Man about town: I thought I should give cigars a try

Wine and whisky compliment them nicely...

Share
Related Topics

I’ve never really got cigars, they’ve always struck me as
phallic symbols of pungent expense. I’ve suspected that those who smoke them do
so as an excuse to mask that they are often unable to stand up after a heavy
meal. To smoke one seems to take as long as running a marathon and is just as
painful on your lungs.

But ever keen for self improvement (or should that be self-damage?), I thought I should give them another try at the Spectator cigar smoker of the year awards. Yes, I hoped to learn a bit more about them, but I was most drawn by the fine opportunities for rubber-necking and the extremely nice looking menu (with wines), which the organisers sent over beforehand.

Boisedale Canary Wharf, where it took place, provided the people-watching I had hoped for: captains of industry, the odd film director and the sort of puce-faced chaps whose weekend trousers match their complexions. Oh, and Nancy Dell’Olio.

Ranald Macdonald, the restaurant’s proprietor played the genial host, while publisher Andrew Neil was MC for the awards ceremony. He played this role like a headmaster to the unruly (or in this case, drunk) pupils, having to plough on as one chap (yes, a red face/trouser type) twice stood to heckle incoherently. Indeed judging from the general volume of the evening, there was no doubting the passion cigar fans have for their Havanas.

The shortlist for the main prize was a mix of the great, the good and the godawful, combining (among others) Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Greenspan and former West Ham footballer Julian Dicks. In the end the prize went to Simon Le Bon, who looked delighted with both the trophy and the drunken adulation shouting, “this could be as good as it gets”. It did occur to me though, that perhaps his elation was elevated by the fact that he’d just been given a £15,000 Jean Richard watch as part of his award.

Afterwards as the assembled brayers rolled into the night, I stood at the bar enjoying the excellent whisky on offer. Le Bon chose to celebrate in a different way, by pouring samples of various different glasses of whisky into one, to make a unique blend, which he proclaimed delicious. Perhaps it is this sort of creative approach to life that wins you awards.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - B2B Inside Sales - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Order Processing and Sales Administrator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have worked within the...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides mortgages, savings and i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A study of 16 young women performing light office work showed that they were at risk of being over-chilled by air conditioning in summer  

It's not just air conditioning that's guilty of camouflage sexism

Mollie Goodfellow
 

Ted Heath: If a PM can be an alleged child abuser, who's left in a position of power to trust?

Jane Merrick
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen