The Ultimate Box of Tricks
Imperiali has created the world’s most expensive, and frankly the world’s most impressive, cigar humidor
All we hear these days is how something is ‘the very best’ of this, or ‘the greatest ever’ that. But how much of this is just PR hyperbole? To be fair, almost every product making bold claims simply can’t deliver what it claims.
It was with this in mind that a small Swiss company set out to make something that truly was the very best of its type, anywhere, ever. The chosen subject was the humble cigar humidor.
Named the Emperador, the black polished humidor features a beautifully lit, circular window in the centre of the top surface, revealing the exquisite locking mechanism, surrounding a stunning tourbillion timepiece. The ensemble looks worryingly like one of those overly complex bombs from a James Bond movie, circa the Sean Connery era.
By pressing on the gold, raised Imperiali letters, your personal code unlocks the humidor with a satisfying mix of spinning cogs and sliding locks. The lid then silently rises up to reveal one of the most complex systems you are ever likely to see to look after 24 cigars.
The cigars are arranged like the sun, radiating from the central locking mecha- nism, each contained in a clear, glass tube. Remove one and you break a small laser beam, causing the cigar storage gauge to drop by one.
The laser will detect any size of cigar that will fit in the tube, regardless of length and width. We tried to fool it with a cigarette, but it was having none of it and still registered there was something residing in the tube.
The humidor features two other indicators with mechanical hands, displaying, in real time, the relative humidity and temperature inside the chest.
Perhaps one of the cleverest things about the humidor is how it creates its humidity. With a normal humidor the owner is required to occasionally add water to the system. Not so with the Emperador. The humidor creates its own water, by extracting it from the atmosphere. Yes, free water, albeit in small amounts. It guarantees a constant humidity level of 70% and a temperature of 16 to 18 degrees Celsius, regardless of external environmental conditions. These variables can also be easily adjusted according to the user’s wishes.
But its party tricks don’t end there. Another touch-sensitive button unfolds the front of the humidor, allowing a tray to slide silently out towards you, revealing an ashtray, lighter and cigar cutter, all styled in the same design as the main humidor cabinet. But as you’ve probably already guessed, these are not your common or garden items.
These three devices again live up to the humidor itself. The laser-guided cigar cutter (yes, you did read that correctly) enables the cigar to be either mechanically cut or perforated in the manner of a punch, even detecting the thickness of the cigar. The gas table lighter and its three nozzles offer a perfect flame, which can be adjusted to suit the user. Lastly, the ashtray opens by the magic of mechanics whenever a cigar is brought near. The opening, which resembles a photo lens, is so clever that you can put your finger inside and it won’t close on you. However, wave your hand over it and it flicks open without fuss.
And it doesn’t end there. The humidor comes stocked with a full set of 24 special Imperiali Emperador cigars, which the company produces in the fertile plantations of the Jamastran Valley (south Honduras) and the Jalapa Valley (north Nicaragua).
The cigar is aged for 48 months, with the leaves carefully processed with the utmost respect to create an exceptional Grand Cru. Rich, complex and balanced, each cigar is wrapped in gold leaf, which as it burns turns into gold ash.
Importantly, the cigars are not sold separately, so only one of the lucky 12 people per year to own this humidor can buy these cigars. If you want to taste one, you’ll need to have some rather well-heeled friends.
But it’s not all about indulgence and high-cost. There’s a CSR side to Imperiali as well. Within the 2,675 high-quality components, complex mechanics and state-of-the-art technology are several international patents. The company has a stated aim of using these for good. For example, Imperiali is looking into scaling up the water production system to investi-
gate if a larger system could provide water to impoverished and drought-stricken parts of the world. A number of the other patents have possible uses in the medical and research fields.
Mixing ultimate luxury and CSR will be complex for the brand, but certainly adds a unique twist to the story. Imagine water production systems in Africa, funded by a product so far removed from that arena. Very neat, if the company can pull it off.
Does anyone actually need a $1 million humidor? Of course not. But if you think in those terms then this is clearly not a product aimed at you. The difference between something you ‘need’ and something you ‘want’ is key here. Nobody, and we mean nobody, needs a humidor that costs this much money. But then again no one needs a Porsche 918 or a Sunseeker powerboat. However, we are humans and for the lucky few these are things they want, and importantly can afford.
Remember, there are only going to be 12 of these made per year, so it’s a very small and exclusive club that is being targeted. This is a product for people who have everything and also aren’t going to flinch at spending a million bucks on something to impress their friends.
It’s for people that have to have the best, people who want to bring it out at a party to impress and amaze in equal measure.
And that’s handy, because the Emperador humidor does both with ease.