And that was the first post-Covid cigar event.
The world launch of the Ramon Allones Allones No.2, which was arranged and organised superbly by Hunters & Frankau, the UK’s importer of Cuban cigars, took place on a soggy Wednesday.
And while a few hardy souls gathered – socially distant – to celebrate amid the rain, most ‘attended’ through the new world medium of Zoom meetings.
H&F Executive Chairman, Jemma Freeman, introduced the cigar via a specially recorded message, and across the UK – and indeed the world – hundreds of cigar lovers sparked up the new sticks from the legendary Ramon Allones brand or marque.
Sautter weren’t about to be wallflowers at such a prestigious cigar launch – the first time Habanos SA (the company responsible for the marketing and international distribution of Cuban cigars) had been awarded an official launch to our nation since the Cohiba Talisman in 2017.
Laurence decided that rather than make a fast buck out of H&F’s generosity – they planned to give out special packs to each ‘attending’ guest at a maximum of 10 per retailer and recommended a small charge of £25 per customer purely for legal reasons – he charged merely the £25 plus also donated £5 per golden ticket out of his own pocket to a school in Estelí, Nicaragua, which is the beneficiary of proceeds raised on the back of Nick Hammond’s book, Around The World in 80 Cigars.
And so nearly 200 of you entered a ballot to be one of the 10 lucky Sautter followers chosen to attend on the night. Duly picked at random, those ten braved a miserable-looking Mount Street and joined Laurence and Nick Hammond at the live event, maintaining social distancing while still having a great time.
Champagne was kindly donated by Sautter and enjoyed al fresco and while the rain wasn’t as bad as it had been all day, guests still required the occasional use of a Sautter brolly to fully enjoy firing up their Allones No.2s. As per the first video review of the stick that Laurence and Nick posted the next day, the ‘new’ Limited Edition for 2019 is a powerful affair and a wonderfully made, oily stick which had them cooing and sighing over it. LD’s only moan was that there simply weren’t enough of them to go around and that he had sold out of the cigars before he’d even put them in the shop.
Nevertheless, the evening was nothing but a triumph out of adversity for Hunters & Frankau, whose innovative response to the Covid lockdowns saw one of the biggest cigar parties ever organised. They should be rightfully credited for their initiative and willingness to get this out to the cigar-loving public.
All we can recommend is that if you fancy getting hold of a box – and it’s highly recommended – then get your name down now in case more stock comes in. That’s just the way it rolls when it comes to Cuba and cigars.