We live in worrying times. Instability in the Middle East, tension in the former Soviet Union, the rise of right-wing politics across Europe and the United States, climate change … Armageddon, Götterdämmerung and the end of days are clearly just around the corner; the hooves of the horsemen of the Apocalypse are ringing out their merciless tattoo as the final reckoning draws nigh.
Given this abundance of sinister portents, it would be a foolish man who does not repent, make his peace with God and generally put his affairs in order. It is therefore comforting to know that regardless of whatever happens to my body and my immortal soul, at least my cigars will be all right.
It is often said — with what basis, in fact, I do not know — that one of the few things to survive the nuclear war would be the cockroach. Certainly, if the world’s nuclear powers put their mind to it, they could wipe out most signs that living things ever inhabited this planet of ours. But now, thanks to Patrick Fallon, one of human civilisation’s greatest creations, the cigar will be preserved.
Patrick Fallon is an engaging chap. He is the type of craftsman on which France seems to have a monopoly. He is an artisan-connoisseur, with an appreciation of the better things life has to offer. He has spent his working life in the pursuit of excellence. At his workshops in Annecy, you will see the dextrous, nimble fingers of his craftsmen working on bags for one of the biggest names in luxury. I cannot tell you which one, because he asked me to keep that information to myself.
However, he is much more than a subcontractor in the great commercial ecosystem of the luxury industry — he is an inventor in his own right. About 10 years ago, he decided he needed an additional interest (he is already a keen motorcyclist and a Gestalt therapist), and having surveyed the available options, decided to embark upon a parallel career as a cigar smoker. Maybe I should mention at this point that Patrick is a perfectionist, and while he found himself partial to a good cigar, he felt that the available cigar holders left rather a lot to be desired.