Cigar Aficionado

Maduro Cohibas in Rainy London

“F.. them,” said one of the cigar merchants at the outdoor cigar fest in the middle of the West End of London last night. ‘This will show them that they can’t stop us.”

He looked defiant and sure of himself. May be it was the mojito talking or the buzz of the Cohiba Maduro 5 he was smoking? But he was pissed off. And I don’t blame him. It seems strange not to be able to smoke in London, where many consider to be the world’s cigar Mecca. Since July 1, smoking has been prohibited in all public places, even in private public places like gentlemen’s clubs and country clubs.

It’s not going to be the same to stop in at my club in London, the Savile, and not smoke in the library or bar reading the paper with a glass of wine or Champagne. What am I going to have with my glass of vintage Port? London won’t be London any more.

But the tented cocktail party in a small park near Trafagar Square last night for about 500 people was more than a wake or protest to the loss of personal liberties like smoking in the UK. Hunters & Frankau, the UK agent for Cuban cigars, organized the event to celebrate the arrival of the new maduro Cohiba: Secretos (40 ring gauge by 4 3/8 inches) Magicos (52 ring by 4 ½ inches) and Genios (52 ring by 5 ½ inches). I smoked a Secretos during the two-hour event with a mojito talking to various cigar merchants and smokers.

It had the same spicy, coffee almost roasted dried meat character and the strength and richness of Cohiba that I remember when I smoked the cigar earlier this year in Havana. But perhaps it was a little less punchy. 91 points. Granted, this could have been due to the abysmal weather. It’s the first time I have ever had cold feet in July! What did Mark Twain say about the coldest winter he spent was a summer in San Francisco? Well, yesterday was one of the coldest and wettest days of the year for me! What would the great smoker say about wet and cold London in the summer like yesterday?

Anyway, we did get to smoke these Cohiba Maduro 5s, so I can’t complain too much. The “5” is a designation for the dark wrapper that has been aged about five years compared to a year or less for the normal wrapper. The cigars just went on sale in the UK. I am not sure of the prices but they come in boxes of 10 and 25 cigars.

I was also very excited to here about the arrival of two of the three limitadas for this year: Romeo y Julieta Esucdos (50 by 51/2 inches) and the Hoyo de Monterrey Regalos (46 by 4 1/3 inches). The Trinidad Ingenious (42 by 6 ½ inches) had not arrived yet. The cigars should be on UK retail shelves in the next week or so.
In addition, the Partagas Culebras have arrived in England as well. These are the intertwined cigars (three in total for each bunch) which until now had been machine made with short filler and then hand finished. Now, they are all are hand rolled and finished at the Partagas Factory.

I can’t wait to try them all…but in warmer climates.

"I was after a 'heads up' on the Secretos- thanks." —July 10, 2008 10:23 AM