‘The Hammer’!

I’ve been attending the IPCPR tobacconist trade show in the USA for the last 17 years. It has always been a brilliant opportunity for me to meet suppliers and chat with other retailers as well as clients of ours. From exceptionally humble beginnings 2 decades ago Laura and I have managed to create a colossus of a cigar and smokers accessory business and the US trade show has been a monumental factor helping in that growth as it always gave us the opportunity to bring in ranges of humidors and accessories that no one else would have in the UK. Better still as importers we passed the savings on to our customers and ensured best value as well as best range in the UK.

As the business grew and grew we expanded our cigars range from Havanas only, steadily into New World cigars and introduced some incredible ranges to our clients such as Fuente, Padron, Oliva, Dunhill and Davidoff to name a few.  As the popularity of New World cigars grew we started to add boutique and other high quality brands such as Regius, Inka, Nat Sherman, Tatuaje and many others to bring our clients a huge choice of cigars from all the different tobacco growing regions.

At last year’s show I was ‘wowed’ at the Padron exhibition stand by the Padron 50th anniversary humidor - I think this is possibly the single most beautiful humidor I have ever seen. The cigars

Padron 50th Anniversary Humidorare called ‘ The Hammer’ and measure in at 6 ½” length and 52 ring gauge.

50 perfectly crafted cigars per humidor made with the finest tobacco aged for 10 years. Available in natural or maduro wrapper and a unique bold full flavoured blend make this possibly the finest cigar I have ever smoked from Nicaragua. Demand was high as we expected but Padron kindly allocated a small number of humidors to C.Gars.  We are keeping number 321 humidor for display in a flagship store we are planning to open later this year.

What a lot of fun I’ve had opening specialist cigar stores over the last 15 years. C.Gars started out as a mail order- internet cigar merchant and I remember when we bought the first cigar shop in Liverpool that everyone told me I was mad to do so! Well that store was on its knees thanks to the previous owner and pathetic management but we turned it around and Turmeaus Liverpool will celebrate its 200th anniversary in style in 2017. :)

I then moved on to open a Turmeaus in Chester, followed by Turmeaus Mayfair. Last year we opened our beautiful La Casa del Habano in Chester and we are soon to open a rather swish Turmeaus Tobacconist in Norfolk.

Whilst all this has been going on I was also the owner and Managing Director of Robert Graham Ltd, another business that was on its knees and hanging on with its last very sad looking whisky and cigar store in Glasgow. Well, long story short, we turned that one around as well, opening additional specialist whisky and cigar stores in Edinburgh Rose street, Edinburgh Canongate, London West Hampstead, Cambridge and of course our incredible flagship in the heart of Glasgow.

Robert Graham Ltd has also won a raft of awards for many of the incredible range of Independent bottled single malt whiskies we created so I’m very proud of that achievement. I am still involved with this fabulous business but have taken a back seat to concentrate on Turmeaus tobacconist expansion and handed the reins over to new managing director Steve Johnstone who will no doubt continue the solid growth and family run ethos of the business for the future.

The tobacco industry is extraordinary in terms of crazy legislation that seems to be never ending (despite being targeted at cigarette smokers but affecting cigar and pipe smokers) and products that are introduced but arrive late in the market, in tiny quantity or not at all ! We are still waiting for the Upmann No.2 Reserva introduced at last year’s Festival in Havana but absolutely no sign of them surfacing as yet ! I wish they would do as they were an outrageously good smoke when I tried them.

Some very good news though insofar as the Hunters and Frankau 225th anniversary Ramon Allones humidor will be released on time and is expected 3rd week of June. Tons of interest in this magnificent humidor and no doubt splendid cigars. I’ll be tucking a few of these away in my retirement fund !

A few events for your calendars :) :

Monday 23rd February – Single Malt Whisky and Havana cigar tasting evening at La Casa del Habano –Chester

Tuesday 17th March – Opening party and Cuban rum tasting evening at La Casa del Habano – Chester. Guest of honour is Sean Croley, Sales Director of Hunters & Frankau

Tuesday 24th March – Launch evening for Turmeaus Tobacconist – Norfolk. Guest of honour is Brian Shapiro of Oliva Cigars

Wednesday 13th May – Cigar tasting evening at Turmeaus Chester featuring Alec Bradley Cigars. Guest of honour is George Sosa

Thursday 14th May Cigar tasting evening at Turmeaus Liverpool featuring Alec Bradley Cigars. Guest of honour is George Sosa

15th June Vintage Cigar Auction 2pm at The Bulgari Hotel Knightsbridge

Lots are already arriving for the next cigar auction and we expect to have a good range of Pre Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill, Limited Edition, Aged and Rare Havanas knocked down my resident C.Gars auctioneer Jonathan Humbert. If all goes to plan the format of the next auction will be completely different to all previous auctions as this will be a live auction but we are adding additional technology so internet bidders can bid online right up till the hammer falls. More details to follow.

Okay so I am constantly asked what is my favourite cigar and what am I smoking now ? well I can do no better than tell you that I don’t have a favourite ! Yes, I have regular smokes on rotation such as Bolivar Belicosos and Montecristo No.2 but it’s all down to vintage (much like fine wines) when it comes to Havana cigars. I love just about anything from 2007 but I also love trying out some of the great new Havanas such as the incredible Cohiba Robusto Supremo Limited Edition, Partagas Serie D No.6 ( great breakfast smoke) and Trinidad Vigia ( never had a Trini I didn’t like !)

Oliva Shorty Orchant SeleccionThat said I also mix it up a bit these days with New World cigars for a change of pace. My exclusive Orchant Seleccion range by Oliva are on the daily rotation and are selling like mad so it looks like I got that blend just about right. Perfect sizes and unbelievable value for a premium cigar. I honestly don’t think you can find a better value premium cigar in the UK

 

Oliva Cigars Orchant Seleccion

Orchant Seleccion By Oliva Chubby  £99

Orchant Seleccion By Oliva Skinny  £69

Orchant Seleccion By Oliva Shorty  £89

I’m also enjoying Inka – Secret Blend, the brand and blend I created from 100% Peruvian tobacco. Nothing else like it on the market and a huge success story for C.Gars Ltd.

Not long to go before this year’s Festival del Habanos in Havana. I reckon this is the 16th Festival ( out of 17 held ) that I will attend. This year the featured brands are Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo ( celebrating the 80th anniversary of good old Monte !) and I can’t wait. I think around 2000+ attend the Festival and it’s always good to catch up with friends from all over the world at the Mecca for cigars.

That’s me wrapped up for another week, I’m kicking back this weekend with a box of 2011 Cohiba 1966 Limited Edition and a bottle of Glendullan ( The Ghost!) 1999 …. What a combo :)

Have a smokey valentines weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

CGars Valentines Day

Anejados are Awesome :)

My La Casa del Habano in Chester is as expected becoming more popular by the day and our tasting event last week was a standing room only affair as it was so over booked!

humidor_chester_cubansThe tasting featured Dalmore and Jura single malt whiskies paired up with Romeo Petit Churchills and Rafael Gonzales Perlas.

The Cigar Malt from Dalmore was absolutely delicious and the Havanas complimented them perfectly.

We’re having a lot of fun with our ‘Open Tasting Evenings‘ where you can roll up for a 45 minute session for a Tenner, enjoy sampling the cigars and whisky and have an informal Q&A session with me and the Chester team.

sara_and_calum_turmeaus_chester

My thanks to Dalmore and Hunters & Frankau for their kind support and a warm welcome to Sara , the newest member of our Turmeaus and LCDH Management Team in Chester.

Our next tasting event will be held on the 23rd February but pre booking is essential as we won’t be able to sell tickets on the night due to the overwhelming demand we received at the last event.

The first vintage cigar auction of the year was a resounding success and a good excuse for me to smoke my way through some Romeo and Montecristo Anejados as I sat glued to my computer screen watching the bidding for some 9 hours!

A bit of a bidding war going on with some of the Lots producing spectacular results (especially Partagas Lusitania cabinet of 50 from 1997 sold at £2710!)

Dunhill prices at well above estimates as in previous auctions so no sign of any decline in interest. Davidoff prices selling within the estimate range generally and ever popular.

Pre embargo lots sold very well with more interest than we have seen in previous auctions and spectacular prices achieved for Henry Clay.

Cohiba prices as expected were very strong with no end to the demand for this fine Havana cigar brand especially in Limited Edition.

Roughly a 99% sale rate

Top selling Lots – sold prices without fees (in Sterling)

PRE EMBARGO – Romeo y Julieta  Coronations de Lux – Pre embargo cabinet of 100 cigars £10000

PRE EMBARGO – Punch Double Coronas – cabinet of 100 cigars £9000

Cubatabaco Humidor  of 25 cigars from 1985 £7610

PRE EMBARGO – Ramon Allones Trumps cabinet of 50 cigars £5260

PRE EMBARGO – H. Upmann Cabinet de S.W.F. cabinet of 50 cigars £5000

Davidoff Dom Perignon – JM NIUC 1987 Box of 25 cigars £4960

Cohiba Sublimes Extra Coleccion Habanos – 2008 £4517

Davidoff Dom Perignon – 1980′s box of 25 cigars £4500

Cohiba Corona Especiales Diplomatic 1989 cabinet of 50 cigars £4010

PRE EMBARGO La Corona  coronas cabinet of 50 cigars £3810

PRE EMBARGO Por Larranaga Nacionales –cabinet of 50 cigars £3610

Rafael Gonzalez Seleccion Suprema –cabinet of 25 cigars made for Davidoff £3610

All sold prices are on the website as a resource http://www.onlinecigarauctions.com/index.php and  our Summer auction is already being planned for mid-June.

We are now accepting entries and are happy to advise by email sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

I reckon we have had just about all the new release cigars that were due or overdue and the choice is amazing!

Montecristo Churchill Anejado

Romeo Piramides Anejado

Trinidad Vigia

Partagas Serie D No. 6

On the New World cigar scene, these new Alec Bradley cigars are selling like crazy over the last few weeks, a puros from Nicaragua that’s bursting with sweet flavours. Available online and in all Turmeaus and Robert Graham shops.

The Orchant Seleccion Oliva cigars remain our most popular New World cigars so far this year and the feedback is that we have hit the spot with blend as well as sizes and prices. Checkout the sampler pack on this link

For something a bit different I would recommend trying La Estancia. The wrapper and binder are tobaccos from Nicaragua, whereas the filler is a blend of Cuban and Nicaraguan tobacco. The first two sizes launched are a Robusto and a Corona. They look like ridiculously good value for a premium cigar and well worth adding one to your next order.

And finally… We just received a huge import of Inka – Secret Blend, so all sizes are available again another best-selling exclusive from C.Gars and available at Robert Graham and Turmeaus shops.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell,

cgarvalday2015a

Heavy Herfing Schedule!

It’s been a terribly hard week for me as my G.M  and Man Friday, the lovely Michelle has been on vacation so I have really had to get back to a serious work schedule in the office.

IMG-20150121-WA002At least that was the plan :) … Until I popped into Turmeaus Mayfair on Wednesday and foolishly announced it on Twitter whereupon a few of my regular smoking chums decided that they would ambush me in the cigar sampling room and we should do an impromptu sampling session of Orchant Seleccion by Oliva cigars!

Needless to say 2 hours later we had thoroughly tested all 3 sizes, accompanied by a bottle of Dancing Stag Ben Nevis single malt whisky (by Robert Graham) and this rather dedicated focus group were very impressed with the results.

We decided that the Skinny was the breakfast smoke , the Shorty was the mid-afternoon smoke and the Chubby was perfect as a late night smoke. My chums cleared out / purchased almost all of the Orchant Seleccion Oliva stock in the humidor so at least I can pretend I was working hard!

Well that was a good warm up pre-pre-herf for our Thursday evening Burns Night herf which started with a pre herf at the office where we sampled some H Upmann Connoisseur No. 1 together with a bottle of Dancing Stag Bowmore 1990.

IMG-20150122-WA002No one buys Connoisseur No. 1 anymore and we can’t understand why? (not fashionable? No new sexy name or size?)  the cigars are a Hermosos no. 4, one of my favourite vitolas measuring in at 5” length and 48 ring gauge, They were absolutely delicious, full flavour, medium strength and perfect construction.

We moved on to the main event with dinner at the fabulous Boisdale Belgravia. Complete with the Burns night piper and the address to the haggis (sorry to my overseas readers who this must sound very strange to!)

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

IMG-20150122-WA004

Well, dinner was splendid as always (both food and service – thank you Boisdale!) but the usual fast affair as we really wanted to get to the cigar terrace to herf. By this time our group had swelled to 13 members which was a pretty good crowd. We whammed through another focus group for Oliva Orchant Seleccion and the results were the same with as the previous afternoon with everyone enjoying them and loads of orders placed (I was working hard – really!)

I then treated the boys to a box of Bolivar Belicosos from dress box with my favourite code TEB – JUN07 – 2007 vintage. The cigars were simply sublime, like nectar, sweet and full flavoured. Medium strength, perfect draw, colorado wrappers and everyone raved about them. Goes to show, I can still pick a winner after all these years :)

The herfing continues next week at our gorgeous La Casa del Habano in Chester where I will host an open tasting evening featuring Dalmore and Jura single malt whiskies and some of my favourite Havana cigars. If you came to my evenings in December you know what a fun time we have!

La Casa is due to receive the new Montecristo Churchill Anejado any minute now and I can’t wait to try them. If they are anywhere as good as the Romeo Piramides Anejados we are in for a treat.

Online Auction site is live and bids are already being entered. Massive range of aged and rare Havanas and some of the most beautiful Pre Embargo cigars we have ever offered. Check it out on this link http://www.onlinecigarauctions.com/index.php

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

First Cigar Auction of 2015!

IMG_0304Just back from sunny Florida to awfully cold London and yes, you guessed it, I was working on our long overdue US version of Inca-Secret Blend cigars. Well the good news is the cigars have finally arrived on the other side of the Pond ☺ and we hope to be rolling out the first batch in the next few weeks if all goes to plan (which it rarely does!)

We held yet more focus group taste testing’s with a variety of friends and if the fact that everyone was nubbing them is anything to go by, I think the market will receive my cigars very well indeed; full flavour but light to medium in strength, smooth, creamy, floral but sweet. Perfect construction and colorado maduro wrappers. All tobacco 100% from Peru. Filler, binder and wrapper – a true puros that is sure to please. All tobacco aged minimum 3 years so no aggression or harshness in the character of the blend from the first to the last puff. More details to follow once released.

As luck would have it new cigar releases arrived whilst I was abroad and were already flying off the shelves by the time I got back:

Trinidad Vigia – great size at 4 1/3” length  and 54 ring gauge.

Partagas Serie D No. 6 – short at 3 ½ “ length and 50 ring gauge but packs a punch and perfect when you’re pushed for time and want volumes of flavour burst.

Romeo y Julieta Piramides - my favourite of the three new Havanas, 6 1/8” length and 52 ring gauge with all tobacco aged for 5-8 years. Very smooth and full flavour.

And… My Orchant Seleccion cigars by Oliva look like they may be a contender for fastest selling new world cigar this year with demand quite staggering for the Shorty. Skinny and Chubby are not too far behind!

Orchant-Oliva-stock5

Excellent quality and value new Dunhill Aged Reserva Especial Trilogia has just arrived as well. Guaranteed best price in the UK (like all cigars I sell!)

Check this out for cool presentation and they ain’t too shabby a smoke either. C.Gars Ltd loves Alec Bradley cigars!

auction_teaser_jan_2015First auction of the year due to go online in the next hour or so. Check out almost 300 Lots of cigars on this website.  A wonderful catalogue of Aged and Rare, Davidoff and Dunhill, Limited and regional Havana cigars.

Viewing at our offices Monday to Friday by appointment please sales@cgarsltd.co.uk  Our online auctions have been hugely popular over the last 2 years and we are already filling the catalogue for the June auction. Its works much like eBay… Think of it as cBay for cigars!

Mouth-watering Pre Embargo cigars on offer including boxes of 25, cabinets of 50 and 100 – simply breath taking, perfect condition and provenance.

You can bid from now – today, right up to the last second – make sure you have a fast connection ☺ happy to help with shipping too and storage if required.

Checkout this new online cigar magazine - its brilliant! Well done Nic Wing ☺ already famous for his London Cigar walks and a fabulous ambassador for the UK cigar trade.

Okay that’s the news for now as I have to ‘really work’ this week as Michelle is on vacation in the sunshine!

I’m off to Turmeaus Liverpool and La Casa del Habano Chester next week and looking forward to herfing with our friend up North :) Tuesday evening we will hold another open tasting evening at La Casa with a good Havana cigar sampling and some great single malt whisky. If you subscribe to my newsletter you’ll get the full details. Pre booking essential.

Always online 24/7 for any advice regardless of whether you wish to order.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

cgaroliva1

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year folks! I had a few days break over Christmas and New Year with family and friends and enjoyed some of the finest Havanas including an outrageously good cabinet of Davidoff Chateau Mouton Rothschild from the 1980’s.

I paired up the smokes with a few bottles of Dom Perignon for New Year’s Eve which worked very well indeed. I contrasted the old with some new and it just had to be Cohiba Robusto Supremo Limited Edition. Puffing our way through a box of these with my Father and pairing them up with some Robert Graham Dancing Stag Deanston was a sublime experience.

This has to be one of the finest limited edition cigars ever to have come from Havana. Crafted to perfection, volumes of smooth sweet flavours and perfectly balanced with medium strength. They have become our fastest selling limited edition of all time.

Oliva Orchant Cigars OpenBack to work now and very excited about 2015  :) Next week I expect to launch our new and exclusive range of Orchant Seleccion Oliva cigars. 3 sizes in boxes of 10 in a limited edition that my clients will love as they are exceptionally quality and will be incredibly good value.

I love Oliva cigars and clearly so do C.Gars and Turmeaus clients as our sales on this range keep growing year on year. Oliva had a fabulous year winning awards both in the UK and the USA. We have the full range available and of course will never be beaten on price in the UK.

New World cigars gained a level of popularity increase like I have never seen before in the last year with so many smokers trying different regions and brands to contrast against Havanas. It’s great to have exclusive lines and one that is rapidly becoming a firm favourite is the Nat Sherman range (only available from C.Gars) First rate quality, popular sizes and fantastic value.

Also expecting the rare and limited edition Padron 50th Anniversary Humidor next week. I first saw this beautiful creation at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas last Summer and it took my breath away. Stylish and classy and containing 50 cigars measuring 6 ½” length and 50 ring gauge.

(‘The Hammer’) Only 1000 numbered humidors have been made and they are sure to become a desirable collector’s item.

More new Havana cigar releases expected in the next few weeks too including the Partagas SD No. 6  :)  a short fat 50 ring gauge 20 minute smoke that is a great size. More details to follow.

Our next vintage cigar auction is being held online on the 1st February, visit the website here, and the catalogue is already full. A magnificent range of aged, rare, Davidoff, Pre Embargo and vintage cigars will be offered to online bidders. I expect that the Lots will all be online for clients to peruse and bid on mid-January. Almost 300 Lots will be sold and no doubt some bargains will be bagged. Most of the Lots are at our London offices and as usual will be available for viewing by appointment.

I’m heading up to Liverpool and Chester Turmeaus and La Casa del Habano shops early next week and meeting our architects to go through first draft plans of our new cigar megastore that we expect to open by the Summer. This will be the largest cigar store in Europe with almost 5000 square feet of retail space showcasing our entire range of cigars, humidors and accessories. If you have ever been to a JR cigar store in the USA you will get the picture! It’s a helluva project but very exciting :)

Later next week I’m heading over to the USA to finally start the launch process of the long awaited Inca Secret Blend range of cigars that I have created for the International market. Launching an aged leaf limited edition of 2 sizes as the inaugural release which will be followed  up by a comprehensive range. Unique box design and incredible blend. I should know as I’ve been working on it for the last 3 years!

The premium International range of Inca – Secret Blend follows the success story of the mid-market range of Inka – Secret Blend I created for the UK market some 3 years ago which rapidly became our best-selling New World cigar in the handmade sweet Peruvian tobacco at an unbeatable price range in its category.

Okay so I better stop blogging and make sure the orders are being packed! From the volume of orders received over the last 48 hours it looks like everyone had a very smokey New Year!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell