Smoking Hot

Ladies and gentlemen, allow us to introduce the ultimate cigar combining Italian elegance, French know-how, British prestige and the finest leaves from the Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

There are an estimated 500 million cigars sold worldwide each year, but nothing compares to Sua Altezza. Described as the world’s most exclusive tobacco brand, the quality of the materials used to compose these completely handmade cigars makes them truly unique.

The Sua Altezza cigar was born over lunch in London’s fashionable Notting Hill. While smoking a cigar, the founders had the bright idea of creating a luxury cigar – as no other brand does. From here, Sua Altezza was born.

“We strived to create a product that would represent Italian elegance mixed with French know-how, along with British prestige,” says founder Alexis Colletta.

“Not only did we decide to wrap our cigars with gold but we knew we needed to introduce even more luxury to the important cigar market, something absolutely unique.”

The name Sua Altezza – which means his or her highness in Italian – has a strong relationship with the city of Florence, which is where the gold leaf originated.

Historically, Florence has always been one of the world’s capitals for gold and jewellery. The Medici family, who were governing Europe for over 600 years, attached great importance to gold and Lorenzo the Magnificent was himself a collector of gold jewellery who hugely influenced the city in the 1400s.

Later, Catherine of Medici (born in Florence) was suffering from headaches so Jean Nicot sent her tobacco plants. She was so enthusiastically impressed that she proclaimed that tobacco was henceforth to be named Herba Regina – “the Queen’s herb”. The rest, as they say, is history.

It seemed only natural for the fledgling brand to draw on Florence’s tradition for gold and cigar appreciation, wrapping their Sua Altezza cigars in the city’s finest 24-carat gold leaf from Europe’s oldest goldsmith. The result is cigars that are striking, distinctive, and unique.

“It mattered a lot to us to use only the best materials to create our unique pieces of luxury,” says Colletta. “That is why we decided to choose Europe’s oldest goldsmith to supply us with the leaves needed to wrap our cigars. Based in Florence, they supply the purest 24k edible gold leaves on the market.

“Created in 1820 and still run by the same family generation after generation, they still use the method of gold processing invented by Leonardo Da Vinci himself and every single leaf is hand checked 10 times to make sure it meets the highest standards.”

The cigars feature a blend of tobacco leaves hand-rolled in Costa Rica, using fine leaves from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, and Nicaragua. The wrapper hails from Ecuador, the binder from Peru, and the filler from Peru, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The owner of the manufacture Sua Altezza is working with have worked for over 20 years for Habanos. Together with some of the most well-known cigar sommeliers, Sua Altezza has created a blend suited to their target audience – medium bodied cigars with flavours of chocolate, roasted coffee beans and earth sweetness.

The manufacture is run by experts who have mastered the art of cigar rolling down the generations, and each leaf is meticulously selected to meet the highest standards.

Sua Altezza currently makes two types of cigar – a long robusto named Sinful Outrage of Monte-Carlo and a long lancero called Scandal of Florence. Both cigars provide a light yet complex smoke, leaving a warm feeling on the tongue and a medium-light draw.

“In short, the idea was to create cigars with complex structures but nonetheless easy to smoke in order to match with our client’s preferences,” says Colletta.

Sua Altezza has invented and patented the very newest touch of luxury that can be added on cigars: replacing the traditional paper ring bands with exotic leather rings, handmade in France (Lyon) and using high-quality leather.

Not only do these leather rings make the cigars distinctive and unique, the patent ensures this aspect of the Sua Altezza cigar cannot be copied – placing it in a league of its own. The leather rings, available in a number of colours and exotic leathers, can also be personalized with an owner’s initials or with a company logo.

“We offer clients the possibility to choose between black Python or Stingray leather rings as a standard, but possibilities can be almost infinite,” says Colletta.

“Our artisan based in France can work with any type of leather – alligator is standard, but we can also use python, crocodile, stingray, lizard, and ostrich. The possibilities in term of colours are even larger.”

Completing the Sua Altezza luxury offering is the case, which elevates the brand still further. The company enlisted the help of a producer of packaging for jewellery and watch brands, ending up with their own true piece of jewellery. Currently, cigars come individually boxed but Sua Altezza is also launching a new box that can contain five of its cigars.

With plans for further expansion of the brand globally, and an increased product range, Sua Altezza is opening its equity to interested investors.

“Sua Altezza is without any doubt the world’s most prestigious tobacco brand,” says Colletta. “Sua Altezza introduces a new way of consuming luxury in a continuously evolving industry favouring ultra-luxurious items. We break the rules of the traditional cigar industry and lead tomorrow’s trends of luxury consumption.”

How to smoke a cigar

Smoking a cigar is a ritual, and a top cigar demands respect in order to fully appreciate its quality. Beginners should follow these simple steps for the perfect smoking experience.

The Cut – before the lighting of the cigar comes a crucial step. You need to clip the end of the cigar, and the best way to do this is with a purpose-built cigar clipper. If you don’t have a specialist clipper, a knife is the next best alternative. Snip off the end of the cigar in clean cut. If all else fails, you can bite of the end of the cigar, but that should be reserved for Hollywood hardmen rather than cigar aficionados.

The Light – again the best option is a specialist torch lighter. Traditional wooden matches also work, although longer matches or multiple matches are required. A standard cigarette lighter can also be used but experts suggest they can affect the flavour of the tobacco.

The Hold – hold the cigar in your hand and place the tip of the cigar above the flame, not inside it. Holding the cigar in the flame again affects the flavour. It is important to burn the end of the cigar before starting to smoke it, so aim for an even burn and an orange glow before placing the cigar into your mouth.

The Puff – the first mistake a novice makes is inhaling rather than puffing on the cigar. Pretend you are sucking through a straw, fill your mouth with smoke and then blow it out. Repeat this puffing four or five times until your cigar is producing thick white smoke.

The Smoke – slow down and savour your cigar, taking a drag around every minute to ensure the cigar remains lit. Settle in, as a good cigar will take time to smoke, even longer than an hour depending on its size.

The Ash – unlike a cigarette, ash on the end of the cigar should not be constantly tapped away. Gently rotate the end of the cigar in the ashtray to remove excess ash.