The world’s five most expensive cigars

Whether it’s the taste, the sophistication or simply the joy of sharing quality time over a drink with friends, relaxing with a fine cigar is an experience that for many has no comparison. But just how much would you be prepared to pay for a good cigar? If you have some spare cash why not try one of the five most expensive cigars in the world? Prices are only indicative.

Cuban Cigar Boxes

Photo by Stephan Ridgway

Arturo Fuente Opus X Ltd

In 1993 Arturo Fuente produced their first Opus X cigars with their now legendary wrapper. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the occasion, Prometheus International made 100 Forbidden X humidors (50 with a red madrona veneer, 40 with yellow eye maple and 10 with macassar.) Each humidor holds 100 Opus X cigars and in 2002 cost $10,000. Nowadays, you’ll have to pay over $30,000.

Cohiba Behike

The original Behike was launched in 2006 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cuban manufacturer Cohiba. Named for a chieftain of the Taino Indians, it was a blend of Cuban tobaccos and was a limited release – only 100 special edition humidors each containing 40 cigars were produced. One humidor would have set you back $18,000 – $450 per cigar. Cohiba has released a less exclusive line of Behike cigars that are about 10% of the price of the original.

His Majesty’s Reserve

With fewer than 100 boxes made every year, Gurkha’s His Majesty’s Reserve is made from a blend of the finest tobaccos from around the world and, once rolled, are infused with Louis XIII Cognac, one of the most rare and most expensive in the world. A box of 20 will set you back $15,000 – $750 per cigar.

The Black Dragon

In 2006, Gurkha produced a cigar that is even more expensive than the His Majesty’s Reserve. The cigar, called The Black Dragon, is made from an exclusive Honduran blend and carries a price tag of $1,150. The original Black Dragon cigars are so exclusive that only five boxes, each made from hand-carved camel bone, were produced. To make Black Dragon more accessible to a wider audience, in 2007 Gurkha made a much less expensive version but one that is still up to Gurkha’s traditional high standards.

 Double corona by Regius Cigars Ltd

In August this year entrepreneur Callum Jones paid £40,000 for a double corona cigar made by Regius Cigars Ltd. The makers planned to fly Mr Jones to Nicaragua to see how the cigars are made and blend and roll a thousand special cigars tailored to his taste.

These prices don’t compare with the $185,000 paid for the 1,600-pound El Gigante cigar produced by Corojo, which can be smoked by 40 people simultaneously or the similar price for one of the 600-year-old Mayan “sicars” discovered in Guatemala in 2012.

Cigar in Ashtray

Photo by Brian Birke

Of course, you don’t have to have bottomless pockets to savour the flavour of a fine cigar. At Boisdale you can enjoy a fantastic evening with sumptuous food and great music and round it off with a quality cigar from the extensive reasonably priced Boisdale cigar collection on the cigar terrace.

Three Quick & Easy Christmas Cocktails

Cocktails are always a favourite at Christmas, but there are so many to choose from it can be difficult to decide which is the best one to serve your guests. These three cocktails are easy to make and your guests will love them. Just remember that they contain alcohol so make sure your guests don’t plan to drive afterwards.

Mulled wine

Mulled wine has been around for a couple of thousand years, spiced and heated wine first being recorded in Roman times. It has become a favourite winter drink throughout Europe and North America. Typically, it is made by bringing a mixture of red wine with fruit and herbs to the boil and simmering till it becomes a paste, adding extra wine and then keeping the mixture hot; it is drunk warm.

There are so many variations on mulled wine that it would take a book to describe them all. For this particular recipe you will need:

  • Red wine – one bottle.
  • Caster sugar – 100 grams.
  • Cinnamon stick – one.
  • Zest from one lemon.
  • Star anise – two.
  • Cloves – four.

Place the caster sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, cloves and star anise into a pan and pour in enough wine to cover. Bring to the boil and reduce the mixture to a thick syrup. Turn the heat down and add the rest of the wine. Heat up gently – not to the boil as boiling will burn off the alcohol – and ladle into serving glasses while hot. You can add spices to suit your taste.

Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

Photo by Nick Webb

Eggnog

A traditional Christmas favourite, everyone has his or her own preference for eggnog, the biggest difference in recipes usually being in the choice of spirits. This recipe will yield up to eight servings.

You will need:

  • Four eggs, separated into yolks and whites.
  • Sugar – half a cup.
  • Milk – a cup and a half.
  • Rum – one cup.
  • Whiskey – one cup.
  • Cream – one cup.
  • Ground nutmeg.

Place the egg yolks and half the sugar in a bowl and beat. Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat till stiff. Mix in the rest of the sugar.  Slowly mix the yolks into the whites. Slowly stir in the rum, followed by the milk and the whiskey and half the cream. Whip the remaining cream and fold it into the mixture. Ladle into cups and sprinkle the nutmeg over the top.

Egg Nogg

Photo by Dinner Series

Snowball

The classic snowball recipe is a simple mix of advocaat, lemonade or soda and a dash of lime. The advocaat and lime are shaken together and poured over ice in a tall glass. The mix is then topped up with the lemonade or soda. This is a great, refreshing drink but at Christmas (or any other time) you can spice it up a little very easily by adding a shot of brandy, vodka or cream sherry.

There’s nothing complicated about this recipe. All you need for a glass is:

  • Advocaat – 2½ measures.
  • Brandy – ½ measure.
  • Lemonade.
  • Fresh lime – ½.

To make your snowball, first chill the lemonade. Then put some ice, the advocaat, brandy and juice from the lime into a cocktail shaker. Shake it well and strain into a glass (a highball or cocktail glass or champagne bowl depending on how much lemonade you want to add). Add your lemonade as required and garnish with cocktail cherries.

These Christmas cocktails are perennial favourites but if you prefer to let someone else do the work, you can always get down to Boisdale, where you will find a huge range of award-winning cocktails that will suit all tastes.

 

 

Elvis in Vegas

When Elvis Aaron Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42, the world lost not only a great entertainer but also a musical icon whose legacy still lives on. Even in death, his estate earns millions in royalties and other income from how his name, image and music are used today.

elvis new years eve 2013

Photo by Brett Jordan

The Elvis story began in Memphis Tennessee in 1954 when, at the age of 19, he began working with Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records. He sang rockabilly, a mix of rhythm and blues and country music and soon signed with RCA Victor in a deal that was arranged by Colonel Tom Parker who was to manage him for some 20 years. Elvis’s first single with RCA, “Heartbreak Hotel” went to number one in the US charts and was the first of a string of hits that included “Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “It’s Now Or Never” and, much later, “Suspicious Minds.”

With his career in its infancy, Elvis was drafted into the US Army but, despite his worries that his future as an entertainer would be harmed, he did his service. He spent much of the time with the US forces in Germany where he was popular with fellow soldiers as a generous and humble comrade-in-arms. It was at this time, however, that he was introduced to amphetamines, the precursor to the misuse of prescription drugs that eventually played a role in his early death. But it was also in Germany that he met Priscilla Beaulieu who would become his wife after a courtship lasting just over seven years.

Elvis’s return to civilian life saw more hit songs and the resumption of what was to be a profitable movie career, the soundtrack of his first movie after leaving the army, “G I Blues”, spending over two years on the Billboard charts. This was followed a year later by “Blue Hawaii”, the soundtrack of which spent 20 consecutive weeks at number one. “Viva Las Vegas”, Elvis’s most successful movie, hit the screens in 1964.

Up till 1969, Elvis was making an average of three movies a year (he actually made a total of 31 all told), which affected his singing career, but in 1969 he returned to the live stage. That year, he began his Las Vegas shows and played sold out concerts during the season every year until 1976. His Vegas shows were immortalised in the 1970 documentary “Elvis: That’s the way it is.”

elvis-presleys-movies

Photo by Benny Mazur

And it is a stage performer that Elvis is probably best remembered. His remarkable voice, good looks, dance moves, the costumes and, of course, that lip live on and have transcended the generations. He truly deserves his legendary status.

But you don’t need to travel back in time, watch a documentary or take a trip to Las Vegas to experience the magic that was “the King” in his prime. This year on New Year’s Eve, all you have to do is get along to Boisdale of Canary Wharf for a night of Las Vegas style entertainment that will take you back in time. Chance your hand at the gambling tables and then sit back to a sumptuous meal, while being treated to the best Elvis tribute act in Europe, ‘Suspiciously Elvis.’ “The King” lives on!

For more information please visit the: Elvis in Vegas events page

To book please visit the: Elvis in Vegas tickets page

Drinking Glasses: Whisky and Cognac

Purists will tell you there is only one glass for each beverage but when you take a closer look you’ll see there are a number of variations to choose when drinking both whiskies and cognacs. With whisky and cognac tastings on offer regularly here at Boisdale, we thought it would be fun to show off exactly what type of glass choices you have.

WHISKY DRINKING

There are two main types of glass to use if you’re drinking a traditional single malt or scotch whisky.

Tumbler
The tumbler is the most classic and popular type of glass for whisky drinking. When you order a dram at a standard bar, it should come to you in a tumbler. As well, most people drinking at home tend to drink their whisky from tumblers.
Heavy-based crystal tumblers are usually reserved for only the fines malts but tumblers do have one drawback. Nosing is almost impossible with a tumbler as you can only pick up a faint whiff due to the wide rim and straight walls of the glass

Snifter
For a good nose, try a different type of glass: a snifter. A tulip-shaped snifter with a shorter stem is another of the most popular whisky glasses. They’re not necessarily behind every bar but all blending laboratories and distilleries will have a stock.
Professional whisky drinkers would opt for no other glass as they provide the right circumference for nosing as well as tasting. Be warned though, although nosing is straight forward it takes time to learn how to drink from a snifter.
If you want to go down a more traditional, ceremonial route you could always opt for the historic Quaich too.

COGNAC DRINKING

Experts are still divided between which glass is ideal for enjoying cognac and Armagnac. It comes down to two different types of glass and it’s up to you to decide which you prefer.

Tulip Glass
Fans of the tulip glass describe it as ideal for sipping cognac due to its specific design. The glass allows for maximum surface area for the liquid as well as directing the full force of the aroma towards the nose, providing optimal impact across all the sense for the drinker. A tulip glass is much like the flower, with a long, element stem and a wide bell vessel for the liquid.

Balloon Snifter
The balloon snifter is also known as a brandy glass and is more popularly used than the tulip. The snifter has a shorter stem and a wide bell which narrows down as it reaches the rim. This narrowing allows for the bouquet of the cognac to be concentrated and therefore produces a stronger, more tempting aroma. Balloon snifters have also been developed further into the modern alternative – the wobble glass.

What glass you choose to drink out of can impact on your enjoyment of the flavours of the drink. Take some time choosing your vessel to get the most from your drink.

Remember both Boisdale members and non-members can enjoy our events. Coming up we have Winter Warmers Cocktail Masterclass and Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting that can be enjoyed by both members and non-members.

Spend your nights with Frank and Dean

At Boisdale we have a line-up of Christmas entertainment that you won’t find elsewhere. Offering you the spirit of 1962 in our Frank and Dean Christmas Party Nights, this set is sure to appeal to members and non-members alike. It’s the chance to enjoy some of the classic Christmas tunes as well as other classics from the Rat Pack Era.

frank and dean_827-Main

From 4th until 21st December, excluding Sundays, patrons can enjoy the company of Dino and Frank for an evening full of swinging classics and Christmas treats. Frank Sinatra is played by versatile singer Iain McKenzie and his partner is professional Steve Pert. The boys will be backed by a nine piece band all adding to festive atmosphere and transporting you back to the swinging sixties.

Be prepared to enjoy all your favourite classic Christmas tunes with a swinging twist and of course there’ll be notable input from the Rat Pack boys and their top tunes too. Listen out for everything from Volare to Come Fly with Me and That’s Amore to I’ve got you Under My Skin.

The nine piece band behind the singing stars is the lauded Pete Long Orchestra and together you’ll be able to enjoy other classic songs from artists including Elvis, Bobby Darin, Tom Jones and Andy Williams.

Sing along to New York New York and sway as the orchestra presents some of the most recognisable classics of the last fifty years. It’s impossible not to start smiling as all those classic tunes bring back memories and remind you of Christmases gone by.

The Rat Pack at Christmas

When the Rat Pack was initially created it had absolutely nothing to do with Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. It was more focused on a group of friends based around Humphrey Bogart in the 1950s. Frank and the gang picked up the name once more in the 1960s and along with Dino, Sammy David Jr. and a couple of others the name was picked up once again by the media.

There are now hundreds of tribute acts, showing off the fabulous music offered by the members of the pack and ensuring it isn’t condemned to the annals of time. Sending girls swooning and making the guys jealous, the 60s wouldn’t have been the 60s without The Rat Pack in the chart.

Rat Pack at Boisdale

At Boisdale we want to ensure as many of our members and patrons can enjoy our fabulous Christmas party, which is why it’s available on a recurring basis throughout December. You can book either a standard or premium table and settle in for a night of wonderful entertainment. Sample our drinks and food for an additional fee but more than anything enjoy the warm Christmas atmosphere.

Tickets for this event are available from £15 and can be booked today. There is a wide range of dates available. You can be sure it will be an event to remember, jazz, swing and all things cool about the first half of the 21st century are coming your way.

The Ultimate Guide to Cheese Tasting

Cheese tasting is an art form and it takes some time and effort to get the most out of the cheeses available to you. At Boisdale our regular cheese tasting events showcase some of the finest cheeses available and pair them with beverages which bring out their finest features. Below we’re looking at the elements that make up cheese and how to taste it properly.

Milk

We all know cheese cannot exist without milk. The milk of different animals has different tastes and creates a different texture too. Once you’re used to the different flavours and textures you’ll recognise them in an instant. There are four main types of milk used to make cheese: Water buffalo – used mainly to make mozzarella di bufala Sheep – offers a sweet nutty and tangy taste. Pecorino Romano and Manchego cheeses are amongst those most popular made from sheep milk cheese Cow – the most common type of milk used for cheeses and found in all the most popular blue varieties including Gouda, Brie and Stilton Goat – offers a sour and almost grassy taste. Crottin is one of the most common goat’s cheeses.

Rinds

There are five different types of cheese rind and it’s recommended you taste the rind, unless it’s made of wax. A wrinkled rind is like which you see on Crottin and is caused by a specific yeast which is used by some cheesemakers. A white rind is what appears on cheeses such as brie and camembert and is a form of penicillium mould. A cheese with a natural rind has no mould or other additives and is simply the hardened air-dried outer of a cheese such as stilton. A washed rind has the strongest stench of them all and it’s usually been washed in a mixture of different liquids including brandy, wine and beer which then encourages bacterial growth. The final rind, as mentioned, is the wax rind which is added after the cheese is made.

Texture

The texture of a cheese can refer to its visual consistency or its mouthfeel, the sensation created by food or drink in the mouth. Its visual consistency can be whether it looks soft like fresh cheeses, semi-soft like brie and some blue varieties. Hard and semi-firm cheeses include Parmesan and Gruyere. Mouthfeel is exactly what it says and can be spongy, creamy, curdy or even crystallised dependent on the cheese in question.

Flavour

Flavour is a combination of taste and smell. You will be able to describe the flavour of a cheese using its aroma and its taste. It’s important to smell the cheese before making any judgements on its flavour as they can be complete opposites. Softer, fresher cheeses may also have some elements of the animal’s diet in its taste, including grass, hay and even wild flowers.

Drinks and Cheese

There are a range of well-known cheese and drink combinations which maximise both the flavour of the drink and the cheese. From combining a crumbly Caerphilly with a white Lambrusco to a rich Double Gloucester with a Riesling there are a range of combinations that can’t be argued with. For something a little different you can try a blue stilton with a dark cream sherry or a Mexicana spiced cheese with a dark Cuban rum. The opportunities are endless and show off exactly how versatile cheeses can be.

Celebrate your Wedding with Boisdale

“From a romantic country wedding to an elegant city gathering, Boidsale can provide the ideal setting, the wonderful food, and the immaculate service to celebrate your nuptials.”

 

At Boisdale, we have three different venues on offer for wedding celebrations. Whether you want us to cater for your reception, or whether you want to hold the ceremony at Boisdale as well, we have a number of different offers available for you. Our venues can cater for a variety of party sizes, and we can also help to arrange extras such as music, flowers, and entertainment.

Each of our events is carefully planned in order to ensure that you have the most perfect day, full of memorable moments which will live on in your hearts forever.

 

Boisdale Wedding

Weddings at Boisdale of Canary Warf

 

Boisdale of Bishopsgate

Boisdale of Bishopsgate is available all day on Saturdays and Sundays, and can cater for parties of up to 110 people. Each event is individually tailored to your needs, and as an added incentive we don’t even charge a venue hire fee. It is a short walking distance from Liverpool Street Station, making it incredibly easy to access for those who are travelling in for your wedding.

 

Boisdale of Belgravia

Boisdale of Belgravia is within walking distance of Victoria Station; right in the heart of London. It is available at lunchtime on Saturdays or all day on Sundays, and it is a fantastic place to hold your reception. This venue can cater for up to 140 people seated, or 230 for just drinks and canapés. This gives you a lot of wriggle room on your invite list, making it far easier to fit in all of your family and friends!

 

Boisdale of Canary Wharf

Boisdale of Canary Wharf is arguably our most loved venue, and it is available to hire for both weddings and civil partnerships. We hold a wedding licence in our Gallery room, where we can cater for ceremonies of up to 60 people. This venue is available for booking every day, and it is even possible to hire both the first and the second floors if your wedding party is on the large size number-wise. As well as the ceremony itself, you are able to book this venue for up to 200 for a sit down meal, or up to 500 for drinks and canapés parties.

 

Booking a wedding at Boisdale

Booking a wedding at Boisdale is a very simple process. By following the links to each venue’s appropriate pages (Bishopsgate, Belgravia, and Canary Wharf), you will find contact details in the form of a telephone number, email address, and postal address. All you need to do is get in touch with us and give us your details, and we can give you an estimate cost for your day.

Choose Private Dining for your Next Business Meeting

 

Hiring a private dining room for your business can help to increase the flow of creativity, plus impress current or potential clients and customers. At Boisdale we have a number of different rooms available for you to hire, as well as an extensive list of drinks and canapés available to order. Each of our private dining rooms comes complete with Wi-Fi, which helps to strengthen your business meetings and make them organised, and they all have a professional yet relaxed atmosphere in order to help your meeting go smoothly.

Boisdale Private Dining

The Gallery Room at Boisdale.

 

The Jack Vettriano Room and the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Room.

These are our smallest private dining rooms, and they are perfect for groups of up to 12 people seated. They can also, however, hold up to 20 people standing. There are various table configurations available, just speak to the events co-ordinator to find out more. These rooms have an iPod dock for music or recorded lectures, as well as a plasma screen TV. These two rooms are a fantastic choice for small meetings, as they bring everyone close together in a comfortable environment – no more sitting miles away at the end of a long conference room table!

 

The Paul Gauguin Room

The Paul Gauguin Room is slightly larger, and able to hold up to 25 seated or 40 standing. As with all of our private dining rooms, it comes equipped with Wi-Fi, an iPod docking station, and a plasma screen TV.

 

The Boisdale Fleming Gallery Room

This room can hold up to 40 seated or 70 standing. It is a great choice for small investment meetings, or for getting all of your management teams together, in order to discuss future prospects or the general ongoing details of your business.

 

Private Dining Menus

We have a lot to offer for our private dining customers, most popular of which are our canapés. You can choose from a selection of four different types of canapés; Bird & Beast, Turf & Crop, Loch & Sea, and Sugar & Spice. Whether you decide to stick with just one type of canapé or mix it up a bit, the choice is entirely yours.

 

How To Book A Room

Booking a private dining room at Boisdale is a simple process. Just follow this link, and you will find contact details in the form of a telephone number, email address, and postal address. Let our event co-ordinators know your requirements, and let them handle the rest!

Make your next Sunday Lunch with us

Everyone loves to end the week by sitting down to a hearty cooked meal, and what makes it better is not having to do the washing up after! At Boisdale, we are proud to be able to offer you a traditional cooked Sunday lunch, with the added benefits of using only locally sourced meat and vegetables – you can sit back and enjoy your food, whilst knowing that you are helping the local economy. What more could one ask for?

The Sunday Lunch has existed in Britain for hundreds of years, and can be traced back even as far as the 15th century. We are a society who is known for our love of beef; the French are known to call us ‘rosbifs’ (roast beefs), and the Yeoman of the Guard have affectionately been given the name ‘Beefeaters’. Whilst roast beef is not always the top of the list of meats for a Sunday Lunch these days, you are still likely to find it on all good menus.

Sunday Roasts at Boisdale

What’s on offer?

Our starters are simply divine, and bring a taste of luxury to the beginning of your meal. If you like your meat and fish, can choose from cock-a-leekie soup with smoked chicken, prunes and a pastry crust, or crispy breaded whitebait with aioli & lemon. For the vegetarians amongst you, we offer a Heritage beetroot salad, accompanied by Rosary goats cheese and a walnut crumble.

We have three choices of meat for you to um and ah over, and each one is a delight to the taste buds. Lagan Farm 12 hour slow roast beef, half a roast Wiltshire chicken, or a roast leg of Somerset lamb with rosemary and garlic. Each will melt in your mouth, and leave you craving more. For vegetarians, we have a specially cooked dish of a risotto of locally foraged wild mushrooms.

In order to make our Sunday lunches traditional, all of our roasts come with a serving of roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables, along with a Yorkshire pudding. We also offer an option for children, so that the entire family can enjoy themselves.

 Come in and put your feet up!

After a busy week at the office, it is always great to have someone pamper you. That is what we want to do here at Boisdale – provide you with a traditional Roast Dinner that is hearty and homely, and allow you to relax and enjoy it with your family, rather than slaving over a hot oven all day.

View our full Sunday lunch menu here – Launching 29th September

An introduction to Bordeaux and the wines from the region

Bordeaux is arguably one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in France. The historic part of this city draws many tourists, and has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, where it is described as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble,” a fantastic souvenir of the 18th century.

Bordeaux and its legacy
The region of Bordeaux has been producing wine since the 8th century, and has truly made its mark on the industry. Its reputation precedes it, as Bordeaux has become the capital of the globe’s major wine industry.

The vine was introduced by the Romans in the mid-1st century, in order to provide wine for local consumption. Wine has continued to be produced since that time, although it was only centuries later that it expanded and the world discovered its true worth.

The popularity of Bordeaux wine is shown by its annual production of approximately 960 million bottles, and the fact that there are few countries in the world that don’t stock it. There are approximately 287,000 acres of vineyards in the region, along with 10,000 wine-producing châteaux, 13,000 grape growers, and 57 different appellations.

French vineyards in the Bordeaux wine region of Blaye on the right bank.

French vineyards in the Bordeaux wine region of Blaye on the right bank.

The wine and its worth
Bordeaux produces a range of wine, including some of the most expensive wines in the world. These names include the five first growth (premier cru) red wines, established by the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855:

Choosing the right blend of grapes
Bordeaux makes both red and white wines, and each use a different blend of grapes. Red wine can be made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot, whilst white wine is generally made from Sémillon, Muscadelle, and Sauvignon Blanc. The blend of grapes has to be exact in order to make their infamous flavours and aromas, and it takes a lot of training and experience to make the cut.

Bordeaux wine available at Boisdale
We pride ourselves in providing quality wines at Boisdale, and as such we offer many different bottles of Bordeaux wine available. Our finest offering is arguably the Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux 2001, which is a 2nd Growth Grand Cru from the area of Margaux. A touch of hazelnut enhances the firm black-fruit quality, giving it a consistent taste of luxury.

We also offer the Boisdale Claret 2010, which has been created especially for us, by our friends at Château de Sours. It uses a blend of the highest quality fruit from their young Cabernet Franc and Merlot vines, offering a sweet concentrated taste of blackberry and blackcurrant flavours.