A garden paradise for cigar smokers
Overlooking the Bedford Estate Gardens, the Montague Cigar Terrace is often noted as one of the best cigar terraces in London. Regular cigar dinners, in association with Hunters & Frankau, the UK’s leading importer and distributor of Cuban cigars are proving very popular – we went along to the June event to learn the art of Cuban Cigar rolling…
A master class in the fine art of rolling Cuban cigars
The evening commences with Champagne and canapés and features three unique cigars to taste and compare – accompanied by a stunning five course tasting menu with matching wines selected by Wine and Cigar Sommelier, Lance Dyer.
Guests were treated to a cigar rolling demonstration by Señora Hernandez, who was on a three month tour of the UK. This charming lady began her career in the cigar industry over 20 years ago and has achieved the highest grade of torcedora (cigar roller) within the Cuban industry structure, meaning she is capable of crafting any size or shape cigar within the Habanos S. A. portfolio.
More recently she has risen to the position of “Despalillo Chief” within the H. Upmann factory. It is within this part of the factory that wrapper leaves are stripped of their central vein and classified by their colour, size and quality before being passed on to the rollers. Naturally this position demands acute attention to detail, an in-depth knowledge of quality control requirements and a keen appreciation of the inherent qualities of Cuban tobacco.
Five steps to heaven
Guests at the dinner, between puffs, discovered from Señora Hernandez that a true Cuban cigar requires five separate types of leaf. Three are blended to form the filler, or tripa, source of the rich flavours and aromas that immediately distinguish a Habano (a handmade Cuban cigar) from all other cigars. These are:
Volado: The light flavoured leaf, taken from the bottom of the sun grown plant, especially valued for its combustibility, but extremely light in flavour.
Seco: Then the medium flavoured leaf taken from the middle of the sun grown tobacco plant, especially valued for aroma.
Ligero: Last there is the full-flavoured but slow burning leaf taken from the very top of the sun grown plant.
Then the Binder (Capote) is added. This is used primarily for construction, wrapped around the three filler leaves to hold them together. However, it also helps the cigar to burn evenly. The Binder leaves are taken from the bottom levels of the sun grown tobacco plant.
Finally comes the Wrapper (Capa). These leaves are taken from plants specifically grown under the shade of a muslin cloth to protect them from the powerful Cuban sun. Due to this process the plants produce exquisitely thin and supple leafs that form the outer surface of the cigar.
Lighting up shortly, so book your place now
The next dinner takes place on Tuesday the 11th of September and costs just £130 per person, for three cigars and a five course tasting menu with appropriate wines. As a journalist at the April dinner, writing in the Arbturian Magazine, commented enthusiastically, “The price mentioned above would barely cover your three cigars and a glass of something refreshing at any other time. Come and sample understated elegance and the camaraderie of the blessed.”
Places are limited for this exclusive event so early booking is advised. For further details and enquiries, please contact Lance Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter Bradley at email@example.com.
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