Gift Guide: The Must Have Smokes And Accessories For Cigar Aficionados
Smoking is part of our culture, especially in Europe, even though we know that it can severely damage our health. Being a smoker and cigar aficionado myself, I am pleased to offer you a selection of stylish cigar-related gifts for the 2020 holiday season selected in collaboration with LOUIS XIII, including a selection of “Must Smoke” cigars curated by Watchonista’s resident cigar lovers.
Created by Paul-Emile Rémy Martin in 1874, LOUIS XIII is, first and foremost, the epitome of excellence achieved by generations of Cellar Masters.
The LOUIS XIII Cellar Master looks to the future while honoring the past, sampling the new eaux-de-vie produced by Grande Champagne winegrowers and distillers each year and setting aside only those with the very best aging potential. Only decades later will these be considered by the next Cellar Master to compose the LOUIS XIII blend of tomorrow.
Choosing, blending, and aging the finest eaux-de-vie sourced 100% from the terroir of Grande Champagne, the first cru of the Cognac region, Baptiste Loiseau, the current LOUIS XIII Cellar Master, works to transmit the legacy that ensures LOUIS XIII lives on.
The eaux-de-vie that compose LOUIS XIII is matured in oak casks sourced from forests in France. Only after several decades of maturation will the most exceptional eaux-de-vie be chosen to evolve in the rarest centennial casks exclusive to LOUIS XIII: the tierçons. The result, a cognac with no other parallel, the distinctive and unique LOUIS XIII signature. To hold such an extraordinary nectar, LOUIS XIII decanters are hand-crafted by the greatest master crystal artisans from prestigious European Houses.
We had the privilege of experiencing this blend of aromas in preparation for this gift guide. LOUIS XIII is a living patrimony made from precious oak casks, a rare heritage from times past. To put this in cigar terms, it would be like having a cigar made with leaves from various ages and only from the world’s finest growing fields.
Tasting LOUIS XIII is truly a unique experience in itself. The excellence of LOUIS XIII begins in its extraordinary terroir which brings tension and paradox in incredible and never-ending aromatic complexity.
LOUIS XIII is available in select bars and retailers around the globe.
The Impossible Collection of Cigars by Aaron Sigmond
There are so many cigars to try in the world. Some are now collector’s items that have been discontinued or have become harder and harder to find. So, once you become interested in cigars and start buying ever-bigger humidors or a full cabinet to store them, you will eventually come to realize you will never have enough storage space.
But with The Impossible Collection of Cigars: The 100 Most Exceptional, Important, and Age-worthy Puros on your bookshelf, cigar aficionados can rest assured they won't be led astray. This excellent book from Assouline’s famous Ultimate Collection discusses 100 remarkable cigars of the 20th and 21st centuries from the world's most prestigious makers.
Author Aaron Sigmond (@sigcigar) takes the reader on a journey from one exceptional cigar to another. The Impossible Collection of Cigars features 70 Cuban and 30 New World (meaning non-Cuban) cigars. And Sigmond is not just an award-winning publisher, editor, and author. He is a real pioneer and reference point in the cigar world. Founding editor of Smoke magazine and The Cigar Report, Sigmond has written more than a book. He’s created a true piece of art.
S.T. Dupont Cigars Accessories
When you think of the French brand S.T. Dupont, you primarily think about their prized lighters, particularly the timelessly elegant Ligne 2 series. What you may not think about is S.T. Dupont’s vast range of high-end yet contemporary cigar accessories.
First, there are, of course, lighters but with a futurist torch. Next are their cigar cutters with two heavy blades for more stability and precision when cutting. And finally, their cigar cases for carrying 1, 2, or 3 cigars are quite distinctive with their polished stainless steel and removable fine-leather tops. They are as airtight as they are chic.
Les Fines Lames Concreate Ashtray
As much as cigar smokers like accessories, they LOVE ashtrays. Some prefer ashtrays in the colors or with the logo of their favorite brand. Yet others prefer to treat ashtrays as a high-end interior decoration. Whether made from crystal, porcelain, or valuable wood, ashtrays can easily set you back more than $500.
With that in mind, Les Fines Lames – known for their Le Petit cigar knife – offers the Monad, a contemporary alternative made of concrete. Available for one or two cigars and in grey, green, blue, red, and anthracite, its Wabi Sabi aesthetic is fresh, minimalist, and functional.
Watchonista’s Must Smoke Cigars of 2020
Within the ranks of Team Watchonista and its friends, you’ll find real cigar connoisseurs with solid taste and expertise. As we often discuss our favorite smokes and recent reviews of new issues, we wanted, as the year comes to an end, to give you our picks for the best smokes of 2020.
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure De Luxe LCDH
We have the privilege to start with Luana Cabezas @l.u.a.n.a_cabezas who is a frequent cigar smoker to tell us about that specific vitola of 52 gauge and 115 mm in length.
“On the first draws, I got earthy light taste and some pepper notes. Sometimes hint of sweetness like caramel notes mixed with earthy flavors. Spicy notes are becoming more present on the second third. Flavor-wise it stayed very consistent all the way through. Construction-wise it is excellent and has a very creamy and silky finish."
“It doesn’t bother you at all, and the herbal tastes are still there. The last third, the sweetness faded out but they are still coming back lingering on your tongue and palate. Wonderful smoke!” Exclaimed Luana Cabezas.
H.Upmann Connoisseur B LCDH
Our friend from Madrid @scaramanga__ is a longtime cigar and watch aficionado. He especially recommends a tremendous 54-gauge vitola 150 mm in length.
Scaramanga told us: “I must admit few cigars have surprised me more in recent years than the H.Upmann Connoisseur B. An exclusive edition made for Casa del Habano and unfortunately can only be found there.
“I admit, I have always appreciated H.Upmann, starting with their Churchill from over two decades ago. This Connoisseur B is without a doubt amongst my five best recommendations to be still purchased today. Full of flavor yet not aggressive in its taste or overwhelmingly offensive to others in its smoke.
“My favorite traits of this H.Upmann are the hints of muscat and nuts that are so hard to find these days. An absolute joy of a smoke to be savored with good Jazz, preferably Coltrane or Brubeck.”
Our fellow Watchonista Board Member and friend @orangewatchcollector proposed a legendary smoke that we had the privilege of discovering together earlier this year. The one and only: Trinidad Fundadores.
“With the current trend going toward wider gauge cigars, the Fundadores from first glance gives you the desire to sample something different, from start to finish it is evident exactly what you have been missing."
“It is said that the Fundadores was originally produced only for Fidel Castro as it was one of the hardest cigars to roll with its long and slim viola (40-gauge/192 mm long) together with its prominent pigtail on the top. The quality of the construction and roll is evident in hand even before you light it.
“From cutting and lighting, the whole cigar takes you on a journey of discovery until the very last draw. The first third is very light fresh wood with a creamy and sweet, almost vanilla aftertaste, coupled with plenty of beautiful velvet smoke. This then develops into a more earthy and medium-bodied smoke at the mid-point of the cigar, but it still retains that smooth sweetness on the palate. Then it finally changes to a very enjoyable strong and spicy cedar profile towards the end of this amazing 90-minute journey."
Montecristo Supremos Edición Limitada 2019
While working from home during Switzerland’s lockdown, I had the chance to try a tremendous number of cigars. But the Montecristo Supremos Edición Limitada 2019 is still for me the most remarkable smoke in 2020.
Presented in a magical “galera” style yellow vitola of 25, the Supremos is a Montesco, a size never used before by Montecristo (cepo of 55 and measuring 130 mm long).
Once you start smoking this well-balanced cigar, you immediately understand how extraordinary the leaves are and how big the “garde” potential is. Beginning with a delicately spiced first third, it evolves into a consistent roasted coffee and torrefied chocolate flavor. The experience is only elevated with a snifter of LOUIS XIII.
LOUIS XIII Miniature
Like a fragrance, the LOUIS XIII Miniature is a 5cl version of the mythical crystal decanter crowned with a fleur-de-lys stopper.
Delivered in a special case reminiscent of a jewelry box, this precious gem is the perfect gift to share the LOUIS XIII experience at every special occasion.
Join the LOUIS XIII Experience by contacting the dedicated LOUIS XIII Team
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)