I’m Baaacckkkkkk!

I’m back… after a rather long 6 weeks out of the UK and looking outside my window it doesn’t look like I brought the sunshine back from Los Angeles 🙂 I was hoping for a topless drive to my favourite pub (The Three Horseshoes) and a quiet smoke in their garden but alas its not to be this weekend.

My trip started with the annual IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas. I always thought that a tobacco trade organisation with ‘CPR’ in its title was rather ominous!

Regardless, I have been going to this wonderful trade show (all over the US) for almost 19 years and enjoyed this one as much as ever. There seemed to be fewer exhibitors and visitors than previous years but that just made it easier for me to get around and see all of the cigar and accessories distributors and manufacturers more efficiently.

Vegas was blisteringly hot as ever and the air conditioning was too cold. The hotel we were all staying at had no single malt and ran out of blended whisky too (unbelievable!) But, smoking was allowed in the casino and the bars so I’m not complaining too much.

I continue to be impressed by the New World cigars with stunning quality and blending as well as beautiful packaging from our friends and colleagues at Fuente, Oliva, Alec Bradley, Davidoff and La Flor Dominican to mention a few. We look forward to introducing some more exclusive lines from some of these fine cigar manufacturers over the next few months and beyond.

The growth in popularity of New World cigars was something that I accurately predicted over 10 years ago. I’m glad I acted on my thoughts as these cigars now account for a huge chunk of our group business both in mail order and our retail group, It was obvious to me that new generations of cigar aficionados would be more willing to ‘mix it up’ and try both Fine Havana cigars as well as a variety of New World cigars. And rightly so I say, after all – variety is the spice of life.

I reckon C.Gars has the largest selection and stocks of New World cigars in the UK by a long distance 🙂 all available online and in store.

Karyn and I spent the rest of our trip hosting or being guests at numerous herfs all over Los Angeles. Small herfs, huge herfs… we did them all 🙂 It was great to meet so many old friends and make so many new friends too. Staying at the same hotel and the same suite as we have done for so many years in a cigar friendly hotel didn’t make it seem like too much hard work.

Our thanks to all of our friends in L.A. as well as our friends who flew over from New York to herf with us.

Back to C.Gars London headquarters to catch up for a few days and disappointed to see that the Cohiba Siglo VI have now joined Cohiba Behikes in the out of stock category. Clearly there are still agricultural issues affecting supply. Many of our clients are now switching to Trinidad Vigia (a simply superb Havana cigar) and Cohiba Piramides Extra (super delicious) How long they will be available for is hard to say in the current climate. We are up to full capacity in all of our walk in humidors but demand for Havanas continues to increase this year beyond even what we had anticipated.

We are still eagerly anticipating the exclusive launch and release of the Cohiba Talisman Limited Edition early February in the UK. Will keep you posted.

I’m just putting the finishing touches on our September 10th Vintage Cigar Auction. We decided to hold this extra auction as a few of our clients did not want to wait till our Winter auction. I thought we would just hold a small, perhaps 100 Lot auction but this sale seems to have taken on a life of its own with over 320 Lots already catalogued. Catalogue will be online and bidding open on the 1st September. A splendid range vintage, mature, Pre Embargo, Davidoff and Dunhill cigars to say the least and no doubt some bargains to be won by some lucky bidders.

This Tuesday I will be at visiting Turmeaus Liverpool, our amazing flagship cigar and whisky store in the city where Turmeaus was established 200 years ago. Tuesday evening I’ll be chilling out at The Puffin Rooms for supper and cocktails with some great live jazz music. Open from 5 p.m. till late… come and join me and we can have also sample cigars in the Turmeaus shop right next door to the Puffin Rooms.

The Puffin Rooms opened around 4 weeks ago and as one of my friends who visited recently said we have knocked it out of the ballpark! I can’t even think of anywhere like this place in London. Live music 7 nights a week, 5 star service, splendid menu, cocktails and 200 whiskies available by the dram. Add to that the Turmeaus cigar and sampling lounge open till late for a perfect evening… chic and cool, if not unique.

In other news this week >>> congratulations/mazal tov to my nephew Gabriel and his wife Verity as they are expecting another baby (No. 3!) we are slowly working on making Gabriel a cigar smoker and whisky drinker 🙂 (with surprising success recently!)

Congratulations to Nick and Hannah on their forthcoming wedding (and wedding herf!) next weekend. Nick is ‘The face of C.Gars’. Handsome devil has his image in all of our shops and catalogues!… and of course as expected Nick is marrying an exceptionally beautiful young lady.

Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Louis XIII at the Puffin’ Rooms

We have some amazing news Louis XIII is now available in our Puffin’ Room bar.

To mark the occasion, we decided to give you some background on this amazing Cognac:

Start of Louis XIII

First created in 1874, LOUIS XIII Cognac is an exquisite blend of up to 1,200 grapes eaux-de-vie sourced 100% from Grande Champagne, the first cru of the Cognac region. Each eau-de-vie is matured slowly inside oak cask. Each individually numbered decanter is designed after an original 16th century metal flask, discovered on the site of the battle of Jarnac in France and is made from fine crystal for generations, mouth-blown by some of the most skilled master craftsmen.

Heritage

Louis XIII is the embodiment of an ancestral savoir-faire, each decanter is the life achievement of generations of Cellar Masters. Since its origins in 1874, each generation of Cellar Master selects from our cellars the oldest and greatest eaux-de-vie for Louis XIII. Today, Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau is setting aside our finest eaux-de-vie, as a legacy to his successors who will continue to blend LOUIS XIII for the next century. It is the ultimate expression of the mastery of time.

Louis XIII at Puffin’ Room

We are proud to offer this amazing cognac, we make sure every moment you have this cognac you feel the luxury that comes with. It all starts with the Crystal Louis XIII glasses and having the Louis XIII brought to the table and served to you. We offer this cognac in different measurements 10ml, 15ml, 25ml and 35ml.

The Puffin’ Room is opened 7 days a week Mon-Sat 5-11pm and Sunday 3-10pm.

Slainte

Craig

The Puffin!

Well I can finally report… at long last, our Liverpool flagship development has been completed and is open 🙂

It’s been a long journey since C.Gars purchased the ground floor commercial premises of The Albany on Old Hall Street in the center of Liverpool some two years ago but it’s been worth the huge effort all of my team has put in.

We opened one half of the new Turmeaus development last September which provided a state of the art huge walk in humidor with a gigantic range of premium cigars, humidors and accessories, a magnificent specialist whisky room with licenced bar and a very comfortable cigar sampling lounge. Phase 1 as its affectionately known is open 6 days a week from 9 am – 6 pm (10 am – 5 pm Saturday).

The second phase of the development provides an additional Turmeaus specialist cigar shop and sampling lounge that is open from 5 pm – 11 pm 6 days a week and 3 pm till 10 pm on Sundays. The sampling lounge has the best smoke filtration system I have ever seen anywhere in the world with 30 air changes an hour meaning that even when the lounge is full with clients sampling cigars, there is literally no smoke at all. It just gets eaten up… fast! (A great relief to my wife who is exceptionally porous!)

Next door to the Turmeaus is the “Puffin’ Rooms” where we feature live jazz and blues music 7 nights a week, whisky cocktails, an extensive whisky menu and a delicious tapas food menu. It’s a unique offering in opulent surroundings, the likes of which I have never seen before in the UK. Gorgeous waitresses and fabulous bar staff mixing crazy cocktails… Very laid back and very cool!

Opening Times:
Monday to Saturday – 5pm – 11pm
Sundays 3pm – 10pm
Jazz Nightly
Blues Bash Sunday Afternoons

It’s a great achievement to have finally opened the complete flagship in our 200th anniversary year. My thanks to Davidoff cigars and Dalmore whisky for all of their support with our expansion.

We have been testing the food and the customer service on a few crowds of invited guests and our management team over the last few days and we believe it’s truly 5 star. We don’t plan on any opening events for the Puffin’ Rooms as we are already more or less full every evening. The new late night Turmeaus cigar shop and lounge will be holding regular, weekly tasting events featuring Davidoff and other premium handmade cigars.

We will have some professional photographs up on the website by the end of the month but better still come and experience the best cigars, food, drinks and live music at our new premises. Check out all of our beautiful cigar and whisky shops here.

In other news this week…

The newly expanded Robert Graham shop in West Hampstead is nearly finished and features an expanded range of fine spirits as well as a comfortable indoor sampling area and heated outdoor sampling area. I had a herfette with M.D Steve Johnstone there last week 🙂

A warm welcome to my long time business partner Ron Morrison who has joined the C.Gars Team to oversee our continued expansion.

Congratulations to Danny and Liz from my favourite pub, The Three Horseshoes, on buying the place. Cigar friendly, great service and food and just lovely people!

I’m off to Las Vegas for the annual IPCPR tobacco industry trade show this week. It’s an amazing annual trade show where I meet many of the manufacturers of the fine cigars that we sell as well as source the best new accessories and humidors available. Herfing day and night is mandatory of course 🙂 and I’m looking forward to the annual Alec Bradley dinner on Wednesday evening. Alec Bradley cigars have become super popular with our clients. Excellent blends and extremely well priced cigars.

I’m out of the UK till late August and will be herfing in Los Angeles with friends and family 🙂 back just in time to get our next auction catalogue online. We have never held an auction in September before but we have so many fantastic Lots from clients that we snuck an extra sale in this year.

So, I’m off my beloved Havana cigars for the next 6 weeks and plan to enjoy the best of new world smokes, including Davidoff Winston Churchill, Oliva Skinny, Chubby and Shorty, Inca Reserva, Alec Bradley Prensado and Fuente Opus X. That should keep me satisfied until September!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Rare and Collectable Whiskies

This week we are taking a look at our range of rare and collectable whiskies, over the past few years whiskies have become a very collectable item and we do offer a wide range of whiskies which will be a great piece for collectable.

Here is a few that I would recommend:

Glen Flager 5 Year Old

A 1970s bottling of 5 year old whisky from the incredibly rare Glen Flagler. It was not actually a distillery, but the name of the whisky produced from stills at the Moffat Grain Distillery in Airdrie. Only produced for 21 years between 1964 and 1985, Glen Flagler bottlings are highly collectable.

Nose: Warm grain, with fruity fragrances of pear.

Mouth: Medium body with apple cider, sour at first with vanilla notes.

Finish: Short with oak tannins and white pepper.

Bruichladdich 1998 Oloroso Sherry 10 Year Old

Part of a pair of 1998 Sherry Editions from Bruichladdich, this whisky was distilled during a six week period in 1998. This was the only time the distillery was working between Jan 1995 and May 2001. There was only 9000 bottles ever released this bottle number 3044

Nose: Sweet with raisins and vanilla as refreshing fruits also dominate with honey.

Palate: Rich with chocolate and yet more raisin, vanilla and honey as dark summer fruits also feature on this sweet palate.

Finish: Medium length, and sweet.

Ardbeg 1990 Alright Nam Beist

Airigh Nam Beist (pronounced ‘Arry nam Bysht’ 1990 is a delicious vintage bottling, matured in ex-bourbon casks from the ongoing success story that is Ardbeg. Unfortunately now discontinued due to exhausted stocks, ‘the Beist’ was an extremely popular Ardbeg, with assertive and powerful peatiness and a lovely honeyed edge.
The rather ominous name, ‘Airigh Nam Beist’ derives from the Scotch Gaelic for ‘Shelter of the Beast.’

Nose: Initially a combination of sea spray and creamy vanilla ice cream infused with hints of peat oil with a fudge sauce.

Palate: A traditional Ardbeg taste with peat, bonfire smokiness, crispy bacon and maple syrup leaving a peppery feel. Sweet and fruity flavours later emerge as notes of black coffee, liquorice and reminders of parma violets linger in the background.

Finish: Long on the finish with dried peat and creamy notes.

Always keep an eye out on our website for whiskies which come under our “Golden era” which is 60s/70s these whiskies are very collectable.Also remember we have a Turmeaus rare and vintage facebook page which you can find here.

Slainte,

Craig

Summertime… and the livin’ is easy :)

Good grief the weather is hot in London! Topping 30C today according to my weather app. Perfect for some roof-down herfing in the ol’ car and perfect for BBQ herfing in the garden 🙂 I have my deck open and super comfortable whilst the weather lasts. I’ve been blasting through a box of Por Larranaga Sobresalientes over the weekend and they really are Sobresalientes! ( ‘outstanding’).  I’m told they are sold out at the importers now so this is your last chance of laying them down… C.Gars and Turmeaus shops have reasonable stocks at this time but I doubt they will last long.

We’re going through a sort of mini boom in the cigar trade in the UK this year, not quite sure why but our sales have never been so high. Lots of Havanas going in and out of stock every day. The latest out of stocks are El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme and H. Upmann Magnum 50. We have huge stocks of everything so we can iron out quite a few rough spots. Cohiba Robusto Supremo are also out as are Trinidad Topes. Thankfully Trinidad Vigia is back in 🙂 I’m not really sure of the reason for the out of stocks, could be the massive increase in demand or continuing shortages from Cuba which we had thought and hoped were coming to an end.

We held the second vintage cigar auction of 2017 on July 11th and achieved a very successful sale rate knocking down 318 out of the 322 Lots offered.

There was continued and substantial interest and price appreciation on almost all categories.

Staggering results were achieved for some early Limited and Regional editions.

Overall sales (including fees) amounted to some £433,608 (approximately $563,691)

Highlights of the sale included:

Lot 328 – Punch Coronas £40,500.00
Lot 295 – Partagas 155th Anniversary Humidor  £12000 – £14000
Lot 296 – Partagas 165th Anniversary Humidor £10,100.00
Lot 323 – Partagas No. III £9,600.00
Lot 326 – Por Larranaga Coronations Miniature £6,600.00
Lot 317 – Hoyo de Monterrey Selection humidor £6,500.00
Lot 274 – Davidoff Chateau Yquem £6,300.00
Lot 310 – Dunhill  Special Seleccion No. 415 £6,100.00

I believe the weakness of Sterling likely fueled the high prices achieved. We had a staggering amount of bidders which topped 500 at one stage online. Demand for high quality aged and rare Havanas seems to be insatiable with increased interest again noted from our clients in the Far East.

The next vintage cigar auction will be held at 12pm on the 10th September 2017 followed by a Winter auction at the end of November. We’re considering entries for both sales at this time and details should be emailed to us in the first instance auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk

I’m zooming up to Liverpool in the morning to check out the new Turmeaus expansion as well as The Puffin’ Rooms. My team tell me that we should be open within the week. Exciting stuff! More details to follow.

Have a smoky week in the sunshine!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell