Partagas Festival!

Just back from the annual Partagas festival in sunny Havana 🙂 I reckon this is the 19th (out of 20) that I have attended and this was in fact probably the one I enjoyed the most.

For a kick off, the weather was perfect in Havana. Hot and sunny days and warm evenings, perfect for herfing! We stayed in the new Manzana (Kempinski) Hotel which is so dramatically better than any other hotel I have stayed in over the last 20 years of visiting Cuba, I was quite amazed. Truly a 5 star hotel with service to match.

The roof top pool area had stunning views and were all set up for herfing too. I wasn’t impressed with the Cohiba Atmosphere shop and I understand many are calling it the No Atmosphere shop.

Zooming around all the usual cigar shops and lounges I can tell you that there was little of interest in terms of interesting cigars. No BHK’s or Siglo VI’s. Talisman and Romeo Gran Reserva are not available yet. No doubt this is due to the ongoing shortage of wrapper leaf. I understand that the agricultural problems may now be resolved but it may well take some years to filter the interesting product back into the market.

The gala dinner was the largest Partagas event I can remember with some 350 guests. This Festival differs from the Feb/March Festival as it’s really for aficionados and not trade so it has a different vibe completely. A lot of the crowd have come to the Festival for many years so it’s good to meet up with old friends as well as make new friends.

The event was held at El Laguito and unlike the Feb/March Festival the music volume was actually quite perfect so you could enjoy the fabulous band and still have a conversation with the people on your table.

A charity auction was held as usual with 5 Lots of magnificent one off humidors containing specially banded cigars, with proceeds going to the Cuban National Health Service.

We had some excellent Puro Uno Argentinian wines (TY FB) and 25 year old rum as well as 5 cigars handed out during the evening and another 5 cigars in a goodie bag to take home. Not bad value for 250 cookies 🙂

Back to grey and rainy London now and another tax increase from the chancellors budget today sadly although thankfully he left booze alone.

I’m just proof reading the vintage Cigar Auction catalogue and Lots will be online and bidding open 10 days before the sale. A magnificent catalogue with some of the rarest and most desirable Havanas known of.

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Cohiba Talisman… in… and out!

Finally Cohiba Talisman Limited Edition 2017 came in… and went out! In fact our fastest selling cigar in history. The interest in this cigar was truly staggering and despite a rather reasonable allocation it wasn’t nearly enough to cope with the demand.

The launch party at the Corinthia hotel  on the 7th November was truly one of the best cigar events I have ever been top. Hunters & Frankau certainly know how to throw a bash. Our goodie bags contained a beautiful single boxed Talisman as well as another Talisman, 1966 and Medio Siglo.

My colleagues Ron, Michelle, Calum and David also attended this extraordinary event and thoroughly enjoyed it despite a rather wet November evening! Canapes, chocolates, cocktails and champagne, music and brilliant speeches made this a night to remember.

There was an incredible display of vintage Cohiba including 30th, 40th and 50th anniversary and also a Cubatabaco 1492 humidor… mouth-watering!

Leopoldo Cintra the VP of Habanos S.A confirmed that this was the exclusive world launch of the Talisman and anyone who thinks they have smoked one before has indeed smoked a counterfeit.

The post launch herf was in the Garden Room at The Lanesborough with friends. We herfed our way through all of the Talismans and 1966 from the launch paired up with some first rate Montrachet.

“So what are the cigars really like”, I hear you thinking?

Well, it does remind me somewhat of Robustos Supremo though the flavours are a touch more delicate. For sure a little extra age will benefit this cigar but the construction was excellent, the appearance perfect and the blend well balanced. All considered this is likely to become highly collectable as well as a first rate cigar to age.

We followed this launch with a Talisman launch party at Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge in Liverpool last week and true to form tickets were sold out in minutes for an incredible evening of cigar and whisky sampling together with some splendid dishes from Chef Chris German.

I’m just back from yet another sell out whisky and cigar tasting, this time it was at Turmeaus Norfolk! We had the pleasure of sampling an ultra luxury cigar pairing of Davidoff cigars and Glendronach whisky. The Davidoff Winston Churchill Petit Corona was the starter of choice; a peppery, woody little treat to excite the taste buds before moving on to the main course. To ease into the whisky (not that I need easing in!) we started with the Glendronach 12 year old. This whisky is super smooth, it almost has the texture of cream! The Spanish Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks give this whisky a rich sweetness which is delightfully well balanced with the subtle spice. We moved on to the Davidoff Late Hour Robusto which could possibly be one of the best Davidoff cigars for an after dinner smoke. A magnificently refined and wonderfully complex smoke, wrapped in a stunning, dark and oily wrapper. Mirroring the cigar was the equally dark and complex Glendronach 18 year old; a sweet and spicy, lively malt which calms into a beautifully rich sherry delight. Overall the cigars and whisky worked perfectly with each other, and all of the guests remarked on how luxurious the pairing was.

Our Norfolk outpost seems to be busier by the week. It’s a super cigar and pipe shop with the largest range you’ll find for miles and miles around, and no cash required as its all at internet prices!

This week Karyn and I are jetting off to sunny Havana to celebrate the Partagas Festival with friends from all over the world. I’m looking forward to staying at the new Kempinski hotel and checking out the Cohiba Atmosphere shop there. The gala dinner is an outrageous event for ‘Amigos de Partagas’ ending with a brilliant charity auction of unique humidors of cigars. Full report when we get back 🙂

Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing.

Mitchell

New Havanas?… Soooon!

End of October and the weather is still great in London 🙂 It’s been a great month for car herfing (I love a good cigar and a long drive!) and I have been enjoying some of the best smokes of the year.

But the best is yet to come with the launch event of the Cohiba Talisman on the 7th of November and hopefully the release of some decent quantity of this much sought after limited edition cigar. Prices won’t be confirmed until they are release but we expect them to be in the £55 – £65 per stick range.

Measuring in at a rather whopping 6 1/8” length and 54 ring gauge and exclusively being launched to the UK market we expect unprecedented demand and hope to make them available in our La Casa del Habano from the 8th November and online and in Turmeaus cigar shops from the 9th November.

We have also received the Punch Punch 48, which is a La Casa exclusive, and if you enjoy this brand you are in for a treat. Full flavour and medium to full strength with excellent construction and first rate dark wrapper leaf.

It looks as though all the new and overdue releases from Havana are going to land in the next few weeks including the long awaited Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Gran Reserva, more of the Coleccion Habanos Hoyo books and the Cohiba 1966 Majestuosos 50th anniversary humidor :)… I’ll try to not get over excited until I actually see them in the humidor!

Our Winter auction is coming up fast on the 5th December and we expect to be offering some 300 Lots of aged and rare Havana cigars. We have an incredible stock of limited edition humidors that will be offered as well as some of the most rare and desirable Dunhill, Davidoff and Pre Embargo Havana cigars.

Our own range of Inka Secret Blend cigars from Peru go from strength to strength and I’m adding a new vitola to the range next month that measures in at 3 ¾” length and 54 ring gauge “The Stumpy” – lol. It’s taken 6 months to perfect the blend and it’s 25 minutes of absolute blissful smoking experience. Handmade and long filler premium aged tobacco.

Check out this range of cigar themed aftershave; they’re great value and brilliant products/perfect stocking fillers too. Oh! And add one of these to your basket on your next order they are very cool 🙂

Davidoff Late Hour range of cigars are proving to be immensely popular and for good reason, outstanding New World cigars. Avo is another brand by Davidoff that is now exclusive to C.Gars Ltd and Turmeaus cigar shops Super range, excellent quality and incredible value.

Our Turmeaus cigar and whisky shops are already stocked up to the ceiling with premium cigars and single malt whisky for the holiday season fast approaching and our guests are always assured a warm welcome to sample in our bars and sampling lounges. Puffin’ Rooms in Liverpool is the perfect venue to kick back with a good single malt, splendid food and live jazz 7 nights a week. I’m looking forward to chilling out at Puffin’ Rooms this Wednesday evening… come and join me for a whisky sampling, I’ll be there from 6 pm until late.

Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Time flies…

I can’t believe we are already at the end of September, time flies when you’re having fun. I must be having a bloody good time then 🙂

September was super busy with our third vintage cigar auction of the year taking place on the 10th September and clearly exceeding a lot of sellers expectations whilst making a lot of bidders very happy too. Quite a breath-taking catalogue of aged and rare Havanas including some quite outrageously beautiful Pre Embargo Cigars.

This was the first time we had done a September auction and we were pleasantly surprises at how successful the sale was. We only had 2 unsold Lots out of 340 which is pretty impressive I reckon. The online platform (created by my IT team… well done guys!) functioned seamlessly and at one stage had over 500 bidders online!

We keep all auction results online as a resource and they can be accessed via the sold search feature.

Our Winter auction will be on the 5th December and we are now considering eligible Lots. Simply email the auction team at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk

Karyn and I enjoyed spending a day in Paris to celebrate our birthdays (yup… we have the same birthdays!) zooming over on Eurostar and having lunch at Café Ruc opposite Hotel du Louvre. The weather was perfect and I enjoyed a 1980’s Davidoff Château Yquem followed by a Dunhill Cabinetta (my last one!)… the perfect way to celebrate.

I’m delighted to announce that C.Gars are now the exclusive UK Distributor of Avo cigars. Avo is a Davidoff owned brand so I don’t need to tell you how high quality these cigars are. Only recently launched in the UK and already proving very popular at Turmeaus cigar tastings and with our mail order clients.

Fancy treating yourself to the most insanely perfect cigar cutter ever? Check out the Katana. Truly magnificent. I have one :)… and if your cigar doesn’t draw when cut check this out and by the same very nice people some repair glue just in case!

Michelle and I were delighted to be invited to the Cohiba Talisman launch event by Hunters & Frankau on the 7th November. (The exclusive UK importer of all Havana cigars to the UK) Our cigar specialists from Turmeaus, Calum and David will also be joining us as well as the President of C.Gars, Ron Morrison. Should be one helluva event!

The UK cigar trade is very proud to be doing the first release of this limited edition cigar. It’s funny because many people on Facebook have shown photos of boxes and singles or say they have already bought these cigars and smoked them but we have confirmed with Hunters & Frankau that they can only be counterfeits as we have the launch in the UK and no other market has been supplied with them yet.

One Far East cigar merchant showed a cabinet full of the boxes of Cohiba Talisman. Interesting that when we enhanced the photo and captured the bar codes they could not be verified on the Habanos code checker site.  Buyers beware…

I spent last week in sunny Tel Aviv, sort of a last family vacation of the year (it goes a bit crazy for cigars merchants in the last quarter of the year). Chilled out herfing with my father and generally recharging the batteries. Whilst away our exclusive brand of Inka Secret Blend cigars from Peru received an award nomination from Cigar Journal and C.Gars Ltd received a Golden Band award nomination from Davidoff at the annual Dortmund trade show event.

We also had a delightful write up in Cigar Journal for Puffin Rooms & Turmeaus– Liverpool.

This week I visited Turmeaus Knutsford which can only be described as a chocolate box perfect cigar and whisky store and sampling lounge. Great range, super staff and delightful location. Who could ask for more? I then spent the evening at Puffin Rooms – Liverpool, relaxing to the music and singing of our lovely Victoria Sharpe and enjoying the menu from chef Chris. I popped in to the Turmeaus shop where Amrut whisky were doing a tasting event to a rather full crowd.

Next week I’m visiting Turmeaus and La Casa del Habano – Chester and will be chilling at Puffin Rooms on Tuesday evening. Come and join me, I will probably do a cigar Q&A at the Turmeaus cigar shop and lounge at around 8 p.m.

Okay that’s it for another month and I’m heading home with a baggie to enjoy….

Partagas Maduro No. 1 (a serious cigar!)

Bolivar Belicosos 2007 (my long-time favourite code TEB JUN07 – 2007 )

Oliva Orchant Seleccion Chubby (I really must get back on a diet soon!)

Inca Secret Blend Reserva D’Oro (Whatta smoke!)

Montecristo 80th Anniversary (just wow!)

… and a wee bottle of my multi award winning Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt.

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell Orchant

Ron’s Specialist Whiskies

Ardbeg knocks it out of the ballpark with this latest release, you might reply “yeah A No” that would be appropriate because once you taste it you will know Ardbeg fans will appreciate the new gathering or marrying cask that houses the various casks that go into this whisky so they get intimate before being bottled This Whisky has a creamy butterscotch smoky spice and a wee bit of chocolate. It will do me nicely.

Springbank does no wrong as far as I am concerned and this unpeated triple distilled. Hazelburn confirms that. Under appreciated this lovely dram has rich toffee vanilla notes with smoothly lively dance.

Despite getting a massive rating a couple years ago from Jim Murray this Kentucky beauty seems to be under the radar. Don’t miss out on these orangey vanilla tones talk Rye and this handcrafted gem works great on rocks.

Slainte,
Ron