Monday saw the leading players in the cigar industry rub shoulders with Hollywood stars at Boisdale Of Canary Wharf. The Cabot Square venue ’s Snow Queen Cigar Smoker Of The Year dinner drew a capacity crowd for a heady blend of tobacco, spirits, Charlie Sheen and Kelsey Grammer.
The Frasier star, who was named the 2016 Cigar Smoker Of The Year told the guests: “I didn’t realise that there was such a downtrodden community of cigar smokers but I’m proud to spearhead it and stand as a symbol of liberty.
"I don’t smoke a lot but I do smoke a cigar from time to time and I think it’s one of the more elegant things to do.
“It’s fun to think cigar smokers are somehow reviled, a strange social movement that has to fight its way to the top
“I think because there’s a moment between a smoker and a cigar that allows you to shave away the layers of the day. It’s an instrument for being in the moment.
“Growing up I was taught the ways of Epictetus and Epicurus – for me it was always the latter.
"He was the fat guy who liked what he was doing and I’ve always thought there was joy in that.”
Hosted by Tom Parker Bowles and Boisdale owner Ranald Macdonald, the evening also honoured Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil.
The veteran journalist received the Lifetime Achievement award and mused on the benefits of cigar smoking as a crucial provider of perspective.
He said: “We in the media didn’t tell you Jeremy Corbyn would lead Labour, that David Cameron would win an overall majority then lose the EU referendum.
“We didn’t tell you he’d resign but we did tell you Donald Trump couldn’t even win the New Hampshire primary let alone become president.
"My message is that maybe if we sat back as journalists more often and had a cigar, maybe we’d get more predictions right.”
But most memorable, perhaps, was Sheen’s acceptance of the runner-up spot to Grammer, graciously bestowed upon him by Nancy Dell’Olio.
In typical anarchic fashion he took the stage in good humour, gently roasting the judges and venue for failing to award him the top spot.
He said: “It begs one question and yet you all still invited me – have you not Googled this bitch?”
But after venting some mock-indignant spleen and describing his evening as a “train wreck that’s the epitome of class” he vacated the stage returning only to embrace and kiss Grammer following the announcement of his rival’s win.
The full list of awards
The Snow Queen Cigar Smoker of the Year 2016 Nominees
Winner: Kelsey Grammer
1. Charlie Sheen
2. Boris Becker
3. Jeremy Irons
5. Sir Terence Conran
6. Calum Best
The Snow Queen Cigar Writer of the Year Nominees
Winner: Nic Wing
The Cigar Terrace or Cigar Lounge of the Year Nominees
Winner: The Churchill at Hyatt Regency London
- The Edward Sahakian Cigar Lounge at The Bulgari
- Cigars at No. Ten at Ten Manchester Street
- The Garden Lounge at Corinthia
The Cigar Retailer of the Year Nominees
Winner: My Smoking Shop
- Davidoff of London
- Birley Cigars
- Sautter Cigars
- Alfie Turmeaus, Chester
The Cigar Producer of the Year Nominees
Winner: Habanos S.A
- Arturo Fuente
- Alec Bradley
The Snow Queen Cigar of the Year Nominees
Winner: Joya De Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Doble Robusto
- Mancanudo Inspirado Robusto
- Partagas Série D No. 6, Habanos
The Snow Queen Cigar Lifetime Achievement Award Nominees
Winner: Andrew Neil
- Stephen Evans
- Alan Greenspan
Sir Terence Conran
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