Christmas Spice and Festive Treats!

500x500_Dark_Matter_RumWell the Christmas spirit is in full swing now and nothing comes to mind more than indulging in some real festive tipples for this fabulous time of the year!  My favourite spirit at Christmas time has to be Rum and the one that springs to my mind is spiced rum called Dark Matter Spiced Rum.

Created in Banchory by two brothers, Jim and John Ewen, Dark Matter Spiced Rum is molasses-based rum which features full-bodied notes of long pepper, fresh ginger, green peppercorns and allspice.

The taste equivalent of warping into a liquid black hole but without every atom in your body being crushed to an infinitely small point.
Nose: Peppercorn, sweet & sour pork and balsamic vinegar.
Palate: Chewy with ginger and yet more peppercorn. A kick of chilli, plum and raisins.

It wouldn’t be right not to mention  some fabulous mouthwatering Single Malts perfect to share amongst your friends and family over the aberlour_18_yoChristmas holiday. For me nothing beats the rich Sherry or the Port cask finished Single Malts.
The first one I just love is the Aberlour 18 Years.

Introduced in 2008, this 18 year old is now one of the stars of the range: rich and fruity, with a smooth texture. The Aberlour 18 year old has been a previous winner of a Gold Medal & Best in Class at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Nose: Rich and complex, milk chocolate and butterscotch combine with ripe peach and orange zest.
Palate: Perfect structure – initial notes of soft apricot and cream offset by developing flavours of Liquorice and oak with a touch of honey.
Finish: Very long and balanced, progresses from creme brulee to a gentle oak flourish.

A second real favourite of mine also is the Tomintoul 15 Years Portwood Finish.

Tomintoul have upped the age on the Portwood Finish from 12 to 15 for this stunning limited release.

Bottled at 46%, this 15 year old is full-bodied and rich with lots of red-fruit notes.

Overall this Tomintoul 15 Year Old, Portwood Finish is a very approachable yet, complex whisky.500x500_tomintoul_15
Nose: Blueberries, scones and clotted cream with a hint of peppery oak and tobacco.

Palate: Barley sweets, delicious caramel, quince with light wafts of red wine.

Finish: Zesty, damson, red grape and a hint of butterscotch candies.

I hope these great spirits have put you in a festive mood to get you inspired for this month ahead!

Slainte

Pete

Trinidad Topes Released!

Trinidad_Topes_LE_2016_box-1 (1)Just received the 2016 Limited Edition Trinidad Tope and I can tell you it’s a helluva smoke! The huge 56 ring gauge delivers massive volume of flavour balanced with medium strength. Allocations were disappointingly tight and they are likely to sell out horribly fast. You have been warned :)

If you’re looking for a special gift for Christmas checkout my limited edition Orchant Seleccion Partagas books I have selected the most beautiful cigars from our vast inventory, they look good enough to eat!

I’ve just made another 30 boxes of Cohiba BHK 52’s available online and a few singles of 54’s and 56’s. Truly splendid smokes.

Michelle has finally had the delivery of humidors that she selected when visiting Gentili in Italy a few months ago. It’s a beautiful range and they are simply outstanding value for such a great quality humidor. Check them out on this link.

I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Boisdale Belgravia on Thursday followed by smokes on the cigar terrace. Just super in every way from the service to the music, ambience, food and rather too much champagne :) As we were about to leave, Ranald showed up so we had a couple of Behike 54’s and a wee nightcap or two.

The great news is that there’s a new Boisdale in Mayfair which I’m looking forward to going to in the next few days as it’s pretty close to Turmeaus Mayfair, It may well become a regular herfing spot I reckon as it has a cigar terrace that seats 28. More details to follow.

This Monday I will be at Boisdale Canary Wharf for The Cigar Smoker Of The Year Awards event which promises to be a start studded evening. This is the 4th year that C.Gars have co-sponsored the event.

Next Wednesday I’m heading up North to Turmeaus cigar and whisky shops in Liverpool, Chester and Knutsford, I’ll be herfing, oops I mean working there till just before Christmas. Karyn and I will see if we can make ourselves useful to our highly skilled Turmeaus retail teams! Looking forward to talking cigars with loads of clients in our beautiful lounges. All three locations are licenced and have charming bars with a pretty decent range of single malt whisky, Cuban rum and other premium spirits as well as champagne. Come and join me for a drink!

I can’t believe that’s another week done, its flown by so fast, only a few weeks till Christmas! We’re guaranteeing on time delivery up till the 21st or you can always pop in to our brilliant Turmeaus or Robert Graham shops across the UK.

C.Gars is open 24/7 – 7 days a week, no other cigar merchant in the UK has the vast stocks and incredible range that we have. Always delighted to advise and we reply to emails rapidly 24 hours a day sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

I’m having a quick rest on Saturday and then back in the office on Sunday so a few drams of Cigar Malt and some Trinidad Topes in the baggie for the weekend.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Vintage Cigar Auction

aged_rare_humidor_londonIt’s been the usual crazy/fun week at C.Gars – London with our Winter Auction on Monday afternoon at The Bulgari Hotel. Clients from all over the world had been viewing Lots prior to the auction at my beautiful new walk in humidor (only for aged and rare!) and the consensus was that its far more comfortable now we have split the recent production cigar stocks from the vintage stocks. I know my London Team are much happier to have me out of their way!

Auction-Nov-16-IMG_0305So what’s going on with the auction world? Well, we offered 354 Lots with around 10 passed, so a pretty high sale rate again. Prices seemed to be very firm indeed though the weakness of Sterling may have an effect for International bidders. My feeling is that anyone that won Davidoff Lots were very lucky as I reckon the supply is all but over now in the same way as its more or less impossible to get any Dunhill cigars anymore.

Pre Embargo prices were firm and Limited editions were too. Clearly the market appetite is still huge for the more unusual type of Havana cigar. The auction was live at The Bulgari and simultaneously online with over 400 bidders combined which was in fact the largest number yet.

Auction-Nov-16-IMG_0434Post auction cigar and whisky sampling was held at the lovely Sahakian cigar lounge with delicious canapés from the Bulgari. The aperitif cigar was a Montecristo Medias Corona followed by a Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba UK regional edition 2016. The smokes were paired up with Orchant Selection Cigar Malt and Stalla Dhu Islay. Fair to say, a good evening was had by all :) Our next auction is planned for the 12th March 2017 and we are considering entries from Monday onwards.

packing_team_mail_sacksI can’t believe how fast December has come around, the older I get the faster time flies or perhaps it’s that I’m enjoying myself so much?! Thanks to our clients (and my team) as we are having the best year in our entire history. Our cigar and whisky shops have never been so busy and our mail order division is insanely busy with no end of new clients. I can’t work out if premium cigar smoking is just becoming more and more popular in the UK or if clients are defecting from other cigar merchants… or both.

mitchell_officeWe expanded into our new building a week ago but I can already see we are utterly at capacity.So that’s both mail order fulfillment premises in London and Norfolk completely at capacity again! (Woohoo) It’s  hard to capture the madness on camera as we have various warehouse areas in the same building but I have popped up a few photos to give you an idea. I like to think of us as the Amazon.com of cigars :)

The weather’s turned bloody cold in London but thankfully still dry so I am getting my last few days of topless driving in while I can. I love car herfing! No idea why but my baggies in the boot keep my smokes in perfect condition despite temp fluctuations.  I keep cigars in the car based on the length of journey time, so short journeys: Monte Medias Coronas, medium journeys: Bolivar Belicosos (2007) and Hoyo Epicure Especial (2008) and long journeys: Cohiba Piramides Extra. (now you get why I love car herfing lol)

Supply shortages of Havanas are getting worse week by week and we are doing our best to release enough of our reserve stocks to meet demand. We released 100 or so boxes of Behike last week but they all sold out in around 19 minutes. Sorry but we do on occasion have to restrict clients to one box per order.

Latest casualties include Cohiba Siglo VI, El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme and Por Larranaga Petit Coronas (oh no!… all of my faves… maybe I caused the shortage!) Anyway, stock up while you can as I gather supply ain’t likely to get better any time soon.

So, Christmas season is upon us :) and I have one more event before I head up North with Karyn to work in our shops. This really is the UK cigar event of the year. C.Gars has a huge table of friends for the event and I can’t wait. Maybe able to squish a couple more people on our table but you will need to hurry! More info and ticket booking here.

To get me in the Boisdale mood and relax a tad now the auction is over I’m heading over to the lovely Boisdale Belgravia for supper and smokes with friends next week. Still one of my favourite places to herf :)

I’m finishing off the week sampling a Hoyo Epicure Especial from a 2008 50 cab and a wee dram of Ben Nevis 1999 which we will be bottling early next year under our Stalla Dhu label. It’s a stunning combination after a splendid week!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Auction Gallery

Cigar reviews – any good ? Partagas festival ? …bloody good!

Good question indeed and one that I think about often when I look through the review section of my website.

We deliberately don’t moderate the reviews so readers can see ‘real’ person reviews as opposed to industry opinion, unless clearly the cigars have been bought from some dubious source as the review would not be valid on my website (then we are happy to bounce them off).

H. Upmann Coronas Junior Tubed Cigar - Box of 25However I have to question the validity of reviews by inexperienced smokers say smoking their first H. Upmann (or whatever) and then slagging off the cigar. Surely this smoker should in fact be emailing the cigar merchant for advice regarding his experience and whether the cigar was indeed at fault (in which case the client is eligible for replacement or refund) or alternatively the cigar was simply the wrong one for the smoker which could be for a multitude of reasons.

Inexperienced smokers should be gleaning advice from experienced merchants rather than opining on a subject that they are by definition not qualified to surely?
It’s also an odd mentality to want to slag off a product that we sell and we find the reviewer has in fact bought in some crappy duty-free in the middle of nowhere. It’s really not cricket as we say.

Then there’s the single cigar reviewer that blames the merchant as the cigar was too tight, too loose, different blend etc. Again, that’s not really a review because the chap actually should have emailed a ‘complaint’ to the merchant. It’s become a strange psyche of ‘let’s do a public online slagging off first and think about it after’.  So dear amateur reviewer, before you diss a cigar I’m selling I respectfully ask you to think first, are you ‘reviewing’ or should you be emailing a question or two, at least initially instead? Could you be causing damage to the product reputation for no good reason other than your own inexperience?  Food for thought perhaps.

Comments like’ it had a beautiful wrapper but was disappointing thereafter ‘ is as equally not helpful if the reviewer has only smoked one of the particular cigars being reviewed. Smoke 25 cigars from the same box and as many of us know the reality is there may well be 2 or 3 dogs in terms of construction or blend. The other 22 or 23 may well make up for it though ! At the end of the day , it’s a hand-made product and perfection continues to be illusive but most Havanas are not that far off!

By way of analogy, I have dated some beautiful girls over a long career but frequently despite their beauty found them a disappointment (yup – for a multitude of reasons ! … a few nutters too, but I digress ) and the search went on until I found the perfect girlfriend ( now very happily married for many years). Are you getting the analogy? You may need to smoke a lot of different brands and a lot of different vitola and perhaps even different vintage until you arrive at one or a variety of cigars that personally suit your palate.

For all your cigar and dating advice don’t hesitate to contact me :-)CxjFjgiUUAAgXyV

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I’m just back from the annual Partagas Festival in sunny Havana, a celebration of the brand like no other where 500 + friends of Partagas from all over the world get together for  weeks of cigars events. It’s not easy for me to get away for the full week so I just zip over on the Thursday in
time for the gala dinner event and zip back on Monday to be back in the office for Tuesday.

IMG-20161129-WA0008The gala dinner was an amazing event if not one of the best that I have attended over the last 19 years. Held at the Habana Libre Hotel. We were treated to copious quantities of Partagas cigars of all sizes as well as some custom blends that I believe were rolled by La China. First rate entertainment, Cuban rum and a great evening was had by all. The auction had some magnificent humidors with all proceeds going to the Cuban National health service.

CxtwAXKUsAAjXWwI’m often asked has much changed in Cuba since I first visited many years ago? I can’t say I have seen any massive change though the restaurants and bars have improved and the prices are more expensive !

I visited just about every cigar shop in Havana and can’t remember ever seeing them so well stocked with just about every size and brand of cigars., seems they are coping well with the huge increase of tourists from the USA. Meantime it seems that the shortages that many countries in the Far East and Europe have experienced for the last few years are slowly making their way over to the UK. The latest casualty on the out of stock list is the ever popular Cohiba Siglo VI. Buy them while you can, I gather there won’t be much in the way of new supply any time soon.

Last auction viewings are at our London office this Sunday from 11 a.m. email me to book an appointment and I’ll be delighted to show you some beautiful vintage cigars lots. The auction will take place at 2 pm online and at the Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge on Monday. Condition reports by email with pleasure. Check out the auction website for more details.

Have a great weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Cuba Trip Gallery

 

COMPASS BOX TREATS!

After a tasting of these fine blends I must say these great whiskies are incredibly complex and refined! These are definitely the very best blends I have sampled and we are pleased to have some bottles still available online and in our Chester shop.

Firstly the Spice Tree:
The Spice Tree from Compass Box is made from Highland malt whiskies which are aged in custom-made casks fitted with new French oak heads.500x500_compass_box_spice_tree

This oak is sourced from a mill in the Vosges which produces some of the highest quality cooperage oak for winemakers and the result is a fine, big whisky full of richness and a
spice-like complexity.

In April 2015, Compass Box’s, Spice Tree was named Best Blended Malt Scotch at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Nose: Fragrant and extremely aromatic with notes of dried herbs, kicks from several spices, oak and delicious vanilla. Has a bourbon note to it and a peppery tang.
Palate: Gingernut biscuits with toffee spices, peppery tone to it with herbs and vanilla. All in all very rich and peppery.
Finish: Big and rich with a great kick of spice to it.

Next is the Hedonism Blended Grain Whisky:
A teriffic blended grain whisky from Compass Box.

500x500_compass_box_hedonismHedonism really is as enjoyable as the name suggests with a smooth and creamy offering.Overall supple & silky, with elegant, rich flavours of vanilla, toffee, coconut and cocoa.
Nose: From the first delectable introduction, Hedonism is all ripe fruit, fraises des bois and sponge cake. Hints of red pepper provide an interesting point to mull.
Palate: Very sensual, sleek and creamy. Black cherry and sweet spices develop with some cereal notes.
Finish: A spiced warmth, toasty, oak and some delicious milk chocolate.

On to the next stunning expression is This Is Not A Luxury Whisky!

The inspiration for this limited release is Rene Magritte’s 1929 work “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, a Surrealist painting which challengesThis_is_not_a_luxury_whisky peoples’ perceptions of reality.

The reality is, these days we hear more and more commentators talking about ‘luxury’ whiskies which are presumably whiskies that are either rare or expensive, or possibly both.

On another level, a level considered being much more important. This limited release is all about the liquid, about the whisky in the bottle, which has been painstakingly sourced and blended and the engravement of enjoyment of this whisky will bring when shared with others.

This latter point is what we believe a ‘luxury’ whisky is and at Compass Box, this is what it believed that whisky, generally speaking is all about.

Availability:
Limited Edition release of 4,992 bottles.

Bottling Details:
Bottled in August 2015
Bottled at 53.1%
Not chill-filtered
Complex, rich, lightly smoky and opulent. Sultanas, sweet sherry and concentrated floral notes combine with deep demerara sweetness, cacao and lighter creamy coconut character. An inviting nose, fat and full-bodied on the palate with a long, lingering sweet-smoke finish.

500x500_compass_box_peat_monsterLast but not least is the Peat Monster!

Created by the renowned John Glaser of Compass Box, for those who love big, rich, peaty and smoky malt whiskies, this is the whisky for you.

Bottled at 46%, “The Peat Monster” combines extremely smoky malt whisky from Islay with medium-peated Highland whiskies to create an approachable balanced monster.

Nose: Peaty with marked salinity, leans to Caol Ila in style. Slightly medicinal but deliciously fruity and sweet. Perhaps a little grainy.
Palate: Yet more peat and this time oak. Botanicals, floral, coppery and sweet with smoky bacon and satisfying hints of papaya.
Finish: A lingering sweetness with again, more peat. A floral aspect with roses and violets and a sweet kick of spice and finally oak.

Til next time,

Slainte
Pete