The first rule of The Cigar Club of India is “don’t talk shop at The Cigar Club of India”.
“What you should be talking about is a Nicaraguan Maduro leaf cigar which is fused with a seven-year-aged Panamanian rum called Abuelo.”
With just one tenet, founder Daniel Carroll destroys our notion of what this cigar society might be like – boys, just boys, sitting around on burgundy leather couches, locking business deals in a smoky haze so thick, it could rival Delhi’s.
The monthly meets in fact, take place in “really nice Mumbai digs”, where cigar enthusiasts – many are now women – gather to pair single malts with slow, relaxed cigar puffs. “It was never meant to be a club – just friends meeting to smoke cigars,” the British expat tells us. But word spread, and now the Mumbai chapter alone has about 1,200 members; last month, they started up in Bangalore and Hyderabad and will be in Delhi in January 2018.
What the founder loves about The Cigar Club of India, is that its events have retained the informal air of like-minded friends meeting up. “The evenings are designed to let people relax. The pleasure of the cigar is in smoking it patiently and luxuriously. Just like a wine tasting, the meetings are about refining one’s appreciation for cigars.” Recently, Daniel has started hosting master classes where you can learn to blend your own cigars; maybe you can convince him to do a workshop in your office, or for your next bachelor/bachelorette party.
The conversation at The Cigar Club is whatever members choose it to be, but for newbies it’s all about learning: how to identify the strength of a cigar from the colour of its wrapper; how never to use a petrol lighter whose vapours and smell will be absorbed by the cigar; how to gently press it before buying one; and the history of the cigar in India.
If you’d like to join, all you need to is email The Cigar Club of India and tell them why you’d be a good fit. If you want to buy cigars curated by the club, you need only visit their Mumbai pop up store that keeps moving, usually to a five star hotel where the club will meet next. They’re not active on social media, so the only real way to track it is through email.
When you manage to find this roving store and pin it down, Daniel insists you try these: the Gurkha 15-year-aged Cellar Reserve was voted number 1 in the world in a blind tasting; and the Gurkha Private Select, that Nicaraguan Maduro leaf-rum one we told you about. “The result is sweet and spicy, and works beautifully on the Indian palate.”
Count us in! We promise to leaf our business cards at home.
Getting there: Get in touch with Co-founder Daniel at 9821892000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to sign up.
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