Vintage Havanas – New Limited Editions – UK Regional Edition

Long-time no blog due to crazy hectic schedule but whilst puffing on a Hoyo San Juan on a lovely sunny day I’ll catch you up with the latest news in no order of importance. :)

Great to read Nick Foulkes article in the Financial Times How To Spend It magazine, shame the FT got the size of the fabulous Punch Serie D’Oro No. 1 wrong despite checking it with me but c’est la vie. Nick is one of my favourite journalists/writers. Cigars, cars, watches – every article quite brilliant. I remember reading his book ‘ The Bentley Era’  back in the days when I drove around in my gentlemen’s club on wheels and it still remains one of my favourite books. Nick has such a great writing style and I can almost hear him reading it when I’m reading it if you know what I mean.

The new Hoyo San Juan has proved to be exceptionally popular and we’re expecting the Partagas and Bolivar 2014 limited editions to be released late this coming week so that’s all rather exciting. Even more exciting is the early November expected release of the UK regional editions Por Larranaga Sobrasaliente which I expect may be the most popular selling UK regional yet.

50th Birthday CakeMy big Five Ohhhhh birthday came and went with a delightful surprise party at Villa Bianca restaurant in Hampstead complete with birthday cake with a box of Inka Secret Blend on top! Followed by a herf on the deck at home which went on till wonderfully late. My business partner Ron Morrision had special bottles of finest Robert Graham Treasurer single malt whisky personalized for me and the home humidor was well and truly raided with a good variety of 1980’s Davidoff and Dunhill Havanas enjoyed by all. My father dug out a box of 1960’s T B Carlin Abajo K’s which were incredible smokes. Thanks to friends and family for the huge amount of greetings, cards and gifts and thanks to Karyn for the surprise (and it was a huge one!) party. Hope we can all do it again on my 60th!

I enjoyed a wonderful tasting evening at the Robert Graham Cambridge cigar store last week with George Sosa from Alec Bradley as guest of honour. We enjoyed Prensado and Mundial (made with no less than 10 tobacco leaves!) paired up with 3 Robert Graham exclusive whiskies a great evening was had by all. My thanks to Cailin and his team at Cambridge as well as Tor Imports and Alec Bradley for their support with the tasting.
Robert Graham Cambridge - Tasting Event

I zoomed over to Tel Aviv for a few days for New Year and enjoyed herfing with my Dad at the David Intercontinental where they have the ‘Inca ‘ cigar lounge and La Casa del Habano. I’m not sure how this is an LCDH as I could not see a walk in humidor but nevertheless the service was delightful and this is an awesome place to herf.

Our Winter auction catalogue is now full and closed and going to print. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast the entries came in for this sale and the quality and range of pre embargo cabinets, Davidoff and Dunhill cigars in this sale is in fact the best I can ever remember since launching our auctions back in 2009.

We will be offering breath-taking boxes and cabinets of 25, 50, 100 and 125 pre embargo cigars from some of the best collections in the world. Details of the auction are below.

C.Gars Vintage Cigar Auction and Dinner
Monday 1st December – Boisdale Belgravia

packed auction roomWe are delighted to be returning to Boisdale of Belgravia where our cigar auctions started in 2009. A change of format for this year with pre auction and post auction cigars on the terrace and a splendid dinner following the auction.

Resident auctioneer Jonathan Humbert expects to be offering and knocking down 300 Lots of Aged, Rare, Vintage, Limited Edition, Davidoff, Dunhill and Pre Embargo Cigars.

Viewings by appointment at our London office Monday – Friday 10 am – 4.30 pm and final viewings Sunday 30th November 12pm – 4.30pm. Email us at sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

4:00pm: Cigars and pre auction drinks on the Cigar Terrace.

5:00pm: Auction in the restaurant.

7:15pm: Cigar Terrace for cigar and cocktails.

7:45pm: Sit down for sumptuous three course dinner with excellent wines.

9:45pm: Retire to Cigar Terrace for cigars and Whisky/Cognac.

Ticket price £149 to include auction catalogue. Book early as this event will sell out very fast.

Auction Catalogue will be online and in print from the 1st November.

However another diary date is The Spectator Cigar Awards which will be help on the 15th November at Boisdale Canary Wharf and we are delighted to participate in this start studded event:
The Spectator Cigar Awards evening is a star studded evening brought to you by Boisdale and C.Gars.

If you came to last year’s incredible event you won’t want to miss this decadent evening devoted to the finest premium handmade cigars and the ladies and gentlemen that enjoy them.

7.00pm: Rothschild Champagne & canapé reception on the Cigar Terrace
On arrival five hand rolled cigars presented in “neck” bag.

7.45pm: Sumptuous three course dinner with a selection of stunning wines from Rothschild Bordeaux Estates.

9.15pm: Awards ceremony

- The Spectator Cigar Writer of the Year
- The Spectator Cigar Terrace of the Year
- The Spectator Cigar Retailer of the Year
- The Spectator Cigar Producer of the Year
- The Spectator Cigar of the Year
- The Spectator Cigar Man of the Year

Confirmed nominees:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Boris Becker
Boris Johnson
David Dimbleby
Ian Botham
Jeremy Irons
Laurence Fishbourne
Michael Caine
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Ricky Gervaise
Darren Clarke

9.35pm: Charity auction 1-3 lots

9.45pm: Cigar of the Year to be smoked on the Cigar Terrace with Hennessey XO and Balvenie 15 year Old Malt Whisky.

Wonderful “Goody bags” on departure

Sponsors:
C.Gars Ltd
Mouton Rothschild
Bentley
Aberdeen Asset Management
Balvenie Whisky
Hennessey XO

Normal price of this event is £250 But C.Gars clients special price is just £199!

We expect our new Chester shop and cigar sampling  lounge to open in around 2 weeks’ time and we will be doing a lunch party in the middle of November. Our Norfolk cigar shop and cigar sampling lounge will be opening in November as well. Phewww…just in time for Christmas :)

So that’s the news, lots of new cigars, cigar parties and new shops… never a dull moment !

 

Have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing

C.Gars Funny Cartoon Gone Herfing Fishing

Mitchell

New Havanas… At last!!!

Yes its true! Shock – horror… And delight at the first new release of 2014 ☺ a new addition to the Hoyo de Monterrey range:

‘Le Hoyo’ series from Hoyo de Monterrey – Le Hoyo de San Juan.

San Juan y Martinez is a small town in Vuelta Abajo (the main source of tobacco for Habanos) which gives it name to the district that is protected as a Denomination of Origin (DOP). The new heavy ring gauge cigars joining the Le Hoyo range not only take its name from this district but also only use Seco and Ligero leaves in the blend that are grown there which gives the cigars a rich finish whilst maintaining a refined light aroma that is a character of the Hoyo de Monterrey brand. The famous Hoyo de Monterrey plantation is also located here which grows some of the finest leaves for other prestigious Habanos brands.

The cigars are presented in SLB 25s and are dressed with a totally new style of band.

Measuring in at 5 7/8” length and 54 ring gauge and available in singles and cabinets of 25

Cabinet of 25 available here.

Singles available here.

Cigar Auction season is fast approaching and we have a change to the usual routine for the Winter sale.

C.Gars Vintage Cigar Auction and Dinner
Monday 1st December – Boisdale Belgravia 

We are delighted to be returning to Boisdale of Belgravia where our cigar auctions started in 2009. A change of format for this year with pre auction and post auction cigars on the terrace and a splendid dinner following the auction

Resident auctioneer Jonathan Humbert expects to be offering and knocking down 300 Lots of Aged, Rare, Vintage. Limited Edition, Davidoff, Dunhill and Pre Embargo Cigars.

Viewings by appointment at our London office Monday – Friday 10 am – 4.30 pm and final viewings Sunday 30th November 12 pm – 4.30 pm. Email us at sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

4:00pm: Cigars and pre auction drinks on the Cigar Terrace.

5:00pm: Auction in the restaurant.

7:15pm: Cigar Terrace for cigar and cocktails.

7:45pm: Sit down for sumptuous three course dinner with excellent wines.

9:45pm: Retire to Cigar Terrace for cigars and whisky/Cognac.

Ticket price £149 to include auction catalogue.

Auction Catalogue will be online and in print from the 1st November.

In other news this week…

Mitchell with friends at Chris's weddingCongratulations to my smoking chum Chris (affectionately known as Chris da Grik) on his marriage last weekend. A thoroughly delightful affair and great to catch up with some of my old herfing chums (Gordon, Zaffie and Tillman)

Herfing at the officeOffice herf this week well attended by Zaff, Tillman, Mike and Nick – lot of fun testing out the new Hoyo which was generally liked by all (it must have been ‘cos everyone wanted a second one to check for ‘consistency’ lol) herf was continued till late at the lovely Bulgari Hotel (Sahakian Cigar Lounge) where we enjoyed Ramon Petit Belicosos followed by Cohiba Behike 56’s paired up with Old herfing_at_the_bulgariFashioned cocktails. My thanks to Mike and his staff at the Bulgari for the usual warm welcome.

Next week I’m off to the InterTabak trade show in Dortmund to source even more great products for my clients at the best prices in the UK (like everything we sell – lowest prices always guaranteed!)

This weekend I’m kicking back with C.Gars Co-Director (also my wife!) Karyn to celebrate her birthday… and mine (yup we have the same birthday!) I have some Dunhill Don Candido 500 set aside for thorough enjoyment which should mark the occasion perfectly with a bottle or two of Bilecart Salmon 1989 :)

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Embargo!

Next month, October 19th to be precise, will mark some 54 years since the U.S of A imposed their Embargo on Cuba. Hell of a long time to punish the man in the street in Cuba and I can’t profess to understand why it continues. C.Gars as a business does not hold any political views whatsoever (so if you are a Cuban in Florida…no need to email me telling me off!) Presumably the embargo won’t last forever though I would guess for a lot of Cubans it already feels like forever.

Okay, so no need for me to give any history lesson about the Embargo as most of my blog readers probably know more about it than me but I always find it interesting when UK clients ask me if they are allowed to buy Cuban cigars? Umm… Yes, the Embargo is between the USA and Cuba and it has nothing to do with the UK!

The UK has enjoyed a normal trading relationship with Cuba for many happy years and continues to do so as far as I am aware. In fact during my numerous trips to Havana over the last 20 odd years the place is packed with British tourists enjoying the best the country has to offer; music, weather, rum and cigars as well as exceptionally friendly people!

So why do I mention this? Well it seems that we are affected by the Embargo after all as it seems to be wreaking havoc on our business over the last 6 months! Apparently our bank (where we have  happily been clients of for the last 3 generations of the Orchant family) have a problem sending International wire payments in Dollars (anywhere – and I don’t mean Cuba!) due to additional scrutiny by US banks in case heaven forbid a Dollars transaction could be going to one of the verboten countries such as Korea, Syria and… Cuba!

Never mind that we are main importers and distributors for super sharp Palio cutters… Based in the USA. Beautiful Daniel Marshall humidors… Based in the USA. Western Digital super precise hygrometer… Made in the USA. Cigar Oasis humidifiers… Made in the USA (get the picture?!) and never mind that we have been making International wire payments to the same companies month in and month out for years and years and years… All the wires are delayed by banks in the USA in case heaven forbid we are trading with the enemy in US Dollars!!! It’s so frustrating I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

We are delighted to import these fabulous ranges of humidors and accessories directly and cut out the wholesale margin to give our customers the best possible prices for items they could not otherwise buy in the UK. We’ve always had a great reputation for paying suppliers bloody fast so we can negotiate best terms but  no thanks to the banks our reputation is now suffering through no fault of our own.

International wires should take a day, perhaps two days, but they are frequently held up for weeks or even a month. It’s a great gig when the banks must be making a fortune in interest for overnight deposits I would have thought and the poor little businessman like me is just left taken for a fool.

So I thought there must be another way to make wire payments surely? I found a fabulous 4 page advert in the Sunday Times for an International payment service. Called them up told them what we do and who we pay, got messed around for 48 hours and they finally came back and basically said, ‘sorry mate you’re a Cuban cigar merchant so we can’t help you’!  Good grief, I also sell every other cigar that is imported into the UK (Dominican, Honduran, Peruvian, Filipino, Continental etc etc) as well as a million quids worth of accessories a year but no, they were not in the least bit interested.

What to do next? Well, coincidentally I was having a smoke and a drink with my cousin Craig who I hadn’t seen in a while and salvation was to be found as he is a Business Development Manager at MoneyCorp! I told him of my woes with the bank and he had my new International payments account set up in a jiffy. It’s not a perfect solution and we are still having the odd delays but I can honestly say that MoneyCorp has to be one of the most professional businesses I have ever come across. Very fast email response time and far better exchange rates than I ever received from the bank. So at the risk of sounding spammy, (and no I don’t make commission!) if you want great service and great exchange rates shoot my cuz Craig Lesser an email Craig.Lesser@moneycorp.com he’ll be happy to help you and you can always mooch a good cigar from him!

Righto – end of this week’s bank rant :)

…And in other news this week:

Turmeaus Chester expansion… 4 weeks to go before opening so the countdown has begun! HUGE walk in humidor, super cool and comfortable sampling lounge, client lockers and the best in client hospitality assured. We have applied to license the premises (our shop next door already sells a select range of single malt) and hope to have the license granted by the time we open as we have a great range of Cuban rum and Robert Graham whisky.

Turmeaus Norfolk… 5 weeks to go before opening. Very excited about this one as I don’t think there is a specialist cigar shop for miles around. The huge walk in humidor will feature all our favorite Havanas as well as the largest range of New World cigars in the country. The main shop area will also have the largest selection of pipe tobacco in the country. We are building a very comfortable sampling lounge and we have plenty of parking by the shop.

Turmeaus Liverpool is due for a facelift and refit in November which will add a lot more space for a lot more cigars and whisky :)

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen some of my breakfast car smokes on the drive to the office – I’ve been whamming my way through LFDC Gran Coronas over the last week and think this could be the perfect smoke for the morning. This cheeky UK regional measures in at 5 ½” length and 50 ring gauge. Its light in strength but packs a kaleidoscope  of flavours that I find irresistible and usually have to spark up another as soon as I get to the office. Buy them whilst you can, they are a limited edition and only available to the UK market.

My change of pace cigar this week is the Davidoff Nicaraguan robusto. Man that packs a punch! Think other end of the strength scale to the regular Davidoff range. Full bodied, full flavored with the Nic kick I love. Highly recommended.

For Inka fans I have to apologies at the absence of the incredibly popular Cristales. The Inka brand is far and away our best-selling New World cigar and we sold out of this size faster than we would ever have believed. I’m expecting a delivery of 20,000 sticks in around 3 weeks’ time which should last a few months!

Michael Nouri smoking cigars at the C.Gars officeI had the pleasure of welcoming actor and friend Michael Nouri to the office for a little sampling session last week. Michael had been acting in a play at the Edinburgh Festival and getting his cigar supply from Robert Graham Rose street which kept him going! If you’re as old as me you may remember Michael from Gangster Chronicles. He will always be Lucky Luciano to me :) We enjoyed some delicious 15 year old Ron Mulata with UK regional edition Punch Serie D’Oro No. 1’s.

That’s all the news for now and I’m  outta here to celebrate my wedding anniversary with C.Gars Director, Karyn :) Dom Perignon Champagne and 1989 Davidoff Dom Perignon on the menu for this evening.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Hi Honey, I’m Home!

Goodness it feels great to be back in Blighty after 5 weeks in the US of A!

5 weeks of 5 cigars a day and not a single Havana, obviously, which presented quite a challenge of what to put in the daily rotation. Fortunately I was somewhat spoilt with choice including Davidoff, Padron, Fuente, Regius and Alec Bradley to name a few.

Being ‘forced’ as such to only smoke New World cigars on a daily basis made me truly realise how much the cigar industry has changed over the last 20 years . I remember when I started in the cigar trade that we would rarely sell a Non Cuban cigar and no one that was used to smoking a good Havana would even consider trying them out.

The ranges were limited in the UK, quality (except for Davidoff of course) was a bit patchy, presentation was a bit dodgy and unimaginative and there was no buzz around these cigars at all. My my, how times have changed! Many of my Havana cigar smokers frequently mix a few or a lot of New World cigars into their orders and their humidors, quality is excellent, and presentation first class. Many clients can’t wait for new and limited edition releases and sales on just about all of our HUGE range of New World cigars are literally booming.

Clearly smokers tastes have changed, generations move on and we have listened well to our clients requirements. We have a huge warehouse humidor full of New World cigars as well as comprehensive ranges in our retail cigar shops across the UK. Don’t diss them before you try them! You may be as pleasantly surprised as me.

liverpool_tasting

20140819_200231107_iOSAfter just one day back in the London office and having decided to give up on all hope of sleep due to jet lag it was time for me to hit the road! I headed up to Turmeaus Liverpool on Tuesday where Scott from Tor Import, co–hosted a wonderful cigar tasting evening to a capacity crowd. Lots of old and new faces enjoyed drinks, canapés and a long ash contest :) I think the winner had something like a 5 1/2 cm ash on a Nub. The Nub was a delight to smoke. Volumes of cool full flavours from start to finish, no harshness, perfect construction and very sweet flavours.

tasting_event_long_ash_winnerThe Nub was followed by a Cain Daytona which was a lot meatier and full bodied and enjoyed by all. Despite the weather forecast
(what a surprise they got it wrong) the weather was dry and very mild so we cracked on as you do, herfing till midnight. I love the crowd in Liverpool and have such a great laugh with them. Can’t wait for the next tasting.

Wednesday and it was time for a cigar tasting at Turmeaus Chester. The tasting was held the rather lovely Bar Lounge (highly recommended/great smoking terrace, food, and service- outstanding) where Scott again hosted and we enjoyed My Father Cigars and followed by an Alec Bradley Prensado. Pretty good weather again thankfully and a capacity crowd on the terrace. Fair to say a great night was had by all.

chester_tasting_aaug

The new Chester shop is taking shape very well and I can’t wait to get it open in around 5 weeks’ time. It will be the coolest cigar stores and sampling lounges in the UK :) If all goes to plan the humidor will be huge and the range mouth-watering.

Norfolk Turmeaus is making good progress too. Now that’s quite  a project as we are literally building the shop from scratch . I understand we now have a roof! fingers crossed, should be a fully operational Turmeaus in around 6 weeks or so.

OK so that was complete New World overload for me for the best part of 6 weeks! And time to get back to my first love, Havana cigars of course :) The unique combination of sun, soil and skill of Cuba that produces what I consider the most incredible cigars in the world still. Depth and complexity, kaleidoscopes of flavours that never cease to amaze and please me and dare I even admit that I decided I deserved a Cohiba Behike day! 52, 54 and finally a 56. Each cigar crafted to perfection, beautiful to the eye and like honey to my palate. Delightful cigars that I can’t recommend highly enough.

3 weeks till my birthday (it’s the big FIVE OHHHHH!) and I’m looking forward to releasing the birthday edition of the latest Orchant Seleccion Havana cigar. It’s still under wraps by my marketing Team so I can’t reveal what it is or I will have to shoot you!

Can’t believe it’s already August bank holiday! I’m kicking back this weekend with a bottle of our very own Robert Graham Ltd Treasurer Auchroisk 1996 and pairing it up with a baggie filled with BBF’s (still my fav!) Monte 2’s and a PSD4’s… Luvleeeeee

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

 

New Chester Store :)

Do you like me on Facebook? If so you have probably seen that C.Gars has acquired the rather luvlee jublee big shop next door to our existing store on Watergate street Chester.

The builders are crashing away both at Chester and Norfolk and we hope to be opening both new stores in around 6-8 weeks time.

My New Smoking Shop in Chester

I love the retail cigar business as it’s so intriguing for me to continuously try to adapt to what the market needs. I have little doubt that larger shops with large sampling lounges are the way forward and that’s what we are doing in Chester – huge walk in humidor – large and comfortable sampling lounge. Client lockers, complimentary bar/snacks/papers/TV. What more could you ask for?

Norfolk will have a similar offering except it will also have the largest range of loose rolling tobacco and pipe tobacco in the country. All rather exciting especially as I intend to increase the amount of tasting evenings we do year round again due to huge demand.

I remember when I bought the first retail cigar shop which was Turmeaus Liverpool and a lot of people laughed at me and the location. Made me all the more determined to succeed obviously and succeed we have as we continue to go from strength to strength. I’m actually thinking about opening a JR cigars style supercigarstore in Liverpool by the end of this year. Watch this space…

Tastings coming up on the 19th and 20th August at my Liverpool and Chester branches. Jet lag allowing I’ll zoom ooop North and be at both for a little herf activity :) Tickets are available here.

Herfing across Los AngelesI’m still in sunny LA and as you can see from the photos just generally herfing my way across Los Angeles day and night. I think we broke the recent herfing record at 12 hours nonstop with a wonderful catered lunch for 30 guests at my friends house, copious amounts of libations and smokes and the best of company (TY VC) We smoked through ridiculous amounts of Padron and Alec Bradley cigars as well as a box of  Inca Secret Blend Toros.

I had a smashing evening last Saturday (despite the rain!) herfing on the terrace at Mr C in Beverly Hills. They have a resident blues band who are brill and my friend Michael Lington popped over for a smoke and a cocktail. Michael has just launched a boutique range of 3 rather delicious wines. More details on www.lingtonwine.com

Still working hard on my Inca Secret Blend cigars destined for launch in the USA before the end of the year. I know, I know, I’ve been banging on about the launch for ages but what can I tell you? – I’m a perfectionist, sort of cigar OCD. But when these puppies hit the market I believe they will be as popular as the UK Inka Secret Blend range (now our best selling New World cigar!)

I’ll be introducing new ranges of Torano, Oliva, Inka Maduro, Nat Sherman and Regius over the next 4 – 6 weeks. Of course they will be at incredibly low prices and you can’t find them anywhere other than C.Gars and our retail shops because… No one else stocks them :)

I’m very excited about the Nat Sherman range we are bringing in due to so many clients requesting these cigars following our testing the market out with some of the traditional Nat Sherman cigars over the last few months. Nat Sherman has a super cool cigar store in New York that I love to visit when I’m in town and Michael Herklots is a dear old industry chum who always gives me a warm welcome. If you are visiting NYC a visit to Nat Sherman is a must.

Regius Campana – Limited Turmeaus Edition 2014 cigar - Box of 10If you haven’t tried the new 2014 Regius Limited Editions you really would be well advised to before they sell out. Half of our stock went in the first week of release! Priced ridiculously well and carefully blended to my specification these cigars are sure to please. Click here to try one for yourself before they’re all gone!

I can’t smoke any Havanas in the USA obviously so my challenge has been to find some New World cigars that deliver enough flavour burst for my palate without the bitterness associated with many of these cigars. I have definitely settled on Oliva Serie V torpedo and Davidoff Gran Cru No. 5 as well as the occasional Alec Bradley Prensado.  These are all really good smokes and hit the spot in terms of blend consistency as well as construction.  That said after 5 weeks without a single Havana cigar I’m looking forward to getting back to the office and having a Montecristo No. 2!

I was looking through our massive range of humidors recently and can’t help but think the Dunhill range stands out in a class of its own. Obviously it’s all personal taste but I love the clean lines and classic designs. The build quality is magnificent and I actually think the prices are cheap for such a top end product. Check out the range. The cigar cases ain’t too shabby either.

That’s all the news from the LA office… Time for another cocktail and smoke by the pool.

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell