Cigar Smoker of the Year at Boisdale's

Monday 12th December 2016

At the invitation of Liveryman Jemma Freeman, who is also MD of cigar importers Hunter & Frankau, I attended this rather exclusive cigar night in Boisdale's Canary Wharf rooms. Presented on arrival with a bag containing three cigars, a cutter and lighter, we smoked the first with a glass of champagne on the large and accommodating smoking balcony. The event was sponsored by Snow Queen vodka cocktails of which were flowing liberally too. Meeting up with Elise Rasmussen and Jemma, I was very pleased to also see our late Assistant Nic Wing's widow Sally and son come along to receive a prize in his name. Up to dinner, Jemma was presided over a large table of guests which included all the aforementioned, along with Her Excellency the Cuban Ambassador and her husband. A good meal was served with the famous Boisdale beef for the main, and ended with good cheeseboards. We then had a short boogie-woogie from a Swiss lass who, now we were running an hour late, only had time for one, but she was superb. Tom Parker-Bowles presided and introduced "someone a bit special" to take a single lot charity auction - Nancy Dell'Olio no less. It soon transpired Nancy hadn't taken an auction before, or possibly attended one, so there was a humorous interlude when we seemed to have three auctioneers trying to sell a box cigars and other extras - I never found out if they sold as I heard no gavel or announcement! Then several awards were given, including "Cigar Writer of the Year" which was won by Nic Wing - Sally made a touching speech in his absence. Nearly all the other awards seemed to be won by people on our table until the Cigar Smoker of the Year was announced. For some reason the runner up - Charlie Sheen - was given the mic and gave us a 15 min ad lib of mixed variety before, finally, the Cigar Smoker of the Year was announced and was one Kelsey Grammer (Frasier to most of us) and who had been kind enough to visit our little table of fans just after dessert (I don't think Elise gave him a choice, but he was very good about it!). With that done it was now 11.30pm and we were invited to repair for a cigar and nightcap on the terrace - much as I would have loved to, I'm afraid I sauntered off to find a bed.. Thank you Jemma, it was all great fun!