Prague Herfing!

Just back from a few days R&R in sunny Prague :) I have been to Prague with Michelle many years ago but had almost forgot what a beautiful city this is in terms of architecture (quite breath-taking) as well as in terms of how smoker friendly it is!

CjN1t84WYAAGbuzGranted, I was lucky as the weather was fairly fab but just about every café, bar, restaurant had outside (many covered and heated) patios with ashtrays on the tables and no one batted an eye lid as I lit up my Inka Secret Blend Half Coronas, Chicos and Upmann Half Coronas.

I visited the La Casa del Habano which is a pretty large cigar store and lounge with a decent range in the walk in humidor and I went to the Cohiba Atmosphere which was pretty impressive as a concept (first one I have seen) We stayed in the Kings Court Hotel which was first rate/very well located and the casino allows cigar smoking (I finished 20 quid up on roulette!)

That’s the end of my international trips for a few weeks at least which is a bit of a relief as it is starting to feel that I have spent more time out of the UK than in the UK!… and that’s the first 5 months of the year passed already! Vintage cigar auction coming up fast on the 20th and we are already taking entries for our Winter auction. They say time flies when you’re enjoying yourself so I must be having a bloody good time!

So a few other exciting bits and pieces including the introduction of two new Macanudo Inspirado sizes next week to join the madly popular Mareva. We are also looking forward to the Davidoff cigar roller events at our Chester Turmeaus shop in June and we’ll be running a series of Davidoff specials at all of our shops and online from the 8th June.

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new_regius_2015_cigarsThe huge success of the Regius cigar brand marches on with no end to this brands popularity in the UK. Checkout the range on this link. Great quality and super value. My favourites being the Orchant Seleccion of course 😉 Volumes of flavour from this Nicaraguan dark wrappered beauty.

Nice article about Marc Sinden in Cigar Journal last week, read it on this link.

liverpool_albany_humidor_planTurmeaus at The Albany, Liverpool is coming along nicely and I understand in addition to a floor we now have walls! this will give you an idea of what the humidor will look like. Fair to say it should be pretty impressive with a huge range of Cuban and the best New World cigars.

We’re having a bit of a Summer party bash at La Casa del Habano – Chester on the 8th June. Tickets on this link but you may need to hurry as the event is more or less sold out now. We have shoe shines and wet shaves, music, canapés and of course a Havana cigar tasting paired up with some rather tasty single malt whisky and Cuban rum. I’ll be hosting the event so I’m looking forward to herfing with our whisky club members as well as our La Casa clients. It will be a memorable evening :)

On the 14th June I’ll be herfing at the Hunters & Frankau Summer Party which is being held at The Corinthia. I can’t wait to see what new cigars will be released and I’m hoping it’s the new UK regional edition. I can’t think of any other new cigars that have been released from Havana this year so fingers crossed this will be the first… at last!

Michelle is on vacation this week so I’m ‘stuck’ in the office all week and I’ll be taking advantage of the time putting the finishing design touches on the Orchant Selection Cigar single malt whisky that I have just created. It’s a first rate Highland that pairs up to perfection with a fine cigar. it won’t drown out the delicate flavours of a good Havana and this will be the best value cigar malt on the market (would you expect anything less of me?!)

Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Herfing USA!

Just back from a hard weeks herfing in New York :) We enjoyed excellent weather but fortunately the weather was not crucial as there are so many places to herf indoors. New York is seriously cigar friendly.

CiL7y6KWwAA-JDAMy first stop was Davidoff on 6th Avenue. This used to be my early morning hang out for many years when it was De La Concha and it’s a bit of a shame that the Olde worlde charm of DLC has been replaced with an ultra-modern shop. It used to have so much atmosphere and was a very friendly place to meet and chat with fellow cigar smokers. I heard that the Davidoff Puro D’Oro range may be discontinued so I smoked a Gordito as I always enjoyed this blend. A perfectly constructed cigar (aren’t all Davidoffs?!) with a slight saltiness as a flavour characteristic but light to medium strength that made for a well-balanced smoke.

CiMkGZFXIAENfDNNext stop was my favourite cigar store in the USA, the world famous Nat Sherman. I love this place as the staff and the customers are all super friendly. I’m bias though as they also feature Inca – Secret Blend in the fabulous walk-in humidor! That said I smoked Nat Sherman Sterling which are one of my favourite New World cigars. We proudly import and stock a good range of Nat Sherman cigars both online and in store. Great value and excellent quality cigars that we highly recommend.

CiRzNAHWEAU6UOgI think the newest Davidoff shop and lounge is at Brookfield Place and I enjoyed a Davidoff Nicaraguan robusto whilst Karyn was busy shopping. This cigar store is beautiful and the service was very friendly too, the humidor was very impressive and the lounge very comfortable.

An hour out of NYC and I was at J.R. Cigars in Whippany, billed as the biggest cigar store in the world! I first herfed here some 17 years ago and it was great to return and see how it had changed with more CiWhj_6W0AAPrErcomfortable lounge areas and a mouth-watering selection of just about every cigar imaginable. Impressive would be an understatement. J.R. Cigars are now stocking Inca – Secret Blend and it was a pleasure to meet the Team that deal with all of the products, internet and marketing. Really great bunch who clearly are at the top of their game.

Saturday night was time for the late show at Carnegie Club with a Sinatra tribute show. Brilliant orchestra and singer and a fabulous late night herf with some of my best friends. We herfed our way through a ton of Fuente Opus X paired up with… A lot of Macallan :) till the early hours of the morning.

Late night smokes at Bar and Books on Lexington is always fun and they have a great whisky menu too. They have a few locations including Prague in the Czech Republic so I plan to check that out next week when I’m over there.

CiWDGv9WkAEEbQyWe enjoyed some great evenings including going to Lavo which was very cool, Polo Bar – very chic, and Park Side highly recommended.

We also herfed at Gran Havana Room and blasted through a box of Regius Orchant Seleccion Hermosos that I brought over for friends to try.

Sunday was time to relax at Club Macanudo where we smoked Macanudo cigars :) with some Balvenie 21.

All in all a rather mega herfing week and I can’t wait for my next trip to the Big Apple!

In other news… Summer Cigar Auction is fast approaching (20th June) and the catalogue is at the printers already so we hope to have it online and in the post to registered clients in the next week or so. Its huge and interesting sale of over 300 Lots of aged and rare Havanas. There are still a few tickets left for the event which includes a whisky and cigar tasting at the Sahakian cigar lounge post auction. More details on this link.

The new Turmeaus at The Albany in Liverpool is coming along nicely and I understand the floor now exists! The builders are crashing away and we’re on schedule for a late Summer opening of our latest cigar and whisky store and sampling lounge. Exciting stuff!

There was also a nice little write up on HalfWheel.com featuring a superb portrait by Brooks Wittington, so my thanks to them! You can see the article on this link.

So, after a week of delicious New World cigars it’s time to get back to some of my favourite Havanas of course and the first one up in smoke was an Orchant Seleccion Bolivar Royal Corona a true return to blending form for this cheeky robusto. Full flavour and full strength, how they used to be. Dark wrappers perfect construction and a beautiful aroma with volumes of smoke to tease the palate.

It’s good to be home!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Norfolk Herfing :)

c7gar_car_astonI love bank holiday weekends, especially as a 4 day week follows :) I’m definitely more suited to a 4 day week and think I will start to make a habit of it. I can’t believe we actually had decent weather on Sunday and I was able to go topless in the C7GAR car whilst herfing a Cohiba Robusto Supremo with Karyn doing an excellent Bridget Jones impersonation!

Back to herfing, I mean working on Tuesday with a zoom on the motorway to Turmeaus – Norfolk where we held a wonderful tasting event on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

IMG_3715C.Gars Ltd has been in Norfolk for almost 20 years and we opened our specialist tobacconist adjoining our offices and warehouse a couple of years ago. Norfolk is a most beautiful county and we have super premises 12 miles from Norwich. To the best of my knowledge there are no other specialist tobacconists for a zillion miles around which probably explains the popularity of this location for our Turmeaus shop and lounge.

IMG_3712As you can see from the photos we have a well-stocked walk in humidor, a beautiful shop crammed to the rafters with a HUGE range of tobaccos and of course a comfortable sampling lounge. We in a remote but idyllic location in Rollesby with easy parking and if the weather is nice we even have tables and chairs outside :)

IMG_3713We recently had our alcohol licence granted so now all of our premises are licenced for the sale of alcohol .That makes our tasting events even more fun as we try to match up great cigars with splendid single malt whiskies and / or Cuban rum.

norfolk_tasting_guestsThe lounge and shop were rather packed with local and regular Turmeaus clients who enjoyed H. Upmann Half Coronas and Bolivar Belgravia kindly supplied by Hunters & Frankau paired up with a magnificent range of single malt whiskies kindly supplied by Gordon & McPhail including:

norfolk_tasting_all_whiskies_cigarsTullibardine 500 Sherry Cask
Glen Scotia Double Cask
Glen Scotia Victoriana  This was an absolute winner in the pairings.
Speymalt from Macallan 2006
Linkwood 15 Year Old
Connoisseurs Choice Tormore 1997
Benromach 10 Year Old
Benromach 10 Year Old 100 Proof
Ledaig 1999

I wasn’t completely sure about the Bolivar Belgravia when it was first released but these cigars have now settled down into a divine smoking experience, light to medium strength but very full flavour. A perfect balance, beautiful wrappers and perfect construction.

norfolk_tasting_mealDespite the vast variety of canapes laid on for the event we manged to take the Turmeaus team of 12 out for dinner to the lovely Chinese over the road and ended the evening herfing Partagas Salomones with a bottle of Fettercairn 30 Year Old now that was a perfect pairing!

Thanks to Laura’s Team (including, James, Liam, Georgina, Imogen, Amy and our newest member Cally) for putting together such a wonderful event. I’m looking forward to the next one in a month or so.

The rest of my week has been filled with auction work as I put the finishing touches to the auction listings for the June 20th Vintage Cigar Auction. The catalogue is full and closed now and we are considering entries for the Winter sale.

I’m trying to limit entries to more interesting cigars going forward as well as close off the catalogue when it gets near the 300 Lot mark. I don’t think I have ever seen more rare or unique pre-embargo cigars as this sale. Truly breath taking. A range of single, boxes, cabinets and humidors that are simply magnificent one of a kinds.

Catalogue will be in print and Online around 2 weeks or so before the sale. Tickets for the event are available on this link but are almost sold out already. If you can’t make it to the Bulgari for the auction you will be able to bid online on the auction website as the sale will be live at the Bulgari and simultaneously online. We are always happy to provide condition reports to absentee bidders.

The weather is supposed to turn very hot this weekend and I’m planning on some serious car herfing with the “Car’ador” filled with some great smokes including:

El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse (my standard breakfast smoke)
Cohiba Siglo VI (bit of a treat)
Bolivar Royal Coronas Orchant Seleccion (Simply awesome smokes)
Hoyo Epicure Especial (best in the Hoyo range I reckon)
Bolivar Belicosos 2007 Vintage (sweet as sugar)

And when I’m not driving ( of course!) I have a bottle of Towmore 1997 to compliment the smokes :)

Have a smokey weekend.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Have I Changed?!

Mitch-Throwback-ThursdayI had a bit of a laugh this week clearing out some old archive boxes as you can see from the photo of me from around ¼ of a century ago when I first started selling cigars through the convenience stores at my petrol stations.

Found some eye opening old price lists for ‘Mitchell’s Cigar Company’  Ouch! prices have really gone up over the years! Ranges have changed but my marketing was pretty cool for a novice in the cigar trade :)

I think I changed the humidor business in the UK as much as the cigar business; I piled it all very high and sold it very cheap! Some 25 years later, I’m still doing the same except the business sells multi millions of Pounds worth of cigars, humidors and accessories now. I can’t believe how much the range has expanded over the years with some 8000 sku’s available online and helpful sales advisors working 24/7 – every day of the year. 8 shops in 5 locations and 2 warehouses (not counting our friends at Robert Graham Ltd in another 5 locations!), times have changed :)

It was great to get back into retail some years ago having gained vast experience in the C-store business and cigars and whisky are so much more fun! My project at The Albany in Liverpool will be the best retail development I have ever worked on and its steadily coming together with a planned opening after the Summer.

I visited Turmeaus – Liverpool this week as well as The Albany and as ever our two little shops were crammed with customers. I dare say all the regulars will be happy to have an all singing and dancing Turmeaus offering to enjoy. As well as regular tasting events in the sampling lounge, this new Turmeaus will feature what I believe will be the largest walk in humidor in the UK with the most extensive range of Havana and New World cigars. There will also be a whisky, spirits and tobacco room and a whisky & rum sampling bar.

ChD1y6nWYAAIaXII also popped in to the rather sexy Turmeaus – Knutsford where my assistant Andrew has completed the lovely wine room. He has a range of some 1000 bottles of all sorts of wine and champagne, from a tenner to a grand a bottle! Lovely :)

Herfed a Cohiba 1966 with my colleague Roy in the sampling lounge and chatted to Andrew’s assistant Liz. Liz tells me the shop is getting busier by the day with loads of cigar smokers from Knutsford and nearby Manchester now enjoying the sampling lounge and the fab range in the walk in humidor. We feature Havanas of course but also have a great range of Fuente, Alec Bradley, Inka- Secret Blend, Davidoff and many other premium New World cigars.

ChD60ANWMAAbsulFinal stop was at our beautiful La Casa del Habano – Chester where Roy and I sampled Partagas Salomones (La Casa exclusive)  which are outrageous smokes. Don’t be put off by the size, these cigars are remarkably smooth, full flavoured and medium strength. The draw and burn were perfect. These cigars are now on  my daily rotation.

Next week I’ll be herfing at Turmeaus – Norfolk as we host another whisky and cigar tasting event. If you haven’t booked, we have three spaces available for what promises to be an excellent event as ever.

Our house brand single malt whisky, Stalla Dhu, is so popular we can’t keep it on the shelves and my shop managers keep screaming at me that they have sold out! Fear not! I have another 1000 bottles on order and due to arrive in the next few days so all of our shops will have this amazing value Scotch available again. It’s perfect with a good cigar.

Our whisky buyers are having a lot of fun rounding off the range and we have plenty of old and rare stuff as well as just about everything else you can dream of. I see we have just released a few bottles of Speymalt Macallan 1974 and 1967, #yum.

New range of Vegueros are now available online and are a pretty decent smoke. Very different from the original range, worth a shot.

With thanks for our friends at Hunters & Frankau, I have selected a case of Bolivar Royal Coronas – Orchant Seleccion to celebrate the Queens 90th birthday. These cigars come with exceptional dark and oily wrapper leaf and are a splendid smoking experience. Read more about my Orchant Seleccion Havanas on this link.

I’m kicking back for the long weekend with  baggie crammmmed full of:

Bolivar Royal Coronas – Orchant Seleccion (whilst they are available!)
Partagas Salomones (big enough for a big mouth like me!)
Orchant Seleccion by Oliva Chubby (a bit like me!)
Inka – Secret Blend Bombaso Azul (I love my Peruvian blend)
Davidoff Winston Churchill Commander Toro (because I am the Commander!)

And I will be pairing them up with a bottle of Robert Graham Auchroisk my kinda bank hol weekend :)

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

cgarswhiskymatchdotcom

London is the Mecca for Cigar Smokers!

Herfing at the LanesboroughLondon really is the mecca for cigars smokers and I’m so lucky to live and work in this super city. Not only a few excellent cigar merchants but some of the best cigar terraces and sampling rooms and all in a very small area so it’s very easy to do a bit of a cigar crawl and herf as one does from time to time :)

Over the last week I have visited The Wellesley for a smoke with Giuseppe, The Bulgari for a smoke with Mike and the Lanesborough to catch up with my old friends Neil and Luca. I sampled the food, wine, scotch and cigars. All in the interests of research of course. I wanted to pop in and say hi to Manu at The Corinthia but our diaries didn’t work so that’s on the agenda in a few weeks’ time.

My other local terrace is at Ten Manchester Street, close to Baker street. Very chilled location and a lovely cigar friendly hotel too, hence I recommend all my clients to stay there (plus its only ten mins from C.Gars London office!).

My Girl Friday (C.Gars G.M.) Michelle is back from vacation thank goodness!… and just in time as I think we were melting down without her in her usual ‘total control’ of the C.Gars Empire mode! Mish was only away for a week but gosh did I miss her (call me high maintenance!)

The Albany - Coming Soon!I can happily confirm that Phase One of Turmeaus at The Albany has actually commenced! #woohoo A tad later than expected but all good things come to those who wait. The building contractors are in the strip out phase and I can’t wait to see it next week when I head up North. Slight structural glitch when some bits and bobs were knocked down and a chimney and supporting column were found, hey ho – we have great architects and they have already found a solution so my huge walk in humidor plans will not be affected. I’ll take some photos next week and pop them up on the blog.

The first phase of the project is a specialist cigar/tobacco/whisky store and sampling lounge. The second phase is a late night specialist cigar store and sampling lounge as well as a whisky and champagne bar and tapas lounge. I may have to spend a little more time up North later this year :)

Summer auction time is fast approaching and I’m aiming to close the catalogue at the end of next week which is a lot earlier than usual but I have to as the catalogue is already full with some 300 Lots of cigars. This sale will have a wonderful selection of mature & aged Havanas, Davidoff & Dunhill, Pre Embargo and Limited Editions. It’s our second auction sale of the year and this one is being held at The Bulgari as well as simultaneously online for our overseas bidders.

We have some simply incredible and unique Havana cigars on offer and I’m really enjoying all the cataloguing as I learn so much each time I have to research a cigar I have never seen before. If all goes to plan the catalogue will be in print and online a few weeks before the sale.

One of my overseas clients popped in the office on Wednesday (with a rather magnificent bottle of old Dom Perignon!) and as he’s a bit of a vintage cigar buff we herfed our way through some Davidoff Chateau Margaux from the 1970’s which were quite delicious followed by Partagas Coronas from the 1960’s which were absolutely sublime. Aged to perfection in my humidor for many years, the Partagas were still very full flavoured, rich and balanced. What a treat :)

Next week I’m zooming up to Turmeaus Liverpool/Chester/Knutsford and will be making sure our humidors are super fully stocked up for the bank holiday weekend coming up. Plenty of choice in cigars whether Cuban or New World and a ridiculously huge choice of single malt whisky in all our locations.

I’ve always been rather fond of Regius cigars. Great value, excellent sizes and just enough ‘Nic Kick’ in the blend to tease the taste buds. I’ve blended small batch limited edition Orchant Seleccion by Regius cigars for the last few years together with Akhil (owner of the brand) and we’ve had a ton of fun testing loads and loads of blending samples over some very long days… and evenings. Somehow we always come up with absolutely winners.

This year we have 3 new Orchant Seleccion by Regius and we will be launching them in the coming weeks. Only 200 boxes of 10 cigars for each size so I don’t think they will be around for too long.

Orchant Seleccion by Oliva remain very high on the best seller list and of course my Inka – Secret Blend brand from Peru sales continue to scale new highs. My Partner Ron is in Tarapoto in Peru at this time doing quality control for the new Inca – Secret Blend Roca (robusto) due out in the USA next month. This joins the Tambo and Imperio in the US market.

Righto, that’s me done for another week so I’m kicking back this weekend with my baggie stuffed full of:

Cohiba Robusto Supremo (total gob stopper but so delicious)
Bolivar Belgravia (this puppy is smoking like a treat now)
Torano Exodus 1959 ( my change of pace smoke)
Inka – Secret Blend Robusto Rojo (delicious, sweet smoke)
H. Upmann Half Coronas (a return to form for this cheeky little smoke)

No Scotch for me for the next week as its Passover festival! But thanks to those lovely folks at The Grapevine I’ll be enjoying some tasty La Graviere 2004 which will do very nicely :)

And finally… Happy 90th birthday to Queen Elizabeth. I think I will, release an Orchant Seleccion Havana in her honour. I’ll think of something suitable and let you know on my next blog.

Have a smokey weekend and a Chag Kasher v’ Sameach!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell