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The Ashtrays of Limoges

David L. Ross
From the Print Edition:
Winston Churchill, Autumn 93

(continued from page 2)

In addition to this special-order work, Bernardaud also produces a luxurious porcelain service for Cartier. One set includes a splendid series of ashtrays, one of which has an unusual but colorful hexagon shape, featuring a slinking black panther. The ashtray, which comes in three other sizes, is part of Cartier's exclusive "Louis Cartier" line of porcelain dinner service.

A classic nineteenth-century design was completed at the request of Empress Eugenie, Napoleon III's wife, a Spanish aristocrat, nee Montijo, who was known for her exquisite (and expensive) tastes. The porcelain set was commissioned by the empress in 1867 and designed in an English-style rose motif. The pattern, called Eugénie de Montijo, was a great success at court, and is still in use at Hôtel de Palais, originally Empress Eugénie's summer palace, and since 1883, one of the world's great luxury hotels. (See review, CIGAR AFICIONADO, June 1993, page 130.)

While the choice among cigar ashtrays has never been better, says Bernardaud, the occasions to smoke in a civilized way are becoming all the more scarce, both in the United States and Europe. Bernardaud, whose personal favorites include Partagas D4 and Punch Selection No. 2 from Cuba, explains, "Ashtrays are becoming harder to sell because you have this terrorism against smokers." Nevertheless, he soldiers on, providing some of the most sought-after ashtrays to be found in the world.

For Bernardaud knows, as do other confirmed cigar smokers, that after a cozy dinner at a cigar friendly restaurant or at home, there is no better place to cradle your cigar than in a beautiful porcelain ashtray. That's what the French would call living with style.

David L. Ross is the managing editor of Market Watch, a New York-based magazine that covers the alcoholic beverage industry.

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