In my head, I want to visit every single cigar store in London and across the UK. Whether I get the chance to is a different story. On a visit to Cambridge at the weekend, I was pleased to see a cigar store in town.
I associate Robert Graham Whisky & Cigars with Scotland and the online cigar events I attended during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. I initially checked the website to work out what was in the Cambridge store. To my delight, it appears there is a sampling lounge downstairs, BUT this wasn’t open due to water in from a burst pipe that damaged the old sampling lounge. With every cloud… it’s giving the store the opportunity for a refit that’s due to be ready later this year. Luckily, there was seating outside, which enabled fellow cigar smokers to ‘sample’ a cigar.
It’s only recently dawned on me that one ‘samples’ a cigar to see whether they would invest in a whole box of cigars. One day I’ll be able to afford that luxury.
I always feel a little apprehensive upon walking into a cigar store, will I look or sound stupid, but Iain, the manager, immediately put me at ease with his chat. He flipped open three giant humidors full of the different cigars that were on sale.
There was a selection of Cuban and non-Cuban cigars. I was immediately drawn to the humidor that had the Drew Estate cigars.
I had my eye on the Liga Privada No. 9 Robusto cigar.
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Select Honduran and Nicaraguan Seed
Binder: Plantation-Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
I tell you why this particular cigar appealed to me… before my trip to Cambridge, I watched the new Skepta (a UK rapper) video filmed in JJ Fox in St James, London.
In the video, Skepta is handed a Liga Privada cigar. I wanted to know why that cigar was so unique and featured in a music video. Then I saw it was a full-bodied cigar that I’ve become a massive fan of; then boom, I wanted one immediately.
I’m pretty embarrassed at how easily influenced I am 😁
Anyways back to Robert Graham, after opting for the larger Liga Privada vitola, I was keen to purchase a second cigar, this time a cigar that was recommended to me by the merchant. Iain told me about the Room 101 ‘Farce’ cigar made by this fantastic character who created a set of cigars to be smoked throughout the whole day, one for the morning, afternoon and evening. I went for the ‘evening’ Maduro cigar.
I made a payment using my card, then walked towards the back of the store, cigars in hand, through a small door. Here I could enjoy my cigar purchases, sampling them in the courtyard directly outside the back of the venue.
There were not many tables outside for Robert Graham customers, but luckily this spot was free. I was surrounded by tables from the coffee shop next door.
I then got my cigar cutter and Xikar lighter out, unwrapped the packaging that the Liga Privada cigar came in, cut the cap and lit my cigar. Job done, now time to relax!
What a marvellous cigar, probably one of the heaviest most intense cigars I have ever smoked! Even stronger than the Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour Churchill which I can not stop raving about. This is not a cigar for beginners. Ensure you have something to eat before you smoke this cigar. I got some really strong flavour notes including rich chocolate, caramel, coffee, and leather. This cigar also produces a thick and creamy smoke with the most wonderful aroma to it.
My rating (for the cigar): 10 out of 10 – yikes! I’m surprised myself at how highly I’ve rated this cigar, but yes this is well deserved. Iain told me try the T52 next. I’ll also be smoking the Farce at some point in the future.
My rating (for the cigar venue): 7 out of 10 – great staff! Would love to see more cigars and eventually smoke in the newly refitted sampling lounge later in the year. If you’re in the area, it’s worth passing by!
The Robert Graham Whisky & Cigar store can be found at 9 Sussex Street, Cambridge, CB1 1PA. You can call them on +44 (0)1223 354 459 and their opening times are Monday – Saturday: 1000 – 1800 and Sunday: 1200 – 1730. Visit their website for more details.
Check out my other reviews of cigar bars, terraces, and smoking lounges in London and beyond!