Winston Churchill’s cigar habits changed over time. Prior to the First World War, his cigar bills were exorbitant and, like so many of his accounts, chronically past due. Beside Robert Lewis, he patronized Alfred Dunhill on Duke Street, just across from the Prince of Wales’s favorite Turkish bath, which Churchill also frequented.
Churchill patronized, as well A. Durant, L. A. Hart, and, increasingly, J. Grunebaum, ordering La Corona Crisoles, Calixton Lopez Crenais Celestes No. 1s and Elegantes, or Punch Cabinet Habanas, at a rate of one hundred to two hundred per month each, plus hundreds of Turkish cigarettes.
In a strategy that he would pursue throughout his life in all manner of purchases, Churchill allowed many of the establishments to believe they were his sole, preferred source of supply, thereby stretching his credit with each to the maximum.
Barry Singer is the author of Churchill Style (Abrams Image, 2012) and the proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City.
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