Leaving on a jet plane :-)

Well dear blog reader, by the time you are puffing a cigar reading through this blog I will be just about to board the Virgin Atlantic flight bound for the USA (no cigar for me for 12 hours then) as its that time of year again where I say goodbye to my beloved Havana cigars for a month or so and move over to the best that New World cigars have to offer.

For those who don’t know, I spend the Summer in sunny Los Angeles which coincides very well indeed with the rather magnificent (super size me) IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas. The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association is a fabulous organization and this is their 82nd trade show.

I have attended for the last 17 odd years and had a lot of fun purchasing in ever increasing volumes all manner of New World cigars, humidors, cutters, lighters, ashtrays, humidifiers, hygrometers, pipes and various other smokers toys. One of the reasons why we have long had the largest range and lowest prices in the UK.

I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new friends too and may just have a little time to top up the tan with a pool herf or two… Or three. But, how will I survive almost 5 weeks without any Havana cigars?! Well, quite simple :-) I love Davidoff cigars for starters so I have a big baggie of Davidoff Puro D’Oro and Nicaraguan as well as some Alec Bradley Prensado, Inka Secret Blend and finally a few Fuente Opus X. ‘Could be worse Mr O’  I hear you thinking :-)

Bowmore 1990 - Award Winning 21 year old - Dancing Stag 70clI have spent  the best part of last week saying adiós to friends and family which has been quite a heavy herfing schedule. Tuesday dinner at The Grandison (TY David and Annie, Tony and Helen) www.thegrandisonbramfield.co.uk – (highly recommended) preceded by Dom Perignon Champage and Trinidad Robusto Extra and followed by Dancing Stag Bowmore 1990 and Cohiba behike 56′s. Not too shabby I can tell you :-)

Wednesday and Thursday non stop herfing with friends in Nottingham (maybe I should open a cigar shop there?) The weather was amazing and I had a topless drive with a few Partagas P2′s back to back for company.

Harts hotel is super cigar friendly and the service is impeccable as always. The restaurant is first rate too. Lost count how many vintage Monte 2′s we chomped though but it was in the ‘wow that’s a lot of smokes!’ category. We did 1970′s ,1980′s and 1990′s  and it was hard to pick which we preferred in the end (could be something to do with the copious amounts of Dancing Stag Tobermory we were enjoying with the smokes. (TY AC for a fabulous 2 days)

Herf at Robert Graham Whisky and Cigar shop in West HampsteadWrapped up the week with a herf at Robert Graham West Hampstead where there seemed to be a constant flow of friends joining me for cigars and a dram including Dov, Tim, John, Mark and many others. Perfect weather again so it was a pleasure sitting and herfing comfortably outside. Especially as Stuart from the chocolate shop next door kept offering us chocolate to sample! :-)

Final herfette for the weekend was Sunday with my Dad, bottle of Champagne on the balcony and Cohiba Robustos (2008 vintage) on yet another sunny afternoon… Perfect

Its been an extraordinary fast first half of the year for me and by the time I get back from LA it will seem like Christmas is around the corner! It’s also a very exciting time as the builders are crashing away with our Norfolk premises and we are still mid planning our expansion in Chester and retrofit in Liverpool. Hopefully will have all three Turmeaus projects complete before the end of September. Oh! And there’s another Robert Graham store in the planning up in Scotland. More details to follow.

Tickets are selling pretty fast for our December 1st Winter Vintage Cigar  Auction event. This will be a star studded spectacular evening at the lovely Boisdale Canary Wharf.

We are considering auction Lots for inclusion in the catalogue at this time but word of warning, if you have just come back from a package trip from Cuba and bought a box of cigars on the beach, in a factory or in duty free… We are not interested! (The clue is in the words ‘Vintage Cigar Auction’)

We expect to have around 300 Lots of exceptionally desirable Pre Embargo, Aged, Rare, Mature, Davidoff, Dunhill, Limited edition and Gran Reserva cigars in the catalogue so it should be another splendid sale.

Always available on email if you need any advice sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

Ok, so my trusty Palio cutter and Dunhill lighter are now packed and if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll keep you informed of all the stuff I get up :-)

Have a smokey Summer,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Low, Lower, Lowest Prices!

Yes its true we DO have the lowest priced products in the UK! We are a bit like the Asda of the cigar trade :) Now monitoring competitor prices and adjusting our prices 24/7 – every day of the year to ensure that C.Gars will always be the best value in the UK.

When you factor in our fast delivery, massive range, massive stocks and legendary service, there ain’t nowhere else to shop in the UK!

…Oh I almost forgot to mention we have more retail specialist cigar shops than anyone in the UK – from Edinburgh to Mayfair and a lot of places in between <insert maniacal laugh here>!

Seriously our range is just unbelievably great, whether you are a novice smoker or a connoisseur I am confident we have the right cigar for everyone. As Managing Director, the buck stops here so if there is ever an issue with your order I will personally get involved and resolve rapidly. Always available by email at sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

No to Plain PackagingLooks like a  moiety of common sense has prevailed regarding the standardized packaging of tobacco with draft regulations now published and excluding cigars and pipe tobacco (read more on the C.Gars News Page) thank you to whoever has been involved in making this, the correct decision. Clearly our products are not aimed at children and never have been. I certainly don’t remember ever allowing a minor into one of my smoking shops let alone hearing a kid say ‘Can I buy  Montecristo?‘!

I’ve had a bit of a Bolivar week this week :) Blasting my way through Belicosos Finos 2007 vintage and followed up with maduro wrapper Corona Extra cabinet selection 2007 vintage which are an absolute powerhouse. Did I mention that 2007 is my favourite vintage in the last 20 years? Much like fine wines Havana cigars have great, good and not so great vintages. The trick is to know which ones are the best and stash ‘em away!

Great to see our partner Gennaro (from Tabacalera del Oriente in Peru) last week as he visited the office and we put the finishing touches on some new Inca premium cigars that we will launch in the UK market after the Summer. Peruvian tobacco is incredibly sweet and our range of Secret Blend cigars continues to be our best-selling range of New World cigars. Excellent value for a premium blend cigar. Well-constructed, easy draw and all popular sizes and packaging.

Mitchell and Ron at the Cambridge Davidoff cigar tasting event

The Davidoff tasting at our Cambridge Robert Graham Whisky & Cigar shop was another resounding success with a capacity crowd, as ever, enjoying a video presentation from Andrew, our Davidoff representative. Plenty of Davidoff cigars and rather a lot of Dancing Stag single malt whisky ensured a good night was had by all :) My partner Ron Morrison (our very own single malt whisky expert and Managing Director of Robert Graham Ltd) and I  also took part in the experience and were delighted by the turn out. I must say, Davidoff cigars are absolutely sublime and the tasting events are a real treat for any cigar or whisky lover (including myself!).

Karyn Police Car Clubhouse DinnerNo cigars at the Clubhouse charity dinner last week but a great evening which raised a shed load of dosh for this excellent charity. Held at the Met in Hendon, great food, wine and company and clearly Karyn enjoyed being a copper with our friend Tim’s wife Debra! (more pictures below)

Next cigar auction is part of the Spectator cigar awards dinner at Boisdale Canary Wharf of the 1st December. Check out the event details here should be a memorable evening. We are happy to consider Lots for auction at this time. Sellers should initially email details.

Yagi-sanMy old friend Yagi-san from Tokyo popped into the office for a smoke and was dressed outrageously as usual! We enjoyed some 1990 Yamazaki which was in fact, remarkably good. Paired up with some 1990 Davidoff – amazing combo.

No sign of any new releases from Havana any time soon and we are at the ends of our stocks on the following cigars:

- Montecristo 520
- Punch Serie D’Oro No. 2
- Hoyo Grand Epicure

So, you may want to tuck some away while you can

We have however released some of our reserve stocks of :

- Montecristo D 2005
- Cuaba Piramides 2008
- Romeo Duke 2009

We also have some of the rather beautiful regional edition Trinidad robusto extra jars and Coleccion Habanos Obras Completas available from next week. email for details sales@cgarsltd.co.uk  

Building work is rapidly progressing at our new Norfolk premises due to open in a couple of months’ time. This shop will have the largest range of pipe tobacco in the country as well as a huge walk in cigar humidor and superb sampling room.

Michelle is on vacation for a few days so I’m stuck in the office pretending to run the business… Should be interesting!

Fabulous cigar smoking weather in London this week (don’t bet on how long that will continue!) and I’m hoping it will continue for the weekend so I can do a little topless driving and garden herfing.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

A Week of Herfing :)

I’m a lucky chap as my wife continuously reminds me how generally useless I am!… <quote>’you are quite useless  and just spend your days, weeks and years drinking, smoking, herfing and driving fast cars whilst Laura and Michelle run the business’ <end quote>. Of course I immediately refuted  this indignantly as being inaccurate as I don’t drive ‘fast cars’, just one fast car. The rest is pretty true though :)

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Meanwhilst my exceptionally busy schedule included seeing The Eagles in concert at the O2 with my best bud Paul. The concert was incredibly good and Joe Walsh was insanely brilliant, but man do I hate the O2 as a venue! What’s with all the back wall percussion echo?!

In fact Michelle has been herfing this week too as I allowed her out of the London office (a rare occasion as sometime I think she must live here) as she attended the Tobacco Trade lunch at Lords this week together with colleagues Christine from Turmeaus Liverpool and Eliska our London warehouse Manager. Guest speaker was Karren Brady who I understand was exceptionally interesting and a great afternoon was had by all. (more pictures at the bottom)

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Then there was a garden herf at my home with friends; Jay, Dov and Joe, that went on till the wee small hours and featured a bottle of Glendronach paired up with BHK 52, 54 and 56… My kinda evening. My wife and daughter were out of London visiting (potential) universities so I was home alone which was the first time ever and rather confusing as I couldn’t work out what to do with the whisky tumblers after the herf. I’m sure Karyn mentioned something about a machine that washes them but as I’m not very technical I may need to go through some re-training when she returns home.

Raspberry of the week goes to Edinburgh Trade Refuse department who have invoiced us for refuse bags that were never delivered and are now threatening legal action. Curiously, they have no phone number or email so we have no clue how to contact the idiots. No doubt they will blame it on a computer error eventually.

An additional large raspberry goes to the Gentlemen who passed me in the street as I was puffing on a RASS and said ‘do people really still smoke cigars?’ I just gave him my best look of disgust lol.

The largest raspberry though has to go to Talk Talk. The company that took over Tiscali that took over Lineone. If you don’t know what I am talking about , these are ISP’s and Lineone was my original ISP for my personal email address some 17 odd years ago.

Well they must have changed their settings as my email address stopped functioning for 3 days last week. However they continuously denied any responsibility ( If you know the FoneJacker characters from the TV program you will get the picture- all I will say is ‘ Internet Providings’!)

Thanks to the excellent service from a lovely lady at Microsoft for finally fixing the Talk Talk problem. So, adios Talk Talk, I have decided to consign your email to the trash and will shortly be setting up an email on one of our own domains.

And finally what on earth is going on with all the road works on Mill Lane?!! They don’t work at night so West End Lane and KHR are utterly blocked every morning. That means I can smoke a complete additional robusto (RASS this week) on the way to the office. Could be worse I guess especially as the weather has been good and I’ve been topless all week.

My office has been a hubbub of activity this week with clients from the UK and overseas coming to ‘sample’ cigars daily. Problem is it’s so difficult to sample a cigar without sampling some of that splendid Robert Graham single Malt. I think we whammed through a bottle of 17 year old Benrinnes yesterday (I certainly don’t remember much after it!) I do love Speysides, they just seem to pair perfectly with a good cigar.

Laura’s been busy in our Norfolk office with her Team adding yet another new feature to our online store. It sort of works like this:
When you are placing an order for something, a little window pops up with me on it saying ‘Mitchell Recommends: Inka Secret Blend Cigars – would you like to order that instead?’ It’s really funny but kinda cute! Let me know if you find it bloody annoying?!

And our young lad Liam in our marketing team is doing a Sterling job using our new competitor pricing system which ensures that we monitor and adjust online prices continuously to guarantee lowest priced cigars in the UK. How cool is that? Adios competitors!

Cohiba BHK52 have now officially overtaken our Cohiba Robustos sales. I never thought I would see the day! They really are smooth smokes though and personally – I love them.

Making great progress on this years limited Turmeaus Edition of Regius cigars and hope to have them in our cigar shops after the Summer. Regius are great value and quality Nicaraguan cigars. Check out the range on this link.

I’m often asked what I smoke when time is short and a quick whiff is needed? You may be surprised to hear that its Davidoff. I love the Ambassadrice, in fact it’s my ‘travelling cigar’ – perfect 10 minute smoke outside the terminal. I know, I know, they ain’t cheap but they are consistently first rate quality and construction. My other ‘go to’ quick cigars would of course be Inka Secret Blend Chicos. Now that’s a sweet smoke for under 3 quid a pop. Just lovely.

Ok so I’m outa’ here for another week and off to my Pop’s for his birthday dinner where we will be enjoying a few Dunhill Don Candido 500’s to celebrate. The best cigars for the best Father in the world of course!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Trains, Planes and Automobiles!

Well actually no planes this week thankfully :) but lots of trains and automobiles.

Last week finished off with a few days R&R at Champneys where my batteries were suitably recharged with a combination of yoga, swimming, meditation, healthy diet, no booze and a large baggie of Bolivar Belicosos Finos 2007 vintage… My kind of R&R :)

I rapidly reversed all that healthy stuff by heading off to sunny Bournemouth for the weekend with plenty of booze, dining and smokes… My kinda weekend :) The winning cigar was the rather scrumptious UK exclusive regional edition 2008 Punch Serie D’Oro No. 1 although the UK regional edition LFDC Gran Cano wasn’t too shabby.

Very pleasant first day back at work on Monday as I didn’t really do much work :) My old friend Steve from Edinburgh had driven down (that’s a lonnggggg drive!) to enjoy a few smokes and drinks and generally herf the day away with me.

Starting off at the office with espresso and a Petit Edmundo, moving on to West Hampstead Robert Graham and then zooming down to Cambridge Robert Graham for the afternoon and some splendid Robert Graham Dancing Stag Clynelish paired up with Romeo Short Churchills.  It was a fabulous sunny day and we must have looked quite a sight as we drove to Cambridge topless in our cars – Shades on/puffing cigars!

It’s great when I get the chance to herf with old smoking chums. I’ve known Steve for years but we haven’t seen much of each other as he’s been jet setting all over the world for the last few years. He’s a bit of a whisky buff (unlike me as I just like to drink the water of life but don’t know much about it!) but he does appreciate a smoke or two or three so we always have a great time herfing.

Took a ridiculously early train up to Liverpool on Wednesday to visit Turmeaus and then headed over to Turmeaus Chester… lots of exciting plans up North for my little empire <insert maniacal laugh here> more details to follow.

I decided it would be a Behike day and smoked my way through BHK 52, 54 and finally BHK 56 back at the London C.Gars office where I managed to finish my days work at just before midnight (yes, I am still the hardest working cigar merchant in the world)

Friday was Turmeaus Mayfair day for me, gosh , I love that little shop and its cosy sampling lounge. In fact I love Sheperd Market. It’s such a cool area. I can’t believe how busy the shop has become since we opened it.

Grabbed a beer and some lunch at the Kings Arms opposite (highly recommended) with my new full time personal assistant. As you would expect from me, she is blonde and very attractive although she does have a bit of attitude at times. (Ok, ok I admit, it’s my wife Karyn!) Karyn made me laugh over lunch asking if she could be managing director of C.Gars. I said of course but you may have to consider starting to drink whisky and smoke cigars!

Happy to announce that our Inka cigar sales are still romping away and you can now also buy them at the wonderful Decent Cigar Emporium in Dublin too. I’m looking forward to doing an Inka tasting evening at DCE later in the Summer.

robert_graham_rebrandedIn other news this week… Robert Graham Edinburgh finally has its new  and correct image :) We hope you like it! I think it’s pretty cool and the shop is a mouth-watering emporium of whisky and cigars.

And… Last chance to book up for the Davidoff cigar tasting (and Robert Graham whisky of course) at Cambridge on the 25th June as its almost sold out already. I look forward to seeing old friend and making new friends at what promises to be another excellent Robert Graham evening

And… Where the this year’s Cohiba Limited edition?!!! Don’t ask… No sign of them yet. I fail to understand the timing of the new releases. It’s very weird we just got the 2011 Coleccion Habanos Obras Completas and its 2014!

Kicking back this Father’s Day weekend and treating my Dad to some 1989 Bilecart Salmon Champagne and some 1960’s Monte 2’s That should put a smile on his face. Not sure what my daughter has planned for me but would guess it involves chocolate lol :)

Have a smokey Father’s Day weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Going, Going, Gone…

I thoroughly enjoyed my usual rather crazy schedule last week, spending half the week showing auction bidders Lots for the Summer sale, and the other half of the week in sunny Scotland at Robert Graham Ltd.

Ron, Linda and Mitchell at our Global Whisky Shop in GlasgowFirst stop was our ridiculously fabulous Glasgow shop (known as Global Whisky Shop) which is rather huge and very crammed with the water of life and just about every tobacco item you could dream of :)

As you enter the shop, we have a comprehensive range of Davidoff cigars in the beautiful Davidoff humidor which I understand is gaining popularity by the day. Moving through the walls of whisky to our super walk in humidor at the back of the store your eyes are treated to a feast of new world cigars including Fuente, Inka and Alec Bradley and of course a massive range of the finest Havana cigars. Linda, Aiden and Alison assure C.Gars clients a very warm welcome.

Wednesday evening was time to meet up with old and new friends from the Ceo Mor Cigar Club (don’t ask me to pronounce it!). Ron and I joined a terribly nice bunch of chaps at the Corinthian Hotel on Ingram street for dinner followed by drinks and plenty of smokes on the smoking terrace. I think this will be the start of a regular gathering of like-minded cigar smokers and could become a regular herf for me.

My only problem was that the more the Scottish chaps drank the less of their accents I could understand… or is it, the more scotch that I drank…?!

We herfed our way through Inka – Secret Blend Tres Petit Coronas as an ‘aperitif’ smoke, Alec Bradley Black Market as a main course and Montecristo Petit Edmundo for dessert. Fair to say a great night was enjoyed by all and my thanks to Murdoch ( don’t ask me how to pronounce his name !) for organizing it.

robert_graham_private_reserveI then moved to Edinburgh for a long day on Thursday visiting Robert Graham shops on Rose street and Canongate. Rose street is managed by the lovely Jo assisted by Hector. The shop recently had some extensive walk in humidor remodelling and I must say we have a great result. Massive range and space to move around!

Canongate is ably managed by Keith and Dougie and has become a bit of a quirky whisky emporium with lots of rare and very old bottles of single malt just about everywhere you look. It does of course also have a lovely range of premium cigars in the walk in humidor. No surprise that our award winning ranges of Dancing Stag and Treasurer are the best sellers. I sampled some of our cask strength 19 year old Deanston and it was too good for words.

Yesterday was auction time again and our Summer sale was a huge online success. This followed the success of our Spring Auction in March but was bigger and even better :) We had a splendid catalogue of 350 Lots of all types of vintage, aged and rare cigars. The sale had around a 98% sell rate which is as high as our live auctions held at Boisdale.

It was incredible to see over 1000 site visitors at times as I didn’t know we even had that many online auction clients. In fact what is more incredible is that we developed the entire auction website platform in house and it worked smoothly to perfection. Well done to my IT Team.

I had predicted some 5 years ago when we started holding cigar auctions that pre embargo cigar were dramatically undervalued and simply had to start increasing substantially. Well, I was right… But my timing was wrong as we have only started to see the prices increase in the last year. That means that buyers at our earlier auctions really did bag some bargains.

Some of the pre embargo prices achieved at the Summer sale were quite staggering so I have little doubt our sellers are very happy today.

Prices on Davidoff cigars remain exceptionally firm and Dunhill cigar prices continue to increase. Limited edition prices looked a tad soft to me but limited edition humidor prices seemed to fair well. Good quality aged and mature cigars were as popular as expected.

Pre Embargo Cigar Lots from Online Cigar AuctionBidders seem to have changed tactic from earlier auctions and those with fast connections were clearly having fun doing sniping bids in the closing seconds of the auction! I hope everyone enjoyed the 12 hours of online action as much as I did :)

Holed up in my study at home I chomped my way through 2 Cohiba Piramides Extra, 3 Siglo VI and a Dom Perignon in the last hour!

Thanks to all of our sellers and bidders for participating in the Summer auction.

We are now in the process of invoicing all successful bidders and Lots will be ready for collection from tomorrow.

Our Winter auction is as blogged previously set for the 1st December at Boisdale Canary Wharf. The usual sparkly Ranald and Mitchell show :) It will be quite an event and tickets will be available online in the next week or so.

We are now accepting Lots for entry into the Winter auction but please… If you have come back from a holiday in Cuba with a box of Cohiba Esplendidos (or any other cigars for that matter)… We are not interested. The clue is the ‘aged and rare cigar auction’.

We are interested in Cuban cigars only, discontinued or pre 1997 with provenance and in good – excellent condition only. I am always happy to offer a free valuation service… Email for details sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

You may like to see this photo of one of the worst counterfeits I have ever seen in my career (more below)  :)

Fake cohiba cigars

We have auctioned zillions of cigars since 2009 and we keep all sold prices on our auction websites as a permanent resource. Some useful links:

Online Auctions - Click the ‘Sold Lots’ tab or check out the PDF catalogues for estimates.

Offline Auctions - Use the ‘Auction Search’ function or check out the PDF catalogues for estimates.

Well after all the action of the last few months, I have decided to do the unthinkable and take a ‘real break’. Could be the first time I can remember doing this in the last 17 years but I am actually turning my BBerry off for a few days this week and heading to a health farm to recharge my batteries.

The plan: Swimming, walking, hiking, yoga, meditation, massage, no booze, no phones, no computers. There will be a baggie of Havana cigars though :) … Returning refreshed on Friday!

Have a great week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

 

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