Churchill did it, Schwarzenegger loves it and Nicholson can’t get enough. Enjoying a good cigar is one of life’s pleasures and thanks to there being no significant beef between Cuba and the Cayman Islands, fine Cuban cigars are easily available here.
Now, you could smoke one out on the beach or on a patio, but if you really want an immersive experience, you should try an evening at Stogies in George Town.
The room is inspired by the tones and materials of an exclusive club from yesteryear – all leather and dark wood – with a bar stocking over 100 types of Caribbean rums, among other tipples. Hemingway would be so very proud. Despite being located in the middle of the Cayman Islands’ capital, Stogies feels like a world away. You could be in the Havana of days gone by, having a drink and a smoke before heading to the Tropicana Club for a show.
Any cigar aficionado will recognise the three premium brands stocked at Stogies: Cohiba, Montecristo and H. Upmann. Sizes and types range from a Montecristo No. 5 to the majestic Cohiba Piramides Extra, with options for first-timers and perennial puffers.
Stogies is open Monday through Saturday from 9am-11pm, but one of its biggest draws (get it?) is its ability to become a premier venue for an intimate private event. Capable of holding up to 30 people, the lounge is ideal for a business meeting, birthday drinks or anniversary get-together. Best of all, there is no additional cost and no minimum spend required. Simply call and make your reservation (based on availability, of course).
Cutting and lighting
There is a certain ritual to how one cuts and lights a cigar. Should you stumble, you will not only upset the purists; you may also ruin the quality of your smoke. You can use the standard cutter (often seen in films when the mafia wish to remove a digit from a snitch’s hand); just make sure you don’t cut too far in. For most, one-sixteenth of an inch or about two millimetres is far enough. Any further in, and you risk damaging the cigar’s structure. (More importantly, those in the know will look down their Churchills at you.) Another option is the V-shaped wedge approach, which apparently is not a great choice if you are a chewer.
When it comes to lighting your cigar, hide the matches and candles. You don’t want anything to transfer its scent or smell to the tobacco. Use a proper cigar lighter and have patience, which is really what smoking one of these beauties is all about.
Finally, when in doubt, ask an expert to do it for you.
Stogies is next door to Guy Harvey’s Restaurant and Bar Crudo.
Visit www.stogies.ky for more information and bookings.