On Monday 2 December Boisdale of Canary Wharf hosted the seventh annual Cigar Smoker of The Year Awards Dinner. The event recognises various aspects of the cigar world, with award categories including: Cigar, Sommelier, Producer, Communicator, Lifetime Achievement and culminating in Cigar Smoker of The Year.
This year the top award which recognises a high-profile individual with great passion for the pure enjoyment of cigar smoking went to actor, filmmaker and martial artist Dolph Lundgren best known for his roles in Rocky IV, The Expendables, The Punisher and Universal Soldier. The winner received a bottle of Ambhar Anejo Tequila, which is 100% blue agave, quintuple distilled and aged for two years in bourbon oak barrel and the Winston Churchill Traveller Humidor containing 20 Winston Churchill Robusto and 20 Winston Churchill Late Hour Cigars, amongst other exclusive gifts.
The evening hosted by author and food critic Tom Parker Bowles saw two previous years’ winners in attendance — doyen of film industry James Cosmo MBE and political journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil. The runner-up prize went to actor, producer, screenwriter, martial artist and musician Steven Seagal who spoke to the guests gathered in the room via a video link from his home in LA. Also, in attendance were, professional boxer Luke Campbell MBE and presenter and model Jourdan Riane who performed At Last, a song by Etta James and whose next venture is a West End debut where she will be showcasing her sublime stage talent.
The auction spearheaded by Starsky & Hutch star David Soul to restore Ernest Hemingway’s 1955 Chrysler New Yorker convertible currently at the Finca Vigia Cuba, now The Hemingway Museum, raised £13,500 which is more than fifty percent of the total sum required to bring the car to its original glory.
Cuban Ambassador Her Excellency Mrs Teresita Vicente Sotolongo collected The Producer of the Year 2019 Award on behalf of Habanos S.A. — the Cuban state company, that controls the promotion, distribution and export of Cuban cigars worldwide — and delivered a heart-warming speech in which she announced the end of her five-year diplomatic service in the UK.
Guests gathered on Boisdale’s cigar terrace for the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label NV Champagne, Ambhar Reposado Tequilacocktails & seasonal canapé reception. Each guest received four handmade cigars on arrival: Casa Turrent 1973 Robusto, Davidoff Aniversario Entreacto, El Septimo Excepcion Light andPartagas D6, courtesy of cigar retailer Davidoff and an award-winning New World cigar supplier Tor Imports.
The reception was followed by a sumptuous dinner of Dunkeld Smoked salmon, crab & artichokes, brown crab mayonnaise, Boisdale’s legendary Aberdeenshire Beef Wellington, Air Dried Ham, Wild Mushrooms and finished by a selection of British cheeses. The food was accompanied by outstanding Viña Carmen Chilean wines: Carmen Sauvignon Blanc Fumé Blanc 2018, Leyda Valley; Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and Carmen Gran Reserva Petite Sirah 2016, Maipo Valley.
The dinner culminated with the Awards Ceremony followed by a special, long-awaited and rare opportunity to taste the Cigar of the Year 2019 winner Plasencia Alma del Campo Tribu Robusto from Nicaragua.
CATEGORIES, NOMINEES & WINNERS 2019:
CIGAR SMOKER OF THE YEAR
- Andy Garcia
- Stephen Evans
- Lord Carnarvon
- Steven Seagal (RUNNER UP)
WINNER Dolph Lundgren
CIGAR OF THE YEAR
- El Septimo Excepcion Light
- Casa Turrent 1973 Robusto
- Inka Secret Blend — Red Robusto Cigar
- Oliva Serie V Double Robusto
- Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark
- Davidoff Winston Churchill The Traveller Robusto LE 2019
- El Rey Del Mundo, La Reina – UK Regional Edition 2019
WINNER: Plasencia Alma del Campo Tribu Robusto
SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR
- Luca Tramontana, The Lanesborough
- Vanessa Vieira, Bvlgari Hotel
- Adam Lajca, The Corinthia
- Giuseppe Moccia, Boisdale of Canary Wharf
- Halil Osman, Alfred Dunhill
- Darius Namdar, Mark’s Club
WINNER: Giuliano Santilli, Arts Club
COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Jimmy McGhee
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Joya de Nicaragua
La Flor Dominicana
WINNER: Habanos S.A.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
WINNER: Daniel Marshall