In October, Mark’s Club in Mayfair opened The Birley Clubs’ Cigar Keeps, to cater to its steadfast cigar aficionado members. These keeps have been designed especially for the cigar connoisseur, by Italian fine furniture producers of 50 years, DeART, who are able to boast of having built bespoke humidors for the likes of Hotel Bulgari, Harry’s Bar, The Churchill Bar, The Wellesley Hotel and London’s Private Cigar Club. Residing on the top floor of Mark’s, the room consists of 70 cigar keeps and will be secured and monitored by their resident Master of Cigars, Antonino Lo Iacono and Cigar Sommelier, Vanessa Vieira, who will oversee the incredibly complex quality control that goes into protecting the cigars.
Mark’s Club is made up of a demographic of both established and distinguished men and women, who very much appreciate rare cigars, and so has long been a destination to enjoy this pastime. A classic setting for both business and pleasure, the club is a discreet and cherished haven to its members, boasting several rooms, a terrace perfect for cigars and a two Michelin star head chef, accompanied by their team of expert sommeliers and mixologists.
The Rake recently caught up with resident Master of Cigars, Antonino Lo Iacono to picks his brains on all things cigars and smoking etiquette...
How should one 'taste' a cigar?
Like a fine cognac, a cigar should be sipped rather than gulped to be truly appreciated, and of course the smoke should never be inhaled. Let all the flavours and aromas lay on your palate and sit on your tongue to slowly discern all the cigar’s subtle notes. One should be looking for enough strength - but not too much, and a good combustion to enjoy a cigar throughout.
Is there a discernible difference between Cuban cigars and those from neighbouring countries and if so how do they differ?
Cuba has a very rich tobacco-growing soil and unique climate, and of course the tobacco’s flavour is derived from both soil and climate. I truly believe that there is no other taste like a Cuban cigar, it is very distinctive.