A Week of Herfing :)

I’m a lucky chap as my wife continuously reminds me how generally useless I am!… <quote>’you are quite useless  and just spend your days, weeks and years drinking, smoking, herfing and driving fast cars whilst Laura and Michelle run the business’ <end quote>. Of course I immediately refuted  this indignantly as being inaccurate as I don’t drive ‘fast cars’, just one fast car. The rest is pretty true though :)

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Meanwhilst my exceptionally busy schedule included seeing The Eagles in concert at the O2 with my best bud Paul. The concert was incredibly good and Joe Walsh was insanely brilliant, but man do I hate the O2 as a venue! What’s with all the back wall percussion echo?!

In fact Michelle has been herfing this week too as I allowed her out of the London office (a rare occasion as sometime I think she must live here) as she attended the Tobacco Trade lunch at Lords this week together with colleagues Christine from Turmeaus Liverpool and Eliska our London warehouse Manager. Guest speaker was Karren Brady who I understand was exceptionally interesting and a great afternoon was had by all. (more pictures at the bottom)

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Then there was a garden herf at my home with friends; Jay, Dov and Joe, that went on till the wee small hours and featured a bottle of Glendronach paired up with BHK 52, 54 and 56… My kinda evening. My wife and daughter were out of London visiting (potential) universities so I was home alone which was the first time ever and rather confusing as I couldn’t work out what to do with the whisky tumblers after the herf. I’m sure Karyn mentioned something about a machine that washes them but as I’m not very technical I may need to go through some re-training when she returns home.

Raspberry of the week goes to Edinburgh Trade Refuse department who have invoiced us for refuse bags that were never delivered and are now threatening legal action. Curiously, they have no phone number or email so we have no clue how to contact the idiots. No doubt they will blame it on a computer error eventually.

An additional large raspberry goes to the Gentlemen who passed me in the street as I was puffing on a RASS and said ‘do people really still smoke cigars?’ I just gave him my best look of disgust lol.

The largest raspberry though has to go to Talk Talk. The company that took over Tiscali that took over Lineone. If you don’t know what I am talking about , these are ISP’s and Lineone was my original ISP for my personal email address some 17 odd years ago.

Well they must have changed their settings as my email address stopped functioning for 3 days last week. However they continuously denied any responsibility ( If you know the FoneJacker characters from the TV program you will get the picture- all I will say is ‘ Internet Providings’!)

Thanks to the excellent service from a lovely lady at Microsoft for finally fixing the Talk Talk problem. So, adios Talk Talk, I have decided to consign your email to the trash and will shortly be setting up an email on one of our own domains.

And finally what on earth is going on with all the road works on Mill Lane?!! They don’t work at night so West End Lane and KHR are utterly blocked every morning. That means I can smoke a complete additional robusto (RASS this week) on the way to the office. Could be worse I guess especially as the weather has been good and I’ve been topless all week.

My office has been a hubbub of activity this week with clients from the UK and overseas coming to ‘sample’ cigars daily. Problem is it’s so difficult to sample a cigar without sampling some of that splendid Robert Graham single Malt. I think we whammed through a bottle of 17 year old Benrinnes yesterday (I certainly don’t remember much after it!) I do love Speysides, they just seem to pair perfectly with a good cigar.

Laura’s been busy in our Norfolk office with her Team adding yet another new feature to our online store. It sort of works like this:
When you are placing an order for something, a little window pops up with me on it saying ‘Mitchell Recommends: Inka Secret Blend Cigars – would you like to order that instead?’ It’s really funny but kinda cute! Let me know if you find it bloody annoying?!

And our young lad Liam in our marketing team is doing a Sterling job using our new competitor pricing system which ensures that we monitor and adjust online prices continuously to guarantee lowest priced cigars in the UK. How cool is that? Adios competitors!

Cohiba BHK52 have now officially overtaken our Cohiba Robustos sales. I never thought I would see the day! They really are smooth smokes though and personally – I love them.

Making great progress on this years limited Turmeaus Edition of Regius cigars and hope to have them in our cigar shops after the Summer. Regius are great value and quality Nicaraguan cigars. Check out the range on this link.

I’m often asked what I smoke when time is short and a quick whiff is needed? You may be surprised to hear that its Davidoff. I love the Ambassadrice, in fact it’s my ‘travelling cigar’ – perfect 10 minute smoke outside the terminal. I know, I know, they ain’t cheap but they are consistently first rate quality and construction. My other ‘go to’ quick cigars would of course be Inka Secret Blend Chicos. Now that’s a sweet smoke for under 3 quid a pop. Just lovely.

Ok so I’m outa’ here for another week and off to my Pop’s for his birthday dinner where we will be enjoying a few Dunhill Don Candido 500’s to celebrate. The best cigars for the best Father in the world of course!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Trains, Planes and Automobiles!

Well actually no planes this week thankfully :) but lots of trains and automobiles.

Last week finished off with a few days R&R at Champneys where my batteries were suitably recharged with a combination of yoga, swimming, meditation, healthy diet, no booze and a large baggie of Bolivar Belicosos Finos 2007 vintage… My kind of R&R :)

I rapidly reversed all that healthy stuff by heading off to sunny Bournemouth for the weekend with plenty of booze, dining and smokes… My kinda weekend :) The winning cigar was the rather scrumptious UK exclusive regional edition 2008 Punch Serie D’Oro No. 1 although the UK regional edition LFDC Gran Cano wasn’t too shabby.

Very pleasant first day back at work on Monday as I didn’t really do much work :) My old friend Steve from Edinburgh had driven down (that’s a lonnggggg drive!) to enjoy a few smokes and drinks and generally herf the day away with me.

Starting off at the office with espresso and a Petit Edmundo, moving on to West Hampstead Robert Graham and then zooming down to Cambridge Robert Graham for the afternoon and some splendid Robert Graham Dancing Stag Clynelish paired up with Romeo Short Churchills.  It was a fabulous sunny day and we must have looked quite a sight as we drove to Cambridge topless in our cars – Shades on/puffing cigars!

It’s great when I get the chance to herf with old smoking chums. I’ve known Steve for years but we haven’t seen much of each other as he’s been jet setting all over the world for the last few years. He’s a bit of a whisky buff (unlike me as I just like to drink the water of life but don’t know much about it!) but he does appreciate a smoke or two or three so we always have a great time herfing.

Took a ridiculously early train up to Liverpool on Wednesday to visit Turmeaus and then headed over to Turmeaus Chester… lots of exciting plans up North for my little empire <insert maniacal laugh here> more details to follow.

I decided it would be a Behike day and smoked my way through BHK 52, 54 and finally BHK 56 back at the London C.Gars office where I managed to finish my days work at just before midnight (yes, I am still the hardest working cigar merchant in the world)

Friday was Turmeaus Mayfair day for me, gosh , I love that little shop and its cosy sampling lounge. In fact I love Sheperd Market. It’s such a cool area. I can’t believe how busy the shop has become since we opened it.

Grabbed a beer and some lunch at the Kings Arms opposite (highly recommended) with my new full time personal assistant. As you would expect from me, she is blonde and very attractive although she does have a bit of attitude at times. (Ok, ok I admit, it’s my wife Karyn!) Karyn made me laugh over lunch asking if she could be managing director of C.Gars. I said of course but you may have to consider starting to drink whisky and smoke cigars!

Happy to announce that our Inka cigar sales are still romping away and you can now also buy them at the wonderful Decent Cigar Emporium in Dublin too. I’m looking forward to doing an Inka tasting evening at DCE later in the Summer.

robert_graham_rebrandedIn other news this week… Robert Graham Edinburgh finally has its new  and correct image :) We hope you like it! I think it’s pretty cool and the shop is a mouth-watering emporium of whisky and cigars.

And… Last chance to book up for the Davidoff cigar tasting (and Robert Graham whisky of course) at Cambridge on the 25th June as its almost sold out already. I look forward to seeing old friend and making new friends at what promises to be another excellent Robert Graham evening

And… Where the this year’s Cohiba Limited edition?!!! Don’t ask… No sign of them yet. I fail to understand the timing of the new releases. It’s very weird we just got the 2011 Coleccion Habanos Obras Completas and its 2014!

Kicking back this Father’s Day weekend and treating my Dad to some 1989 Bilecart Salmon Champagne and some 1960’s Monte 2’s That should put a smile on his face. Not sure what my daughter has planned for me but would guess it involves chocolate lol :)

Have a smokey Father’s Day weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Going, Going, Gone…

I thoroughly enjoyed my usual rather crazy schedule last week, spending half the week showing auction bidders Lots for the Summer sale, and the other half of the week in sunny Scotland at Robert Graham Ltd.

Ron, Linda and Mitchell at our Global Whisky Shop in GlasgowFirst stop was our ridiculously fabulous Glasgow shop (known as Global Whisky Shop) which is rather huge and very crammed with the water of life and just about every tobacco item you could dream of :)

As you enter the shop, we have a comprehensive range of Davidoff cigars in the beautiful Davidoff humidor which I understand is gaining popularity by the day. Moving through the walls of whisky to our super walk in humidor at the back of the store your eyes are treated to a feast of new world cigars including Fuente, Inka and Alec Bradley and of course a massive range of the finest Havana cigars. Linda, Aiden and Alison assure C.Gars clients a very warm welcome.

Wednesday evening was time to meet up with old and new friends from the Ceo Mor Cigar Club (don’t ask me to pronounce it!). Ron and I joined a terribly nice bunch of chaps at the Corinthian Hotel on Ingram street for dinner followed by drinks and plenty of smokes on the smoking terrace. I think this will be the start of a regular gathering of like-minded cigar smokers and could become a regular herf for me.

My only problem was that the more the Scottish chaps drank the less of their accents I could understand… or is it, the more scotch that I drank…?!

We herfed our way through Inka – Secret Blend Tres Petit Coronas as an ‘aperitif’ smoke, Alec Bradley Black Market as a main course and Montecristo Petit Edmundo for dessert. Fair to say a great night was enjoyed by all and my thanks to Murdoch ( don’t ask me how to pronounce his name !) for organizing it.

robert_graham_private_reserveI then moved to Edinburgh for a long day on Thursday visiting Robert Graham shops on Rose street and Canongate. Rose street is managed by the lovely Jo assisted by Hector. The shop recently had some extensive walk in humidor remodelling and I must say we have a great result. Massive range and space to move around!

Canongate is ably managed by Keith and Dougie and has become a bit of a quirky whisky emporium with lots of rare and very old bottles of single malt just about everywhere you look. It does of course also have a lovely range of premium cigars in the walk in humidor. No surprise that our award winning ranges of Dancing Stag and Treasurer are the best sellers. I sampled some of our cask strength 19 year old Deanston and it was too good for words.

Yesterday was auction time again and our Summer sale was a huge online success. This followed the success of our Spring Auction in March but was bigger and even better :) We had a splendid catalogue of 350 Lots of all types of vintage, aged and rare cigars. The sale had around a 98% sell rate which is as high as our live auctions held at Boisdale.

It was incredible to see over 1000 site visitors at times as I didn’t know we even had that many online auction clients. In fact what is more incredible is that we developed the entire auction website platform in house and it worked smoothly to perfection. Well done to my IT Team.

I had predicted some 5 years ago when we started holding cigar auctions that pre embargo cigar were dramatically undervalued and simply had to start increasing substantially. Well, I was right… But my timing was wrong as we have only started to see the prices increase in the last year. That means that buyers at our earlier auctions really did bag some bargains.

Some of the pre embargo prices achieved at the Summer sale were quite staggering so I have little doubt our sellers are very happy today.

Prices on Davidoff cigars remain exceptionally firm and Dunhill cigar prices continue to increase. Limited edition prices looked a tad soft to me but limited edition humidor prices seemed to fair well. Good quality aged and mature cigars were as popular as expected.

Pre Embargo Cigar Lots from Online Cigar AuctionBidders seem to have changed tactic from earlier auctions and those with fast connections were clearly having fun doing sniping bids in the closing seconds of the auction! I hope everyone enjoyed the 12 hours of online action as much as I did :)

Holed up in my study at home I chomped my way through 2 Cohiba Piramides Extra, 3 Siglo VI and a Dom Perignon in the last hour!

Thanks to all of our sellers and bidders for participating in the Summer auction.

We are now in the process of invoicing all successful bidders and Lots will be ready for collection from tomorrow.

Our Winter auction is as blogged previously set for the 1st December at Boisdale Canary Wharf. The usual sparkly Ranald and Mitchell show :) It will be quite an event and tickets will be available online in the next week or so.

We are now accepting Lots for entry into the Winter auction but please… If you have come back from a holiday in Cuba with a box of Cohiba Esplendidos (or any other cigars for that matter)… We are not interested. The clue is the ‘aged and rare cigar auction’.

We are interested in Cuban cigars only, discontinued or pre 1997 with provenance and in good – excellent condition only. I am always happy to offer a free valuation service… Email for details sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

You may like to see this photo of one of the worst counterfeits I have ever seen in my career (more below)  :)

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We have auctioned zillions of cigars since 2009 and we keep all sold prices on our auction websites as a permanent resource. Some useful links:

Online Auctions – Click the ‘Sold Lots’ tab or check out the PDF catalogues for estimates.

Offline Auctions Use the ‘Auction Search’ function or check out the PDF catalogues for estimates.

Well after all the action of the last few months, I have decided to do the unthinkable and take a ‘real break’. Could be the first time I can remember doing this in the last 17 years but I am actually turning my BBerry off for a few days this week and heading to a health farm to recharge my batteries.

The plan: Swimming, walking, hiking, yoga, meditation, massage, no booze, no phones, no computers. There will be a baggie of Havana cigars though :) … Returning refreshed on Friday!

Have a great week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

 

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What’s going on Mitchell Orchant?!

Turmeaus Tobacconist LiverpoolLife is never dull as the owner of the largest specialist cigar merchant in the UK! With shops across the UK and the most successful (and first ever) cigar website, www.cgarsltd.co.uk, in the UK my business is constantly changing and developing.

We are currently busy developing a new Havana cigar shop and sampling lounge in Chester and another one in Norfolk as well as retrofitting our two shops in Liverpool to expand the great range of cigars and whisky we offer our clients.

For those who don’t know, C.Gars Ltd was established on the internet back in 1997 and acquired Turmeaus Tobacconist established 1817 and Robert Graham Ltd established 1874. From humble beginnings (just me and co – director Laura!) we now operate in 10 locations, 24 hours a day – everyday of the year and our Team numbers almost 50 highly trained personnel

We have the largest range and stocks in the UK and the fastest delivery. Our entire range is available in singles as well as full boxes so it’s fun for clients to mix and match and try out new cigars. We also guarantee the best prices in the UK. I like to think of C.Gars Ltd as the Amazon.com of the cigar industry!

Auction Lot HUM1278 - Partagas XX Anniversary Humidor - 2013Our cigar auctions go from strength to strength and in addition to the fabulous if not outrageous event Ranald and I put together with the Spectator in December we have also been running substantial Spring and Summer online auctions which have been incredibly popular and successful.

C.Gars is in fact the only auction house in the world to run regular vintage cigar auctions and both our buyers and sellers are from all over the world. We always have a wide variety of vintage Cuban Davidoff and Dunhill, Pre embargo, limited edition, aged and mature cigars on offer and no doubt some bargains can be had on this excellent and transparent sales forum. Visit it here: www.onlinecigarauctions.co.uk

My role in the business has changed over the years and now I’m responsible for retail strategy, client liaison and new product development. That basically means I have to meet a lot of people and test out a lot of cigars… could be worse!

It’s been a busy old week with some serious herfing with chums including my partner Ron from Robert Graham Ltd, Gennaro from Tabacalera del Oriente (who make my Inka – Secret Blend cigars) and my smoking buddy Ashwan (aka the sheriff of Nottingham!) kicking off with lunch outside at Francos and herfing our way through some Montecristo Gran Reserva then over the road to say hi to Edward and Eddie at the fabulous Davidoff of London cigar store.

Next stop was to say hi to Robert Emery at the incredible Dunhill shop at 1A St James’s street and then off for a dinner herf at The Sahakian cigar lounge in the Bulgari hotel (Mortlach and Cohiba Behike 56’s). As if that wasn’t enough, we then headed back to my smoking deck for a post herf :) and whammed our way through some Cohiba 1966 and a nightcap or two of Dancing Stag Strathmill till the wee small hours.

We picked a great day for all of that serious herfing as the weather was quite glorious in London. Fortunately Tuesdays weather wasn’t too shabby either as I set off on a 2 ½ hour drive to our Norfolk offices with the roof off. It was great to meet up with the C.Gars – Norfolk Team (Laura, James, Michael and Liam) and plan out my smoking shop that is already under construction adjoining our offices and warehouse at the lovely Hall Farm location.

Pipe Tobacco at our Chester ShopThe new Norfolk retail showroom will feature the largest range of pipe tobaccos in the UK at the best prices in the UK! It will also have a walk in humidor with a fabulous range of premium cigars and a sampling lounge. More details to follow :)

The cigars of merit that I am currently enjoying and recommending include:

Partagas Gran Reserva: A double corona measuring in at 7 5/8” length and 49 ring gauge. Made with tobacco from the highly rated 2007 harvest. This limited edition of 5000 cabinets of 15 beautifully crafted cigars are not only a splendid cigar to smoke but also likely to become a most desirable cigar investment that will appreciate in value much like previous limited edition ‘Gran Reserva’ £975

Romeo y Julieta Reserva: A churchill measuring 7” length and 47 ring gauge and presented in 5000 limited edition cabinets of 20 cigars. An iconic cigar using the best tobacco harvested in 2008. £703

La Flor de Cano Gran Cano: One of the finest Havana cigars, delicately balanced, light to medium strength and sweet flavour characteristic, this cigar is exclusive to the UK market with only 5000 boxes of 10 cigars made. £159

Bolivar Belicosos Finos: One of my all-time favourites but now better than ever as we have just released our 2007 vintage boxes. At 5 1/2” length and 52 ring gauge this cigar is sweetness and spice throughout with a mouth-watering dark and oily wrapper. Presented in dress boxes of 25 cigars. £359

Inka – Secret Blend Bombaso: Well I had to include this one in as I created the brand! This brand is in fact our best-selling ‘New World’ cigar range.  100% made by hand from the finest long filler Peruvian tobacco, this cigar is ‘the bomb’, an explosion of sweet flavours on the palate and measuring in at 4” length and 60 ring gauge. £68.99 for a box of 10 and exclusive to C.Gars Ltd.

I like to advise clients to ‘smoke less but smoke the best’. Your cigar experience should always be the finest. Punctuating a celebration or quiet moments of relaxation. On your own or with friends, nothing will better the joy of a fine cigar.

Have a smokey holiday weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Summer Cigar Auction

Seems like we just got wrapped up with the Spring Auction and its already Summer Auction time again!

Over 360 Lots will be online from Tuesday May 19th and the auction will end on June 1st

Here’s a link to the auction website

The next Vintage Cigar Auction starts 19th May... ends 1st June

We have added an excellent new ‘zoom’ feature so you can see the cigars up close and personal :) but we are of course always happy to provide specific condition reports by email and you need only drop us a line at sales@cgarsltd.co.uk
We have loads of new sellers for this auction and a mouth-watering, high quality selection of cigars under the following categories:

– Jars of cigars
Aged Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction– Mature cigars
– Vintage cigars
– Gran Reserva and Reserva Edition cigars
– Limited Edition cigars
– Limited Edition Books
– Limited Edition Humidors
– Dunhill cigars
– Davidoff Cigars
– Pre Embargo cigars

Our Summer auction is being held with the kind co-operation and assistance of our colleagues Edward and Eddie Sahakian from Davidoff of London and many of the finest Lots in the sale can be viewed at their fabulous cigar store at 35 St James’s.

Aged, Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction LotsClients frequently ask me when I think the supply of vintage cigars will start to dwindle?  but I honestly see no sign of the market or supply slowing down.

We previously held 2 auctions a year (Summer and Winter) and knocked down around 600 Lots in total but we will already have knocked down over 600 Lots between the Spring and Summer auctions so we reckon by the time we have completed our winter auction we should be up to almost 1000 Lots, which is quite a hefty increase.

The online auction works a bit like eBay… think of it as CBay! You can bid up to the last second if you wish and if you have a fast connection you may bag a bargain.

Aged, Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction LotsOur Winter auction date is now set for the 1st December and will follow the same format as last year’s auction in so far as it will be held at the fabulous Boisdale Canary Wharf at 3.30 pm and is part of the spectacular Spectator Magazine Cigar Smoker of the Year Awards event.

The auction will be conducted by resident C.Gars auctioneer Jonathan Humbert and we look forward to welcoming him back to the rostrum.

If you came to the last event you won’t want to miss this one! Tickets £250 each and will include luxury Champagne reception, three course dinner with fantastic wines, Cognac and malt whisky on the terrace after dinner plus seven hand rolled cigars per guest AND a goody bag.

Last year tickets completely sold out so we strongly advise reservations are made early. Ticket to dinner entitles guests to attend the Vintage Cigar Auction. Contact for ticket sales: susanna@boisdale.co.uk

Aged, Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction LotsThose wishing only to attend the auction please see http://www.cigarauctions.co.uk or contact sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

Auctions are great for buyers and sellers. The market is transparent and market prices are established clearly. We leave all of the sold Lot results on both of our auction websites permanently as a resource and its terribly interesting to see ‘what’s hot and what’s not’

Without doubt interest in pre embargo Havanas is at an all-time high and demand for Davidoff and Dunhill as well as Gran Reserva and Coleccion Habanos books seem to have no limit.

Cuban Cigar Stocks in our London Walk in HumidorOf course we buy and sell limited edition and vintage Havanas all year round (not just by auction!) in fact auctions are a small part of our overall vintage cigar sales yearly. I like to think of myself as a bit of an old fashioned cigar merchant. We take huge stock positions in many cigars every year and we lay them down for a further 3/5/7/10 years until we feel they are at their peak and ready to release into the market again. Our walk in humidors are bursting at the seams with the finest Havana cigars, literally from floor to ceiling. I am indeed the ‘kid in the candy store’!

I’m often asked, what should clients invest in? It’s a question I can’t honestly answer as I’m not an investment advisor, just a cigar merchant. Cigar brands and vitolas come into fashion and sometimes go out of fashion and then come back again. What I can comment on is past performance and if that is anything to go on, the brands of Cohiba, Partagas and Montecristo will always remain the most popular for collectors and investors.

Cuban Cigar Stock in our London Walk in HumidorCigars such as the Cohiba 1966 Limited edition are incredibly popular for many as a lot of people see their future values going up to £100 per cigar, similar to the 2004 Cohiba Sublimes Limited edition. I don’t know if that will happen but I do know that the presentation is beautiful and the cigars have a blend of exceptional merit. We have a few hundred boxes stashed away in our Directors Reserve humidor.

This week’s travels took me to Nice in the beautiful South of France. Squeezy Jet fly there from Gatwick (mad early 6 am flight!) and I think it took me longer to get from home to the airport than the actual flight took! C’est la vie. I was asked to do a valuation on a small but delightful collection of Davidoff and other vintage cigars by a new client. The weather was magnificent, hot and sunny and I had an hour to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine and an H. Upmann Connoisseur A before boarding the flight back to London and getting back to the office mid-afternoon. I must be crazy but I do love my job :)

Popped over to my Father’s last night for a mini herf and over a bottle of Boisdale Champagne enjoyed some 2005 Montecristo No. 2’s. My Dad moaned on and on and on… and on about how they are not as good as the Monte 2’s he smoked years ago but he had to admit that they were still a  bloody good smoke! (He went through 3 cigars so they can’t have been too bad!)

My diary was clear on Friday (very rare) so I’m up in Scotland visiting Robert Graham shops in Rose street and Canongate – Edinburgh and enjoying a few cigars and single malt’s with my partner Ron.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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