There is no physical similarity, of course. But Ranald is fighting them on the beaches nonetheless. He’s at the forefront of the UK’s battle for cigars, and the founder of the Boisdale group of restaurants.
For Boisdale, there are some interesting times ahead.
“We opened in 1989, and cigars were very much part of the furniture right from the beginning,” he tells me from the cigar terrace of Boisdale Belgravia. “We had a large standalone humidor and, of course, in those days, you could smoke indoors.”
Since 2007, England has been under the yoke, cigar-lovers forced to new and ever-inventive measures to enable them to seek their pleasure in the company of like-minded friends.
At the time of the smoking ban, most venues opted to close their cigar bars, empty their humidors and quietly forget about the centuries of history that made London the cigar capital of the world outside Havana. Not Ranald Macdonald. Boisdale now consists of Belgravia, Bishopsgate and Canary Wharf. Each has its own unique flavor, but once again, as with Churchill, it’s cigars that underpin everything. “I’ve enjoyed them for as long as I can remember,” muses Ranald.
“Certainly since I was a student in Scotland. I always envisaged cigars being at the very heart of what we offer. “For Boisdale, there are some interesting times ahead,” he continues.
“We’ve long talked of opening a restaurant in Havana and we are quite close to being in a position to do so. There is also the possibility of ventures in the Middle East and the US.”
“We want to expand the Boisdale experience, take it to a new audience. But whatever we do, you can rest assured that cigars will be at the very heart of it.”
15 Eccleston Street
T +44 20 7730 6922
T +44 20 7283 1763
Boisdale Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf London
T +44 20 7715 5818
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Winter Edition 2014. Read more