Still Puffin‘

Spring Cigar Auction season is more or less complete. It’s been a bit of a madhouse at the auction office allocating the 350 odd Lots for collection or shipping but we are almost done and should have cleared out the remnants in the next week or so. That will be great timing as I’m already working on the Summer auction catalogue which is filling up fairly fast already.

The auction department is very exciting for me as we never know what’s going to arrive for valuation from one day to the next. It’s a lot of pressure for the shipping department as we are already at daily breaking point shipping out some 500 + orders a day 🙂

For any advice regarding buying or selling we are always available by email 24/7 sales@cgarsltd.co.uk though our comprehensive FAQ usually covers most questions. Serious cigar auctions for the serious aficionado and collector. Good fun but you need to know what you are doing and careful planning is always advised.

Our Puffin’ Rooms Founder Membership is now open at our Liverpool location. Pop in and enjoy an evening of live jazz and blues, superb small plate menu and our incredible cocktails and my team will be happy to explain the benefits of membership.

 

I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Puffin Rooms with our business partner Guy Hancock from The Decent Cigar Emporium in Dublin with our Chef excelling himself sending out dish after dish from the delightful menu which is updated monthly.

Musical director Victoria Sharpe tinkled the ivories and sang beautifully as ever. I always drive her mad to play Beatles songs… well we are in Liverpool! Looking forward to my next visit in a couple of weeks’ time!

Dinner was followed by Davidoff – Orchant Seleccion at Late Hour Turmeaus cigar shop and sampling lounge next door and a dram or two of my favourite Stalla Dhu Ben Nevis. Truly first rate.

I keep hearing rumours that the new Montecristo 1935 range and H. Upmann Sir Winston are released but so far no word from our importers. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long. I loved these cigars when I tried them out at the Habanos Festival.

We are down to the last of our stocks of Hoyo Epicure N o. 2 Reserva and I was surprised how popular these cigars are.

Our President Ron Morrison and I had a bit of a road trip/herf to C.Gars – Norfolk office for our quarterly marketing meeting last week which was super fun (5 hour round trip!) and blasted our way through Inca Secret Blend cigars followed by Bolivar Belicosos 2007 and finally Partagas P.2’s.

A very interesting marketing presentation from James (head of marketing) which confirmed that our top 2 selling New World brands are Inka Secret Blend closely followed by Davidoff and then Oliva, Alec Bradley, Avo, Regius and La Flor Dominicana. Our Mitchellero brand launched 2 months ago has already moved into the top 10 (no surprise – great value cigars made by Nestor Plasencia).

Back to the office next week as my Girl Friday/ Michelle is on vacation but I may be able to squish some evening herfing in at The Lanesborough 🙂

Kicking back on the weekend with a baggie stuffed full of:

Davidoff- Orchant Seleccion (doesn’t get much better for a New World IMHO)

Bolivar Belicosos 2007 (best vintage for this cigar in the last 20 years)

Macanudo Inspirado (seriously good day time smokes)

Regius Orchant Seleccion (for a bit of Nic kick)

Partagas E2 (I can’t get enough of these… simply delicious)

Inca Secret Blend Reserva D’Oro Robustos (the sweetest blend)

… and a bottle of Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt, should be a relaxed weekend 🙂

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Auction Results

The Spring auction (last Tuesday) yielded some pretty interesting results. Interest was very strong on Davidoff cigars, higher than expected on Limited Edition Humidors, steady on Pe Embargos and very strong on early Limited Editions.

We leave all sold results online as a resource (going back to 2009) and it’s interesting to see how prices and tastes have moved over the last decade.

I’m most fascinated with this box of Montecristo! Big price for an ‘09!!! 🙂

6 + hours of concentrating on the auction left me in need of a herf so I headed to Boisdale Belgravia on Wednesday for a delightful lunch with friends followed by Trinidad Vigia and Partagas Salomones paired up with ClanRanald Claret (on the Boisdale members wine list)  First rate lunch and excellent service as ever (and the wine wasn’t too shabby either!) I then headed over to meet friends at Turmeaus Mayfair for a dram or two of Stalla Dhu Ben Nevis and another Trinidad Vigia to complete a very relaxing herfing day.

Our next sale will be in June and the catalogue is filling up fast. For any further details of our regular vintage cigar auctions check out the website or drop us an email.

Despite all of the doom and gloom headlines, clearly our UK cigar industry is resilient if completely unaffected by the current malaise and decline of the high street. Our cigar and whisky shops and Lounges have never been so busy and our weekly tasting events seem to be sold out as soon as the tickets go on sale.

I hadn’t planned to be at this week’s Turmeaus Liverpool tasting event, much as I love Alec Bradley cigars and Flor de Cana rum, but I heard that our business partner Gennaro, who makes Inka Secret Blend cigars for us in Peru, was in the UK so we’ve decided to head up to Liverpool on Tuesday. We’re adding an Inka cigar to the tasting and Gennaro is going to give a talk about this best-selling range of cigars exclusive to C.Gars Ltd & Turmeaus.

Come and join me for a memorable evening. Strictly limited availability. Stay after the event for some wonderful live jazz music at Puffin’ Rooms just next door (amazing menu from our chef, as well as 200 single malt whiskies by the dram, extensive wine and signature cocktails.)

We get quite a few enquiries for bespoke humidors and whilst we don’t offer this service, one of my best friends does and I am happy to highly recommend Simply Bespoke London  www.simplybespoke.london. They will design and manufacture commissioned bespoke cigar humidors, wine rooms and cellars. Clients are involved at every stage of the design and crafting process, beginning with a client meeting. They listen to your requirements and design something that is not just unique, but unique to you.

New arrivals include:

Arturo Fuente Anejo No. 77 The Shark – Can’t go wrong with a Fuente!

Davidoff Orchant Seleccion and Tomatin Pairing Sampler – Perfect combo 🙂

Hoyo Epicure No. 2 Reserva – Helluva smoke!

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Puffin’ & Auction :)

Lot 302 – Partagas 170th Anniversary Humidor

It’s been a very busy week at C.Gars… as usual – with numerous clients visiting our offices to inspect the auction Lots for next week’s vintage cigar sale.

The sale features some 350 Lots of vintage, Mature, Pre-Embargo, Davidoff and Limited Edition Havana cigars. The bidding platform is easy to use and the Lots have photos and clear descriptions. It works in a similar way to eBay. Sort of a cBay for cigars 🙂

We are always happy to check and advise clients with condition reports if unable to come and inspect at our offices. Just drop us an email and quote the Lot number sales@cgarsltd.co.uk. Final inspections are this Monday and the auction will end on Tuesday.

I enjoyed a delightful tasting event at Turmeaus Liverpool on Tuesday evening featuring Davidoff 702 cigars and Dalmore whisky. We paired up the Special R with 12 and 18 year old whisky and they were indeed a perfect match.

It was a pretty packed event and we were lucky to get a table next door at Puffin’ Rooms after, as Puffin’ Rooms seems to now be packed full 7 nights a week. Chef was on top form and the food was quite exceptional. We had managed to get hold of some of the finest Inca chocolate slabs from Peru and chef made incredible chocolate soufflé for dessert (should come with a health warning!) Victoria Sharpe was on piano and singing beautifully as ever.

The reviews look pretty good on TripAdvisor too! For the best experience of dining, drinks and music… you just have to come to Puffin’ Rooms – Liverpool. Nothing like it in the UK that I’m aware of.

La Casa del Habano held a packed tasting event on Wednesday, featuring H. Upmann Half Corona and H. Upmann Anejados Robusto cigars. One of my clients emailed to say that our La Casa was like no other he has ever visited as it has so much charm and ambience as well as the friendliest service he has ever known. He also mentioned the rather amazing selection of Havana cigars!

Thursday was time to visit Turmeaus Mayfair. I enjoyed a Trinidad Vigia and Stalla Dhu Auchroisk 19 year old whisky with friends before we headed off to The Lanesborough to herf with more friends :).

We switched to Cuaba Salomones and Distinguidos which were both amazing smokes and a great way to finish off a week of herfing.

Kicking back this weekend with a bottle of Flor de Cana 18 year old (note: this one is on offer this month!… Blatant sales pitch lol) and a baggie full of:

Davidoff 702 Signature 2000 – A ‘mans’ cigar!

Davidoff Orchant Seleccion – Sophisticated and classy smoke

Ramon Allones Orchant Seleccion 2016 – Smoking very well indeed! (We’ve reached the 2 year mark with them! – if you know, you know)

Bolivar Belicosos 2007 – What a treat, I can’t believe I managed to stash them for so long!

Mitchellero Orchie – Sweet and full flavoured Nicaraguan tobacco

Inka Secret Blend Red Robusto – Always a great smoke, smooth and sweet.

Let us know what you have on your weekend menu by posting a photo to our Facebook Page, or Tweet me a picture.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Habanos Festival 2018!

I missed the snow!… and had a wonderful week in sunny Havana for the 20th Habanos Festival.

I have been in Havana for all 20 Festivals though I missed the gala event on the first one. They seem to get bigger and better (and louder?) every year.

Collected by my able assistant Fernando at Jose Marti airport after a surprisingly short wait for our baggage, my assistant Roy and I headed to the vehicle where Havana Club 15 year old rum and Cohiba Piramides Extras awaited us. They tasted great after a 10 hour flight I can tell you 🙂

We blasted round the usual cigars stores (Partagas, Melia Habana, Nacional, Palacio, Comodoro etc.) which all seemed well stocked although it was mainly with small format cigars. Nice to see Cohiba Coronas Especiales back on the shelves so hopefully they will be back in the UK soon.

I managed to find some of the new Limited Editions including the H. Upmann Connoisseur B and Partagas Serie E No. 1 but they were not generally available and I have no idea when they will arrive in the UK.

I stayed at the Manzana hotel again which is simply the best hotel IMHO in Cuba. The pool area has great views and is perfect for herfing. Not so sure about the ‘Cohiba Atmosphere’ shop which we named ‘No Atmosphere’. Bit of a sad selection in the humidor and a tad soulless design.

Picked up my twin cigar case of Cohiba Robusto Reserva, smoked them straight away! I can’t wait for these to be released. That said we are still waiting for H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva so I may be waiting a while…

The gala was the usual swanky, opulent affair and it was a pleasure as usual to be sitting on the Hunters & Frankau table with Jemma Freeman and Simon Chase. Simon was called up to the stage to receive a very special award in recognition of all his hard work for the previous Festival charity auctions. Wonderful to see Simon back at the Festival.

I also sat next to Darius who won the International cigar sommelier contest. Well done Darius! At last the UK won 🙂

The Festival is the best place in the world to meet up with my international clients from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and many other countries. I heard there were over 1,200 guests at the gala!

The gala celebrated the Partagas brand and the introduction of the Partagas Maduro No. 2  (a 4 ¾” length and 55 ring gauge Piramides) and No. 3 (5 ¾” length and 50 ring gauge). These join the Partagas Maduro No. 1 to make a great line up. We were treated to copious amounts of other Partagas cigars during the evening (too many to smoke… almost!) We finished the evening with a Partagas Lusitania and the new Havana Club Tributo rum (“finished in smoky whisky casks”) which was quite excellent. I brought a bottle back for clients who visit the office 🙂

Gary did a great job auctioning 8 breath-taking charity auction Lots and raising some 1.5 million Euros for the Cuban National Health Service.

My business partner Ron flew over from Florida for dinner, drinks and smokes and we went to the very lovely Rio Mar well worth a visit. Followed by more drinks and smokes at our regular herfing hangout Espacios.

Can’t wait to get back to Havana, the next trip is already booked for the Partagas Festival in November 🙂

Back to Blighty and getting back to routine, the weather is vastly improved so I officially declare “Open Top Herfing Season” open! I picked up one of the cars from storage, lit up a 2007 BBF and went for an hours drive to blast out the cobwebs… sublime 🙂 I love car herfing!

I have just put the finishing touches to our rather huge 350 Lot Spring cigar auction and the catalogue will be online from the 10th March with the sale concluding on the 20th March. I’m amazed how  many of these vintage cigars are still around, with many exceptionally rare. Nice to see a good quantity of first rate vintage Cuban Davidoff again as well as some exceptional Pre-Embargo, vintage and Limited Edition cigars.

I’m heading to the Garden Room at The Lanesborough to herf this evening (last night) and try out those Partagas Maduro’s with some decent single malt.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Gallery

Where Do I Begin?!

… Well, easiest if I begin at the end I think and that was today with an amazing gig by my friend Michael Lington at the Dean Street Jazz Club that I have been going to for the last 20+ years. The pizza is so-so, the seats are for the trash but the acoustics are bloody good. It made me realise how incredibly comfortable Puffin’ Rooms is by comparison!

Michael is not only an accomplished musician but also a cigar aficionado whom I have had the pleasure of herfing with in London and Los Angeles for many years. If he’s playing and I’m near… I’m there. Amazing afternoon TY ML.

Last week saw our first cigar auction of the year with 147 overseas Lots being knocked down on the auction website. Given the strength of Sterling I though prices were surprisingly firm. Our Spring auction features over 350 Lots of aged, mature, pre embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill, Limited Edition and other rare and interesting Havana cigars. Catalogue will be available from the 10th March.

Karyn and I are just back from a few weeks in Florida and the Caribbean. Plenty of R&R as well as a few cigar related stops on the way 🙂 These included a herf with my business partner Ron in Los Olas, a stop at the lovely LCDH Gran Cayman and a smoke with my good friend and Habanos man of the year Valerio Cornale (I think we worked out that we have known each other from the early days of the Habanos Festivals around 20 years ago!) and a stop at the lovely LCDH St Martin and a smoke with the equally lovely Carole. It was heart breaking to see the devastation from the hurricanes to put it mildly.

I also managed to sneak in a herf on St Thomas with my friend Paul P who took a seaplane over from St Croix to meet up. We found a nice pizza restaurant on the island with an outside terrace where we merrily lit up some rather tasty Epi 2’s. Almost at the end of our smokes an Environmental Enforcement Officer zoomed up in her vehicle advising us that we would be fined $1000 for smoking cigars!!! Absolutely bizarre if not surreal and certainly very funny. We made a hasty escape to the nearest bar…

New arrivals last week include the Hoyo Epicure No. 2 Reserva, Quai D’Orsay No. 50, Punch Regios de Punch Limited Edition (very nice indeed) and a small resupply of Cohiba Talisman, Romeo Gran Reserva, Trinidad La Trova and Hoyo Maravillas… well that was a great week! 🙂

This week I’m zooming off to Havana for the annual Festival del Habanos which will no doubt be featuring some incredible cigar that we will never know when they will be released (still waiting for last year’s H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva!) Hey ho… anything to get out of the cold for a few days. Should be quite civilised as I’m staying in the rather swanky Manzana hotel again, which really does knock spots off everything else in Cuba.

When I get back it’s off to Turmeaus up North and back to Puffin’ Rooms. I can’t wait. This exciting expansion started around 6 months ago and Puffin’ Rooms is more or less packed out now 7 nights a week. The best in live jazz and blues, incredible food menu, 200 single malt whiskies by the dram, cocktails, wine, rum and cognac… all ably served by the best team in the business lead by our wonderful G.M Mariane who together with her lovely colleagues, guarantee the best service in town.

And finally a hearty mazal tov to my nephew and niece Gaby and Verity on the birth of their baby (No. 3) on Saturday… great excuse for a good cigar or two I reckon. So I’m off for a wee dram of Stalla Dhu to celebrate with a H. Upmann No. 2 Reserva. Perfect 🙂

Next report from Havana :-)… adios.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell