A Dunhill buying trip has forced me to visit London for the first time since 2001. Landed around 10:30am. Arrived in central London around 12:30. Grabbed a quick bite, and started heading toward Bond Street and Jermyn Street.
First stop was the barbershop of Geo F. Trumper at 1 Duke of York Street. Now, I love Wingtip’s Master Barber, Joe Roberts, but I wanted to do some research, so I let my hair grow an extra 4 days to wait for Trumper. The retail area is beautiful, so well stocked with their grooming products and other accessories. I was able to walk-in and get a spot with just a 15 minute wait, but it seemed all four barbers were busy all day long. I was offered a glass of water while I waited, although it sounded like occasionally they offer whisky (Joe, Wingtip’s barber, always has bourbon and scotch at the ready, and sadly, probably doesn’t have just water at the ready). The haircut was fine. The shampoo was a little odd in that, rather than have me lean back in a chair over the sink, they had me lean forward, face down, which made for the most awkward shampoo I’ve ever received. And surprisingly, while cleaning up the back of my neck, the barber used a straight razor but no shave cream. At the end of the day, the cut was great and that’s most important. Oh, and it cost £36 which is like $500 American dollars, so there’s that.
A quick walk around the corner got me to the Turnbull & Asser store at 71-72 Jermyn Street, which happens to be on sale right now (like most men’s stores, including Wingtip!). I managed to escape with just a single dress shirt and a photo of Winston Churchill in his green velvet “Siren Suit” (a lounge/smoking robe). Their selection of cashmere dress socks is pretty impressive; definitely something for Wingtip to strive for.
Then it was another block to Edward Sahakian’s Davidoff store on the corner of Jermyn & St. James. Last time I was in the store, over 10 years ago, I bought a pre-embargo Cuban Davidoff. To the uninitiated, Davidoff left the island in 1989, so there has not been a Cuban Davidoff produced in almost 25 years. On my first visit to London back in 2001, I think I paid £10o for the single cigar which is like $10,000 in today’s money (okay, maybe not that expensive, but it is one of the most expensive cigars I have ever bought but they are exceedingly rare and getting more expensive by the day). The price of that cigar has doubled in the decade since my last visit.
This trip, I opted for the one Davidoff that they have that Wingtip doesn’t have: a special 25th Anniversary cigar that was blended especially for the London store. That cigar was introduced back in 2005 so it’s aged another 9 years since then, and you could tell by the medium gray ash. A very nice smoke that I got to enjoy sitting next to Edward Sahakian who is a bit of a legend in the cigar world. After telling him about our humble cigar shop in San Francisco, he packed me up 3 more of the special Davidoff for London cigars at no charge, which of course then obliged me to go back in the humidor and buy more cigars. He is a true gentleman.
Not a bad first day considering the jet lag. More adventures tomorrow…
London Dispatch: Day 2