We live in a world of ultimate convenience… an app for everything… anything delivered to your door in less than two hours provided you live within the M25… and so on. But while the tech startups and app builders of Silicon Roundabout are busy cooking up yet another electronic solution to a problem we never realised afflicted us, some people are wrestling with the real issues that confront us every day, among them my friends at Davidoff.
For the past few years Davidoff and the descendants of Winston Churchill have been making a line of cigars named after the greatest Englishman to light one. The main line encompasses four sizes: the Aristocrat, a Churchill size; the Robusto-sized Statesman; the Commander, a suitably bellicose Toro; and the Artist, an elegant Petit Corona. The blend is in the classic Davidoff style – medium in strength but slightly richer than the main line of Davidoffs. Some experts even talk of there being a little more drama to the smoke, although whether a drama in three or five acts, I do not know.
Anyway, the Winston Churchill line has proved so agreeable that a new range has arrived: The Late Hour. If the regular Winstons are a drama, then this a thriller. Among other things, the leaves have been rested for six months in Scotch whisky casks, allowing the flavours to mount up. When I discussed the composition of the blend with Davidoff master blender Henke Kelner – arguably the most knowledgeable human being on the subject of cigars – he told me the secret was to use visus leaves from the third quarter up the plant, where they have a little more flavour than those lower down and are further from the scorching Caribbean sun. Combined with this Dominican filler is a Mexican binder and an Ecuadorean wrapper – and the result is a package that shares the character of the regular Winston Churchills but with a little more strength, slightly fuller flavour and agreeable sweetness.
There are three Late Hour cigars, depending how late you like to stay up: a Robusto (from £30), a Toro (not available in the UK) and a Churchill (from £34). However, the real stroke of genius has been the accompanying whisky tumblers (or Coke Zero tumblers – Winston was half American and, so I understand, harboured a guilty fondness for low-calorie carbonated beverages). These are regular – in a fancy, cut-crystal sort of way – tumblers (£120 for a pair) that feature a pair of off-centre notches in the lip of the glass, thus solving one of the great problems to have beset cigar smokers since Columbus brought the noble weed back from the New World over 500 years ago. Picture the scene: it is late at night, you are tired, your arm is weary, you want to rest your cigar for a moment, but do not have the strength to reach the ashtray, and so instead rest the cigar on the top of your glass. But, due to the lateness of the hour, you fumble and the cigar rolls off the glass, leaving at best a terrible mess for the servants (assuming one lives on a Churchillian scale) to clear up in the morning. Now, thanks to the notched Davidoff super tumbler, the cigar just slots into place.
It is a miracle. However, I have one cavil – there is only one size of notch. I cannot help thinking there should be separate tumblers, each with a notch dimensioned specifically to the three Winston Churchill Late Hour sizes.