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Winston Churchill cigar range lights up

The grandson of Winston Churchill, the former prime minister and arguably the world's most recognisable smoker, has launched a range of cigars bearing his grandfather's name.

The 67-year-old former journalist and Conservative MP, also called Winston Churchill, has spent the past eight years and £50,000 gaining exclusive worldwide patents for the range of exclusive cigars.

Manufactured by Davidoff, the luxury goods firm, they bear the names of places that played a significant role in the former prime minister's life, including No 10, Chequers, Blenheim and Marrakesh, the Moroccan resort that was his favourite holiday destination.

The Blenheim, named after his birthplace, is the most expensive brand, retailing at $550 (£280) for a box of 25.

The cigars are already being sold in the US and are expected to be available in the UK later this year at Davidoff and selected retailers, including Harrods, provided the trademark is approved by the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Churchill's grandson said he expects to receive a royalty payment from Davidoff, but that it will be several years before he recoups his investment.

The non-smoker is sensitive to suggestions that he is cashing-in on his grandfather's legacy, but claimed he was given no option when he learnt that a firm of cigar manufacturers in Los Angeles was attempting to patent the Churchill name.

"I didn't like the idea of anybody else pirating the family name to turn out something that might be substandard," he said.

Although the name Churchill has been used in the tobacco industry for decades to describe the size of a cigar, this is the first time a product will bear the name of the former MP for Dundee.

Winston Churchill was first introduced to cigars in 1895 when, as a 20-year-old cavalry officer, he obtained leave of absence to observe the Cuban revolutionary war against Spain. He later wrote: "Smoking cigars is like falling in love. First, you are attracted by its shape; you stay for its flavour, and you must always remember never, never to let the flame go out!"

Although Winston Churchill favoured Cuban cigars made by Romeo y Julieta and La Aroma de Cuba, his own brand is being manufactured in the Dominican Republic because of the US import ban on Cuban cigars.

His grandson signed a deal with Davidoff last year and the products have been made from Cuban seed at its factory in the Dominican Republic. The deal grants the cigar specialist rights to use Winston Churchill's signature, the family coat of arms, all quotations by Churchill and reproductions of his paintings by arrangement.

His grandson said he insisted they should be of the "highest quality" and he has been encouraged by the reaction to them in America.

Churchill's grandson attracted controversy in 1995 when he benefited from the sale of his grandfather's papers for £12.5m of national lottery money.

At the time, he was in financial difficulty after suffering heavy losses as an underwriter for Lloyd's and had just separated from Minnie d'Erlanger, his wife of more than 30 years.

Pamela Timms, chairwoman of the Churchill Society London, said it was opposed to any commercial promotion of Churchill's name.

"I don't think the Churchill family should profit from Mr Churchill's name," she said. "The Churchill Trust has been brought into disrepute for this before. We object to the promotion of this in a commercial way and don't want to be associated with it."

Michael Herklots, a general manager of Davidoff stores in America, said the cigars were proving popular. "When our customers hear the stories behind these cigars, they can't wait to try them."

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Source: Times Online

Winston Churchill cigar range lights up