Our man in Havana

At pounds 695 for a box of 25, Montecristo A cigars cost more than the flight to Cuba itself; n IS IT WORTH IT? n

I smoke, therefore I am. Were Descartes a puffer, he might well have written this footnote to describe the Montecristo A cigar. As tobacco goes, there's not much more of a smoking statement than this 91/4 inch Havanan cohiba. Begone you apologetic low tar cigarettes. This is smokin' large, smokin' proud and at pounds 695 for a box of 25, smokin' rich, for people who haven't read the PC handbook.

Nestling in a cedarwood box, these cigars are tobacco artworks. "Montecristo A's are more expensive because they last so long, require a very big wrapper leaf to hold the tobacco and are handmade with painstaking attention to detail," says Paul Prichett, manager of premier cigar sellers, Davidoffs of London.

Indeed the intricacy of making a Montecristo A is such that dividing price between number of hours spent in preparation makes a box of 25 a positive bargain. From air-curing the tobacco, through two fermentations, grading, blending and the intricacies of hand rolling, this is no "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" experience. By the time the Montecristo A has made its way out of Cuba, it has been lovingly guided through a couple of years and 23 separate stages of existence in order to fulfil its smoking destiny.

Machine-made panatellas such as 10 Hamlet at pounds 2.54 are just ill-bred upstarts in comparison. Whizzed through production, untouched by the sensitive hand of a Torcedore (cigar roller), and available in every newsagent, they lack the taste and class of a pleasure worth waiting and paying for.

Immediately cheaper, lesser smokes have a sneaky and expensive disposable quality, debunking the budget argument. Each four-hour, 47-ring gauge Montecristo A is an epic event in itself, and as such, the most you will toke is one per evening, a cost effective manoeuvre for the discerning palate.

So strike a light and savour these ostentatious smokes like fine wines. Parallels between the cigar and wine industries mean that smoking an alternative is the equivalent of choosing lager top over Chteau Petrus.

Of course, as world leaders have shown, you don't actually need to smoke a cigar to enjoy it's full potential. Impeachment looks likely to follow now that Bill and Monica have enjoyed their Havana moment, but let's look on the bright side. Bill, like all afficianados, knows the value of a good cigar. If you're going to play Russian roulette with your health, bank balance or political office, at least do it in style.

Anna Melville-James

Enquiries: Hunter & Frankan, London SW6 tel 0171 471 8400

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Y1 Teacher

    £90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Y1 Teacher required for a So...

    Senior Financial Services Associate - City

    Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - FINANCIAL SERVICES - Senior...

    Residential Property

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Residential Conveyancer - Wiltshire We have a...

    Y5 Teacher

    £90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week