Cigars, and in particular those of Cuban origin, can be expensive. This pearl of information is not of course seismic news to those who indulge, however, just how expensive may not be widely known. In this regard one needs to look no further than last October when Phillips auctioned a box of 25 Monticristo Robustos from 1954 (so pre-revolution) for an eye-watering $350,000.
Humidors (the boxes or cabinets which one stores cigars at the correct humidity – round about 70% since you ask) can also be expensive – dependent on size, materials, and maker. A modest box that could accommodate say 50 smokes in a wood veneer finish may only be £200. At the other extreme one may consider the Imperiali Geneve Emperador Cigar Chest at a cool $1m! However, the security of even this container may be insufficient for some people, so one might just consider using a safe to store one’s valuable leaf bundles. Not just any old safe of course, but one with the inbuilt features of a humidor. How so? Well, James J. Fox of St James’s London, commissioned a craftsman, Stefan Heim, to restore and convert one over a 12 month period.
Stefan is no stranger to this type of task and now has around 10 under his belt. Old safes are sourced and then stripped back to their chassis and repainted. Next, a bespoke interior is fitted with compartments and drawers, sometimes in aged 35 year old Spanish cedar. Depending on the size and specification, remote controlled lighting and humidification equipment is also installed.
An example of Stefan’s work can currently be seen in James J. Fox’s cigar emporium. This safe is quite large and was made by Veira & Silva of Porto in around 1924, and once it would surely have contained cash, gold and jewellery! The overall finish – outside and in, is exquisite. There is room for probably some 500 cigars plus space for accoutrements. Returning to the security side of things, this is probably assured as both the several inch thick doors can not only be key locked, but the original 2 x 4 combination locks still work too. Oh, and the fact that the item is extremely heavy would also probably thwart physical removal!
The safe humidor is for sale, so if you have around £30,000 and a floor that can bear the weight, then you may just have found the ideal secure repository for your fine cigars! Even if that is not your thing, pay a visit anyway as Fox’s is a fascinating shop with a great selection of premium cigars and very knowledgeable staff on hand to offer advice. Of additional interest is the small museum in the basement which has much Churchill related memorabilia.
Words: Karl Dennis.