To be a digital platform may give the impression of distance, remoteness, artificiality, but no, the throng exists and some of us met in person at Mark's Club in Mayfair for a distinctly raucous but tasteful luncheon.
Mark's Club is where we laid our scene, the plan was non-existent but the guest list was promising. On the club's smoking terrace, perhaps the world's finest riposte to anti-smoking legislation and a bastion of civility, we hosted a get-together that lays the foundation of what Cigar Keep must be to meet its mandate – a community, a place where people come together and bask in each others enthusiasm and expertise. The guests ranged from collectors to industry luminaries, Shary Rahman, Mo Coppoletta, Monica Irani and Hani Farsi representing civvy street in comparison to cigar bigwigs like Hunters & Frankau's Jimmy McGhee, 5 Hertford Street's Slawomir Bielicki, Annabel's Syafiera Rosidi and author Nick Hammond. It was a perfect mix, there was even an attendance by The Proprietor, who broke away from undoing a coup d'état somewhere far off to join us and regail us with his worldly anecdotes. The food is always well presented in Mark's, but The Proprietor's expertise not only in cigars, but also with wine made sure that conviviality was well paired.
Speaking of pairings, Cigars were of course what brought us together so were always going to play a key part. On arrival each guest could tuck into bowls of olives and assorted nuts, as well as a box of Trinidad Vigia. What must be highlighted most of all though was a spectacular addition from Mr. Farsi, who brought an unopened cabinet of 50 of Hoyo de Monterrey double coronas from 2001. This sent everyone into the kind of frenzy you'd only find with cigar enthusiasts, plenty of noses thrust deep into an enormous wall of tobacco the width of a human head, and not a moment where anyone was unaware of how special this box is, and we thank Hani for the extraordinarily generous contribution to proceedings.
Mark's Club is a great enabler when it comes to lunches such as this as it entices people to stay and enjoy the merriment, this luncheon was no different and at what hour the last person left, we shall ever know, but what we do know is that we shall be coming back, and we hope to see you there.