Islay legends!

As a fan of Islay I was really excited to try these 3 fantastic single malts from these legendary distilleries.

500x500_laphroaig_triple_woodFirst up was the Laphroaig Triple Wood 40%.

Bottled at 48%, this Laphroaig is a non-chill filtered whisky meaning the whisky retains its original colour, aromas and taste. This expression of Laphroaig, from the remote island of Islay in the Western Isles of Scotland, has enjoyed a triple maturation in 3 types of cask. Just as with the standard Quarter Cask expression, the first maturation is in American oak, ex-Bourbon Barrels. Next, the most suitable of these barrels are carefully selected, each of which containing a range of different aged spirit before being transferred into a small 19th Century style Quarter Casks for a second maturation. The final maturation is in specially selected, large European oak, Oloroso Sherry Casks. It is bottled at 48% ABV and is non-chill filtered for a depth of taste and texture. Here are the tasting notes to get your taste buds tingling :

Colour: Bright gold.

Nose: Initially a sweet hint with a gentle mixture of sweet raisins and creamy apricots with a trace of dry peat smoke at the back. Smooth nutty flavours combine all these flavours into one smooth, syrupy whole.

Palate: A large initial burst of peat which is then gentled on the tongue by the creamier flavours of vanilla and fruit with just a suggestion of sherry sweetness. Add water and the peat is gentled, allowing more complex flavours of citrus and spice to come through.

Finish: Mouth filling and extremely long but balanced by the sweet smooth caramel taste.

500x500_lagavulin_distillers_edition_px_finishThe next Islay malt was the Lagavulin Distillers Edition. From the Lagavulin distillery on the island of Islay comes this fantastic Distillers Edition, a superb single malt which has been maturing since 1997 and enjoyed a finishing period in Pedro Ximénez cask before finally being bottled in 2013.

Thick and honeyed with characteristic smoky notes, these Distillers Editions from Lagavulin are always an excellent excuse to crack open a box of dark chocolates alongside your whisky after dinner.

Nose: Smoked, woody aromas of truffle oak, allspice and dry hay with a hint of nutmeg, delicious rum and raisin ice cream before finally prunes.
Palate: Smoked prune juice, porcini mushroom. A rich taste of christmas cake with a nice helping of rum and rich chocolate.
Finish: Demerara rum, cocoa powder and black pepper.
Overall: Very rich and beautifully balanced.

My final tasting, and this one really did get my attention as this one is the darkest expression from Ardbeg!

Dark Cove is a limited-edition whisky released on 28 May in honour of Ardbeg Day 2016 – the distillery’s open day as part of the yearly Islay Festival.500x500_ardbeg_dark_cove_gm

The Darkest Ardbeg ever, take this whisky and hide it well. For its heart has been matured in a combination of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, this whisky is smoky and spicy imparting waves of treacle toffee, coal tar, squid ink noodles and toasted coffee grounds.

Colour: Copper stills in moonlight

Nose: Dark chocolate, rich treacle toffee and distant bonfires – betrays a secret: a clandestine meeting of Ardbeg matured in exBourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks.

Palate: Hints of pepper spice and zesty lime lure you in. Smouldering charcoal and wood with raisins, dates and ginger emerging from shadows of tarry creosote.

Finish: Echoes of cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles signal the arrival of a long, spicy aftertaste.

I know all you Islay fans out there will share my enthusiasm and I hope you get to try these true legends!




New UK Regional… At Last!

I’m just back from the annual UK tobacco trade show in Nottingham. An excellent trade fair, sort of IPCPR (USA) or Dortmund trade shows in miniature! Nevertheless, still great fun to catch up with our friends and colleagues in the trade and see ‘what’s hot and what’s not!’

davidoff_yamasa_promoWe’re expecting stocks of the new Davidoff Yamasa range to arrive this week including the Petit Churchill, Robusto, Toro and Piramides. They ain’t cheap but they are a helluva smoke! We are also expecting Davidoff Nicaragua box pressed Robustos and Toro this week.

Well, the big and rather exciting news is that there will be a trade launch event of the UK exclusive regional edition Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba on the 8th November in London and we expect our La Casa del Habano – Chester to receive the first stocks of this excellent new cigar.

Beautifully presented in boxes of 10 and measuring in at a hefty 5 7/8” length and 54 ring gauge this is going to be a very very popular cigar to say the least. I first smoked samples in Havana and was very impressed. I love the brand as well as the size but clearly the finest quality leaf has been used to create a blend of merit and character. Medium strength and massive volumes of sweet tobacco flavour due to the large ring gauge.

Hopeful for a small additional allocation of the very short supply Montecristo 80th before the end of the year too and I have it on good authority that we may also actually see the long overdue Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Gran Reserva as well as the limited edition Cohiba 1966 humidor (I’m shaking with excitement!)

It’s a crazy roller coaster on the currency markets and our International clients are benefiting tremendously due to the weak Pound Sterling. English Market Selection (EMS) Havana cigars are more popular than ever and despite a lot of reported Havana cigar shortages in other markets, the UK is well supplied and C.Gars Ltd have 99.9% full range available at all times.

Our London warehouse expansion is going according to plan and the additional new walk in humidor should be completed in the next 10 days . All finishing touches will be completed by the 7th November which will come as something of a relief as we are bursting out of space in our existing facility. Our signage/imaging contractors are re-imaging the entire premises (old and new) and we have a wonderful new Davidoff humidor stocked to the brim as well.

Next week I’m heading up North to host the first few sampling sessions at Turmeaus Liverpool which sold out within minutes of being announced. Great to have a proper sampling lounge and not have to stand in the cold pub terrace as we used to in our old shops due to lack of space! If you haven’t visited our newest cigar and whisky shop yet, stop by and chill out, my team will be delighted to welcome you.

I’m also planning to host the cigar and whisky sampling at Turmeaus Norfolk on the 3rd November and will bonus up the evening with an aperitif cigar from Inka – Secret Blend and a contrast cigar from the awesome Arturo Fuente range

Our Winter Auction catalogue is pretty full now and I’m working 25 hours a day researching and cataloguing, our professional photographer is doing her thing and this promises to be an incredible catalogue of aged and rare cigars as ever. Lots will on online 2 weeks before the sale.

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,



Well I’m back from my summer holidays in the Canaries and having enjoyed a few rums and cigars relaxing on my hotel balcony just reminddictador_cafeed me of the new delivery of DICTADOR Rums that awaited me on my return back to work! I had heard amazing reports about these fine Columbian Rums and couldn’t wait to put them to the test! The first sampling was the Dictador cafe 100 rum. Aged for 100 months with lovely smooth and chocolatey coffee notes.

Colour: A deep vast colour which stands out in the glass.

Nose: Rich coffee nose, plenty of sweetness with fresh vanilla blends together nicely with malt and biscuit aromas.

Palate: A light palate of dry cocoa. Aspects of the nose continues, such as coffee and fresh vanilla.

Finish: Aspects of the palate creates a lingering finish.

dictador_amberThe next sampling was the Dictador Amber 100 Rum , again aged for 100 months, really smooth with warm notes! As the tasting moved on I was getting very excited about the final two expressions! Dictador 20 years! This Dictador, 20 Year Old Rum from Columbia is made from the fermentation of virgin sugar
cane honey, distilled partly in copper alembic and partly in steel continuous column, to achieve a medium body rum of which the honey is evident throughout the nose and palate.

The Dictador is then aged in pre-used oak barrels using the solera method and finally bottled under the highest quality control to ensure everything is contained in the liquid flavour.

The final tasting concluded with the Dictador XO.

Now this exquisite rum is also made in the same way as the 20 year old and has its own unique seductive notes and flavours of the following;

Colour: A deep mahogany shine which stands out in the glass.

Nose: A hypnotic aroma of roasted honey, pure vanilla, royal toffee, mature oak and a delicious parfait caramel.dictador_xo

Palate: Extremely smooth with a range of flavours. Fudge starts things off as yet more intense vanilla and caramel reemerges with Colombian coffee and a long balanced consistency, balanced with light oak giving you the sensation of extreme quality and satisfaction of sweetness and strength.

Finish: Long rich finish.

Well I hope you get to try and enjoy some of these outstanding Columbian DICTADOR Rums!

Farewell till next time!

Peter Spinks

Herfing Inca Cigars in Chicago!

Inca Secret Blend Cigar TastingJust back from (yet another) rather long trip to the USA and this time Chicago was the destination. I’ve been to Chicago and hosted a few events there over the last 20 years but this was without a doubt the best visit yet.

The weather was glorious, hot and sunny and we stayed at the fabulous Langham Hotel which was in the perfect location for me as I hosted a series of Inca – Secret Blend cigar events at The Clayton which is a ten minute walk away.

I’m not even sure how to start to describe The Clayton other than CtE7IfLW8AA1IoI‘The best place in the world to smoke cigars!’ Have a read about it on this link. I have my locker there of course crammed with Inca Secret Blend and other fine new world cigars and I’m delighted that the cigar store is selling Inca like crazy :)

We had an eclectic crowd herfing at The Clayton and it was great fun watching the Clinton/Trump debate on big screens in super comfort.

Walk in Humidor at the ClaytonThe cigar store has the most incredibly designed glass cube walk in humidor with central display and state of the art humidification system. If it’s worth smoking… it’s in the humidor. Just breath taking. Dennis and Israel professionally run the store and are super knowledgeable and helpful.

Friends flew in from San Diego, Los Angeles, New York and Ohio to join Chicagoans – regulars and newbies for the Clayton Inca Tasting events. We blasted through tons of Inca Tambo cigars which were quite splendid and clearly all the attendees agreed as the cigar store just about sold out of every stick.

We paired the cigars up with Orchant Seleccion cigar single malt Highland whisky which worked a treat. Great food, scotch, cigars and the best of company in a wonderful venue. Couldn’t ask for more. Thanks to my partner Guy Hancock for hosting us in Chicago and at The Clayton.

Whilst I was away we finally got a new release from Havana. The Romeo Capuletos is a limited edition measuring in at 6” length and 53 ring gauge and early indications are that this cigar is super popular with our clients. No sign of the UK regional edition yet but we are ever hopeful. I gather that the recent shortages are easing up a bit as we are seeing all sizes of Cohiba BHK’s trickling back to our shops at last.

Our new Liverpool store is getting busier by the day and I reckon it’s the best cigar store in the UK, massive range of cigars and a super range of whisky. Fully licenced bar and a very cool, sampling room. Our first tasting events (2 sessions) sold out online extremely quickly!

If you can’t get into the Turmeaus  -Liverpool tasting we have a few tickets left for our next tasting at our beautiful La Casa del Habano in Chester in November and we will also shortly be selling tickets for the November tasting at Turmeaus – Norfolk. If all goes to plan I will be attending all of these great events.

All Turmeaus cigar shops have sampling lounges including our beautiful Turmeaus – Knutsford and there is even a comfortable sampling area at Turmeaus – Mayfair. All of our shops are licenced and offer a fine range of single malt whisky and rum

We should start building the second phase of the Turmeaus – Liverpool development in the next week or so and when complete this will feature another cigar shop and cigar sampling lounge open till 11 pm as well as a whisky/cocktail/tapas lounge and the largest whisky bar in the North.

Our London C.Gars headquarters expansion is going very well and the new vintage Havana cigar humidor is already constructed and looking great. We expect to have the project completed by the end of this month. That will be great timing as we have our Winter cigar auction scheduled for the 28th November and I am totally out of space in my regular humidor (even though its huge!) I believe we will be the only cigar merchant in the UK with a dedicated walk in humidor for aged and rare Havanas.

Our auction catalogue is pretty full and this could well be my best selection of auction Lots ever which is saying something considering we have held auctions since 2009. We have an incredible range of Pre Embargo cigars, vintage 1960’s and 1970’s cigars, Davidoff and other super rare boxes in superb condition (many still sealed). Estimates are always as sensible as we can possibly persuade sellers to give buyers the best opportunity to snap up some hyper rare Havanas.

CttrpyGWEAEXhE6If you read the FT you will have seen an excellent article on rare cigars in the How To Spend It magazine on Saturday. Journalist Nick Foulkes wrote the article and it is very good indeed. You can read the article on our website here. We also had a good mention on a BBC article online a couple of weeks ago.

There are a few other cigar merchants that mess around with limited/vintage Havanas but none that I am aware of with the depth of product range that we deal with on a daily basis year in year out.

C.Gars is experiencing unprecedented sales growth this year and considering that last year was by far the best year we have had in our history even I am staggered at the sales leap that seems to be never ending. We’re a pretty mature business but clearly the growth is continuing and I hope it’s due to our huge range, great pricing and legendary customer service. Thanks to all of the C.Gars Team for the mammoth effort. Thanks to all of our C.Gars and Turmeaus customers for keeping us busy 24/7!

I’m terribly sad that Nic Wing, the cigar journalist passed away recently. Nic was not only a brilliant cigar journalist but a champion of the UK cigar industry and a hell of a nice guy. Our sincerest condolences to his family.

If you’re celebrating new year this Monday and Tuesday may I wish you a Shana Tova, a happy and peaceful year ahead.

Peaceful puffing


Turmeaus Liverpool OPEN!… Well almost.

I’d like to say that I’m delighted that our new super-duper Turmeaus Liverpool is open and it is indeed open but not fully open yet <groan>.

CrMGcpCW8AEdPHZWe did a soft opening around 10 days ago as we still don’t have our electricity on thanks to a cock up from the council in allocating our post code so we could have a meter installed (long story/wont bore you), so, we are working on a generator (bloody noisy and not crazy about the diesel aroma) until we can actually have the meter installed on Saturday and get the mechanical and engineering system (pretty serious stuff!) commissioned and up and running.

In hopeful anticipation of this I’m planning to be in Liverpool on Tuesday to sort of officially cut the ribbon and open the cigar sampling lounge and officially declare the new Turmeaus fully open.

Karyn and I spent a rather back breaking week together with our fine Liverpool team and the ever energetic Sara from Turmeaus Chester moving from our old Fenwick street shops to our new premises at The Albany Building in Old Hall street.

I can only say that the architect designed results have exceeded my expectations by far. I may well be wrong but I believe that this is the largest walk in cigar humidor in the UK and the range of premium cigars is endless and rather impressive to say the least. There are quite a few lines that you won’t find anywhere else in the UK.

Turmeaus Liverpool Walk-In HumidorThe humidor has an unrivaled range of Havanas as well as an enormous range of new world cigars, if it’s worth smoking… we have it: Fuente, Inka, Oliva, Padron, Macanudo, Torano, Dunhill, Joya. I could go on and on and on…

I’ll pop a load of photos up over the next week.

The shop has a huge range of humidors, cutters, lighters and all manner of cigar accessories. I can best describe this as a dream for the cigar aficionado. Fabulous choice and of course the best pricing in the UK.

The premises is fully licenced so drams can be enjoyed at the bar and our opening range includes some 24 single malt whiskies on optics and far more in rare bottles behind the bar.

CrMF338WcAA-fQGThe whisky room has a magnificent range of single malt Scotch whisky as well as other premium spirits and champagne. Whisky from 30 quid a bottle into the £thousands a bottle for the rare stuff, something for everyone :)

I think I can also boast that we have the biggest range of pipe tobacco in the UK as well as a massive range of pipes and all accouterments for the pipe smoker.

And then there’s the sampling lounge :) state of the art ventilation, air conditioning (actually we have this throughout the premises) and smoke eating equipment. Armchairs and coffee tables that were custom made for us, espresso, soft drink, snacks and newspapers with our compliments whilst you sample a cigar from our vast range.

My Turmeaus Liverpool team (Christine, Ian and Veronica) are assisted by new members Matt and Raluca as well as David who will be a familiar face from our Turmeaus Mayfair shop. David is extremely enthusiastic about cigars and no doubt enjoying the super big humidor after taking care of Turmeaus Mayfair for the last year.

Our first tasting event which I am delighted to be hosting will be held on the 19th October and will feature 6 whiskies from the Dalmore and Jura stable as well as two fine Havana cigars. Tickets available here.

It’s been a long journey for Turmeaus which celebrates its 200th anniversary next year. I understand it had some financial wobbles over the years before C.Gars bought the last remaining shop (which was on its knees) in Watergate Street. I persevered year in year out and am very proud that our flagship Turmeaus is in the fabulous city of Liverpool where the business first started. I don’t think there are many 200 year old cigar merchants in the world :)

But we are not stopping there, in fact this is only the first phase of the Liverpool Turmeaus development and we expect to start building the second phase very soon. This will provide an ‘evening Turmeaus’ featuring another cigar shop and sampling lounge, the largest whisky bar in the North and a whisky/cocktail/tapas lounge that will be open until 11 pm. More details to follow…

Whilst I’m in the expansion mood, the builders have now started on our new premises at Kingsgate so we can better cope with the huge increase in mail order. I’m very happy to say that I’m being thrown out of No. 18 and moving my aged and rare stocks to a gorgeous new  and rather large walk in humidor in No. 14 by mid-October.

In other cigars news this week: no sign of any new releases from Havana I’m afraid and plenty of lines going short or out of stock. We are plugging the gaps by drawing on our vast cigar reserves as best we can. We have heard a whisper that the Romeo Capuletos Limited Edition may be out soon but no word on the UK Regional Edition… or any others.

Happy birthday (this week) to my assistant James at C.Gars/Turmeaus Norfolk and happy birthday (next week) to my Co-Director and girlfriend Karyn :)

I’m off home to enjoy the weekend with a bottle of my very own Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt and a few Davidoff Château Latour. A perfect way to toast the continued success of Turmeaus I reckon.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,