What a wonderful night.

Thursday 13th October was the date of our St James’s Talisman sampling evening. Luxury was the idea, and we have no doubt it resonated on every level for the guests. Taste, smell, hearing, touch and sight were all in full use in a variety of ways. Whether it was. The delectable menu at St Jacques, The Rémy Martin and Catena Zapata on the nose and the palette, Brand ambassadors detailing their product to the guests, The perfect hand-feel of the Cohiba Talisman after five years of aging, Or the sight of all guests and ambassadors sitting around the table for supper with Richard, Everyone was immersed into what cigars, cognac, wine and gastronomy should feel like at a high level.   The night started in the James J Fox Sampling Lounge. Our directors released The Cohiba Talisman, original 2017 production cigar for this event. While there is no aesthetic difference with the reissue of 2019, the extra two years of rest allows this cigar to become a delightfully smooth smoke while not losing the typical Cohiba flavour profile, predominantly consisting of cedar and earth. Jose Antonio Cejas Diaz, H&F Corporate Director spoke to guests about his time as Deputy Director at the El Laguito factory during the time the Talisman was being produced. Speaking with immense pride, Jose’s passionate soliloquy about the Talisman earned him an ovation from guests. We paired the cigar with four different expressions of Rémy Martin. Joining us to pour and talk about them was Head of Brand Ambassadors for Rémy-Cointraeu UK, Jack Charlton. Starting with the Rémy Highball – a cocktail of 1738 Accord Royal, ginger ale, fresh lime and ice - we followed with a neat Tercet and the brand staple XO. The final cognac on the night was one of the last remaining bottles in Rémy Martin’s cellar, the limited-edition Carte Blanche II Merpin Cellar Edition. Jack brought a real treat to the event: delicate notes of plum and gingerbread on the nose, with a wonderful combination of sweet spices, cinnamon and honey on the palette. The first half of the night was completed in the sampling lounge and at about 9 we moved down the St James’s Street to St Jacques Restaurant. We were welcomed by the brilliant restaurateur of St Jacques, Richard Weiss as guests were led downstairs into the exquisite private dining room. A sight to behold as all 18 of us sat around one long table to enjoy the supper cooked by their brilliant chefs.  

The Menu:

Soufflé au Roquefort en 2 cuissons et cassolette de cèpes(v)

Roquefort double baked soufflé with ceps mushroom cassolette


Saumon fumé d’Ecosse, câpres et échalottes

Smoked salmon with capers, chopped shallots and horseradish cream


Magret de canard rôti, purée de chou rouge et gratin Dauphinois

Roasted duck breast, red cabbage purée and Dauphinois potatoes


Panier de légumes automne mousse de graines de lin et courge(v)

Autumn vegetables basket with linseed and pumpkin foam


Crème brûlée à la vanille

Vanilla crème brûlée


Assiette de fromages affinés

Selection of cheeses


Sat at one end of the table was Ken Silverio, Brand Ambassador for Catena Zapata (also, an excellent cigar specialist). He spoke in his typically eloquent style, as he romanced about Catena Zapata as a brand and the wines we paired with the supper. We started with the cold and crisp Catena Alta Chardonnay 2019, a reliable match with the choice of first course Richard presented. Days before the event, Ken let it be known that the combination of Duck breast and the Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2019 is a perfect match, and he was proved to be absolutely correct. Providing a three-litre jeroboam bottle and a few more 70cls of the Malbec Argentino, guests always had wine in their glass while they enjoyed the succulent roasted duck main, immaculately prepared by Richard. The staff at St Jacques exemplified the high reputation of the restaurant. Delivering amazing service to our guests, we were grateful to be hosted by a real dedicated team that upholds the standards of reputation and professionalism of St Jacques.   And to end the night was a very special addition to the wine menu. The Catena Zapata Saint Felicien Semillon Doux 2012 - a dessert wine as delicious as a sweet muscat – is one of their lines they don’t generally ship to the UK and if found over here it would be a rare find. The golden liquid was a perfect way to end a wonderful evening.     We would like to thank all the guests in attendance as we hope they enjoyed the experience. We hope this will be the first of many to come. We would like to thank Jose Antonio Cejas Diaz from Hunters & Frankau, Jack Charlton from Rémy Martin, Ken Silverio of Catena Zapata and Richard Weiss and his team at St Jacques for helping to deliver a memorable evening on St James’s. We plan for another event that mixes different elements of luxury into one fine night, early next year. So please look out for information to be involved on an immensely pleasurable evening on St James's Street.