Bolivar Belgravia… Oh yes !

Greetings from London – C.Gars Empire offices, nice to be back in the office for a few hours after a rather typical manic week in the life of a cigar merchant!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 22.45.32Monday was Cigar Auction lotting up day. It took the best part of the day to check through and lot up the 359 Lots entered into the 30th November cigar auction and I still can’t believe the quality of the cigars as well as the rarity of many of them in this sale.

Last few tickets available for the event online. If you can’t make it you can always bid live online on the auction website.

On Tuesday evening I attended the launch of the 2015 UK regional edition Bolivar Belgravia at the Churchill.

500x500_Bolivar_Belgravia_box_of_10_cigars

Montecristo Media Corona and Pol Roger champagne on arrival , splendid (my favourite champagne and the perfect quickie Havana) followed by the Bolivar Belgravia which is an awesome smoke. Volumes and volumes of flavour and light to medium strength. Same size as a Wide Churchill so it’s big enough for even a big mouth like me :)

There were speeches from Sean and Jemma from hosts Hunters & Frankau and the Silver Chaveta Award went to Lawrence Davis (well done LD!) delicious canapes and cocktails and the best of company in the UK cigar trade made this a wonderful event. My thanks to our wonderful importers H&F.

After the launch Michelle and I zoomed over to the Lanesborough to herf another couple of Belgravia’s till very late. Sort of a senior management meeting!

Knutsford_3

On Wednesday I started out on a marathon 3 days Turmeaus tour starting with Turmeaus – Liverpool (Bolivar Belicosos), moving on to Turmeaus – Knutsford (Romeo Wide churchill) to review building progress at the new shop and finishing at Turmeaus – Chester (and La Casa del Habano of course) where I spent the rest of the day/evening herfing Ramon 225’s. My kinda day!

Wednesday whisky club members were coming and going, both bars were full and I heard many compliments on the extensive whisky sampling menu at the new shop’s bar. The new shop is quite breath-taking in design, comfortable and has a super range that my clients are clearly enjoying. Well done to Sara, Chris, Calum and the Chester Team for running such a huge and classy operation.

As if that wasn’t enough racing around for a week, I then zoomed over to Turmeaus – Norfolk (Cohiba Robusto Supremo’s on a long road trip!) for an open tasting event that ran from 2pm till 8pm on Thursday. Tim from Hunters & Frankau spoke about the Partagas SD No. 6 and Ramon Allones Club Allones LE 2015, canapes, whisky and a great crowd made this a memorable tasting event. Thanks to all the Turmeaus Team for a fun filled few days.

Norfolk_Event

I’m off to see the Steve Jobs movie tomorrow and chilling for the rest of the weekend with a baggie full of Bolivar Belgravia and nothing else!

Next week… Partagas festival in Havana :)

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

cgarsxmas2015f

Chester Turmeaus – Part 3!

turmeaus_whisky_shop_single_maltsAnd finally… Turmeaus – Chester expansion into our 3rd shop is complete and we opened the doors this week on our fabulous additional whisky and cigar shop. From the initial feedback from our customers, the additional range and sampling areas are very welcome.

Every time I design and fit out a new shop we seem to improve the overall effect and I think this is one of my best efforts so far! Comfortable, chic and spacious :)

turmeaus_chester_whisky_sampling_barWe have a huge range of single malt whisky as well as unique and rare spirits, wine and champagne. We also have a comfortable sampling bar where you can enjoy a dram or a glass of champagne.

The shop also features Oliva Orchant Seleccion cigars and a range of Havana cigars. But of course you can always walk a few steps through to our La Casa del Habano humidor or our New World walk in cigar humidor to check out the full and rather huge range.

Sara, Chris and the Team at Chester look forward to welcoming old and new clients and showing them around.

But we’re not stopping there as we are now fitting out our new Turmeaus cigar and whisky shop in Knutsford and expect to open the doors very early in December. This premises will have our usual, fabulous Turmeaus offerings including a cigar sampling lounge.

davidoff_dinner_blogThis week’s travels took me to Basel in Switzerland for the Davidoff Retailer Panel meeting. The finest cigar retailers in Europe meet at least twice a year to discuss the cigar trade and have various top secret briefings from Davidoff :)

Davidoff-MO-blogWe sampled a very nice new box pressed Avo as well as various other fine Davidoff cigars over the course of the two days and as ever were treated splendidly by Davidoff.

Davidoff cigar ranges are becoming more popular all the time as many of my clients ‘smoke less but smoke the best’.

Great to catch up with so many friends including Eddie, Jurg, Per, Mirko, Marius, Nancy and Thomas as well as meet new friends Fabien, Magali and Jesus. Truly ‘Time Beautifully Filled

nic_wing_blogNic Wing, publisher of UK Cigar Scene popped into the office and we enjoyed the new Bolivar Belgravia whilst chatting about his fabulous online mag.

Next Tuesday evening the Bolivar Belgravia will be introduced to the cigar trade at the Churchill bar and our La Casa del Habano will be the first retailer to receive stocks of these fine UK regional edition cigars.

Next week’s travels take me up North to Liverpool, Knutsford and Chester on Wednesday followed by Norfolk Turmeaus for a cigar tasting evening on Thursday featuring some of the finest Havana cigars and the best of company.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 22.45.32Winter Cigar Auction catalogue will be online and catalogues will be posted to clients early next week. This promises to be our finest auction yet with over 350 Lots of aged and rare Havana cigars being offered by auctioneer Jonathan Humbert at The Bulgari Hotel on the 30th November.

Pheww!… That’s it for another week and I’m looking forward to kicking back this weekend with a baggie filed with Ramon Allones Orchant Seleccion and a few drams of Glendronach :)

Have a smokey weekend.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

New York and New Turmeaus!

Just back from a superb trip to sunny New York City, yes I did say sunny! Despite being late October it was blue skies and 70F :)

I hit the ground running with a herf at Grand Havana Room immediately on arrival (I was ready for a smoke after an 8 hour flight I can tell you!) I met up with some of my best friends and we caught up over a few drams of Mac12 and Oliva Orchant Seleccion Chubby and Alec Bradley Prensado.

CR5BIPhWsAASTIoMy friend Jeff had organized an outrageous stretch limo (think disco lights and champagne!) to transport us in style over to Philippe Chow for a splendid dinner with a great bunch of friends including Brian Shapiro (and his lovely wife Gail) of Oliva Cigars. After dinner we hopped back into the limo for a post herf at Bar and Books on Lexington which is a great place for a late night herf.

We smoked some magnificent Oliva cigars and it was great to catch up with Brian especially as the Oliva brand is fast becoming one of our best-selling ranges of New-World cigars. No surprise as they are exceptional quality and very good value to say the least.

I love NYC as it’s so cigar friendly… If you know where to go, and I do :) I smoked the new Davidoff Escurio robusto at Davidoff on 6th Avenue (the old De La Concha shop) and spend an afternoon at my favourite NYC cigar shop Nat Sherman where I enjoyed the Nat Sherman 95th anniversary cigars kindly gifted to me by my friend Michael Herklots.

I bumped into Paul Green, cigar specialist from Greens of Leeds and we had a quick smoke and a chat and then chilled out smoking Inca Secret Blend (available at Nat Sherman of course) with my friend George U. perfect afternoon!

Saturday evening was my usual Carnegie Club herf with my closest friends, great drinks, smokes and Sinatra tribute show. I think we closed the place down at 2 a.m!

CSfT6KrWsAA9c_YBack to London for a day to catch up and I was on the road again, well actually on the Virgin train up North to visit Turmeaus shops in Liverpool followed by a visit to our latest new acquisition for Turmeaus which is in Knutsford, Cheshire. This beautiful shop is located in the center of Town and will feature a comprehensive range of premium cigars, splendid pipe tobaccos, Cuban rum and single malt whisky as well as the finest cigars accessories. It will also have an exceptionally comfortable and spacious cigar and whisky sampling lounge on the first floor. We are very excited about this expansion which is due to open early December.

12049172_860974407356200_5893243042216895103_n (1)On to Turmeaus Chester for a double session/sold out whisky and cigar tasting evening that ran from 6 p.m. till 1 a.m. at our beautiful La Casa del Habano. Our Wednesday Whisky Club members packed out the VIP bar area and our lounge was filled to capacity whilst Manageress Sara talked to clients about the Montecristo Regatta and Ramon Allones Orchant Seleccion (just released) that we were sampling and Chris Morrison who has recently joined C.Gars (previously with our partners, Robert Graham Ltd) gave a talk about the 4 whiskies that we were to enjoy which included Corriemhor Single Malt and Dalmore Cigar Malt as well as an Arran 10 year old and a Robert Graham Cearban. My thanks to the wonderful Bar Lounge for the excellent catering.

I was delighted to see that our expansion to our new Turmeaus whisky and cigar shop at 28 Watergate Street, Chester is almost complete and we expect to open the doors next Tuesday. We have additional seating for cigar and whisky sampling, another bar that will be serving a delicious menu of whisky, rum and other libations and a delicious premium chocolate and snacks range. I think our Cheshire clients will love it! All three Chester shops fully intercommunicate and sampling of premium cigars and pipe tobacco is of course allowed and encouraged.

Next week I’m off to Switzerland to attend the Davidoff Retail Panel for Europe meeting of which I have been a member since it was started. A great opportunity to find out all the latest news and views about the cigar industry from this great company as well as chat to the finest cigars specialist in Europe.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

6 Days – 6 Flights!

Just back from a fabulous trip to Peru visiting the birthplace of Inka – Secret Blend cigars.

It was a bit of a crazy travel schedule as it’s not possible to fly directly to Lima from the UK so I enjoyed a very comfortable flight on Virgin to sunny Florida as the first part of the journey. My business partner, Ron, collected me from the airport with a fair selection of cigars to choose from for the herfing drive over to my hotel on Pompano Beach, which was most welcome after 9 ½ hours without a smoke!

CRNpb4vWsAE2Cv1A few smokes and drinks by the pool bar later and we had just about caught up on all the Orchant & Morrison business world domination plans :) and a few hours later we were on an American Airlines flight to Lima. Without any doubt one of the busiest airports I have ever been to but fortunately we weren’t there too long before boarding our flight to Tarapoto.

Tarapoto is in the San Martin province in the North of Peru. It reminds me of Pinar del Rio but far larger and 20 years more advanced. Hot, humid and noisy but a very vibrant city.

Arriving at Tarapoto we were collected by our partner Gennaro from Tabacalera del Oriente and taken to our hotel which was a charming little place to stay right in the centre of town, right next to a French bakery and Italian restaurant (that was me sorted then!) The owner of the hotel has her own boutique brand of coffee and treated us to a coffee tasting which helped me get over the jet lag as I could not sleep at all after that!

Great timing as we arrived at the start of a heatwave which kicked off at 97°F and seemed to stay around that temperature for the next few days!

CRCsV9VW8AAr__TWe spent the next few days in the fields and the factory going through every stage of production from seed to cigar. We are making huge efforts to ensure consistency of blending and quality control generally as we are truly a crop to shop business.

Our Inka Secret Blend project started in the UK some 3 years ago and rapidly turned into our most successful best-selling New World cigar. Recently launched in the USA as Inca – Secret Blend and rolling out to Europe next year as we start to introduce additional vitolas and scale up the production.

The new blends we were working on included a 20 count box of robustos with a Pinar del Rio wrapper and a 10 count limited release of robustos with a Pele D’Oro wrapper (and some of the filler as well) It’s a genuine Limited Edition, not a sort of  limited to as many as we can sell as many seem to be these days. We only have enough of this low yield/high quality leaf to make 10,000 sticks and they are super premium quality. A sweet zing on the palate, dark colorado maduro wrapper. Medium strength and perfect construction. I’m very excited about this project.

Tabacalera del Oriente is going through some major expansion and building works to cope with the demand for this superior quality Peruvian tobacco that is used I believe as filler in some of the big brand new world cigars as well as the Secret Blend Puros range. The work should be finished in around 8 weeks’ time and will feature a new visitor centre including scotch whisky bar and cigar sampling area. We are looking forward to our new C.Gars – Peru premises being completed :)

CQ6OiUNWEAAVouLWe managed a little time off during the trip, herfing at bars, restaurants and friends’ homes. Super friendly people and very laid back ambience. Tarapoto is a cool place to visit. We toured round waterfalls and relaxed at a friend’s house in the jungle close to the water. Perfect herfing spot.

Heading home via Miami , I popped in to our friends at Alec Bradley, had a dram of Jura 1984 and a Prensado and chatted about a new exclusive cigar project that we are working on together for early next year. All exciting stuff :)

Back in London and one day to catch up in the office until I was back on the road again to head up North on Friday for a mammoth 3 stop trip starting with architects meetings in Liverpool (and a quick smoke at Turmeaus Liverpool) and finishing with a visit to Turmeaus and LCDH – Chester.

The expansion to Turmeaus Chester is almost complete and with the three intercommunicating shops we now have all the space we need for our complete retail range of tobacco and alcohol. The builders are almost finished and if I do say so myself the results are pretty stunning. I reckon the additional premises will be integrated and open in around a weeks’ time and I’m looking forward to showing clients around at our next tasting evening on the 29th October.

If all goes to plan next week we will complete the acquisition of another specialist cigar shop/lounge up North and Turmeaus will be expanding again. I’ll keep the location secret till my next blog :)

Our Winter Cigar Auction catalogue is now closed and very full. In fact I am fairly certain this is the largest catalogue we have ever offered and will likely be the largest cigar auction in history. We have a breath taking range of Davidoff, Pre Embargo, Limited Edition humidors and other vintage cigars in the auction which we are selling on behalf of many collectors, aficionados and connoisseurs.

The sale will be held at The Bulgari on the 30th November. Catalogue will be online and in print 3 weeks before the sale. I’m fairly sure the Bulgari event is more or less sold out already.

In Havana cigar news this week, the H. Upmann No.2 Reserva has been released in tiny allocated quantities, excellent cigar but what a shame more aren’t available at this time. The UK regional Bolivar Belgravia is due out in November and I still have no idea when we will received the Montecristo 80th anniversary.

We are releasing the Orchant Seleccion Ramon Allones Specially Selected next week. Just 64 boxes selected personally for their beautiful condition, appearance, quality and blend. I’m grateful for Hunters & Frankau’s continued support with the Orchant Seleccion Havana cigar range, Read more about them on this link.

It’s a ‘2 day week’ for me this week as I head overseas again on Wednesday… Although it won’t be as hot as last week in Peru!

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Partagas Salomones!

Greetings from sunny London!

I can’t believe how good the weather has been over the last week, great timing as I took Monday and Tuesday off so I was able to smoke some good’uns in the garden.

I don’t usually smoked huge vitolas but the Partagas Salomones is the exception as I absolutely love this cigar. I don’t think I have ever had one that was anything but excellent. Exceptionally full, sweet, rich flavours and medium strength, considering the difficulty in rolling this shape the construction is absolutely first rate. Very highly recommended and at the best price in the UK – guaranteed.

This Sunday is the National Tobacco and Gift Fair at Nottingham and hopefully the weather will still be good enough for the 2 hour topless drive and car herf over there. I used to attend this show some years ago when it was the AITS show but I gave up on it as there seemed to be such a bunch of nerds running it! It was sort of a miserable/depressing excuse of a trade show considering how amazing InterTabac and IPCPR shows are. Nevertheless, the name has changed and perhaps there will be a nicer crowd running the show this year so I’ll give it a go and see what’s new in the trade.

Next week I’m zooming off to Peru to work on Inka (and Inca for the International market) Secret Blend cigars. I’ll be testing out blends for the new robusto ‘Reserva D’Oro’ that I hope to introduce later this year. This cigar is made entirely of the rare ‘Pele D’Oro’ leaf and will be a treat like no other! Pele D’Oro is a very low yield leaf and not used much these days so I understand as its not resistant to blue mold disease. However in Peru we have enough grade A leaf to make 1000 boxes of robustos which will be as sweet as sugar :)

Inka – Secret Blend is so popular now in the UK we are finding it hard to keep our Turmeaus shops stocked up fast enough but I’m trying my best! We have now imported more cigars than ever in all sizes to satisfy demand. You won’t find Inka everywhere in the UK but you will find it on C.Gars website, Robert Graham shops and Turmeaus Tobacconist shops.

In empire building news this week I am happy to report that the new Chester – Turmeaus whisky and cigar shop is coming along very nicely with the cabinets being fitted, the lighting completed and hopefully the signage, bar and counter all to be completed next week. That would be great timing as stock is now arriving daily and we expect to open the doors to the new part of our fabulous Turmeaus – LCDH, Chester later this month. There will be more seating for sampling, an incredible spirits range, accessories and of course more cigars. Very rare whiskies and rum by the dram and the friendliest service in Town.

A very warm welcome back to the Team to Chris Morrisson who will be based at Chester and overseeing the alcohol side of the business. You will recognize him easily… In his kilt :) we have a comprehensive range of single malt whisky online at C.Gars but for an even better range visit our partners at Robert Graham Ltd.

Due to popular demand we have introduced Drew Estate cigars. Check them out on this link, this range is very popular in the USA and it will be interesting to see how UK smokers take to it. The packaging is cool, the names are hilarious!

Last two Cohiba Connoisseurs samplers available now when they’re gone… They’re gone!

The new Romeo Cedros de Luxe is in! Lovely smoke and a blend that I believe is well balanced enough to mature further and continue for some years. Buy a box to smoke and stash another away for a few years.

IMG_20151002_084200Also, a nice surprise lurking in the depths of our Directors Reserve humidor this week :) The prettiest box of English Market Selection El Rey del Mundo Tainos I have ever seen. Looks like someone painted them with oils ! the closest blend to the Davidoff Dom Perignon.

Okays so I’m off for the weekend armed with a bottle of Benriach (I love this stuff!) and a baggie stuffed with Bolivar Belicosos, Fuente King (BIG smoke!!!) and a box of PSD6’s #Yummm (can’t get enough of them!)

Next report from Peru!

Have a smokey weekend.

Peaceful puffing.

Mitchell