As a lover of all things cigars, including accessories and adjacent interests like whisky and cocktails, I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to obtain the Davidoff Cigar Storage and Bar Tool Set. It’s one of the more unique Davidoff accessories I’ve come across and is both beautiful and functional.
The box itself is made of a beautiful light wood exterior with light gray fabric interior. It has slots for six cigars, two vertical slots for a cigar cutter and cigar lighter, and of course the bar tool slots which include a jigger, wine key, champagne stopper and 4oz. cup. The last slot holds a “Pairing Suggestions” booklet which suggests drink pairings for Davidoff’s core line of cigars.
The bar tools themselves are high quality as evidenced by their substantial weight, which is great. And once you’ve populated the box with your choice of cigars, a cutter and a lighter, you can consider yourself prepared to show up in style to any social cigar gathering.
The only suggestion I’d make for future iterations of this product is for the surface inside the box to be a bit more deeply inset. When the 4oz cup is stowed in its slot, it takes up quite a bit of vertical space and can come into contact with the lighter strapped in above it under the lid, making it difficult to close the box back up.
All things considered, still a beautiful and functional accessory to have on hand. Here’s the description from the Davidoff website:
For those who plan their libations with their cigars.
The perfect kit for every occasion. A wooden carrying case with a secure closure latch, equipped with storage for cigars, a lighter and cutter, along with necessary bar tools, a beautiful gold-satin wine key, champagne stopper, jigger for cocktails and a small steel restaurant grade drinking glass.
The kit itself is priced at $99, but can be obtained from some official Davidoff retail shops as a complementary gift for cigar purchases over $250. For more info about purchasing, visit the official Davidoff website.
If you’re a cigar smoker on Instagram, you’ve probably seen some of Billy Rothwell’s (@bk23xxiii) photos on your feed. He’s grown a large Instagram following by capturing an essence of luxury that is hard to find elsewhere.
I had the pleasure of meeting Billy at Davidoff Brookfield Place at an event put together by Eric of @scotchandtime. We didn’t get to chat much, but Billy struck me as a down to earth guy and someone most anyone would enjoy smoking a cigar with. At the event, he also showed off a prototype of his new ultra-luxury cigar ash tray, the W.R. Roth Avant-Garde II. Just holding it my hands was quite the experience–it felt solid and had a great look to it.
In the months since, the world has obviously turned upside down. So I’ve reached out to friends in the cigar world like Billy to chat so that our readers can discover interesting new personalities to follow online.
So without further ado, let’s get to know Billy and take a look behind-the-scenes at W.R. Roth.
Matthias: Let’s start with the obvious. Where is your head at right as far as Corona Virus goes? I know you’re safe and given your posts you are continuing to enjoy life, but what are you feeling when it comes to the pandemic, the economy, social distancing, etc?
Billy: Perspective. Life is truly all about the way a person sees things. Me, I try to look for the silver lining in every situation. Many of us are so blessed to be at home with a pantry full of food, internet, tv, cell phones and video games. This is a unique environment that most people reading this have never seen before unless you were around in 1918 for the last major global pandemic (Virus related… I think hunger, homelessness, mental health and more qualify as global pandemics as well) All that said, its also an eye opening experience to human behavior, trust in our government, emergency preparedness and so much more. I could go on for hours about change and the future but I will just say we are resilient, we have been through wars, famine, plague and more…yet here we are. This too shall pass…
Matthias: I hear you – this topic could certainly span an entire interview. But let’s get to know you a bit more, and not in the typical “what do you do for work” kind of way. What were some of the formative experiences you had when you were younger that shaped the kind of person you are today?
Billy: I grew up in an environment much different than most assume. My father was in prison for 23 years and my Mom wasn’t around at all until my adult years. My Moms parents raised me and my sisters until my Grandfather passed away when I was in 4th grade. My Grandmother then took on the burden of raising us alone. So when you ask what shaped me, the answer is multifaceted. I was smart enough to learn from other peoples mistakes so I avoided making too many of my own. I was also lucky to have a woman in my life like my Grandmother (Nonnie) who showed me what a true work ethic was.
I started working in Banking with the company she worked for almost full time in 10th grade to help her pay the rent and I always dreamed of being successful to put myself in a position to provide for her the way she provided for us. Christmas and birthdays were limited to a single gift and at the time I was a HUGE Michael Jordan fan (still am) so that was almost always a pair of the newest Jordan sneakers. Between the work ethic she instilled and the competitive nature and desire to win Jordan embodied, I had 2 people I really looked up to that helped shape the person I became.
Matthias: That’s pretty inspiring. I’m also a huge fan of Jordan and 23 was my favorite number growing up. Outside of an interest in quality and craftsmanship, what do you care about in life? What do you value—personally—and why?
Billy: I value my family, my friendships (I keep a very small circle) and my memories and experiences, new and old. Money is cool. Having “stuff” is fun, but I would give all that up if it gave me unlimited access to creating incredible experiences and memories with the people I love. I came from nothing, so I remember what having nothing felt like…and it was fine… as long as I had the people around me that I loved.
My fondest memories in life to this day aren’t about the things I have now, they are of the experiences I went through and things I learned from the people that meant the most to me. Those are the things that allowed me the opportunity, skills and drive to work so hard for the things I am grateful to possess today.
Matthias: I hear you on that. That is what seems to separate the annoying luxury personalities from the genuinely interesting ones: values that transcend owning expensive things or having status.
This all begs the question, outside of luxury products like cigars, drinks, accessories, and fashion, what are your hobbies?
Billy: Those are certainly the majority of my passions but in regards to hobbies otherwise, I love to be outdoors and in the woods. Hiking, camping, motorcycles… anything in nature or outside. I also love to travel. Creating memories and experiences that last a lifetime. I am blessed to have done some pretty cool things in my life and each of them are far more valuable to me than anything I own physically.
Matthias: Speaking of experiences, tell us about the best cigar experience you’ve ever had. Where were you, who were you with, what were you smoking/drinking?
Billy: Picking one is impossible as I have so many amazing experiences involving cigars. One that stands out was 3 years ago in Georgia at the Masters. I was staying at a gorgeous resort in Lake Okonee, had a great friend come visit that night after the first round of the tournament and we sat by the lake in a private area next to a firepit drinking great wine and smoking some aged regional Cubans talking about everything and nothing. Between the INCREDIBLE scenery, the conversation, the beautiful wine and cigars, it was truly the perfect end to a wonderful day. Almost something out of a movie honestly…
Matthias: Yeah that sounds pretty incredible. So stepping back from favorite memories for a second, what would you consider your favorite cigar?
Billy: Such a hard question to answer because I smoke cigars based on my mood, what I am pairing them with, where I am, what the weather is like… And that changes daily. If I had to pick a cigar that I could possibly smoke regardless of those factors, or that could compliment an aspect of each of them, I would probably say the Partagas Lusitania Gran Reserva. It may be the perfect cigar.
Matthias: So let’s switch gears a bit and talk about W.R. Roth. First of all, tell us a bit about the name. (For readers, you can browse W.R. Roth products here)
Billy: W.R. Roth is actually an abbreviated version of my name, William Rothwell. I wanted to create a classic brand. Something that stood the test of time, like Chanel. I wanted it to “be the new black” lol. I wanted an incredible logo that could look great anywhere, from a tee shirt to cufflinks to a forged carbon ashtray or humidor. But most important, I wanted it to be an homage to a time of true craftsmanship and pride in what was being created… The only way I could think to fully commit and give my personal quality guarantee was to put my name on it…Literally…Nobody would ever want to put out a product that isn’t the best quality it could be if it had their name on it.
Matthias: That’s a great point. Naming a brand after yourself is certainly one way to motivate yourself to put your best products forward.
What makes your ash trays special, and what is your favorite part of your ash trays?
Billy: I think the quality and craftsmanship make it special. The limited production makes it something that only 50 people in the world can say they own (python was limited to 50 pieces and 100 forged carbon pieces) and as someone who enjoys exclusivity, I thought that was appealing. My favorite part though was seeing an idea in my head translate so well to paper via my original drawing and then finally come to fruition as a production-ready product…and sell out in a few weeks. That helped solidify the concept of building a luxury brand as being worthwhile in a market full of inexpensive, low quality pieces. A $400 ashtray isn’t for everyone, but 150 of them, between the forged carbon and python pieces were a must have for somebody…and that’s what mattered to me.
Matthias: Why did you name the ash tray the “Avante-Gard”?
Billy: The definition of “Avante-Gard” is new and innovative in style or method, which I truly felt these pieces were. The II (2) symbolized the number of cigars it accommodated with the intention of doing a single and possibly 4 cigar version in the future in new materials.
Matthias: Love it. I remember holding the prototype and being so impressed with the weight in my hand and how solid the whole product felt. It’s a tremendously striking and original ash tray so hats off to you for putting it together. Why did you go in the direction of producing an ash tray for your first product?
Billy: I wanted to create something that would appeal to my followers who enjoy the pictures I post. I needed to create something unique, but also a necessity item so people saw value. There are hundreds of lighters and cutters available, tons of cases, etc. The Avant-Garde II ashtray was the perfect expression of what I wanted to portray to my clientele. A new twist on something they used out of necessity that reflected my style and eye for design but in a way that they had never seen before. The sleek lines, but no hard edges, each micro beveled to precision. The cigar posts instead of the traditional finger grooves. The solid, symmetrical aluminum base with the contrast of the warm, textured, soft feel of the Indonesian python (a material that has always screamed luxury to me) and then the ultra limited production of only 50 individually numbered pieces. Then, to touch each piece for final inspection before they were mailed out and ensure it met my quality standards before hand laying the wax seal on the packaging as my final assurance that the piece they were getting was perfectly crafted… That meant a lot to me.
Matthias: That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing in such depth on your life and brand philosophy. I’m always excited when new cigar accessory products come on to the market, and doubly so when they are quality products vs. the garbage that so many bigger brands produce. Thanks for doing this interview with me.
Billy: My pleasure Matthias, it’s been great talking.
As is often the case cigar enthusiasts who seek quality in their smokes this often lends itself to the pursuit of other accoutrements of equal caliber. Appreciating the hands-on craft along with the time and care placed in it becomes almost an obsession seeking out the best and most unique items. These aficionados indulge in the finest timepieces, spirits, designer lighters, cutters and tailored suits. Today accessories in one’s life not only define individuality but show others you have an affinity for the bespoke. More than the articles themselves it’s the story and understanding of the care that goes into the item being created and what makes it so special; To the Bon Vivant’s of the world that’s the attraction… Enter Dana Livoti of Light Warrior Designs.
Dana is the founder, creator and owner of Light Warrior Designs and her shop Intuition in the seaside town of Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island NY. Dana has been creating handcrafted jewelry and clothing since 2011 with an emphasis on bringing true light and positivity to the world. Her ethos is what inspired her to create Light Warrior Designs bracelets and its new line for men. Dana understood that the individuals who appreciate a fine cigar are the same people who wear custom suits, pair them with cuff links, pocket squares and luxury watches. Her bespoke Light Warrior bracelets pair perfect with a suit, business casual attire or simply with a t-shirt relaxing on the weekend.
More than just the style these bracelets are truly individualistic as they are created specifically for the person who will wear them. Dana states “The bracelet picks the client as the client picks the bracelet, clients choose bracelets based on what stones they are intuitively drawn to, they read the meaning of the stone and are amazed that the stones properties are exactly what they need”. Finding what suits that individual is paramount as the look of the natural gemstones should accent the person wearing them and how they can benefit from it. As these are custom orders a client can add symbols in addition to the gemstones to give them that personal touch and provide something meaningful.
As any man who pursues the finest products naturally the question is asked regarding sourcing and the quality of the product. Dana sources only the highest quality, natural, polished, raw cut crystals and semi-precious gemstones from all over the world. She seeks them out and inspects them and if they do not meet her standard they are not utilized. The quality is on par with the finest designers out there. Being a Bespoke product Dana is the sole person who creates these items. This ensures the utmost quality control of the item and you can rest in the knowledge that the owner is the sole creator of the bracelet designed for you.
In having the pleasure of meeting Dana she created some bracelets for me that not only look great but captured meaning for me. One such design was the Dragon Bracelet. The natural colors of greens, sandalwood and polished black with a silver dragon subtly placed on it not only looks stylish but stood for things that resonated with me. The Dragon Dana says stands for valiance, heroism, boldness, self-confidence, power, excellence, perseverance, nobility, vitality and happiness. It brings about physical as well as spiritual well-being and strength. It is related to new beginnings and rebirth. The best thing about bespoke items is the conversation piece you can have with people. The Dragon bracelet for sure has elicited a lot of positive discussion and energy with people when they have asked me about it.
Dana Livoti appears to be in touch with understanding people’s passions and what they are seeking. As such she works diligently to design a product created just for them. Dana gives her personal touch on all she creates and the craftsmanship shows. To have someone who not only cares about the product being created but wanting to serve the individual who orders it is the epitome of a bespoke piece. Light Warrior Designs men’s bracelet line enhances the gentleman who wants to add another layer to his style and meaning to how he lives his life. As men who work hard and appreciate the best we can get I think we deserve it. Dana is available for consulting and special orders/request via her website as well as visiting her shop Intuition in Cold Spring Harbor.
It isn’t often in the world of spirits (or cigars for that matter) that a new accessory creates the veritable firestorm of buzz on whisky social media that was created by the release of the Norlan Glass. In 2017, Norlan Glass announced its newest product: Norlan VAILD (not veiled or vailed!). In this post, I’m going to go into a lot of detail on my experience thus far with the Norlan VAILD. But, I’ll cut to the chase first so you can get the gist if that’s all you want:
The Norlan VAILD is an amazing product and elevates the scotch experience. Not only that, it elevates the experience in such substantial and emotive ways that I have to recommend purchasing a set to anyone who either loves whisky or has a loved one who does.
Why? Let’s find out.
For the purposes of this review, I’ll be taking a look at form (how is it made), aesthetics, and function (what do I like / dislike about using the product).
The Norlan glass is made of hand-blown borosilicate glass. For the Norlan VAILD, a matte black exterior finish is added. Inside the glass, the designers of VAILD added a recursive infinity mirror that traps the light entering the glass and putting it on full display within the glass.
The lip is concave, giving it a width very uncharacteristic of most whisky glasses.
The shape of the glass, inside and out, is distinctive, and intentional. The unique shape was made to achieve two goals, and here I’ll let the creators do the talking.
Goal 1: Aeration
Through specially developed protrusion forms inside the glass — adapted through studying bio-mimicry — when swirled around the glass the fluid forms a standing wave shape, which increases the surface to air ratio and rate of oxidization. The effect here is that considerably more ethanol evaporates. This resulting reduction in volatility allows the whisky to become significantly more expressive. This feature is an invention of the Norlan glass — no other whisky glass will do this for you.
Goal 2: Aroma Focus
The second main performance feature is the shape of the inner walls, which close as they rise and then flare out again so as not to hit the nose. The height and diameter of the smallest aperture focuses the aromatics to the nose while simultaneously diffusing the ethanol away from the face, fantastically improving the taste of your whisky.
Marks for form: 15/15
I was in Toronto on a business trip when I saw this video in a Facebook ad for this glass. As the camera panned over the glass and the whisky was highlighted by the light emanating from the infinity mirror, I fell in love and ordered the set on the spot. However, after ordering I had my post-purchase thought: it can’t be as awesome as that video. There’s no way that the scotch is going to glow in the glass, it’s a marketing effect.
Two weeks later, I opened up the box, dropped a dab of Glenfiddich XX into the glass, and behold: there was light. It really works as advertised. Even after testing in high light to low light rooms for this review, the glow ranges from a faint, dark gold to a bright shine. It is positively hypnotic, and gives every glass of scotch I have a sense of mystery.
The glass itself is gorgeous. It falls far outside the aesthetic of a typical scotch glass. Its angular curves are modern without being flashy. Its black color is modest, creating stark contrast to the light emanating from within and keeping the focus where it belongs: on the whisky. I think aesthetic deserves a perfect 15 out of 15, but I have heard some comment that the design seems snobby or pretentious. Since the world isn’t joined in agreement on the aesthetic, I’ll knock one point off
Marks for aesthetic: 14/15
As of my writing of this post, I’m about one week in to owning my Norlan Glass. Here are the highlights of what I love most about the form of this glass:
Infinity Mirror:I’ve already mentioned it but I’m going to do it again: I love the infinity mirror on the inside of this glass. It is a brilliant touch. It works as advertised. I continue to be impressed.
Wide lip: the wide lip adds a ton to the experience. As I sip my whisky, I can’t help but feel that the additional thickness of the lip adds a sort of feeling of substance to the taste of the whisky. Almost a kind of chewiness. I won’t keep going into detail on this: you’ll have to try it for yourself.
Aeration: my experience thus far is that scotches I know to be heavier on the nose in terms of ethanol are softened with this glass. I couldn’t explain to you exactly how it works, just that it does.
Weight: I’ve seen some comments about the glass itself being too light and feeling almost fragile. I think the weight is perfect, perhaps a touch on the light side. But I like the delicate feel – it encourages me to pay attention more, to take my time, to experience my whisky intentionally.
Marks for function: 15/15
Overall score: 44/45
Numbers are, of course, symbolic when it comes to reviews. The point is, this glass ups the ante on any other scotch glass in existence today, including the original Norton Glass. Of course, price is an important component, and at $58 for two, they are the most expensive whisky glasses I’ve ever purchased. But the Norlan glass is also the only scotch glass I’m likely to purchase from this time on, and that’s saying something.
The Norlan VAILD is a no brainer for any new or veteran whisky enthusiast. If my experience of the glass changes at any point, I will of course come back and update this review. Until then, consider me a Norton glass fanatic.
This is a guest post from Danny Jameson, a new friend to FineTobaccoNYC from London! We hope you enjoy his Christmas recommendations, and hopefully you’ll be reading more articles from him in the future.
Christmas is coming and what better way to celebrate the holidays than with a freshly lit cigar. You’re probably wondering if there’s a way to take the experience to the next level. Well there is. We’ve done the hard work for you and highlighted five of the absolute best cigar accessories around.
Digital cigar humidifier
We cannot stress enough how important it is to store your cigar properly. There’s nothing more disappointing than opening up your humidor find your cigars are dry or cracked. Nobody wants a cigar to rot or lose its flavour. A great solution is the digital humidifier. A digital humidor tracks the temperature and conditions of your cigar storage properly. With refillable water cartridges and adjustable settings, you can ensure that when you are ready to enjoy that after Christmas dinner cigar it will be in prime condition.
The cap of the cigar needs to be punctured before the sweet tobacco is smoked. Manly people look for creative ways of attempting this act such as using a knife, or even worse using their teeth. A much easier and effective way is to use a bullet cigar cutter. Not only does it punch a much better hole, it also saves a lot of hassle.
Have you ever experienced a nasty taste in your mouth after lighting your cigar? Chances are this occurred due to the type of lighter you were using. We recommend avoidingpetrol, sulphur and paraffin lighters. Instead we recommend purchasinga butane dual flame lighter. The dual flame feature will ensure that the foot will char evenly to provide the best slow burn possible.
If you consider a cigarette and a cigar ashtray to be the same thing, we’ve got bad news for you. Most cigarette ashtrays are wholly unsuitable; the grooves are too narrow and the bowl doesn’t have a large enough capacity – it only takes one cigar to leave it overflowing!
As cigar smoking is often a social activity this is far from ideal.
Investing in a deep bowl cigar ashtray means you can enjoy a smoke without having to get up and empty away the ashes every five minutes. The specially lengthened ledges also provide the perfect resting space for small cigarillos and large Cubans alike.
To top off your cigar experience this Christmas you may want to invest in a cigar shirt. The cigar shirt features a specially stitched pocket on the breast, designed to hold a cigar upright and prevent it from moving around and getting crushed. This is a great way to keep a cigar close at hand. The cigar shirt provides you with the freedom to travel light – with the added benefit of still being able to enjoy your favourite smoke.
Of course, this isn’t the only design you can buy – you can go with classic white or tobacco themed as well!