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Sombre Greetings, Cigar Enthusiasts!
What a week it has been for us in the U.K. with the sad loss of our great Queen. I am sure that all members in this nation and elsewhere would have felt a pang at the news, since for every one here and all over the world, she has been the one benign constant in global affairs and in our lives.
I feel that cigar smokers especially will miss her. Since I believe our community is one which respects tradition, enjoys ceremony and through the pleasure we derive from the time it takes to partake in a proper smoke, have a contemplative and thoughtful nature. She represented all of these characteristics.
I wanted to pay my respects to her coffin as it was driven through London. So, with a friend we agree to meet at a good cigar shop and buy a vitola worthy of our late Monarch, which would last us the wait before she went past. I thought carefully about what I should purchase and in the end went for something which I think represented my mood at the time. As you know, there is no such thing as a bad Cuban cigar (taste wise!), just the wrong cigar smoked at the wrong time. They are like notes on a paino - each one must be played at the right time and I wanted the music to be perfect for this occasion.
What did I decide upon? The Montecristo No. 2. Why? This cigar, roughly the same age as The Queen, is for me, the monarch of cigars. It has been that steady constant in all our lives since it's inception. It is stately in design and it's consistency has never once let me down. It is the Cigar smoked in black and white films by men in silk top hats and it represents all that is great about our Cuban produce. It is ageless and above fashion. It is also discrete, understated and yet supremely powerful. If there was a cigar which 'did its duty' this would be the one and it totally represented the qualities we were commemorating. As I lit it and walked up to the road to join the crowds I was filled with a deep sense of nostalgia, for a bygone era.
We smoked thoughtfully away until the end, soon after which the motorcade surrounding the hearse swept silently and gracefully by. A moving and personal moment. My friend, a very hard newspaper baron, not known for sentimentality, had tears in his eyes, as did I as we walked back to our dinner in thoughtful contemplation.
Yet again the brotherhood of our shared passion highlighted and accentuated a moment which will forever be ingrained in our memories.
I will be on the Cigar-Keep meet this Sunday at 4.30 U.K. time and hope to see many of you then when we can share similar memories and importantly discuss and debate the great world we enjoy so much together, in these changing times.