Sautter’s started showing off some of the really interesting stock that’s hidden away in the vaults under Mayfair, my herfing buddy for the day arrived. Just in time for the show… Two treasures spring to mind. One was a box of old (70-90 years) Castañeda cigars which seem to have been sent so someone in lieu of gold… Castañeda was one of the brands which eventually merged to become today’s Fonseca marque.
The other treasure, and this really was something to behold, was a cabinet of H.Upmann cigars. (Thankyou to Nic for the picture, right). Here I am referring to the original cabinet – more akin to a cupboard or sideboard than today’s slide-lid boxes… The date of this cabinet, which originally contained 500 cigars of various vitolas, is believed to be 1897. Not just pre-Revolution or pre-World Wars, but pre 20th Century! The cabinet was originally sent to Devon, and there remains just over 300 cigars – one can only imagine the Victorian gentlemen lining up in the gun room to have their post-shoot cigar. What a welcome return from a possibly miserable, wet shoot in the Devon countryside (which can definitely be an unforgiving part of the country). An interesting bit of trivia, rumour has it, is that two of the cigar names from this cabinet are front-runners to be the names of the next two UK Regional Editions…
However, back to the cigars of today. My second cigar at Sautter’s was a Romeo y Julieta Cedros No3. It was a pleasant smoke as well, and just hit the spot before heading off for a light lunch at Carluccio’s. Great cigars, great Italian food and some Peroni Gran Riserva beer certainly got the day off to a wonderful start.
After lunch it was a stroll along New and Old Bond Streets, gazing longingly into some of the wonderful shops which line those streets, towards St James. A quick stop in Berry Brothers to pick up a bottle of chilled Sancerre was our only diversion from JJ Fox, our intended destination. Unfortunately, we were slowly running out of time, so our planned post-dinner Churchills had to go by the wayside – and I was so looking forward to a H.Upmann Sir Winston… I decided to finally give the new UK Regional Edition a test run, so picked up a La Flor de Cano Short Robusto. I was certainly three-for-three on the day though, as the LFdC was a very pleasant smoke, with lots of buttery richness; the only downside was a slight lack of progression as the cigar developed.
As I made my way back to Paddington, I was glad that I’d made the trip across from the West Country – some good company in the form of Nic Wing and Dan Ward, some good cigars, some good food and a very nice bottle of wine. Little did I know that my dodgy knee was going to be so painful once I’d got back home! I hope you enjoyed the read, and don’t forget that over the coming days I’ll be posting reviews of all three cigars that I smoked, so keep checking back.