Don Candido: $280 to Smoke History

Dunhill London Limited Tobacco ShopAt the corner of St. James and Pall Mall lies the newly refurbished Dunhill London Limited Tobacco shop. By “newly refurbished” I mean it soft opened in December of 2013, I’m visiting in late January, and the formal grand opening is later this month. While the location has been a tobacco shop since 1907, it has only been a Dunhill shop for the past six years.

The store was completely rebuilt and it shows. Modern yet comfortable, luxurious but accessible. While primarily Dunhill accessories, there are also lighters and cutters from Xikar and S.T. Dupont, a cigarette bar with exclusive tobaccos found nowhere else, White Spot pipes, and a walk-in humidor with a solid selection of current production cigars and then a very special selection of aged cigars. There are also 55 cigar lockers in the shop that run £1200 ($2,000) a year, however, you also receive £1,200 in credit towards cigars, so…it’s free!

Dunhill Don Candido (1966)Cigar Aficionado, in its 20+ year history, has only given a perfect 100 point score to seventeen different cigars, and this Dunhill store has six of them for sale. Today, I had one of those legends: a Don Candido from 1966 (£170; $280).

The Don Cándido brand was created in 1935 by Cándido Vega Diaz, and it was created as a “super, super premium brand for exclusive distribution by Alfred Dunhill of London.” Dunhill had three brands made in Cuba: Don Candido, Don Alfredo, and Flor del Punto. All three brands were discontinued in 1983 when the new Dunhill Havana was introduced. Unfortunately, the Dunhill Havana was short-lived after a falling out with the Cuban tobacco authorities, so since 1989, there have been no Dunhill cigars coming out of Cuba.

I must say, it was a superb cigar. Clearly stored well given it was almost 50 years old. Well constructed. Flavorful. Perfect atmosphere to smoke one. Would I pay $280 to smoke it again? Probably not. Any regrets about this first time? None.

To visit, make your way to 1A St. James Street.

London Dispatch: Day 5

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