Happy Valentines!

It’s been a nonstop herfing week since my last blog, no idea how I have any time to actually run this huge business (That was sort of tongue in cheek as Laura and Michelle run the business!)

It started off last Thursday with 30+ attendees at our first whisky and cigar sampling at our fabulous Robert Graham shop in Cambridge where we released the latest in our Dancing Stag single cask single Malt whisky range. Our Mortlach from 1996 is bottled at 46% and paired up perfectly with the Mi Amor cigars kindly supplied by Scott and Ludo from Tor Imports.

We also enjoyed our splendid Auchentoshan 1991 paired up with a variety of other cigars including Inka – Secret Blend from Peru and Regius from Nicaragua.

Cambridge Evening news sent over a photographer who took some splendid photos of our Team looking magnificent in their kilts – Hope to have the photos up soon.

The tasting went on somewhat longer than expected (Until 2 am!) due to the variety of cigars that were sampled. Thanks to the Robert Graham Team for the splendid canapés and service and special thanks to Chris, our Manager at Robert Graham Edinburgh for coming down to help set up the evening.

Friday morning was spent at the Cambridge cigar lounge with friend and clients sampling Bolivar Britanicas, 2012 UK regional edition which has all but sold out now – Hurry if you want to stock up on these superb limited production cigars. Full flavoured, sweet and complex, great shape and size – Truly a delight.

Saturday evening pre herf with friends at my house with a bottle of Boisdale champagne and an El Rey del Mundo Choix De l’Epoque another winning UK regional edition before heading to the Palladium to see A Chorus Line. The theatre is really quite beautiful, such a shame that the seats are only comfortable if you have no arms. Having unfolded my body after 2 hours of being incarcerated in the hugely uncomfortable Palladium seats, we headed off to the Hard Rock Café for some late night cocktails and then back home for some serious herfing.

One of my friends had bought a sealed box of Punch Ideales from the 1960’s at one of the C.Gars Auctions and decided it was time to crack it open. It’s always a risk buying a sealed box as you never know if the cigars will be in decent condition or not. The box was probably one of the best auction bargains I have ever seen and when we opened it the bouquet was outstanding and the cigars were pristine- we were in for a treat. The Ideales vitola is a difficult cigar to blend correctly and slender ring gauges can of course have tighter than desired draw, however these cigars were blended and constructed to perfection. We ended up smoking 4 of them back to back and each one was quite perfect. Rich, smooth, medium to full strength and full of sweet flavours from start to finish.

We wrapped up around 3 a.m with Punch Serie D’Oro no.1 – the 2008 UK regional edition and a few drams of Dancing Stag Clynelish.

Fast forward to Sunday brunch time and the herfing continued in earnest with some 1960’s Montecristo no.2’s paired up with some ’96 Bollinger. It’s amazing how well cared for Havanas can age for 50 years and be such incredible mature cigars. Aged cigars are not better than recent production cigars… They are just different, they may suit some palates and not others. They are certainly not for the novice and an acquired taste even for some experienced Havana cigar smokers.

Last night’s herf was my first visit to the Bulgari Hotel cigar lounge/sampling room, supplied by my friends Edward and Eddie Sahakian of Davidoff – London. I enjoyed a couple of Bolivar Petit Belicosos limited edition 2009 (Full strength, full and earthy flavours) whilst my friends enjoyed sampling a variety of cigars having been very well advised by Manager Mike Choi. We went through a bottle of our Robert Graham Christmas single Malt (Glenfarclas) and had a great evening at this first rate venue in the heart of Knightsbridge. Highly recommended.

My latest import of Inka Secret Blend cigars from Peru has just landed in the UK and should be on our shelves in a few days’ time including a new vitola, sorry for the delay – We have been astonished with the popularity of our brand.

I keep hearing rumours that Romeo Reserva is about to be released but sadly I have not seen them as yet…Newsletter subscribers will be informed the minute they are expected in the humidor of course.

I’m actually taking Valentines evening off to celebrate it with co-Director Karyn :)… And a good cigar or two!

Smokey Valentines wishes

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Don’t mention the World cup!

Bit of a heavy sampling session at the office yesterday as my partner Christoph Wolters from La Casa del Habano – Hamburg flew over for our annual general meeting.

A bottle of Clynelish later and we couldn’t agree whether Germany or the UK had the best regional editions!

We sampled our way through Ramon Allones Belicosos German regional contrasted with Ramon Allones Belicosos UK regional 2004 and I’m certain the UK version (Which was the first regional edition) was better but the additional years maturing may have played a factor.

We followed on with Bolivar Especiales German regional contrasted with Bolivar Britanicas UK regional and it was hard to choose which was the better of these two fine cigars.

Finally finishing with my very favourite Punch Serie D’Oro no.1 which is of course my favourite UK regional edition. We both agreed that this has matured into a first rate Havana. Full bodied, rich and complex from start to finish. Hint of sweetness, perfect draw and good dark wrapper leaf. Quite outstanding and a great annual general meeting!

We have been in Hamburg almost 7 years and the business has gone from strength to strength with last year being our best ever year. Our retail shop has a huge range of Havana cigars as well as all smokers accessories and a mouth-watering range of single malt whisky and rum. LCDH – Hamburg also features a superb cigar smokers lounge open till late. C.Gars Ltd and Robert Graham Ltd customers are always assured a warm welcome.

Thursday evening fast approaching and I’m looking forward to the cigars and whisky tasting at Robert Graham- Cambridge we’re launching a new cigar Ashton La Aroma de Caribe Mi Amor Belicoso paired up with the latest Dancing Stage cask release which is a 1995 Mortlach bottles at 46% and sure to be a very popular addition to our award winning range. We’re expecting a good crowd for a memorable evening.

I’m pleased to introduce the Torano range of cigars to the UK. You won’t find them anywhere else in the UK except C.Gars Ltd and our retail cigars shops (More cigars shops than anyone in the UK… All crammed with huge ranges of cigars in our walk in humidors!)

3 weeks to go till the Festival in Havana… I better start packing my lighters :) Looking forward to trying the new Partagas Lusitanias Gran Reserva, not that we have seen the Romeo Churchill Gran Reserva from last year as yet but we are ever hopeful!

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

More cigars/Lower prices!

It looks like new release cigar season is starting with a bang (Or perhaps a puff of smoke!)

The new Rafael Gonzales Perlas could be the perfect quick 20 minute smoke, I have puffed my way through 9 of these so far (All from different packs to check blend integrity of course) and they truly are delicious, sweet flavour and mild to medium in strength, good colorado smooth vein free wrapper and perfect construction. Measuring in at 4” length and 40 ring gauge.

I tend to smoke a lot of Partagas Shorts when I want a quick smoke but sometimes they are a tad too strong as a morning smoke so the Rafael will now become a replacement on the rotation.

See the Perlas singles here  and also the handy pack of 5 that slips into your jacket pocket (If you wear a jacket!)

The other new cigar from Havana is somewhat odd but interesting. Quintero Favoritas measure in at 4 ½” length and a hefty 50 ring gauge which is unusual for a tripa corta Havana cigar. Interesting blend, touch on the salty side although it’s very smooth and perfectly constructed. Worth a try.

See the Favoritas singles here and the box of 25’s here.

Our cigar of the week last week was Regius Coronas which were available at a rather giveaway price of £135 for a box of 25 of these handmade Nicaraguan cigars. I’m going to hold that price through February whilst stocks last.

All of the above cigars are available online and at all of our cigar shops.

We have introduced some new and reduced prices for another range of Nicaraguan cigars through till the end of February, get them while you can:

Luis Martinez Ashcroft Corona
Box of 25s, Pack of 5, Singles

Luis Martinez Hamilton Robusto
Box of 25s, Pack of 5, Singles

Luis Martinez Aspen Toro
Box of 25s, Singles

Bolivar Petit Belicosos 2009, Romeo Hermosos no.2 2004 and Romeo Escudos 2007 – All limited editions and all sold out except I have a stash of them that I am making available :) Get them while you can as they are all smoking like a dream.

I spent last Sunday reading the Sunday Papers at our cigar lounge at Robert Graham – Cambridge. Its amazing how many people are already using the sampling lounge as there was a constant flow of cigars smokers in and out all afternoon (Had to take the newspapers back home/Never managed to read them at all!) I decided that sampling of some superb Cuban rum would be in order and I can confirm that it paired very nicely indeed with the Hoyo Epicure 2  that I was smoking :)

Next Thursday I’ll be at our first whisky and cigar tasting at Robert Graham Cambridge which should be a great evening. We are planning regular monthly events so drop me a line if you would like to be on our mailing listA: sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

Thursday evening I’m herfing with friends at the fabulous Wellesley Hotel cigar terrace… Could be worse, right?!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Burns Night!

Our annual Burns night event was held at Boisdale Canary Wharf. The bar, restaurant and cigar library were all absolutely crammed full and the atmosphere was superb.

Well done Boisdale chef for having a Vegetarian Burns night menu which suited me perfectly! (Yes it included vegetarian haggis!!)

In between superb live jazz music the bagpiper came round to the tables and the address to the haggis (Below, if you can understand it you are a better man than me!) was recited in a most dramatic and entertaining fashion :)

Smokes enjoyed in the cigar library enjoyed included PSD4’s and Punch Serie D’Oro no.1 and post dinner smokes on the terrace included Monte 2’s and Romeo Wide Churchills paired up with our go to single malt whisky when we are at Boisdale: Clynelish.

Daniel Marshall popped over to the office for a smoke earlier in the week. Daniel designs and manufactures in the USA superior quality humidors that we are proud to recommend. Stylish, functional and reliable as well as very good value. The larger humidors are beautifully crafted furniture that will last a lifetime.
Check them out on this link.

We have bought in a huge quantity of Regius cigars made in Nicaragua and been able to completely re-price the range to offer incredible value for this premium handmade cigar. If you enjoy the ‘nic kick’ of a full bodied spicy cigar, you should try them as they won’t disappoint.

I understand that we have some great new Havana cigars due for release any time now:

Rafael Gonzales Perlas presented in packs of 5 – Could be the perfect daytime 25 minute smoke, measuring in at 4“ length and 40 ring gauge

Quintero Favoritas in boxes of 25 – Measuring in at 4 ½” length and 50 ring gauge

I can’t wait to try them out.

Next week I plan to herf at the magnificent Wellesley (Reviewed in my earlier blog) with smoking chums from overseas and I hear that the Corinthia hotel is also planning to create a cigar terrace in the near future. London is indeed a mecca for cigar smokers with a splendid choice of venues to enjoy our stogies in warmth and comfort!

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Address To a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
(sonsie = jolly/cheerful)

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
D
eil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit” hums.

Is there that o’re his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect scunner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whistle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thristle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

Snow Joke!

Well we were expecting the snow and here it is, coming down and settling in London, looking very pretty but no doubt causing chaos (I am probably to blame as whenever I have a car valet, the weather turns awful!) but hey!… I did advise my newsletter clients to stock up and it looks like many followed the advice :) So I will have to assume that lots of C.Gars clients are reading this blog stranded at home, smoking some great cigars and drinking some great Robert Graham Dancing Stag single Malt whisky! I’m stranded at the office where I have enough cigars and scotch to last me through (A lifetime or two!)

Last Sunday was spent testing blends on no less than 14 cigars at the cigar lounge in our fabulous Cambridge Robert Graham store. It’s a hard job but I was up to it :) Great to work in the lounge as clients keep coming and going as they sample cigars away from the cold weather and in the comfort of our sampling room.

Last week, I met up with friends Edward and Eddie from Davidoff to check out the new Wellesley Hotel where we had dinner, drinks and smokes.

For the cigar smoker, this has to be one of the finest venues in the world and I am not exaggerating. Think 5 star luxury and then double it!

Giuseppe gave us a guided tour round the hotel showing us the restaurants, bars and suites, all of which are exceptionally classy, stylish and truly impressive but never mind all of that!! Let me tell you about the cigar terrace! Or should I say: Terraces! As there are two, one on each side of the entrance, luxuriously appointed with exceptionally comfortable seating, carpeted and with fireplaces and enough heat to not know it was close to freezing point outside.

The range of fine libations is mouth-watering, (The cask strength 1990 Bowmore was incredible!) the snack and dinner menu comprehensive, well priced and quite delicious, service as expected – Beyond compare. The walk in humidor could well be one of the most stylish and beautiful I have ever seen in my life. The range of regular as well as vintage, limited edition, aged and rare Havanas is the best I have ever seen – Truly breath taking. Congratulations to the owners, I know it will be a huge success and look forward to making this a regular herf spot with my friends and clients.

My herfing schedule also took me up North (Pre snow!) to Turmeaus Tobacconist Chester, we have completed the new lighting scheme so it now looks very bright and sparkly to say the least (Bring your sunglasses) and are planning a refurbishment of the back part of the store in the next few weeks (Not looking forward to the mess!) Enjoyed sampling a Partagas Petit Corona 1998 found in the walk in humidor as well as an Upmann Magnum 50 found with a great big bash in the middle of the cigars wrapper but still burned evenly and tasted quite splendid.

I remember years ago Magnum 46’s were one of my go to smokes and this reminded me of them. I never liked the Mag 50 when it first came out, could not quite understand the point of making a limited edition and then a regular production cigar and thought this will just cause a load of confusion (Which is does with my warehouse team!) but I think the Mag 50 may enter my weekly rotation based on recent smoking experiences of them.

Next stop was Turmeaus Retro Confectionery store in Liverpool where I had to do a little vanilla fudge sampling for quality control purposes of course. It passed with flying colours :) and next stop was Turmeaus Tobacconist in Liverpool where I found a La Gloria Cubana Deliciosos jar tucked at the top of the walk in humidor. I just love those moments! Sampled my way through a Cohiba Genios from 2007 which was first rate. Full flavour, earthy and spicy as well as very full bodied. Not for the novice, that’s for sure but to be appreciated by the serious and experienced Havana cigar smoker.

Same evening I met with sales Team members of Turmeaus Liverpool & Chester and friends to head over to Thornton Hall on the Wirral for an evening of Cigars, Cognac and Chocolate.

First off was the Courvoisier Cognac tasting by brand ambassador, Rebecca, and very interesting it was too. I’m not a Cognac drinker but I must say it did compliment the cigar very well indeed. 3 Cognacs later and I may even be persuaded to enjoy it now and again with a smoke

Next was the chocolate demonstration and tasting. Good grief, I think I consumed twice my body weight in the most amazing handmade chocolate (Should have had an insulin shot on the way out!) the chocolatier/chef was absolutely brilliant, no nonsense presentation, clear and very interesting. I learned that I am ‘not addicted to chocolate but I am addicted to sugar’. Splendid, I’ll add that to my list of addictions.

Finally, our Hunters and Frankau representative spoke about the Hoyo de Monterrey brand (Thank you Tim) and we enjoyed a tubed Epicure 2 despite the rather dodgy weather. We then continued with some rather cheeky little Ramon petit Belicosos and a good quantity of single malts (Macallan Gold) until I can’t remember (Or don’t want to!) how late.

Next day and it was lunch with my old friend Rodney, in fact he’s one of my oldest cigar smoking chums as we probably started smoking cigars together in the early 1990’s! (Good grief I must have been about 12 years old!) we were enjoying smoking some Punch Serie D’Oro no.1’s whilst Rodders showed me his new website on his tablet and I have to say it looked pretty swish (The site not the tablet!) check it out. Rodders specializes in advising businessmen on law, accountancy, taxation and all other complicated stuff that mere cigars merchants like me find very confusing! So if I may plug his services and suggest you ask him for the C.Gars Ltd special offer package :)

Snow allowing I’ll be herfing for Burns night at the lovely Boisdale Canary Wharf next Thursday evening and look forward to seeing friends at the fabulous cigar library.

Have a smokey and snowy weekend (Send photos of your snowmen with cigars!!)

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell