London Cigar Capital!

Yup – it’s true, London is indeed the cigar capital of the world ☺ Checkout this piece by Charlotte Metcalf in Spears.

Can’t disagree as we have so many great places to buy and to enjoy cigars these days. To name a few:

Boisdale Canary WharfBoisdale - 3 great locations in London, great food, drinks and entertainment (in BCW) super service and super cigar friendly at all locations.

The Wellesley - Uber luxury, incredible service, amazing cigar terrace, great menu, humidor and bar, first rate cigar knowledge and advice always readily available from Giuseppe.

The Lanesborough - One of the finest terraces for a smoke/drink/dinner in the UK. Top notch cigar and hospitality advice from Neil and Davide.

Ten Manchester street – Quiet, cosy and comfortable, great place for meetings.

The May Fair - Very chic smoking area, recommended after a meal at Langans :)

The Ritz - Great indoor sampling lounge.

The Bulgari - Super comfortable and classy, professional and attentive service from Mike Choi.

Alfie Turmeaus London Mayfair TobacconistWell that’s just a few of my favourite places to herf, there are loads of other spots ,especially in summer when the weather is good. You can also smoke in our sampling room at Alfie Turmeaus Mayfair (I was herfing there yesterday in fact!) or dine al fresco in one of the lovely Shepherd Market restaurants.

Then there’s Robert Graham whisky and cigars in West Hampstead, small but cool, with a hugely stocked walk in humidor and a comfortable armchair inside the shop for sampling as well as seating outside the shop.

The smoking ban really is a joke when it comes to cigar smokers, it makes no difference at all with the exception of the damage that it has done to the economy with pubs and bars going out of business and loss of jobs. So many politicians = So many fools. You couldn’t make it up. 

People keep emailing me to say ‘nice mention in Cigar Aficionado magazine wish I could say I’ve seen it but I don’t think it’s out in the UK yet! Anyway, thank you CA.

Herfing with Akhil from Regius cigars and Callum at Turmeaus Mayfair

Herfing with Akhil from Regius cigars and Callum at Turmeaus Mayfair

Herfed at the lovely Lanesbourgh  this week with smoking chums Mike, Zaffie, Nick and Dov. New addition to the terrace was a large flatscreen showing Wimbledon – how civilized! Smoked our way through copious quantity of UK regionals including some of the 2008 La Gloria Cubana Gloriosos which is now quite outstanding. James in our Norfolk office has been putting together some info on Limited editions and regionals (still a work in progress but a decent reference) Check it out on this link.

Chilled out herf on my Dads balcony after dinner last night, bottle of Boisdale pink champagne (bloody marvellous – well done Ranald) Dad smoking Monte 2’s as ever and me back to backing Inka – Secret blend robustos, splendid.

Kicking back this weekend with a couple of dinner parties at Chez Orchant and yes smoking is of course allowed! I’ll be cracking open a bottle of our very own 21 year old Dancing Stag Glen Grant which should pair up very well indeed with some 2004 Ramon Belicosos… Good times.

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Back to ‘Normal’

May as well face it, we are never quite ‘back to normal’ at C.Gars Ltd! And no sooner than we catch up with the Summer Auction work (invoicing/customer collections/shipping – bear of a task) it’s back to the regular madness that we know and love at our London and Norfolk offices.

The phones never stop ringing, the orders are flying in almost faster than we can cope with them, the doorbell doesn’t stop ringing, the cigars and whisky are sampled all day  (a bit like Mad Men if you watch the series!) and thankfully we have a 99.9% customer satisfaction rate according to my Customer Services Manager (Michael Pearn.) If you’re happy with C.Gars Ltd, please let Michael know michael@cgarsltd.co.uk and if you’re not happy about anything we do let me know! sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

Fairly certain that we are by a long way the largest specialist cigar merchant in the UK, more mail order, more websites. more cigars and more retail cigar shops than anyone in the UK. It’s a ridiculously huge and growing Group but I like to think that Laura and I still know the names of all of our staff (over 50!) as well as all of the names of our regular clients, many of whom we have known since 1994. We still take huge pride in our exceptional customer service ethos and try and think and act like a Mom & Pop cigar store.

Don’t take my word for it – you can see 1000’s of customer testimonials here. 

So I should probably now say thank you to all of our clients who have kept us ridiculously busy since the mid 1990’s when we became the first cigar merchant on the internet!… Thank you :)

New cigar venue in Chelsea opening up and our events co-ordinator Lalla is organizing an opening evening that looks like a lot of fun. Check out details here.

Inka Secret Blend Peruvian Cigars Exclusive to C.Gars Ltd LogoFor those of you following the incredible success story of my Inka – Secret Blend cigars from Peru, here’s the latest update: Buy them while you can! They are flying off our shelves at such an alarming rate, I would like to say I’m astonished but the reality is I shouldn’t be because they are such a great smoke and ridiculously good value. I mean case in point the Secret Blend long filler, handmade robusto at £6.49 you would have to pay double for a similar quality cigar!

We are struggling to bring them in fast enough to cope with demand, we were bringing in imports of 8000 sticks at a time but our latest order which will arrive next month is over 25,000 sticks. I have redesigned the packaging which may I say is uber cool as well as created 3 new size cigars which are going to be exceptionally popular.

Secret Blend cigars are all made with aged tobacco, you won’t get any harshness, aggression or bitterness from the first to the last puff, you will get a deep, rich, smooth and complex full flavour smoke from very well fermented premium Peruvian tobacco. These cigars are a ‘Puros’ that means that all the leaf- filler/binder/wrapper are all from Peru. Our Partners at Tabacalera Oriente make these cigars to my design and my blend, the consistency and quality control are quite excellent. These are not just picked off the shelves and packaged, they are unique for my brand.

I’ve been a cigar merchant for many years and the business has grown and is growing and fortunately I have been very successful. I can’t help but think that Secret Blend is however fast becoming my biggest success – all very exciting stuff for an old boy in the game like me!

I visited our Norfolk warehouse/office on Wednesday – a hub of humidor and accessory shipping and the powerhouse of IT and marketing behind C.Gars Ltd Group. Under the watchful supervision of my co-Director Laura who started/created C.Gars Ltd, this office is buzzing with creativity with James, Michael and Amy covering 18 hours a day on IT and marketing projects. They are currently working on a huge new website redesign with better and faster functionality for IPhone and Tablets. Norfolk is such a beautiful county, peaceful and quiet in comparison to London (and London’s traffic!) I’m looking forward to my next Norfolk Team meeting in September.

Alfie Turmeaus Mayfair Cigar Shop Indoor Sampling LoungeOur Mayfair shop (Alfie Turmeaus cigars) in Shepherd Market is another incredible success story for C.Gars Group, the shop is tiny but has a massive range of premium  cigars in the walk in humidor as well as a comprehensive range of everything else you would want to find in a specialist tobacconist. It also has a sampling area in the basement that is a comfortable oasis when the weather is bad (frequently in London!) My assistant Tereza has been managing the store for the last 3 months and sales are up over 60%!! But why??? Do our customers prefer to be served by a pretty young lady? Suggestions please!

I think we have one of the largest ranges online of any cigar website in the world, almost 5000 product lines in fact. Michelle and I attended our various suppliers trade show in London this week and made sure that we have all the new products on the market ordered. Essentially if you can’t find it on my website… It’s probably not worth buying!

Finally RIP James Gandolfini aka Tony Soprano (smoker of CAO cigars on screen!) who tragically died this week. Great actor and a sad loss.

Well, from the look of the rain outside my office window Summer has already been and gone! I’m out of here for the weekend and plan to chill out with a bottle of our award winning Ailein Mor and a  baggie with a variety of Inka- Secret Blend as well as some of my favourite Havana cigars (Boli Beli’s, Monte 2’s and PSD4’s)

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

C.Gars Rain Weather Cigar Cartoon

Going… Going… GONE!

Our Vintage Cigar Auction was held at Boisdale Canary Wharf on Monday evening. Not only was it a huge success with almost 96% of the Lots entered being sold but it was also a great herf for all of the attendees.

Almost 80 people attended the event and there were 100’s of absentee bidders from all over the globe.

The results were posted live on my last blog and updated with after auction sales on the auction website.

Highest priced Lot was the Partagas 160th anniversary humidor - Highly desirable now and fabulous smokes but there was something for every price range and many bidders left the room very happy indeed.

I’m often asked ‘Who are the bidders?’ smoker or collectors? ‘ I think the most accurate answer is both. Although many are a combination of smoker and collector.

I am amazed at the amount of interest in Cohiba limited editions which seem to continue to climb in value with every auction. Pre Embargo Havanas are also definitely on the up. Davidoff and Dunhill ever popular and more than steady in value.

Hunters and Frankau kindly supplied us with Rafael Gonzales Perlas, Romeo Petit Churchill and Montecristo Edmundo to smoke before and after the auction, Balvenie did two fabulous whisky tastings with their Caribbean Cask and 17 year old, Boisdale supplied fabulous canapés and as did White House of Hendon.  My thanks to all of our sponsors for their generous support.

Fair to say a great evening was had by all. Looking forward to our Winter Auction and accepting entries from now. Bear in mind our Auctions are a very small part of our year round vintage Havana cigar sales and we are happy to value/buy/sell for and on behalf of clients every day of the year.

Thursday was cigar  and whisky tasting night at Robert Graham Ltd – Cambridge, another fabulous and packed event with over 30 attendees sampling some fabulous cigars introduced by the equally fabulous and very knowledgeable (As well as entertaining) George Sosa of Alec Bradley Cigars. The cigars we sampled were :

Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto
Tempus Terra Novo Robusto Natural
Tempus Terra Novo Robusto Maduro

The Tempus was an exclusive opportunity to smoke a cigar that has not been released to the UK market yet – They will arrive in Sept/Early Oct.  Someone wanted to buy a box on the night!

The ‘take home’ cigar at the end of the night was the Prensado Robusto (Churchill was No. 1 rated cigar of 2011)

The whiskies sampled were Robert Graham Ltd independent award winning bottlings:

Cearban
Clynelish 1995
Hoebeg

We had an eclectic mix of chaps from the UK, US and even Australia and all enjoyed a great evening.

If you haven’t tried Alec Bradley cigars yet, you really should do, they are very rich, full flavoured and smooth. Well-crafted with very attractive wrappers and excellent presentation.

My thanks to the Robert Graham Team for putting together such a splendid evening, George Sosa for coming over to our little Island and Scott from Tor for providing the great cigars.

View all the pictures from this event at the end of this post.

We are already planning our next Cambridge tasting event which will be in conjunction with our friends at Hunters & Frankau and will feature some of the finest Havana cigars. Email and join our events mailing list sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

Next week I’m looking forward to a long overdue visit to our Norfolk offices where I understand we are setting up a website to sell empty cigar boxes! (I probably smoked all of the cigars already!) My sales team tell me that we sell so many boxes that are made into guitars and handbags as well as restaurants that use them to serve the bill in, they are quite stunned! So we have a huge collection (Around 10,000 boxes!) from long gone brands (All shapes and sizes) that we will have the first empty box website in the world (Allegedly!) too funny.

OK well that’s the end of a very looooong week for me so I’m off home to kick back for the weekend, armed with a bottle of Ailein Mor and a box of Cohiba Behike 56 (Smoking quite beautifully at this time)

Have a great weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Cigar Auction Results Live!

This blog comes to you live from our cigar auction at Boisdale Canary Wharf.

All results are subject to final verification on our Auction website http://www.cigarauctions.co.uk/ on Tuesday (changes only due to typing errors!)

Best of luck to all of our bidders and our sellers

Mitchell

View the pictures from the auction below.

1 – £820 2 – £2000 3 – £2000 4 – £1900 5 – £200
6 – £400 7 – £910 8 – £1500 9 – £1180 10 – £1500
11 – £1500 12 – £150 13 – £290 14 – £360 15 – £460
16 – £280 17 – £140 18 – £1120 19 – Pass 20 – £1000
21 – £450 22 – £450 23 – £200 24 – £200 25 – £380
26 – £380 27 – £360 28 – £380 29 – £380 30 – £720
31 – £250 32 – £600 33 – £180 34 – £480 35 – £180
36 – £70 37 – £350 38 – £320 39 – £2000 40 – £140
41 – £170 42 – £360 43 – £70 44 – £70 45 – £90
46 – £60 47 – Pass 48 – £320 49 – £200 50 – £500
51 – £300 52 – £240 53 – £300 54 – £150 55 – £50
56 – £110 57 – £200 58 – £520 59 – £620 60 – £720
61 – £920 62 – £420 63 – £420 64 – £420 65 – £380
66 – £650 67 – £160 68 – £350 69 – £450 70 – £450
71 – £520 72 – £620 73 – £110 74 – £600 75 – £320
76 – £260 77 – £290 78 – £110 79 – £340 80 – £420
81 – £170 82 – £280 83 – £360 84 – £420 85 – £410
86 – £200 87 – £100 88 – £520 89 – £240 90 – £160
91 – £980 92 – £320 93 – £140 94 – £1420 95 – £410
96 – £220 97 – £120 98 – £190 99 – £190 100 – £420
101 – £620 102 – £420 103 – £250 104 – £280 105 – £380
106 – £200 107 – £680 108 – £780 109 – £160 110 – Pass
111 – Pass 112 – £320 113 – £300 114 – £380 115 – £400
116 – £250 117 – £480 118 – £720 119 – £700 120 – £680
121 – £320 122 – £380 123 – £450 124 – £400 125 – £220
126 – £220 127 – £180 128 – £180 129 – £480 130 – £480
131 – £520 132 – £200 133 – £400 134 – £280 135 -pass
136 – £850 137 – £300 138 – £420 139 – £400 140 – £160
141 – £180 142 – Pass 143 – £360 144 – £220 145 – £250
146 – £600 147 – £620 148 – £420 149 – £580 150 – £40
151 – £150 152 – £420 153 – £200 154 – £380 155 – £350
156 – £200 157 – Pass 158 – £200 159 – Pass 160 – £90
161 – £220 162 – £480 163 – £1350 164 – £450 165 – £1520
166 – £1700 167 – £1380 168 – £1750 169 – £1720 170 – £1720
171 – £1780 172 – £1720 173 – £1180 174 – £650 175 – £630
176 – £620 177 – £620 178 – £500 179 – £520 180- 760
181 – £2820 182 – £2950 183 – £1750 184 – £1650 185 – £1650
186 – £450 187 – £820 188 – £780 189 – £780 190 – £680
191 – £200 192 – £250 193 – £170 194 – £100 195 – £110
196 – £700 197 – £600 198 – £600 199 – £620 200 – £600
201- 650 202 – £620 203 – £620 204 – £620 205 – £620
206 – £520 207 – £1450 208 – £900 209 – £420 210 – £480
211 – £820 212 – £800 213 – £780 214 – £480 215 – £480
216 – £480 217 – £400 218 – £100 219 – Pass 220 – £1220
221 – £1220 222 – £2600 223 – £340 224 – £2300 225 – Pass
226 – Pass 227 – £1800 228 – £2200 229 – Pass 230 – £300
231 – £250 232 – £780 233 – Pass 234 – £480 235 – Pass
236 – Pass 237 – Pass 238 – £1200 239 – £1220 240 – £7000
241 – £4900 242 – £120 243 – £1600 244 – Pass 245 – Pass
246 – £820 247 – £1350 248 – £1200 249 – £780 250 – £1450
251 – £1380 252 – £1300 253 – £1000 254 – £250 255 – £880
256 – £1650 257 – £2700 258 – £820 259 – £680 260 – £1050
261 – £1320 262 – £2600 263 – £2200 264 – £520 265 – £550
266 – £450 267 – £420 268 – £820 269 – £820 270 – £1450
271 – £720 272 – £1020 273 – £320 274 – £350 275 – £450
276 – £1100 277 – £360 278 – £3600 279 – £550 280 – Pass
281 – £520 282 – £4600 283 – £3600 284 – £3000 285 – £4800
286 – £1520 287 – £720 288 – £2700 289 – £10500 290 – £1700
291 – £320 292 – £550 293 – Pass 294 – £1220 295 – £800
296 – Pass 297 – £380 298 – £1600 299 – £1700 300 – £40
301 – £40 302 – £100 303 – £160 304 – £320 305 – £250
306 – Pass 307 – £150 308 – £650 309 – £410 310 – £1300
311 – £350 312 – £120 313 – £600 314 – £220 315 – £280
316 – £250 317 – £60 318 – £3250 319 – Pass 320 – Pass
321 – £420 322 – Pass 323 – £600 324 – £570 325 – £260
326 – £1200 327 – Pass 328 – £820 329 – £250 330 – £480
331 – £300 332 – £550 333 – £550 334 – £550 335 – £1050
336 – £1050 337 – £780 338 – £750 339 – £1000 340 – £600
341 – £580 342 – £1250 343 – £2400 344 – £2500 345 – £1600
346 – £600 347 – Pass

 

Going …going…..

It’s been a week of trains, planes and automobiles for me (remember the Steve Martin film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles?!”) as I visited all 10 of our retail shops around the UK and Hamburg.

Starting on Monday at our fabulous La Casa del Habano in very sunny Hamburg, where my partner Christoph and I herfed our way through an extraordinary quantity of H. Upmann Royal Robustos which paired up nicely with Cuban Legendario Rum from Cuba. We managed to get through all of our work rather rapidly and most of the afternoon was spent chilling in the cigar lounge which was packed full as usual with regular clients of LCDH.

Tuesday was an early start flying on Squeezy Jet up to Robert Graham Ltd in Glasgow. Chatting with my colleague Linda, I lit up a cigar outside the shop of course (no exemption in Scotland sadly) and completely coincidentally the fire alarm for the whole block went off! Hundreds of people left the buildings and headed to the street and within a minute I could see two fire engines coming down the road!!! so, we decided to scarper off to our new shop on West George street and see how the builders are getting on.

Well, all I can say is “WOW”! The new Robert Graham shop is going to be amazing – It’s beautiful and it’s HUGE. The walk in humidor will be quite breath-taking and have the most comprehensive range of premium cigars in the UK as well as private client lockers. The shop will also have a massive range of smokers accessories, pipe tobaccos, premium Whisky and Wine and a comfortable Whisky tasting lounge. If all goes to plan we will be relocating from West Nile street by the end of June….and holding some great opening evenings too.

After Glasgow, I headed over to Edinburgh where we have two fabulous shops. One in Rose street and the other on Canongate. I love checking round the cigar shops as I always find cigars in the walk in humidors that I thought were sold out ages ago. In Edinburgh, I spotted plenty of UK regional editions like Por Larranaga Regalias de Londres, Flor de Cano short Robusto, La Gloria Cubana Gloriosos etc…the joys of being a cigar merchant!

 My partner Ron and I had a sampling session in the tasting lounge at Canongate with some clients of Robert Graham- Cambridge who were visiting Scotland! I think the consensus was that our Ailein Mor was simply outstanding as well as great value for money.

After catching up at Robert Graham – West Hampstead and Alfie Turmeaus cigar shop in Mayfair on Wednesday, I jumped on the Virgin train to Liverpool at stupid o’clock on Thursday morning to check out our two Liverpool Turmeaus shops. I had a Siglo VI on arrival in the store and followed it with a 2008 Cohiba Robusto before heading off to Turmeaus in Chester where I herfed through a Punch Serie D’Oro no.1 and a dram of Robert Graham’s Islay malt ‘ The Hoebeg’…yup…Chester Turmeaus is now licenced and sells Robert Graham’s award winning range of Single Malt Whisky. And of course it’s legal to sample cigars in store.

Back to the office Thursday evening till midnight to catch up with all the auction action for this Monday! The event, as expected is sold out (almost 100 people attending the evening!) and I’m looking forward to a great evening, Balvenie Whisky tasting and 3 great English Market Selection Havana cigars – thanks to Hunters and Frankau and Canapés from fabulous cigars friendly Boisdale.

Preliminary ( i.e. subject to final checking) bidding results will be published on my blog as the auction happens on Monday and confirmed on the auction website on Tuesday.

Next week I’ll be at Robert Graham – Cambridge on Thursday evening for another in our series of Whisky and Cigar Tastings. Fairly sure this event with Alec Bradley cigars and Dancing Stag Single Malt is another sold out event but if you hurry, we may be able to squeeze you in.

Weathers forecast to be good this weekend so I’ll be kicking back in the garden which will make a nice change! Let’s  hope we have a few more weeks of cigar smoking Summer weather to enjoy. :)

Have a smokey weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell