The Club King

“Usually I find people pay too much money, so I’ve rarely bought anything at these auctions because people bid like crazy and pay a fortune,” says de Savary. “But as a cigar smoker, I thought I had to bid on theseā€”or at least say I did. I never expected to get them.

“It’s amazing to look at one,” he says, holding up the cheroot-style cigar with a slight perfecto shape. “It’s quite a fine ash, and it will hold for a long time. When I smoke one I can imagine the duke giving his order to get the cigars from Cuba, and all the palaver to get them from Cuba to the north of Scotland. It’s between Inverness and Perth. They evoke the image of the way they lived in those days, all riding around on horses, and having their little skirmishes and having a cigar.

“I suppose everyone has a different reason for smoking a cigar,” de Savary continues over lunch on the veranda of the Carnegie Abbey clubhouse. Narragansett Bay and a condominium complex under construction are visible through the screened-in porch. “I genuinely enjoy the taste. Sure, I’m a little addicted to the nicotine, too. You know, whenever you are looking for your first cigar after that first cup of tea at 6 a.m. or so, you need to have that cigar. I at least recognize that’s being an addict. So, every so often, I give it up for three months, just to prove I’m still in control,” he says with a laugh, quickly adding, “Everybody says it, my family and my colleagues, that I’m hell to live with for those three months.” But he also says that a cigar has become a necessary adjunct when he’s in the midst of a big negotiation. “If I’m in a meeting or under any kind of stress, or if I’m in an environment where cigars are not allowed, I know I perform at a lower level.”

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