Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sketches from a smokers album: The birthday bonanza and the sheltering sky...

Birthdays come but once a year but I feel that they should be celebrated in some style. That’s why I found myself sat with one of the densest, richest cigars hot-boxing a room of close friends at a little lunch thrown the other day. 

The cigar in question had been given to me by the fantastic colleagues I have at my establishment of work. As well as being very chuffed I was damn well looking forward to smoking it in the carefree leisure and comfort of a Saturday afternoon. 

Picture the scene if you will, bottles and ashtrays festooning the table; gin and tonics, red wine and many a toast had be drunk before the star moment - excluding the sterling company - presented itself forth from a pair of Victorian Port decanters. Australia’s Seppeltsfield VP Touriga 1987 (incidentally the year of the author’s birth) is a classy drop, holding up to any great vintage port from the same era, perhaps a little lighter on the brain than its Portuguese counterpart! It matched beautifully with the heady, smokiness of the Cohiba VI, a marriage made in heaven. 

One of the marks of a great cigar is consistency and this one delivered in spades. A fantastic plume of smoke emanated from this beast - for it was quite the monster even when I first inspected it on opening the case! As always happens when smoking indoors, the kitchen was filled with smoke which some found pleasing and most found an acrid inconvenience, but that’s the great thing about being the birthday complaints were lodged!

The winter nights are drawing in with a vengeance, forcing us all to wrap up warm. Temperature drops, rimy mornings and wet evenings can cast something of a dampener on the latter part of the year, by gum it makes Christmas seem a million miles away when in fact it is just around the corner. This was my very feeling until a wonderful smoke - which I would urge you to try - beat away those Autumnal blues! 

Sitting outside in the garden, wrapped up in many layers and my trusty puffer jacket (90’s nostalgia), I gave some attention to an old friend from my favourite make, the Bolivar No.2. Generously given to me by a great friend, this was indeed a treat. Sat under a bay tree with my copy of James Clavell’s addictive historical thriller Shogun and a pot of delicious, thick and viscous black coffee brewed a la Rubinstein, I embarked on a joyous smoke! 

As I chugged away, I kept an eye on the gathering heavens above. It was an ominous sky in every sense of the phrase, close and looming. The clouds threatening to pour down their deluge at any moment with each toke taken on the delicious cigar, washed down with a mug of hot black coffee, warming the depths of my soul against the gathering winds and closing sky whilst the gripping plot-line of Shogun struggled for attention amid all the drama...a typical Sunday afternoon in London you might say. 

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