Smoke Signals

With the Boisdale hosted 2017 Zenith Cigar Awards taking place at the start of December, our in-house Havana aficionado runs an eye over the shortlists and night’s eventual winners

Roundup by Oscar Udeshi

The Cigar of the Year: the Romeo y Juliette Short Churchill is a wonderful robusto. Not necessarily the best selling Cuban cigar in that size, that honour would go to the Hoyo De Monterrey epicure 2 or partargas Serie D no. 4 but a nice consistent smoke that is frequently over shadowed by its bigger sibling, the wide Churchill. Perhaps an unlikely candidate given the Edición Limitadas that were launched in the same period, but the flavour profile is the most interesting of the other candidates.

Nominee Daniel Marshall cigars, famed for a cigar line with a gold leaf foil around it, is a good cigar, but not a match for the consistency of Davidoff cigars that quite rightly won the Cigar Producer of the year. Alec Bradley cigars as a nominee deserves a mention but is still shaking off the quality issues it suffered a few years back. For consistency, and managing customer’s expectations, nothing quite beats Davidoff, which is endorsed by die hard Cuban cigar smokers. Heaven for a cigar smoker is a Cuban Davidoff if you are lucky to get your hands on one (Davidoff Cuban cigar production ended in 1992).

It is only natural that Edward Sahakian, owner of the Davidoff cigar shop should win the lifetime achievement award. Edward and his son Eddie are probably the two nicest people you could meet on the face of the planet and their love and passion for their trade and their warmth is borne out in the first encounter one makes with them. They don’t have customers – they have loyal friends.

Nick Foulkes, author of Cigars has probably written the definitive introductory book on cigars this year that has something for complete novices to experts and will probably be the definitive cigar book for the next decade. It comes as no surprise that he has been awarded the Cigar Writer of the Year. The book makes an excellent stocking filler for anyone interested in cigars. I myself have probably already gifted half a dozen copies.

The Corinthia cigar lounge is a nice hidden gem with a roaring fire and excellent humidor and a food and beverage selection to match; it rightly deserves the accolade of Cigar Lounge of the Year. It is not by accident that Hunters and Frankau, the official Habanos Cuban cigar importer for the UK uses this venue to host its cigar events and was the location of this year’s most anticipated cigar launch, the Cohiba Talisman on the 7th of November. The who’s who of the cigar world attended the world wide launch. riddle_stop 2


Event founder Boisdale was hosting the awards for the fifth time.

Cigar Awards Venue: Boisdale Canary Wharf, 15 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QT / 0207 7155818 /

Other Boisdale restaurants in Belgravia, Mayfair and Bishopsgate



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