MOTHERS DAY DELIGHTFUL TREATS!

As Mothering Sunday is nearly upon us I couldn’t think of anything nicer than giving some reviews on some blissful gin tipples! I am a big fan of anything that tastes of raspberries and I was excited to be presented with a sample of this wonderfully infused botanical and raspberry gin.

Pinkster Raspberry Gin 37.5%

Pinkster Gin all came about when founder Stephen realised wine and beer no longer agreed with him. A keen maker of sloe liqueurs and other concoctions, he turned his attention to spirits and started experimenting at home, mashing assorted fruits with different spirit strengths. It wasn’t his intention to create a pink drink, it’s just that after working his way through an entire fruit bowl, raspberry delivered the best flavour. G&J Distillers, one of the world’s oldest gin distilleries, was recruited to the cause. They produce the core spirit with five botanicals to the original stunning recipe.This is then macerated with a further three botanicals, including fresh raspberries grown locally to our rural base outside Cambridge.

Nose: Slight hint of orange peels with a subtle aroma of unsurprisingly, raspberries coming through.
Palate: Yet more fruit, in the background is a hint of pepper with vanilla. Raspberry of course the focal point.
Finish: Raspberries and a grassy hint of water mint.

Another unique and equally appealing gin is the Eden Mill Love Gin 42%  Bursting with exotic fruit botanicals and crafted at St Andrews in Scotland and bottled in this cool earthenware swing top bottle. Love Gin brings together an outstanding blend of local botanicals and infusion of exotic fruits. One-to-one research shows that it works well in the company of a very close friend but it’s a sociable elixir too. Enjoy with premium tonic water or a quality prosecco.

Soft subtle juniper on the nose with a touch of warm, spiced berries – strawberry and raspberry. Sweet vanilla and green fruits – green apples and pears then come into play as the gin finishes with a delicate citrus pink grapefruit and a drop of rose water at the very end.

If you’re looking for a gin gift set to give on Mother’s Day then this Whitley Neill Gin Gift Pack 70cl with signature glass will certainly please!
A London Dry Gin made with African botanicals including extracts from the Baobab Tree (known as the Tree of Life) and Cape Gooseberry to give it an even more exotic feel than other gins. It’s made in a one-hundred-year-old copper pot still! There is also a stronger version at 48%. This stunning Whitley Neill Gin comes with a ‘Whitley Neill’ branded glass and 70cl bottle, both presented in a fantastic Whitley Neill presented box.

Nose: Smooth and balanced is the overriding impression. Green pine is restrained. Subtle citrus, fruit and earthy notes are delicate, and suggest a lighter style of gin.
Palate: Juniper is restrained too on the palate as the balance between all elements is a success here. Relatively sweet for a ‘dry’ gin, fruity and floral notes shine throughout.
Finish: Just enough coriander spice and a perky hit of orange peel on the finish lift things and maintain interest.

Slainte,

Pete

New Cigars… At Last!

I was hoping to update my blog after my return from the Festival del Habanos but I seemed to acquire the dreaded Cuban bug/virus on the Upper Class cabin on the return journey which has knocked me out for the last 10 days so I’m a tad behind everything including my weekly blog.

This was the 19th Festival and I reckon I have attended all but the first one. Havana has an amazing buzz around the Festival time of year and seems to be packed with a who’s who of the cigar trade so it’s a great opportunity for me to meet up with clients and cigar specialists from all over the world, as well as attend the trade fair and the gala dinner event.

New cigars are introduced at the festival as the norm, though it can take months or years or never till they are actually released to the trade and, by extension, our clients. This always seemed odd to me as I would have thought with such a captive audience the cigars would be released immediately after the Festival and distributors would be waiting with their order pads!

This year was no disappointment with the introduction of the re-imaged Quai d’Orsay brand, the new Montecristo Linea 1935 range and The H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva.

The Montecristo Linea 1935 cigars sport a very smart new band design as well as a foot band and will be made in the following sizes:

Leyenda: 6 1/2” length by 55 ring gauge.
Maltes: 6” length by 53 ring gauge.
Duma: 5 1/8” length by 49 ring gauge.

We were given a very lovely gift case containing one of each cigar and having smoked them all I can say, I’m very excited to get these into our shop humidors (some time in the future!). The blend was splendid, the wrappers were beautiful and the construction was perfect.

But what of the H. Upmann Gran Reserva? Well it was the star of the Festival as far as I’m concerned, a truly magnificent cigar and having had 100’s of clients emailing me to ask when they will be available I’m afraid the answer is… there is no answer. Bearing in mind we are still waiting for the release of the Romeo Wide Churchill Gran Reserva from 2 years ago, so it’s kinda hard to get over excited at this stage.

The Gala dinner event was possibly the best I have attended over the last 18 years, I had a great table which included my assistant Roy Price from C.Gars (North) on one side of me and my friend Edward Sahakian from Davidoff on the other side. Edward was nominated for and won the Habanos retailer of their year award and it was very well deserved. (Congrats Edward!) Also on our table was Jemma Freeman from H&F, Stuart Fox from JJ Fox and Laurence Davis from Sautter.

The entertainment was great (a tad too loud as ever!) and the service was brilliant. The charity auction featured some of the most beautiful humidors I have ever seen and auctioneer Gary Heathcote did a marvellous job of bringing in some 1.265 million Euros for the Cuban National Health service.

Cuba is certainly changing in some ways such as loads more tourists, quite a few decent restaurants and bars but the prices are also changing and in fact I can never remember it being more expensive. I was lucky on this trip as the weather was generally very nice so every day Roy and I met up early (before it was too hot) and went for a 10km power walk all round the back streets of Havana. Clearly Havanas roads and building are still collapsing and decrepit which is such a shame as the city is in places so beautiful and I can only hope one day will be restored to its former glory.

We took a long road trip to Las Terrazes and had a good walk around this beautiful nature reserve, on to Indian Caves, a tour round Robaina’s plantation, some beautiful views at Los Jazmines and sampled some decent smokes and rum on the way. We herfed a load of Magnum 54’s, which I was pleasantly surprised with as I wasn’t keen on them when they first came out but they seem to be evolving steadily into a pretty tasty smoke, as well as a load of Upmann Connoisseur A which were simply delicious.

Back to the UK and I managed a few hours in the office before collapsing for a few days and watching the Budget from my bedroom which has resulted in a pretty huge 7-10% increase in tax on cigars. Stock up before prices go up as they certainly will be very soon. I thought I was getting back to normal and headed up to Turmeaus Liverpool for a couple of business meetings but had to cut a 3 day trip short by 2 days and head back home. Hey ho, another few days relaxing at home and I’m finally better. Whilst this was all going on we received the new Partagas Presidente and Cohiba Medio Siglo as well as the Cohiba Short. All proving popular and all available online and in Turmeaus specialist cigar stores.

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So tomorrow I’m heading off to the USA until the end of the month. Meeting up with friends and clients in 3 states and doing a Pre Embargo cigar tasting or two at The Clayton in Chicago with my partner, Guy from the decent Cigar Emporium (Dublin), I think even by my standards half a day in the office in a month could be a new record! I remember the days when I would routinely work around 20 hours a day in the office 6 days a week but they are fast becoming a distant memory as my Management Team generally do everything better than me and I can take life a bit easier these days.

In April we start listing Lots for our Summer Cigar Auction which is always good fun for me. I never know what’s going to turn up and it’s always full of surprises.

In late April we also expect to be opening phase 2 of our Liverpool development which will provide a Turmeaus cigar store and sampling lounge open till 11 pm as well as a whisky cocktail and tapas lounge and incredible whisky bar with some of the rarest single malt whiskies available by the dram, as well as the bottle. More details to follow…

Righto , I better get my case packed and fill my trusty DuPont lighter as I have a lot of fun herfing days and nights ahead for the rest of the month :)

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

The World of Don Tomas Cigars

Don Tomas are a well-made Honduran cigar blended with select Dominican, Mexican and Columbian Cuban seed fillers, wrapped in either a natural Indonesian or Mexican Maduro wrapper. The cigars have silky construction and mild to medium bodied smoke with subtle coffee and toast flavours with a hint of spice and C.Gars Ltd offer the full range!

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Now if you haven’t figured out a reason to smoke these beauties then I am here to give you a few. To start with they’re all reasonably priced so you won’t find yourself waiting for payday to purchase one of these. If you have just started the art of smoking cigars these are perfect as a beginner cigar as they offer a mild to medium smoke. Each one has been tried and tested by me and I will say that I was very satisfied.

Don Tomas Corona:

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I would give this a 4/5 stars. A smooth smoke throughout with constant coffee notes. Not only is it a great cigar but you won’t break the budget purchasing one. The draw was perfect and didn’t require any relighting. If you are looking for a 40-minute smoke for a walk in the morning this is perfect😊.

Don Tomas Petit Corona:

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Like it’s big brother above this cigar deserves a lot of credit enough that I would give it 5/5. It has the classic Don Thomas taste but I found it to be slightly smoother than the corona, more of a cool smoke. Will be perfect in the summer with a nice glass of Tullibardine.

Don Tomas Robusto:

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I would wait for the afternoon to smoke this one. It has more of a medium strength to it but with a creamy smooth draw. Such subtle hints of coffee and nut and a beautiful woody aroma. As you get to the final third it starts to get a little spicy which really adds to the complexity of the flavours, if you haven’t tried yet, you need to get yourself one.

Don Tomas Rothschid:

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Last but definitely by no means least to try was the Rothschild. Now if you like coffee these are the cigars for you. Each one I’ve tried I definitely notice they have a classic flavour of Coffee but this one being a slightly darker wrapper had a sweet taste during the second half, why made this, one of my favourites. The final third added a slight leathery taste topped off with subtle nutty notes. Perfect in the evening.

So, if you’re still working your way through Cuban and New World cigars, I would recommend your next stop to be Don Tomas. Four different sizes all with a variety of flavours and aromas. These really will update your palate to new tastes.

Have a great weekend,

Liam

GLENGOYNE- GLEN OF THE WILD GEESE

If you are looking for outstanding Highland Single Malts that are consistent with quality,  great style and satisfying to the palate then  the Glengoyne distillery is where to look.

This special edition tin is in aid of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Appeal, which was set up after a tragic fire damaged the art school in May 2014. John Lowrie Morrison (also known as Jolomo and famous for his striking landscapes) was asked to create a collection of seasonal paintings inspired by the distillery. Inside the tin you’ll find a bottle of the 10 Year Old – unlike most other single malts Glengoyne has been preserving the essence of its flavour for decades by using air-dried barley rather than barley dried using harsh peat smoke.

The result is a more subtle, complex whisky in which all of the delicate flavours are freely allowed to express themselves. The 10 Year Old has fresh green apples, toffee and a hint of nuttiness. This is the taste of distilling slower than anyone else in Scotland, of barley dried by air – never peat – and of oak casks selected by hand as always.

Complex, sweet and rounded, with a spicy oak finish. This is the taste of distilling slower than anyone else in Scotland and of barley that is dried by air never peat. The flavours develop in hand selected sherry casks – balancing deep character with light vanilla notes.
Nose: Hints of candied lemon and a touch of butterscotch. Creamy cereal sweetness and porridge oats with demerara sugar.
Palate: Oily, rich palate entry with notes of toffee popcorn, salted butter and hints of ground walnuts. Allspice and lemon rinds.
Finish: Malty and oaky.
Now on the the luxurious Glengoyne 18 years expression. This is everything I look for in a malt!

Silky sweet sherry notes, dried fruit, spice, cocoa and the complexity just goes on and on!

This is the result of 18 long years and a generous proportion of first fill sherry casks, and of the patience they take over the slowest distillation in Scotland. A mix of refill sherry casks and a generous slug of first-fill sherry-matured whisky.

Appearance: Medium gold with a rich glow.
Nose: Awash with red apple, ripe melon and fresh banana. Heavenly and well rounded, it drifts into hot porridge topped with brown sugar.
Taste: Full bodied, round and rich. At first macerated fruits, marzipan and walnuts; then warm spices, dry cocoa and lingering Seville marmalade.
Finish: Long, warm and dry.
Comments: Remarkable depth. Each glass unveils more layers.

Slainte

Pete

Cigar Auction / Cigar Festival!

Apologies to Turmeaus Liverpool customers for lack of access yesterday as I understand the road was closed due to high winds! Looks bright and sunny today so welcome back :)

I visited Liverpool earlier this week for a Barcelo rum and H .Upmann cigar sampling event. In fact two very sold out sessions and a lot of happy customers I reckon. The H. Upmann Magnum 50’s paired perfectly with the delicate character of the rum.

Our builders are hammering away like crazy on the second half of our Turmeaus Liverpool development and if all goes to plan they will be completed at the end of next month. The design is quite stunning and I can’t wait to see it finished. The development provides us with a rather huge bar, a tapas and whisky/cocktail lounge and an additional Turmeaus cigar shop and sampling lounge that will be open until 11 pm.

Back in the London office for the rest of the week as my GM Michelle took a few days off (I know, I know, I really should not allow her any time off at all!) and I have been incredibly busy showing clients the auction Lots for the upcoming auction this Sunday which is always the best part of my job :)

I did manage to get out of the office yesterday for a magnificent lunch at the RAC Club with Edward and Eddie Sahakian from Davidoff of London followed by a rather excellent Cohiba Corona Especiales in their beautiful cigar shop at St James’s street. Eddie plonked a Davidoff Art Edition in my hand and told me to have a  ‘takeaway that you haven’t smoked before’! I duly sampled it this morning and it was a bit of a beast! Very full bodied, full and complex flavour cigar.

That was followed by a whisky sampling with the Managing Director of Robert Graham Ltd Steve Johnstone who popped into our office with a bottle of 1995 Dancing Stag Speyside that we paired up with Partagas P2’s (that worked beautifully!) Robert Graham Ltd have just started to do whisky auctions online through their Global Whisky auction website. I followed the first auction very closely and it worked very well. Together with the unbeatable 0% commission deal I think this will be a very popular whisky auction site and a massive success.

Our current cigar auction finishes this Sunday and there has been quite a lot of bidding action up to now but the finish is always great fun to watch. At one stage last night, I understand there were almost 500 bidders online viewing Lots which was pretty impressive. Lots of interest in good quality aged and mature cigars as well as the Davidoff and Dunhill sections of course. Very best of luck to all of our bidders and of course our sellers.

Next week I’m zipping off to Havana for the annual Festival del Habanos. It’s my zillionth trip to Havana since 1997 (I have now officially lost count!) but I still enjoy it as much as the first trip. (probably more!) I’ll be on the Hunters & Frankau table as always and can’t wait to try the H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva that will be introduced at the gala dinner.

Who knows if it will ever be released? We are still waiting to see the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Gran Reserva from 2 years ago! One thing is for sure, they are all worth the wait when they finally do get released.

In then baggie this weekend I have quite a few treats :)

Trinidad Topes
 – I can’t get enough of this cigar
Inca Secret Blend Reserva D’ Oro Robustos
 – The sweetest blended Peruvian cigar I have ever made.
Regius 200th Anniversary of Turmeaus Orchant Seleccion Robusto
 – Rapidly selling out / our most popular cigar over the last week
Oliva Orchant Seleccion Shorty
 – A total flavour bomb Nicaraguan.
Macanudo Inspirado Robusto
 – Now on my daily rotation they are so good.

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell