Afternoons at Franco's, Jermyn Street, London

Afternoons at Franco's, Jermyn Street, London

By Rikesh Chauhan

There’s no place quite like London in the summertime. Okay, perhaps it’s a little too early to technically call it summer, but this week has been nothing short of magical. Especially given that the week prior, we had everything from storm-like winds to hail and rain (the latter of which partly destroyed one of my favourite leather totes). Just when you think you’ve had enough, out comes the sun to make you rethink, revise, and fall in love all over again. There’s good reason, after all, that Samuel Johnson once famously expressed, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford.”

The Cohiba Siglo VI, enjoyed outside Franco's on Jermyn Street

The Cohiba Siglo VI, enjoyed outside Franco's on Jermyn Street

A place that embodies this for me, is Jermyn Street. Not quite as famous as Savile Row, but of equal standing and importance, Jermyn Street has played home to some iconic brands, including shirtmakers Turnbull & Asser and Emma Willis, clothiers New & Lingwood and Favourbrook, shoemakers Tricker's, John Lobb, Crockett & Jones, Grenson and Loake, to makers of finer goods and accessories including Floris, Cubitts, Paxton & Whitfield, and of course, Davidoff of London. Located just opposite the latter, is Franco’s. For me, this is prime real estate. Not only does it happen to be one of the finest dining institutions in London, but the outdoor seating provides the perfect place to enjoy good food, smoke a Cuban cigar and watch some of the finest dressed men and women saunter.

Cohiba's Siglo VI is the perfect accompaniment for a negroni

Cohiba's Siglo VI is the perfect accompaniment for a negroni

We spent the late afternoon, after a significantly busy day, winding down at Franco’s for an aperitif. I had earlier picked up a new pair of sunglasses from Cubitts (also located just opposite) and the timing couldn’t have been more serendipitous, for the moment I sat down, the clouds cleared and the sun showcased its skills. A rather wonderful scene requires an equally wonderful cigar, so why look further than Cohiba? The Siglo VI is an extremely impressive smoke, introduced in 2002 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Cuba. The beautifully hand-crafted cañanazo measures 150mm by a 52 ring gauge. It contains only the finest blend of tobacco leaves, sporting an impeccable Claro wrapper. According to many as one of the greatest cigars Cohiba has produced, the medium-full body cigar with notes of honey and leather is the perfect accompaniment for a sbagliato or two.

The Siglo VI is described as one of Cohiba's best ever cigars

The Siglo VI is described as one of Cohiba's best ever cigars

The Siglo VI is described as one of Cohiba's best ever cigars

Whilst this is the perfect meet-in-the-middle cigar, there are two others, on opposite sides of the size scale, that also make for brilliant smokes in the sun. Firstly, the El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse. This cigar, though short in size, is designed to smoke slowly. It’s a light but spicy number that requires a stronger, sweeter aperitif to balance it out. It also works well with an espresso should your moment to bask in the sun come earlier in the day. The Entreacto vitola literally translates to ‘between acts’, as it was originally conceived to be smoked between acts in the theatre shows. The wonderful dressed box containing 25 of these cigars makes for a wonderful gift, if we do say so ourselves. The Leyenda by Montecristo, meanwhile, is one of the larger Cuban cigars from the Linea 1935 range, measuring at 165mm by a 55 ring gauge. The flavour is full-bodied, stepping away from the brand’s typical medium-body profile. 

The El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse is short but spicy

The Montecristo Linea 1935 Leyenda Cigar

The El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse and Montecristo Linea 1935 Leyenda cigars

Finally, if you’re going to truly enjoy your time, you should go for the best. The Cohiba BEHIKE 56 is the holy grail, and has been for quite some time. It measures at a hefty 166mm with a 56 ring gauge, and contains the rare Medio Tiempo leaves which sit at the top of the tobacco plant. Hand-rolled with the Volado, Seco and Ligero leaves, it really is quite an incredible blend, and extremely sought-after. Whatever your preference, there’s really no going wrong under London’s summer sun.

A holy grail, the Cohiba BEHIKE 56

A holy grail, the Cohiba BEHIKE 56

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