-By Rinku Madan
On a Smoky Note
A wise man once said "Gentlemen, you may smoke!" Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to propagate lung cancer, it's just that we have an exclusive cigar lounge (The Cigar Lounge) amidst us and I'm trying to do a write up on it. Anyway let's start with:
-Cigars available in different shapes and sizes. This is good for newbies to try out without being price gouged.
- The range is fantastic, both hand rolled and boutique brands. From the Cohibas to the Montecristos, Romeo y Julieta, the signature Churchills to name a few and for women the Montecristo Joyitas.
-You may also maintain your cigars in a personal non- aromatic cedar wood humidor, which has elegant 4-inch personal vaults. Stash your selection here and have your name etched on a brass plate on your very own vault.
- Diksha Pande and Akansha Banerjee, the very charming and affable hostesses, who greet you as you enter, and are very happy to explain the rules of the road.
- The crowd consists of friendly regulars who come and smoke. A cool mix of locals and serious smokers. Visitors are welcome too.
- At an initial glance this place looks like a private club. But once in, youll soak up the ambience faster than you can say 'Habanos'.
- If you're looking for a 'scene', or somewhere you could befriend hoes - and I'm not talking of the garden variety, then this is not the place for you. It is mostly mature gentlemen who enjoy cigars, and by mature I don't mean your recent college graduate or your grandfather.
- Once in a while you'll see few ladies, but you've been warned.
- No food not even finger food is served here as per law. So if you want to grab a bite, walk across to the Piano Bar or to one of the restaurants in the hotel precincts.
- Looking at my watch and realizing it's time to go home.
That wise man I had quoted above was King Edward VII of England. No wonder he was made King.
The Cigar Lounge is what I would call "shoe shopping for men". The different selection of cigars to choose from, in fact, excites a patron. If any man could have a room in his house like this, he would be the happiest man alive. The place is laidback and macho, with napa leather upholstered armchairs, a gold carpet, dark wood, aged cognacs, armagnacs, single malts - the works.
Stepping into the Cigar Lounge is like stepping back in time: a plush lounge filled with characters of all types, straight out of a Dickens novel. Only the prices are not exactly Dickenesque, but are by no means extravagant. My companion ordered a mild cigar, though I have yet to try any kind of cancer stick yet, I'm oddly a fan of the smokey cigar aroma and for some reason find it like an indulgent treat. The lovely hostess brought a beautiful crystal ashtray, followed by a long cedar wood splinter to light the cigar as opposed to a butane flame. Followed up with Tesseron - a limited edition brandy, served in pre warmed brandy goblets.
Certain pleasures in life are timeless - a candlelit setting with the one you love, the heady aroma of a fine cigar, a great conversation, the amber glow of a fire place with a snifter, sipping on a Castarede Bas Armagnac 1975, jazz as a backdrop - I had all these experiences, well almost under one roof - The Cigar Lounge.
A great place to get away from the stresses of the day. Go to smoke, relax and meet new people, who like you love a smoke. Try it and see if your cares fade away. They have many kinds of exquisite stogies that will suit your very own taste. The kind of place where a first time visitor is met with a round of introduction, unattended women viewed with suspicion and friendships are begun with a clip of a cigar.
I'd recommend it to anyone... well maybe not anyone... I'd recommend it only to those people I like.
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