January 18, 2017 | George Manzella
It was an exquisite and memorable evening in London as Daniel Marshall collaborated with other family owned businesses to commemorate Sir Winston Churchill’s birthday. Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Churchill, was in attendance and provided a stunning tribute to her famous grandfather in a private dining room at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower in Belgravia.
Sandys, a noteable expert on the life and history of her grandfather, shared intimate stories of Churchill’s life, travels, philosophy and challenges faced by the luminous legend and leader. She highlighted intimate details about how Sir Winston celebrated each significant birthday from his birth in 1874 to his death in 1965 at 90 years old.
Sandys held her guests spellbound with interesting stories relating to Churchill’s life-long love for whisky and cigars while guests sipped some of the world’s finest Glenfiddich single malts and savored his namesake cigar by Davidoff.
Sandys told guests, “When I was a little girl, I would ask my grandfather for the cigar bands from the cigars he was enjoying to use as rings that I proudly wore on my fingers.” She added, “My grandfather never went out without his cigar, even when flying with the Royal Air Force where he modified his mask to allow for his cigar.”
Sandys went on to say, “Every birthday and Christmas, my mother and I would go to the cigar merchant and buy my grandfather a cigar as his gift. His 90th birthday was no exception. We gave him his cigar, which he enjoyed with his whisky and champagne.”
“When my Grandfather escaped from prison in South Africa, he made sure he had a bottle of whisky next to him as he was smuggled out of prison in a wheelbarrow. The whisky very likely was one of your brands,” (speaking to Kirsten Grant, the great-great granddaughter of Glenfiddich’s founder).
Those in attendance also heard a first-hand account about how photographer, Yousuf Karsh, was able to capture the famous portrait of Winston Churchill that now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
“As Karsh readied the equipment, but just before taking the picture, he placed an ashtray in front of Churchill, asking that the Prime Minister remove the cigar from his mouth. Churchill obstinately refused,” said Sandys. “Yousuf returned to the camera, ready to take the picture—but then, with lightning speed, he leaned over the camera and plucked it (the cigar) from Churchill’s lips.”
The scowl will never be forgotten. “This was the day that Sir Winston lost his cigar,” Sandys stated.
The special event hosted by Glenfiddich, Daniel Marshall and Davidoff brought together three family owned companies that share a common commitment to quality. The evening’s events included a fabulous collection of Glenfiddich whiskies, a Daniel Marshall special three-tier ‘Whisky Tasting Cigar’ designed to pair with 12, 18 and 21-year-old Glenfiddich. Marshall partnered with 5th generation master blenders and cigar creators, Manuel Quesada and Nestor Plasencia, to develop the Whisky Tasting Cigar that features three different blends of tobacco.
Following the Whisky Tasting Cigar the guests savored three vitolas from Davidoff – the Davidoff Winston Churchill in the petit corona, robusto, and toro vitolas.
Marshall commented, “I am confident Sir Winston would have greatly appreciated the ‘Cigars of Character’ that Davidoff has created with his namesake Winston Churchill Cigar Collection for the world to remember his leadership, courage and relentless passion for the best of the best.”
Those in attendance were treated to delightful pairings of these cigars alongside 18, 21 and 30-year-old vintage Glenfiddich whisky.
Davidoff’s participation holds a special personal meaning to Marshall, “Since 1911, Davidoff has had the vision and commitment to carry the legend, passion and lifestyle of fine cigars to the highest level of quality.” Marshall continued, “Davidoff represents the absolute best and embodies all of the reasons why we love cigars. Their stores, lounges, and fabulous team worldwide are stellar. I believe we share a common vision with an obsessive commitment to excellence and the extraordinary.”
Marshall and William Grant & Sons, the owners of Glenfiddich have partnered on a host of other events and projects including the Daniel Marshall Whisky Stave Humidor created from the finishing port pipe casks of 21-year Balvenie Portwood.
In addition, the initial launch of the special three-part Daniel Marshall Whisky Tasting Cigar for Glenfiddich was celebrated with Glenfiddch earlier last year in London and Lebanon, Beirut.