A hot and sticky London and a sardine-like experience on the underground meant the gently undulating flag of Number Ten Manchester Streetwas like a vision of an oasis to a thirsty camel.
I staggered up the steps and into the cool, refined interior and from there was just a whisper away from a refreshing G&T and the glory that is that hotel’s Cigar Terrace.
I was there in time for a brief meeting and to enjoy one of the monthly Hunters & Frankau Cigar Tastings at the venue. It didn’t disappoint.
None other than Simon Chase himself would be leading the festivities and almost as pleasing was that the tasting for the evening was to be the Limited Edition Montecristo D from 2005, paired with the spectacular Martell Creation Cognac.
Before too long, we were under starter’s orders and the terrace was agreeably busy with inquisitive lovers of the leaf. Simon began with a talk on the derivation of the cigar while we lit up our smokes. A slender 43 ring gauge by 6 ¾”, this dark brown stick oozed refinement.
The draw was disappointingly tight at first light and I resigned myself to a dud. But as the smoke wore on and eventually crossed halfway, my perseverance was rewarded and the cigar began to flower.
Once Simon had finished his excellent mini-talk and answered a few questions, it was the chance of the lads from Martell to offer their expertise on the chosen libation – a beautifully rounded Cognac blended from decades old eau de vix.
The result of the pairing? Well, of course that’s as subjective as asking how you like your steak, but for what it’s worth, I felt it worked nicely; neither drink nor cigar overpowered one another and by the time I had smoked into the final third, the Monte D was really coming into its own with lots of bold, smooth flavours on the tongue. The Cognac was rich and smooth, with plenty of Christmas pud notes to balance.
If you haven’t been to Number 10, you simply must; you couldn’t pick a better night than a Hunters & Frankau tasting.
Good cigars, well-matched drink, some nibbles and the company of like-minded folk. The perfect post public transport antidote.