The Club King
De Savary is an avowed Cuban cigar smoker. “I’ve never found anything that is the equivalent of a Cuban cigar, and no one outside of Cuba has ever made a cigar that you could shut your eyes and not tell the difference,” he says. His preferences run to Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas, Partagas Lusitanias and Punch Double Coronas, but he does not like the bigger sizes of Montecristos.
Because of the popularity of cigar smoking at Skibo Castle in Scotland, de Savary buys his cigars in bulk directly from Hunters & Frankau Ltd., the U.K. agent for Cuban cigars. Skibo was his first club-style property. He developed it by restoring the castle, originally built by Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s. “We have a great cigar room there, and we have a very wide selection of Cuban cigars, both for men and ladies. Lots of small ones for the ladies.” De Savary also frequents Desmond Sautter’s shop in London’s Mayfair, where he keeps on the lookout for pre-Castro Cubans, a specialty of Sautter’s.
The desire for old Cubans led de Savary smack into one of the most publicized cigar auctions auctions of the 1990s, a Christie’s event for a stash of Cuban cigars believed to have been ordered by the Duke of Buccleuch, a noble in Scotland. “I didn’t pay a lot. I paid about $22,000 or $23,000 for them.