50 - October
started arriving well before 7:00pm, in fact before we had finished
preparing the tables. Fortunately we were able to steer them into
Katzy's Cigar Bar, opposite The Grillhouse.
By 6:55pm we were ready for the 72 guests - 8 tables all laid
out with shining cutlery, crockery, glassware, ice buckets and
tantalising bottles of wine. At each setting we placed an invitation
to the November Cuban evening, a pricelist of extra cigars available
at special prices for the evening, plus a complimentary bottle
of "Aqua Excellence" humidity regulating fluid (compliments of
a local cigar aficionado and businessman). Menus rolled into glass
tubes, cigar matches and cutters were spread out between the waiting
"We were ready" - on the stroke of 7, we let them in - 2,
3, 4 at a time.
Each guest was name-tagged (with their free draw number), advised
of their seating, and offered a San Luis Rey Club cigarillo,
a light and a sherry.
By 7:30pm all but a few latecomers had been ushered to their seats
- the dinner was on.
folk finished their spicy little San Luis Rey Club, I welcomed
everybody and thanked our two main sponsors (The Cigar Company
and representatives of Glenfiddich Grants Whisky). I talked about
the relatively new small size machined cigars now made in Cuba
- the Cigarillo (Club), the Mini Cigarillo and the Demitasse (Purito)
- you can read more about
cigar which was about to be handed out, was the Juan Lopez
Corona - light and easy-burning, and considered to be an ideal
daytime or early evening cigar - and it was.
course was paraded in - and what a sight it was. The platters
of Meze and fresh salads were bright, colourful, beautifully arranged
and plentiful. And they tasted great too.
the main course were taken and we had approximately 40 minutes
to enjoy the first course, wine and Juan Lopez. I took advantage
of the last five minutes of this time to draw the winner of the
crystal cigar ashtray.
I announced further draws - R20 raffles for a 3-pack of Limited
Edition maduro cigars (value R490) and for a bottle of Glenfiddich
18 year old whisky (value R1000). Tickets would be sold towards
the end of the main course.
courses were carried in high above heads, and deftly placed before
each guest. The 500g of spare ribs was awesome. Gillian, fitted
out with the necessary bib style apron had no qualms about calling
it quits halfway and asking for a "doggie bag" (which was supplied
with a smile).
to the raffles was spontaneous and very good - so good that we
drew 2 winners for the 3-packs of Limited Edition cigars.
(Click to read about
them and a 3-pack offer.)
We had now
reached the high point of the evening - the Romeo y Julieta
Belicosos and the whisky presentation. By this stage the verbal
volume made it impossible to address the company en masse, so,
partnered by one of the excellent waiters, I visited each table
in turn to extoll the merits of this fine cigar.
is a slightly shorter version of the classic Torpedo.
It takes a little less time to smoke than a Pyramid, costs less,
and yet gives ample satisfaction. The hand rollers at the R &
J factory take great pride in their expertise and strive for utter
perfection in the complex cigars they create. It was R & J that
produced the first Churchill size cigar in honour of the great
From my own experience, and the exclamations of guests, the Belicosos
lived up to the best expectations.
whisky presentation was very professional with Jason Duganzich
courageously quietening the tables to a muted murmur and holding
their attention with aplomb. (The fine cigars also helped.)
twist to his presentation: at the end he asked 2 questions relating
to the presentation, and the first correct answers in each case
were rewarded with a bottle of Glenfiddich single malt whisky.
In fact the contest for one of the questions was adjudged a draw
and the sponsors graciously handed over a second bottle.
was now 10:30pm.
the packets of cigars purchased to their owners, and the first
guests started to leave - others stayed happily chatting and smoking,
or moved over to the vibrant atmosphere of Katzy's Cigar Bar.
party had ended on a high note.
was exceptional (especially the air extraction system) and the
service was carried out professionally by well-trained staff in
a very pleasant manner.
The fare had been excellent - food, wine and cigars.
atmosphere had buzzed with much conversation and laughter and
the aroma of fine cigars. It was a night to remember, and hopefully
to be repeated in the New Year.
So you missed the dinner? But you can recreate it.
pack of the 3 cigars for only R169.50!
Offered at this special price until November 6, 2002.
You can arrange your own good food and wine, and the convivial
(Sorry about the whisky!)
October 17 to October 30, 2002
Have you read about the Limited
Edition Maduro cigars
currently available from Cuba?