Premier Manufacturer Re-Creates
Classic Cuban Cigars Based On Style and Blends
Favored By Sir Winston Churchill, Some
With Actual Elements from One He Smoked In 1953

In December 1953, Sir Winston Churchill, during his second stint as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, met with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and French Premier Joseph Laniel in Bermuda to discuss the future of their countries’ relationships with post WWII Russia, atomic energy and Egypt. It was arguably the most powerful gathering of world leaders since the Pottsdam Conference in 1945, when the U.S., UK and USSR heads of state met to decide how to punish Nazi war criminals.

Historians tell us that Churchill’s goals of negotiation and détente with the Soviets were not achieved then – but a still-smoking cigar he left behind at the summit is making some exciting history of its own thanks to premiere cigar manufacturer PAYNE-MASON.

A high end cigar manufacturer whose 100% hand rolled products are exclusively available at prestigious destination resort properties (casinos, wineries, golf courses, vacation resorts), PAYNE-MASON has taken the partially smoked cigar – purchased from an auction held at Sotheby’s Auction House – and used it to create an iconic new product: the WC53, named for Churchill and the year of its origin.

Presented with a section of this original historic cigar, the Cuban Master Rollers of PAYNE-MASON carefully researched and recreated the original construction and flavor characteristics of the original blends of one of Sir Winston’s favorite cigars from the long since defunct Cuban boutique cigar company La Aroma De Cuba. These original characteristics of the original are combined with equally unique tobaccos not found in today’s commercial cigar market.

To the delight of cigar aficionados and collectors of historical artifacts alike, a limited number of these resurrected classics will include an actual portion of tobacco from the original cigar, exclusively provided to PAYNE-MASON to create the limited, numbered WC53 DNA line.

To complete the package, a new stunningly beautiful cigar band was commissioned just for this project that evokes the tropical atmosphere, the importance of this summit between three of the world’s most powerful leaders and Churchill’s love of cigars. The artwork on the band features Churchill’s hat, colors of the Union jack, flowers and palm trees and the wording “Bermuda Island” and “1953.”

Bob Payne, owner of PAYNE-MASON, says, “Adding a small amount of tobacco leaf from a cigar actually enjoyed by Churchill himself means this is more than a fine, premium product…it makes it an actual piece of history. It’s an extremely iconic, unique offering that perfectly reflects our capacity as a manufacturer and beautifully augments who we are and what we do.”
PAYNE-MASON’s multi-faceted WC53 product line begins with the WC53 “DNA” Cigar in a Tomb Box. This limited edition and numbered WC53 Commemorative Gift Set includes one WC53 “DNA” Cigar, featuring Sir Winston’s original cigar tobacco, presented in a handcrafted hardwood glass top display box, with a plaque explaining the provenance. It retails for $599.

The second item is the WC53 Smoker, which features a unique blend with the authentic flavor characteristics of Cuban cigars of the 1950s. 100% hand rolled by Payne Mason’s own Cuban Master Rollers, this cigar provides an opportunity to travel back in time and once again experience the national heritage of Cuba. A single retails for $24; 5-packs are $99.
The WC53 10 Count, retailing for $399, contains 10 of the WC53 Smoker cigars, crafted from the same new blends and premium tobaccos as the WC53 DNA, but without the original donor tobacco. They come in a finished wooden case with the “Bermuda 1953” logo inscribed.

The WC53 Combo is a deluxe two item set containing both the solid mahogany, glass topped tomb box containing one iconic WC53 DNA cigar (featuring actual tobacco from the Churchill cigar) and a hardwood gift set containing 10 of the WC53 Smoker cigars. This retails for $997.

The fascinating story behind the creation of these items includes the original Churchill cigar’s six decade-plus journey from that conference room in Bermuda to the hands of the cigar rolling artists at PAYNE-MASON. Welshman Sergeant Rudolph Hughes was serving with the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Jamaica when he was sent to Hamilton, Bermuda to guard the room (along with two men from the FBI) where Churchill, Eisenhower and Laniel were meeting. He collected the still=smoking cigar when he was sent in to tidy up afterwards.

In a letter of provenance, Hughes wrote, “The conference lasted several hours. When over, and the conference room emptied, Capt. Sinnet and myself and others went in for souvenirs. Capt. Sinnet took small flags of each country involved. Myself, I took Winston Churchill’s still smoking cigar from his ashtray, stubbed it out and have kept it for 50 years.”

The cigar was acquired by an anonymous private collector about 10 years ago and was later up for auction by Sotheby’s. While on a film shoot, Nick Nanton – a four-time time Emmy Award winning director and co-owner of Dicks + Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency (DNA), the world’s largest personal branding agency –received Facebook message from a friend familiar with his appreciation for history, historical artifacts and Winston Churchill. Informed that the cigar was up for auction at Sotheby’s, Nanton called in a bid – and won!

Once he received the Churchill cigar, he faced an interesting choice. “A bunch of people I know suggested that I should either take a puff or let someone else smoke it,” Nanton says. “But I had a much better idea. Betting that a lot of people would love to share it, I called my friend Bob Payne at PAYNE-MASON, which in my opinion, makes the best cigars in the world. I told him about the cigar and told him I could get it framed or put it in a glass shadow box, but it might be more exciting to find a way to allow many people to share Winston’s cigar.”

Payne’s business relationship with Nanton extended back several years, when Nanton, aware of PAYNE-MASON’s reputation as being a high end manufacturer with select clientele, reached out to purchase cigars from their product line as gift items for some of his high profile global business clients. Payne warmed instantly to Nanton’s fresh idea and began talking about how his rollers might shed off some of the tobacco and sprinkle it in new cigars – and the idea of using the original item to forensically create the same type of Cuban Cigars Churchill smoked.
Nanton rehumidified the cigar for several months, then cut off much of it, saving the back end of the nub and the band around it. He Fed-Ex’d the tobacco to Payne, and the incredible venture began. What started off as a discarded piece of history from a revered world leader would soon be something more – an exclusive item that would allow anyone to be among the last 250 people on earth to share a cigar smoked by Winston Churchill.

“By sharing it in this way, as a retail product” Payne says, “we’re taking that iconic cigar to the next level and allowing people to experience that era of world history in a unique way. We’re excited as well that we’ve drawn inspiration from this unexpected gift Sir Winston left behind to create new products similar to those classic Cuban cigars of the 50s, which are so much different than anything being manufactured today.”

The WC53 line of cigars and beautifully handmade gift and presentation sets will be available exclusively through PAYNE-MASON’s website at The product release is scheduled for xx/xx/xx. Current and updated information will be posted to this page.
For more information, please contact Bob Payne at 760-744 9007 or email at