Smokey, Sherry Cask Whisky!

Hello whisky and spirit lovers alike! The past couple of months here at Turmeaus Chester have been an amazing and exciting experience! This store truly is a treasure trove of fine cigars and unique whiskies, from a 1960s bottling of Tamdhu to early 1980’s Cuban Davidoff cigars! Whisky has always been my number one passion, so trust me when I say that we carry bottlings that would impress even the most avid connoisseur.

I recently had the honour of attending a Paul John event in London for the release of their new expression BOLD! For those of you who don’t know, Paul John is a New-World whisky distillery based out of India. This was a wonderful event that allowed me to taste their previous lines of Brilliance and Edited. Their whisky is much younger than most traditional Scottish whiskies, as it does not need as much time to mature due to the tremendous heat in India. The night was filled with great authentic Indian food and even better whisky! Definitely keep your eye on these guys, as the whisky they produce is top quality.

Schris_filling_caskpeaking of top quality, I recently had tasted Richard Patterson’s newest Cigar reserve “Corriemhor” which I found to be an incredible dram for the price, fighting in the same circles as his previous Cigar Malt from Dalmore. All that wonderful sherried whisky inspired an idea… Why not age our own cigar malt here in the Casa Del Habano, Chester? What better place to age our own Cigar Malt than a room filled with nothing but the smoke from the finest Cuban cigars in the world? I started with getting my hands on a 2 litre charred  American Oak cask and filling it with Pedro Ximenez sherry and allowing to soak into the cask for 7 days. On Wednesday the 25th of November I emptied the sherry and filled the cask with Single Malt “New Make”, I will let this age in the cigar lounge for 6 months (as a small 2 litre cask will not need as much time to age in a warm environment). Casks tend to pick up the characteristics of its surroundings; I’m dying to know how the cigar smoke will play a role in the flavour of the whisky! If you’re curious as well, make sure to make a note of the date; May 25th 2016… Once released, it won’t last long 😉

Until next week friends,

Puff Proudly,
Sip Sophisticatedly
and enjoy life!

– Chris Morrison

Turmeaus Whisky
Chester

lcdh_chester_whisky_aging_cask

 

Turmeaus Knutsford – NOW OPEN!

turmeaus_knutsford_cigar_whisky_shop_frontI don’t know how I always seem to manage to open a new cigar store at our busiest time of year – just before Christmas, seems to happen every year. It also seems to coincide with our Winter auction and the Cigar Smoker of the year awards event at Boisdale (read more on the previous blog). To say it’s a bit of a madhouse of busyness at C.Gars is an understatement. But… I, of course, wouldn’t have it any other way :)

PicsArt_12-10-09.43.00So, I am very pleased to announce that Turmeaus- Knutsford is officially open and what a delightful Turmeaus shop this is. Tobacco, smokers accessories, shaving gear and a walk in humidor on the ground floor, premium spirits and comfortable sampling lounge on the first floor. A paradise for our clients (and me!)

The Turmeaus – Knutsford shop joins our group of delightful specialist tobacconists shops in Liverpool, Chester, Norfolk and London’s Mayfair.

PicsArt_12-10-09.27.04Two new members of staff have joined the Team and Daniel from Turmeaus – Mayfair has been busy training them over the last week. Finishing touches will be completed by Monday which is great timing as I’m heading up North for the week next week and looking forward to my first smoke (and a dram) at this new Turmeaus store. We’re planning on regular cigar and spirit tastings and newsletter subscribers will receive updates automatically.

Wednesday Whisky Club (Chester) members will of course get the reduced ticket prices and we will have a little launch part early next year.

Winter cigar auction work has been all consuming over the last week as we wade through a zillion invoices, seller reports and pick/pack/ship of the 350-odd Lots from the sale. If all goes to plan we’ll be up to date pretty soon and as ever sellers will receive on time payments and buyers that opted for shipping will receive the fastest delivery service we can possibly do. Our next auction will be on the 28th February and some choice Lots are already arriving into our humidor.

I managed to escape the craziness of the London office for a few hours to herf at the Lanesborough cigar terrace on Tuesday and treated myself to a Davidoff No. 1 from the 1970’s paired up with a couple of drams of Macallan 18 year old. A perfect pairing for my palate.

We expanded our whisky range quite substantially over the last few months but I’m still amazed at the popularity of Japanese whisky. If you want to try some we have this super popular sampler pack. A friend gifted me a bottle of Yamazaki sherry butt 1990 which I have been merrily enjoying at the office and one of my clients recently told me that the value of this bottle had rocketed to 900 quid a bottle. Hey ho… I have good taste and good friends!

For an even bigger range visit the Robert Graham website or shops in West Hampstead, Cambridge, Glasgow and Edinburgh (2 locations).

We now have the Alec Bradley Fine and Rare Toro in stock and having sampled a couple, I can tell you, they are not only good value but also a super-premium smoke that I enjoyed immensely.

Our Inka – Secret Blend continue to be our bestselling New World cigar, super value and a delicious sweet blend. I am enjoying the Robusto and Half Corona on a daily basis.

The petit robusto sampler pack has arrived and is selling like bonkers! I love this presentation, it’s very chic and perfect to keep my cigars in good shape in the car (I just add a baby Boveda!)

If you are a coffee lover you have to try the new range of Twin Engine we have introduced. It’s made in Nicaragua and I had a lot of fun sampling all the sizes in the Regius sampler pack with this coffee. Another perfect pairing.

Still plenty of time to top up your humidors before Christmas as our shops are crammed full of every cigar you could dream of and our mail order division is working flat out 24/7 to fill all orders rapidly. I’m pretty certain we have the largest stocks of premium cigars in the UK (I’m pretty certain we are the largest cigar specialist in the UK!) if it’s on the website… Its available :)

Looking forward to seeing the retail Turmeaus Team in Liverpool, Knutsford and Chester next week as well as a lot of our clients. I’ll be based in Chester La Casa del Habano and happy to help you choose the perfect Havana for the holidays or the perfect gift for friends and family.

Have a smokey weekend.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

cgarsxmas2015c

 

Auctions and Awards!

web-Nov2015-Auction-IMG_5568What a wonderful week! Kicking off with our most successful auction since we started the auction department in 2009. The Winter Vintage Cigar Auction was held on Monday afternoon at The Bulgari Hotel. 359 Lots were offered and most of the Lots were sold within or above the estimates with total revenue in excess of £650,000 this may well be the most successful commercial cigar auction in history

The Auction was conducted by our C.Gars consultant auctioneer Jonathan Humbert in his inimitable manner and the room was packed to capacity with an international crowd of cigar collectors, connoisseurs and aficionados. Simultaneously the sale was broadcast online through our auction website so absentee bidders could bid live online as the auction was taking place.

web-Nov2015-Auction-IMG_5582There were in fact over 250 online bidders (another record) and at various stages the online bidding was so intense, the room bidders could not even get in on the action. The catalogue was very impressive with a good balance of limited editions, mature, vintage, Davidoff , Dunhill and a huge Pre Embargo section.

Exchange rate may have caused an effect on some of the results as Davidoff prices looked like good value in Sterling terms however the Dunhill Estupendos Lot went stratospheric at £6,000 equating to almost £700 per cigar after fees!

The star Lot was a pre embargo cabinet of 100 Romeo Invencibles sold for £30,000.

Other highlights included a magnificent La Corona cabinet of 120 cigars sold for £12,000, Cohiba Sublimes Coleccion Habanos book  sold for an impressive £4,050, Cohiba Gran Reserva sold for £3,000 and Davidoff 5000 sold for £3,750

20151130_194028Post auction hospitality was enjoyed at the Edward Sahakian cigar sampling lounge with delicious canapes, Montecristo Medias Coronas and Bolivar Belgravia to smoke and some of Robert Grahams finest single malt whisky. My thanks to Mike Choi for making sure all of our guests had such a lovely evening and my thanks to the C.Gars auction Team for all of their hard work. All in all a splendid event.

Our next auction will take place on the 28th February 2016 and this will be an online auction only. Email Laura and the Auction Team if you would like to have Lots considered for entry at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk

I’m relieved that the auction is over and successful buyers are already collecting their cigars as well as having them shipped because we can’t move for Christmas stock in our London humidor! Take a look at the 4000 plus products on my website… Everything is available including the largest range and stocks of premium cigars in the UK. (yes, I’m fairly certain that we are the largest cigar specialist in the UK!)

Tuesday and the partying continued, this time at our annual Cigar Smoker of the year event at the wonderful Boisdale Canary Wharf. C.Gars Ltd are co – sponsors and we assist in organizing the wonderful cigars at this annual event, we also donate Lots to the charity auction and my co – director Karyn was having fun bidding (and winning!) in the silent auction for some rather expensive bottles of single malt whisky!

To say the dinner, drinks and entertainment not to mention the service from the Boisdale crew was magnificent would not do justice to this wonderful event. C.Gars had a table of 16 chums who thoroughly enjoyed the evening with many commenting that the atmosphere this year was the best ever and the evening flew by in seconds.

CVLLoLSWEAEr4wEThe Lifetime achievement award went to Burt Reynolds, The Cigar Smoker of the year award went to Jonathan Ross, The Lanesborough won the cigar terrace of the year, Habanos SA won the manufacturer award, James Leavey won the cigar journalist award, 1A St James’s won the retailer award and Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Reserva Superior Robusto won the cigar of the year award.

Congratulations to all the nominees and all of the winners.

My thanks to Ranald, Barbara, Valeri and the Boisdale Team for such a splendid evening, can’t wait to do it all again next year…

In other news this week I’m happy to say we received our drinks licence at our new Turmeaus- Knutsford store and we plan to open fairly early next week. We are licenced not only to sell by the bottle but also by the dram so clients can sample drams from our wide selection and decide which best suits their palate as well as which whisky best compliments their cigars. I’ll pop some photos up on my next blog. The walk in humidor should have a range to rival our flagship Chester Turmeaus and La Casa del Habano and the sampling lounge will be super comfortable.

I’m very excited about our expansion in the North West as this fills a hole in the map for us although we still have further expansion plans in the very near future. I remember when I bought the first Turmeaus shop in Liverpool many years ago and what a sorry state it was in. People said I was bonkers and cigar retail doesn’t work in Liverpool but of course they were wrong as this is one of our strongest locations with substantial expansion planned for next year. Turmeaus has survived since 1817 and has thrived since C.Gars took over the business and revived the brand. Now trading in London, Norfolk, Liverpool, Chester and Knutsford. I think I have proven the business model… and had a lot of fun doing so!

I can’t wait to kick back this weekend at least for tomorrow as I’m back in the office on Sunday. C.Gars London and Norfolk are indeed open and operating 7 days a week 34 hours a day and boy do we need to this month as our mail order sales levels have hit record highs this year. See what our customers say about us here. I have a baggie full of BHK 56’s ( more or less sold out now sadly) as well as Boli Belgravia (I love this smoke) and a few H. Upmann No. 2 Reserva as a bit of a treat. I’m going to grab a bottle of Cigar Malt to compliment the smokes.

I’m in London next week and then I head up North for a week at the Turmeaus shops… I can’t wait :)

Have a smokey weekend.

Peaceful puffing.

Mitchell

 

cgarsxmas2015c

Partagas Festival – Cigar Auction – Cigar Awards Event

Just back from Havana having enjoyed a splendid few days at the annual Partagas Festival. I’ve attended all of the festivals bar one over the last 18 years and it’s one of the high points on my travel calendar every year.

Rainbow over VinalesThis was the first trip to Havana for Karyn (wife/co – Director) and she enjoyed it immensely and can’t wait to come back for another Festival next year :) We stayed at Parque Central (the new part) and the location was perfect for showing her around Old Havana. Our trip included visiting Indian caves, Las Terrazes and Pinar del Rio. We saw the most beautiful rainbow over Vinales from Los Jazmines. Heaven for a cigar merchant like me!

The November Partagas Festival has a very different vibe to the February/March Havana Festival as it’s a different crowd, mainly ‘Friends of Partagas’ connoisseurs and aficionados from all over the world as opposed to many cigar industry folk at the February Festival. A lot of the crowd know each other for many years but this is our annual opportunity to meet up and herf our favourite cigars together.

Partagas-festival-blog1It was great to see a lot of new faces too this year and the gala dinner was one of the best I have ever attended. It was held at El Laguito and the room was decadent to say the least. The entertainment was great and in fact this was the first time it was not ‘Cuban too loud‘!

We were spoiled with an insane amount of 170th anniversary double banded cigars including Montecristo and Romeo Anejados, Bolivar Belicosos, H. Upmann Connoisseur A, Hoyo Epicure No. 2 and Partagas Serie P No. 2, as well as some pretty decent wine and excellent Santiago rum (my current favourite!)

Partagas festival gala dinnerAs usual I had a fabulous table at the front thanks to my old friend Amir and we were in pole position for the charity auction. The auction Lots were truly outstanding this year in terms of the humidors as well as the cigars. All proceeds go to the Cuban National Health Service and C.Gars Ltd proudly made a substantial donation to this most worthy cause. Whilst Cuba is still punished by the US Embargo all other means of support are needed.

I had my first experience of the Cuban National health Service as Karyn was bitten by something (not me!) and her arm blew up so we zoomed her over to the International hospital and were seen within minutes by a very nice doctor, prescribed and dispensed the relevant drugs immediately and all for 30 quid… Can’t do that in the UK even if you go private! 24 hours later thankfully Karyn was better.

I managed to arrange a private factory tour at La Corona thanks to Nestor Valera (Director of LDCH franchise division) and my thanks to his assistant Victor and la Corona Director Osmar Hernandez Fuentes for a comprehensive and interesting tour.

La Corona is a huge factory with over 250 rollers in the Galera and we were introduced and welcomed with their chavetas being banged on the rolling tables which was very cool.

IMG_4951Whilst there is something of a shortage of large wrapper leaf in Cuba at this time, the factory was definitely at full production with many different brands and vitola including Romeo Gran Reserva and Hoyo Hermosos No. 4 Anejados which looked good enough to eat!

Osmar assured us that quality control is undertaken at every stage of production and it was great to see a room full of Drawmaster machines being used.

The tour ended with a tasting of the Romeo Wide Churchill Gran Reserva. This cigar was one of the finest I have smoked in years. Truly a perfect expression of the Havana cigar. I can’t wait for them to be released.

We zoomed round a few cigar shops as usual including Melia Habana, Partagas and Palacio and whilst they were all pretty well stocked up the range itself was fairly thin i.e. nothing terribly interesting. No sign of any BHK’s which I now understand are just about sold out everywhere.

In other news this week…

Our new Turmeaus shop in Knutsford is almost complete and we are planning a soft opening at the end of first week December. Charming location for this beautifully designed shop if I do say so myself. The planned extensive range of premium cigars, tobacco, accessories, whisky and rum as well as a comfortable sampling lounge should please my clients in the North West immensely. I can’t wait to get over there in a few weeks’ time :)

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 22.49.02Our Winter Cigar Auction is being held this Monday from 2pm at the Bulgari Hotel and is now more or less sold out. 359 splendid cigar Lots including magnificent Pre Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill. Limited edition aged and rare Havanas will be sold. Lovely article in Cigar Aficionado about our auctions.

If you can’t make the auction event there is still time to register to bid online. Online bidder registration closes Friday at midnight. Last viewings will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday by appointment at our London offices. Very best of luck to all of our bidders and sellers.

We will be enjoying a whisky tasting (thanks to Robert Grahams Ltd single malt whiskies) and a cigar tasting featuring Montecristo Media Coronas and Bolivar Belgravia UK Regional Edition following the auction sale (for pre booked guests) together with canapes at the delightful Sahakian Cigar lounge ably managed by our friend Mike Choi.

If that’s not enough action for me ☺ next Tuesday we will be co – sponsoring and enjoying the Snow Queen Cigar Smoker of the year dinner at the beautiful Boisdale Canary Wharf. A star studded guest list is expected and we will be treated to the best of entertainment drinks and smokes as well as the cigars awards for the following categories:

The Snow Queen Cigar Smoker of the Year
The Snow Queen Cigar Lifetime Achievement Award
The Cigar Writer of the Year
The Cigar Terrace or Cigar Lounge of the Year
The Cigar Retailer of the Year
The Cigar Producer of the Year
The Cigar of the Year

Needless to say this was a sold out event as soon as the tickets were released. I have a wonderful and rather huge table of C.Gars guest and can’t wait for this event!

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

GALLERY

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