If you are a regular follower of this blog, you will know that I am keen to try and visit as many cigar bars, terraces and smoking lounges across London and beyond. As I do, I hope I can document each experience and hopefully, this is of some use to others.
So, it’s a brand new year, and I spent some time on New Years Day (with a slight hangover) looking up potential venues to visit for the year ahead. It was at that point I started to come across ‘cigar experience’ offers. In particular, I stumbled across the Whisky and Cigar for Two at Arc Le Salon, Mayfair offer on Virgin Experience Days for £55.00.
I had not heard of this venue before, and the price seemed pretty decent for what was on offer:
- A bespoke sandwich served with fries
- A range of locally-sourced delicious cakes
- A single shot of Laphroaig 10 years old
- A La Invicta Honduran Tres Petit Corona cigar
I purchased the Virgin Experience Day voucher, which was sent almost instantly to my email inbox. This included instructions on how to make a booking using the voucher code.
I didn’t realise that the voucher was only valid between 12.00 and 16.00 Monday to Thursday throughout the year. I was a bit annoyed at this point, as I wasn’t prepared to take a whole day off work for this (I’m trying to save that stuff for holidays!), but the website’s small print also mentioned that ‘weekend dates may be available at a small supplement’. I contacted the venue and asked for the cost of the additional supplement, and they said ‘we have a £4.00 per person surcharge.’ I thought that wasn’t too bad considering, and made the booking for a Saturday. Perfect!
I invited a mate to the venue as my plus one, but he doesn’t smoke cigars, so the plan was that I would smoke his cigar, and he would get food and a whisky – everyone’s a winner! 😁
I expected the venue to be a little pretentious, but that assumption couldn’t have been further from the truth. The staff were friendly and welcoming and took us to our table.
The experience is split into two parts over a 1-hour 30-minute stay. The first part was the sandwich, cake and hot drinks. I didn’t expect it to be a full-blown afternoon tea, which was great as it felt excellent value. We got to choose between chicken and beef sandwiches.
Once we were done, we were taken into the cigar lounge.
The Arc Le Salon cigar and shisha lounge was a pretty small space but was pleasant and had good ventilation. It looked glossy, with fancy styling and a big TV that guests could channel hop.
I was handed a remote control labelled ‘Cigar TV 1’, I imagined it would feature a load of cigar documentaries for us cigar lovers. It didn’t. Still, I suspect it’s probably popular when sporting events are on.
A cigar sommelier introduced himself and bought over the cigars, the La Invicta Honduran Tres Petit Corona, along with a very cool ashtray. He cut the cap and lit the cigar before passing it over for me to enjoy. This was paired nicely with a single shot of Laphroaig 10 years old whisky.
I must admit I was being a proper snob about the cigar. I was expecting it to be pretty shoddy. I checked the CGars Ltd website to see more details about the cigar.
Ring Gauge: 42
The website described this cigar as being ‘made using the finest tobaccos grown in Honduras. Medium strength with a spicy yet hinted with a sweet taste.’
This was a spicy cigar for me that produced a fair bit of sweetness and a lot of smoke. For a cheap cigar, I was surprised that it was decent. It took me about 40 minutes to get through, and I went over the allocated 1-hour 30-minutes, as I smoked the second cigar straight after.
My rating for the whole cigar experience: 6 out of 10
Whilst it was a good experience and great value for money, I’m not sure I would do that offer again. You could bypass the offer and just make a reservation at the venue, purchase cigars from their cigar menu, then smoke them in the cigar lounge. That way you don’t have to do the afternoon tea, and you can smoke a cigar of your choice, although that comes at a cost. The Cohiba Behike 56 will set you back £350!
I think this experience, with the offer is perfect for those who are taking their other half out shopping in town and want to stop for a bite to eat and cigar before heading back home / or heading somewhere after. I reckon it’s also good for those that are new to smoking cigars and have never been in a cigar lounge before. This will ease you into it nicely.
Have I been in better cigar lounges? Yes! But this isn’t a bad place to try out and I’m glad I did.
The Virgin Experience Days offer can be found here: