Herfing in Spain


mitch3
Back to London after a lovely vacation in very sunny 30°F Spain and apologies I never bought the sunshine back with me. Hey Ho – it’s a bank holiday weekend so we should of course expect tons of rain as usual !

I’m a bit of a fussy bugger so I take a baggie of cigars with me wherever I travel in case heaven forbid I find myself in a location where I can’t find smokes immediately. So I crammed some humipouches full of Partagas SD4’s  and Monte 2’s and I was glad that I did especially as the D4’s were the sweetest batch that I have smoked in some time.

My change of pace holiday cigar was an Oliva Orchant Seleccion Chubby  which was delicious.  The Monte 2’s weren’t too shabby either.  My holiday treat cigar was a 1988 Davidoff 4000 which was sublime.

I love herfing in the sunshine and Spain seems to have smokers everywhere. I counted 5 cigar smokers at one restaurant terrace by the beach – how civilized. :-)

The new Partagas Maduro No.1  has been more popular than we would have guessed and are now available in all Turmeaus shops and online of course. Bit of a flavour bomb to say the least. Snap them up whilst stocks last.

Our marketing department tell me that pipe and pipe tobacco sales are going through the roof this year – thank you dear customers :-) we guarantee best prices in the UK of course. If we are wrong let us know and we will gladly price match. We are adding new ranges all the time. Here’s a link to all the new products that we have recently added.

I’m super happy with our Chester shops, Turmeaus Tobacconist on one side and La Casa del Habano on the other side :-) The shops are so busy and popular with our clients that we have acquired the shop next door and will be expanding our whisky and cigar offering further with a planned opening date of early October. Chester is such a beautiful city with great bars and restaurants and my wife tells me the shops are fabulous! It’s worth a trip even if you are not from the area. We open late on Wednesdays as well and the La Casa lounge is the perfect herfing spot to sample all the latest Havanas.

I read on the excellent Cigar Aficionado website that there are more changes at the top of Habanos SA.  Always a shame to lose all that experience.  No effect to us little retailers though and Hunters & Frankau are doing a great job keeping our humidors filled with the finest Havanas.

Small stocks of Por Larranaga Sobresalientes  have been trickling through again and are back on the shelves. I think this is one of the finest regional editions from Havana although my favourite is still Punch Serie D’Oro No.1

This week’s best seller has been our latest sampler pack bit sad calling it The End of Summer but looking out of my window it could be right, great value and great smokes.

This week’s rant concerns the latest ridiculous proposals for massive health warning labels on just about every part of the cigar box. What a complete and utter waste of time. Hopefully common sense will prevail and we will end up with something sensible that we can all live with.

mitch1Well that’s just about another month done and I’m looking forward to the long weekend with a baggie full of Fuente Don Carlos,  Inka Robusto,  Regius Petit Robusto (What a bargain!) and a box of Bolivar Belicosos #yumm.

Next week’s herfing plans take me to Paris… let’s hope the weathers better than London !

Have a smokey weekend.

Peaceful puffing

 

Mitchell

 

 

cgaroliva1

New Smokes!

Good to be back to my old work routine after my Summer break and this week I have managed around an hours work a day and at least 10 hours daily herfing :)

Michelle has been on vacation so that’s always a great excuse to have an office herf and very thorough sampling session. We kicked off the week at the office with ‘The Boyz’ coming round on Monday afternoon and not leaving till rather late in the evening! Supper was supplied by The White House #yumm and whisky by Robert Graham Ltd… Perfect.

We kicked off with a Partagas S.D No. 6 and then sampled our way through the new H. Upmann Magnum 56 which was pretty amazing followed by Cohiba Robusto Supremos which are totally amazing smokes.

I had good intentions of a hard day’s work the next day but when I got to Turmeaus Mayfair the little sampling lounge was just too tempting and I was rapidly joined by a few chums for the rest of the afternoon. We sampled our way through a Partagas SD5 followed by a Partagas SD4 paired up with some Ailein Mor single malt. My day continued with a visit to the super Robert Graham shop in West Hampstead (a dram of the Hoebeg single malt and Montecristo Media Corona) and finished with a nightcap and another Monte Media Corona at the Lanesborough. That was a tough day… Not :)

So the Lanesborough is open: Woohoo! It’s great to see Neil and Luca again. The chairs and tables have been changed and its more comfy than ever. The humidor is chock a block full of the most amazing Havana cigars in pristine perfect condition. We really are terribly lucky to have so many splendid places to smoke in London.

Our La Casa del Habano in Chester has already received the new Partagas Maduro No. 1 and has already… Sold out. More on the way thankfully as this is another winner I’m pleased to report. Measuring in at 5 1/8” length and 52 ring gauge this dark and oily beast is the bomb! Its best suited to the experienced Havana cigar smoker. Full and very sweet flavour throughout, great construction, beautiful aroma and a very serious and complex blend.

Our Winter auction catalogue is almost full which is probably a record as there are still over 3 months before the sale on the 30th November. We expect to be offering over 300 Lots and this sale will feature the largest Pre Embargo section I have ever seen. Some of these cigars are so rare, even I have never seen them before. I find Pre Embargo Havanas breath taking to look at and sublime to smoke. When stored correctly, they are incredible. Delicate flavours, great construction and a cigar experience never to forget.

I commissioned some amazing cigar ashtrays to be made for C.Gars. Check them out on this link. Each one is individual and hand made in Hungary. Very cool. If you are a client of Turmeaus Mayfair you may be interested to know that my assistant Daniel’s Mother makes these ashtrays. She is quite an artisan.

Hoyo San Juan are back in stock as are Por Larranaga Sobresalientes (in small quantity) I love the San Juan, it’s a monster smoke at 5 7/8” length and 54 ring gauge and gives huge volumes of smoke with the perfect balance of strength and flavour.

We’re adding to our whisky range all the time (good excuse to sample the stock!) and of course Turmeaus Mayfair, Liverpool and Chester are all licenced. See the range on this link. I planning to add a Turmeaus whisky shop to our retail group in a few weeks’ time due to overwhelming demand and our need for additional retail space. More details to follow.

You can even buy whisky and rum by the dram in the bar at Turmeaus Chester, we have quite a range. I’ll be back in Chester for the whisky and cigar tasting on the 10th September. Book up soon as the event is almost sold out already!

This weekend’s baggie includes some of my old favourites, Bolivar Belicosos, Partagas SD No. 4 and Monte 2’s. All smoking very well indeed. To mix it up a little I’ve also grabbed a box of Orchant Seleccion by Oliva – Chubby. Now if the weather would just improve a little, I could actually enjoy a smoke in the garden for the first time in ages!

Michelle is back from vacation on Monday :) So I’m off to Spain for a few days R&R. Hopefully good weather for cigars smoking and a top up of the tan :)

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Back to Blighty!

cgarla2Good to be home after a mammoth 5 weeks of herfing in the USA.

The last week of the trip was just about the busiest with non-stop herfing and meetings just about every day of the week. In fact on one day I actually met with three different crowds of clients starting at 4:30 for a very chilled out Inca cigar tasting at the hotel, moving on to see more friends at the State Social House (super place but very loud for an old boy like me) and then over to Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills for yet another cigar tasting that ended around 1:30 in the morning.

Always great to herf with SoCal boy Kermit who has written an amazing book… I think I should get a copy fast after the last 5 weeks indulgence, I think I need to do some serious working out!

I also enjoyed an incredible evening at a friend’s house featuring a Macallan whisky tasting together with some rarest vintage cigars. From cask strengths to 18 and 30 year old and other rare bottlings, this was a night to remember.

san_diago_herfThen there was a mega herf in San Diego that was just about all day and most of the night! Lunch, dinner, wine, single malt, tequila and copious quantities of cigars of every shape, size and brand! This was an incredible event and my thanks to VC for putting such an incredible annual herf on for me and my chums including Jay, Peter and George who flew in specially from New York.

I also got to see my friend Michael Lington play at Vibrato and bumped into actor Michael Nouri as well.michael_lington_vibrato

The trip was great for star spotting at my hotel including Chris Martin, Paulina Rubio, Steve Tyler, Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright! I called over to invite Mark over for a cigar but he thanked me, declined, smiled and looked very handsome! Spotted Amanda Holden at Mel’s Diner on Sunset one morning as well :) (She looked very pretty)

Also bumped into one movie producer Alan Greenspan one of my best friends (especially as he was producer of my favourite film, Donnie Brasco!) and enjoyed drinks and smokes with him.

All in all an amazing business trip where I herfed with literally 100’s of friends / clients non-stop. I do love going to the US, despite the driving on the wrong side of the road thing and the Americans being amused and baffled at our roundabouts! Super friendly crowds wherever I went and perfect weather to say the least. It was great to swap pin stripes for Tommy Bahama :).

I enjoyed so many New World cigars including Inca, Regius, Alec Bradley, Padron, Fuente and Davidoff to name a few. I have to admit I did miss my Havana cigars and the first thing I did when I arrived home was fire up a Ramon Allones Specially Selected… Heaven!

Back to the office for a few days this week and then heading up North next week to meet builders at yet another new shop which we plan to open in September, all very exciting.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

California Dreamin’

The Los Angeles office has been very busy over the last week with a series of Inca – Secret Blend cigar tasting sessions by the swimming pool of my hotel :-)

The overwhelming verdict is that this is the perfect any time smoke.It doesn’t knock you out with strength but has volumes of sweet flavours from the first to the last puff. The brand was introduced in the US a few weeks ago and I understand the first production batch is already sold out. Inca – Secret Blend will be available in select cigar specialists in California in the next few weeks.

My thanks to all the Secret Blend retailers who are working with us to make my little boutique brand successful.

We had a bit of a boat herf in Long Beach last week with Cap’n Duffy piloting the electric ‘Duffield’ boat whilst we smoked some great cigars paired up with Dalmore Cigar Malt and Glen Ord 12 year old. I used the group of guys as a focus group for the Inca special edition I am planning on for release in the UK later this year. The cigars are made entirely of pelle d’oro leaf which is a difficult leaf to successfully grow in any reasonable quantity. The leaf is resistant to blue mold disease in Peru and has an incredible sweet taste characteristic. Fair to say the taste test group enjoyed the cigars very much which makes me very happy to be plowing on with the project. 1000 boxes of 10 robusto sized cigars are planned for release early December.

Meanwhilst the Inka – Secret Blend range in the UK goes from strength to strength and continues to be our most popular New World brand of cigars. Being the maker of the brand has given me a great advantage as there is no middleman so I can pass the savings on to our clients.I keep the packaging for the UK brand simple and the cost to a bare minimum as this is all about premium tobacco at an affordable price.

Talking about affordable prices you really should check out our current pricing on Regius cigars as there is no way we can hold such low pricing for much longer. Premium cigars at budget prices. Quality Nicaraguan tobacco, great wrapper and all the popular sizes. No idea why we seem to be the only cigar specialist selling these great smokes in the UK but they are storming out of our shops with non stop repeat orders. My fave is the Robusto and I have been enjoying quite a few whilst in the US over the last month.

What ever happened to Macanudo cigars in the UK? They were sold, not sold, sold by all different people, taken off the market… Confused? Me too! I smoked a few different Macanudo range cigars at the trade show a few weeks ago and some were very impressive. I just heard STG is doing an IPO so maybe they will get some proper distribution in the UK thereafter. I certainly hope so. I think STG now own Torano cigars as well. I used to import Torano directly and they were terribly popular. Hopefully a decent UK range will re-appear as if by magic sometime soon :-)

I hear that the Upmann Magnum 56 Limited Edition came out in the UK a few days ago. From the feedback I am seeing on our Facebook account it looks like a bit of a winner. I cant wait to try one when I get back to London. I’m not sure why so many of these huge format cigars are made. I love a big cigar but reckon most people these days are in a hurry and want short and fat cigars, generally Robustos and Petit Robustos seem to be ideal for the UK. I’m working with the fabulous Nat Sherman company to import a few of their new range to add to the existing very popular range we are stocking. Sizes? – Quite perfect Robustos and Petit Robustos :-)

I’m herfing my way through loads of Davidoff Winston Churchill cigars daily. I think I have grown to love this range. Its not cheap but the quality of the cigar blend is truly outstanding.

For a change of pace I’m still smoking plenty of Orchant Seleccion by Oliva Chubby’s! How good is this cigar?! Judging by the incredible sales… Very good indeed. what a pleasure to work with Oliva on the blend of this cigar as well as the Shorty and Skinny in the Orchant Seleccion range.

If all goes to plan we will be making an Orchant Seleccion Havana cigar in the very near future to add to the range we have enjoyed over the last few years.

Busy week coming up with quite a few friends coming over to visit from the East Coast and planned herfs already organised non stop from Sunday to Thursday next week. I will need a holiday!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing wishes from Cali,

Mitchell

New Orleans!

I reckon this was something like the 16th or 17th IPCPR (previously RTDA) trade show I have attended in the USA and this is the second time I have been to the show in New Orleans. The show was HUGE!!! and I love seeing all the manufacturers of cigars and accessories, as well as trade colleagues not to mention learn about all the new cigars and other products coming to the market. In fact the show is so huge, despite being there for 5 days I still didn’t manage to meet up with everyone I had planned (sorree).
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There used to be a trade association in the UK that put on a rather miserable looking annual trade show. I’m not sure if they do it any more as I gave up going out of sheer boredom some years ago and prefer to attend International trade shows instead.

I only spotted two other cigar specialists at the show from the UK- Paresh Patel from Regal Cigars and Simon Jackson from My Smoking Shop, both thoroughly professional merchants and top chaps!  No one else from the UK?! Excellent, that leaves it pretty clear for me to keep importing new stock lines and passing all the savings over to our customers – job done :)

There were many new brands of cigars that I have to wonder will they actually be around in a years’ time? they look like branding exercises rather than actually cigar making businesses. We shall see.

The first stand I stopped at was Daniel Marshall humidors. I think I made Daniel’s day as I gave him his first order of the show! Awesome boxes, store in style :)
Click here to see our full range of Daniel Marshall humidors! More designs coming soon.

Great to see the Xikar range growing year on year and looking forward to an even larger range online very soon – see our Xikar range here!!cid_A8244EDBC5A0419A9F79F9F9FCE0F1CC@HOMELAPTOP

We’re excited about the possibility of introducing La Palina cigars to the UK market and we plan to add to our existing Nat Sherman range, as I found a cracker of a smoke that I will be importing to the UK very soon. I love Nat Sherman and it’s my favourite shop to visit when I’m in NYC.

I bumped into Daniel who used to work at Turmeaus Mayfair and was very happy to see how well he’s doing at Mombacho Cigars. I even found a cracking little cigar in their range that I fancy bringing in to the UK in the next few weeks.

Turmeaus shops and customers  will be very happy to hear I bought zillions of new pipes that can’t normally be found in the UK so their ranges are about to have some delightful quality and value additions. Our pipe tobacco business has been going ballistic over the last two years. Best value in the UK guaranteed- if I’m wrong I will gladly price match.

As most of C.Gars blog readers know, I love Alec Bradley Cigars! We have started a project to have a special release for the UK market only which is very cool and will be very exclusive to two or three cigar specialist only :) Oh and thanks to the Boys at A.B. (George, Alan, Mike, Ralph et al) for the delightful dinner in New Orleans.
Check out our current Alec Bradley range here

I’m equally fond of the Oliva cigars who had a beautiful exhibition stand and we voted ‘the most comfortable armchairs’! Orchant Seleccion by Oliva remain our best-selling new cigar this year:

Shorty

Chubby

Skinny

I was working hard for Regius cigars at the show being a sort of brand ambassador for the limited edition Orchant seleccion cigars that Akhil and I have blended. Seemed to go well as I think we sold them all out on the first day. Check out my UK Regius range here – ridiculous good value, no wonder we sell zillions of them all year round :)

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Inca Secret Blend – Robusto

I probably don’t need to bang on about the success of the Inka – Secret Blend cigars I created for the UK market but I can now confirm that our Inca- Secret Blend created for the US and International market seem to be selling out faster than we could ever have dreamed. I’m now finalizing the blend on my Inca Robusto, which will roll out in a few months’ time. We are adding retailers daily and some are listed on our Inca website.

The Davidoff stand was as breath taking as usual and it was good to see Avo holding court as usual. The Davidoff range is stunning and I love this brand, especially the new Winston Churchill cigars.

My business partners; Ron Morrison and Guy Hancock celebrated the successful business with colleagues including Chris Morrison , Gennaro Lettieri , Gary Hyams and Clay Wilson with a fabulous dinner at the Commanders Place in New Orleans! Highly recommended.

So all in all another successful trade show and now I’m looking forward to doing it all over again at the Dortmund trade show in September and then back to Las Vegas next Summer :)

Righto – 1 day off before I get back to my serious cigar dinner talking routine… tough life but clearly I’m the man for the job.

 

Peaceful puffing and long ashes from sunny L.A.

 

Mitchell

New York Cigar Humidor Cartoon