C.Gars Ltd - An In-Depth History
Havana Cigars – The best of the best.
How lucky am I that I grew up with a
and both grandfathers who loved a good cigar and I am the chap who ended
up with a career in the cigar business!
How it all began
My late grandfather loved his Monte 2’s and my Father still does, they both
visited many of the great cigar merchants over the years including Zino Davidoff in Geneva.|
Our family sold good cigars for many years through our hotels and restaurants in
Central London and through the 1980’s when I was in business with my
Father we were rarely seen without cigars puffing out blue swirls of
smoke in our hotel bars. These were more civilized days before
smoking bans were being thought about of course.
In the 1990’s I was a petrol retailer and built some fabulous convenience stores
that stocked a good range of Havanas, I was surprised at how popular
they were and with the guidance of my assistant Laura (now of
course Director of C.Gars Ltd) we set up the first Internet website
selling cigars in the UK. Our ethos was to offer a great range of
Havanas at unbeatable prices with personal service second to none. I
believe we have kept true to this ethos through till today.
C.Gars Ltd was established in 1997 and is now the leading cigar specialist in the UK.
The Start of C.Gars Ltd
The cigar business was a funny old business in the UK in the mid
1990’s, sort of an 'old boys' network that didn’t want anyone to
spoil their high margin, low service game that had been so successfully played
for many years. However that did not deter the Orchant family and we
boldly declared that our mission was to become the biggest and the
best Cigar Specialist in the UK. No doubt many other retailers and
suppliers had a chuckle at that at the time! But where are they now?
Well, some have disappeared from the industry, some we have bought
and some soldier on as shadows of their former selves. In the meantime we
continue to go from strength to strength.
Where are we now?
Well to my calculation, our family owns more Specialist cigar
shops in the UK than anyone else, has a larger web presence than
anyone else and is very likely the largest Specialist Cigar Merchant
in the UK. We bought Turmeaus Tobacconist who have a rich history in
the cigar business dating back to 1817 and are the second oldest
cigar specialist in the UK and we also bought Robert Graham Ltd, the
oldest specialist cigar merchant in Scotland – established in 1874.
You can see a list of my shops on
Each shop individual in character, with highly trained and super
helpful, friendly staff.
Our shops have a warm ambience and a great atmosphere where our customers can browse
at leisure without any pressure, where the law permits cigar
sampling we always welcome customers to relax with a smoke, drink
and friendly chat. All of our shops have been awarded 'Gold Medal
Specialist in Havanas' certificates from importers Hunters and Frankau. This is based on the size of the range of cigars stored in
our walk in humidors as well as the training that our staff have
Our business started in mail order and rapidly progressed to the internet way
before we ventured into retail, we knew that the industry would
shrink in terms of serious cigar specialists and the internet would
make purchasing cigars easier for the masses throughout the country.
I remember being amazed when we reached 100 visitors a day to our
website! I should be staggered when I tell you that we now have
over 2000 visitors to our main website daily!
The highest point of my career was winning the Silver Chaveta award from Hunters and
Frankau in 2007 for 'outstanding contribution to the UK cigar
trade' and the most fun perhaps my twice yearly trips for the
Habanos and Partagas Festival as well as cigar
factories and farms in Cuba which I have been lucky enough to have
enjoyed since 1997.
Looking back I ask myself what made the C.Gars Ltd website so successful?
broadband had a lot to do with it for sure! But I would like to
think that it was also a combination of our passion for the products
that we were selling that resonated with our customers.
To understand this better, I can only tell you and confess that I am a cigar bore
and have been since I was 15 years old. I never had much interest in
sport, never had any serious hobbies other than enjoying driving
nice cars (whilst smoking equally nice cigars of course) and as a
consequence I spent my down time visiting cigar stores, collecting
cigars and reading every scrap of information in every book I could
find on cigars. Luckily for me, I have never really felt like I was
working in the cigar business; just enjoying myself and chatting to
fellow cigar aficionados. I always felt that I had more general
knowledge regarding Havana cigars than most cigar merchants in the
UK and I always wanted to give the customer the best value for money
with some good old fashioned friendly customer service.
I have travelled the world to meet my clients and clients from all over the world
have come to our offices to meet me and enjoy the best smokes,
drinks and company (see the
herf pages on our website!)
There’s lots of
choice on the internet which can be a good thing for the consumer
but when you are purchasing cigars, you really need to know that the
merchant you are purchasing from has the right expertise to store
and select the cigars correctly for you, the customer. You want to
know that the website is a 'real' business and not just a 'drop
shipping front', that the prices are competitive, advice available
24/7 and stock available immediately for rapid delivery - That
merchant is C.Gars Ltd.
A Word on Range
We do, without question, have the largest range of cigars and accessories in the UK, that I am fairly certain of. Prices:
Our prices are very competitive and we like to think of ourselves as the
'Asda' of the cigar business. However, we will always guarantee to
price match any bonafide cigar specialist in the UK and we will not
be undersold. I could not possibly be more fair than that.
Our cigars are
supplied by Hunters and Frankau, the sole importer of Havana cigars
to the UK, we work very closely with H&F and advise all of our
clients to only purchase the finest English Market Selection Havana
cigars as we believe they are the finest quality money can buy.
Can you find
cheaper cigars in other countries? Sure you can but you really do
'get what you pay for’ where Havanas are concerned. Risks are ever
present when buying inferior cigars and having your cigars rightfully
stopped by UK customs. Why take the chance? Smoke less - smoke the
best - smoke EMS, after all 'life’s too short to smoke cheap
I’m always available by email
or phone for a friendly chat and advice,
regardless of whether you wish to order and you can also keep up
with us on Facebook and Twitter. I also write a regular blog and
send out a newsletter weekly to subscribers with industry news and
special offers on humidor and accessories.
It is my pleasure to be your cigar merchant,