Brizard & Co. Exotic Woods

How does an environmentally conscious cigar smoker reconcile the use of exotic woods on his accessories without feeling like a pillaging colonial? The question haunted Cyril Brizard, the creative founder and wood artisan of Brizard & Co. Though he marveled at the beauty of endangered woods and their attractive grains, Brizard was looking for an ethical approach, so he obtained all his raw material through the Forest Stewardship Council (FST), which sets standards for responsible forest management.

Through this organization, Brizard has been able to shepherd woods like Bubinga, Makassar Ebony and Carpathian Elm Burl from all over the world and ply them directly onto cutters, lighters and cases without committing the imperialistic sin of deforestation.

If the plight of the rainforest doesn't exactly keep you up at night, then consider the unique beauty and craftsmanship of each piece. While ecosensitive, Brizard certainly is also attentive to aesthetics. Grains on each case perfectly align, application seams are invisible and the interface between metal and wood on Brizard's lighters and cutters appear to be an almost natural union. Woods are also rendered in their most natural form. Because none of the surfaces are covered with heavy coatings or lacquers, each accessory has a very organic touch and feel. By adding only teak oil after a fine sanding, Brizard allows the grains to speak for themselves.

Each wood, however, can make a very different statement even on the same accessory. Note how the Zebrawood has a strong striping effect on the single cigar tube shown here, while the wavy pattern of Sapele Pommele on the tube right next to it gives the cigar holder an entirely different character. Bubinga wood contrasts elegantly with the chrome surfaces of the guillotine cutter and Carpathian Burl seems to have naturally rooted itself around the large Lotus T3 tabletop lighter. The smaller, jet-flame pocket lighters show equally well in either a sunny shade of Bamboo or the more sanguine Padauk.

Similar contrast is struck on the Brizard Punch Cutters, shown here in both Macassar Ebony and Pau Faro Rosewood. When the same Ebony and Rosewood finishes are scaled up for the three-finger cigar cases, the effect changes drastically, as the cases show off much larger swatches of grain. Of course, any wood here can be applied to any accessory and these are only a few examples. Other woods like Tineo, Imbuia and Lacewood are also available. And each are produced by a regulated, controlled harvesting that finds the reasonable compromise between ethics and luxury.