New store …New auction

I can finally and very proudly announce the opening of C.Gars – St James’s. Well overdue as we should have opened last Summer buy hey ho, who would have known the disruption that Corona Virus would cause?

And who would be mad enough to open a specialist cigar and whisky store in the middle of the third Lockdown? Answers on a postcard…

But open we are and the premises looks great, more like a Chanel store than a traditional cigar store and with a mouth-watering range of the best of the best cigars and single malt whisky money can buy.

We have a comfortable sampling area that will be available when it’s safe to open fully but, in the meantime, if you are in the West End pop in and feast your eyes and treat yourself to a great cigar or splendid bottle.

My staff will assure you a warm welcome, Sam used to work with us at Puffin Rooms – Liverpool, and Viktoria is well known by all the regular customers at Turmeaus – Mayfair so they bring a wealth of experience and offer the best in customer service.

I think that Turmeaus – Mayfair and C.Gars – St James’s may be the only cigar specialist shops remaining open in the West End at this time. Every time I pass any other cigar shops, they all seem to be closed. Let’s hope everyone can re-open soon and our industry can get back to normal.

So this lovely premises joins the C.Gars Group and makes it a nice round number of 10 including our other businesses in London, Liverpool, Chester, Knutsford and Norfolk. Add to that our two huge fulfilment warehouses and I’ve got to say this sure turned into a huge business that Laura and I could never have dreamed about so many years ago when we started the business from our bedrooms!

C.Gars Auctions are holding the first auction of the year on Tuesday 26th January.

Over 430 Lots of Vintage, Mature, Pre-Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill, Limited Edition Havana cigars as well as aged Havanas from the 1960’s through to the 1990’s will be on offer on behalf of estates, investors and collectors. There will also be 100 Lots of rare single malt whisky.

Lots are now live and bidding open online until the auction concludes on the 26th January on the Cigar Auction website.

This will be the 36th cigar auction by C.Gars since the auction department was established in 2009.

Auction Lots can be viewed and bid on online.

Featured Lots include:

Dunhill Estupendos, Mojito and Don Candido 502

Habanos 1994 humidor

Cohiba Seleccion Reserva, Lanceros Presidencia and Coronas Especiales Presidencia

Davidoff No. 1,2, Dom Perignon, 1000, 3000, Margaux and Ambassadrice

Montecristo, Partagas and Romeo Gran Reserva

For any questions don’t hesitate to email Laura Graham and the auction team at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk

Substantial interest is expected from overseas buyers due to the continued weakness of the Pound Sterling currently as well as the continuing increased demand from the Far East…

Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Starward Tawny

Whisky from all the way down in the wonderful island of Australia. I love trying spirits that make their distinct path in the drinks industry. It is quite refreshing when something unique occupies the new world whisky space, and Starward is one of those whiskies.

Born in the wonderful city of Melbourne, which is deemed the foodie capital of Australia, Starward focuses on flavour over everything else! Crafted to be that perfect companion to those friend or family filled dinner tables where enjoyment is the main focus. Another way that the distillery focuses on flavour, is instead of just finishing their whiskies in wine barrels, the full duration of maturation is done in different wine barrels. They did this to take on the old-world whisky ways and flip it. They wanted more of that in your face wine flavour burst! This mixed with the highly reactive climate in Melbourne, which they call elemental maturation, gives way to some wonderfully fruity flavours. The extreme weather differences in Australia gives way to some incredible reactions with the barrels.

The one we have here at the moment is their Tawny release. This is a limited edition project that is sure to disappear. Fully matured in fortified wine barrels that brings out a tasty rich and full flavour that is sure to please. It will not overpower new drinkers though; it still offers a pleasant smoothness. Wonderful fruity sweetness, with notes of dried citrus fruits, baking spices, and has a lovely dry finish.

Once the world starts calming down and travel opens back up, a visit to Australia is on the top of my list. For sure I’ll be heading to Melbourne for a distillery visit!

Slainte

Anthony

Forager’s New releases

Yellow Label and Black Label Forager’s have easily become some of our favourite gins by a long shot! The Yellow being that wonderfully crisp and refreshing gin to take any G&T to the next level. The Black being the quiet sophistication that every gin martini should be made with! So, when we received our stock of the new releases from Forager’s, I was beyond excited!

From seeing that they were trailblazing with the use of sugar beets in crafting their vodka or teaming up with a Famous jeweler to produce an incredible gin liqueur! You can tell that every bit of effort that they put into their bottlings are full of passion! There are plenty of great spirits out there, but not as many that are continuously striving to make better offerings for their customer base, like the folks at Forager’s.

If you have yet to try anything from the Forager’s lineup, please do yourself a favour and grab a bottle or two!

From the distillery itself, let me present the three new releases from the heart of Wales!

“Y Bēt (The Beet) – Welsh Vodka

Vodka distilled in the foothills of Snowdonia. Smooth and slightly sweet, this spirit is handcrafted and slowly distilled through a copper still. With hints of peppermint, cream, and citrus. It’s the perfect vodka for any cocktail. We are pioneering the use of Sugar Beets in crafting this vodka! Handcrafted to be a little off-beat, this rhythmic spirit was composed to showcase the harmony of the Welsh elements!

Forager’s Soulful Sloe Gin

Forager’s is proud to release the Soulful Sloe Gin. Created the way nature intended, slowly macerated with the freshest, late harvest sloe berries, orange and cloves. Sweet, bitter and rounded; perfect for a cold winter evening.

Foragers Clogau 2020 Release

The rarest of the worlds gold, meets the gracious Forager’s Gin. Combining the richness of sea buckthorn and the clean cut taste of Foragers Black Label, for this once in a lifetime Gin Liqueur, which tastes just like Christmas. Made in collaboration with our wonderful Welsh neighbour, famous jeweler Clogau! Crafted using the fresh water from the Clogau St David’s gold mine, deep in the mountains of Snowdonia.”

Slainte

Anthony

Happy New Year!

It’s been quite an astonishing year in our world of whisky and cigars, kicking off back in January with an astonishing increase in sales that continued through to February. All of our trading divisions and product categories were firing on all cylinders. Mail order and retail were up in double digit growth and our uber cool Puffin Rooms venue was packed seven nights a week with a waiting list that seemed to get longer every week.

I was surprised by the sales growth so early in the year. After all – this was our 23rd year in the business. So, off I went to the Festival in Havana not feeling terribly well for what reason I couldn’t fathom, still managed to enjoy myself but as many know, soon after I got back to the UK, I was desperately unwell with CV-19.

Thankfully, I made a good recovery after a very, very long recuperation period and in the meantime, we had to close down Puffin Rooms due to Government restrictions, but we were allowed to keep our retail shops open as alcohol shops are classed as ‘essential’.  The only flaw to the plan being that the shops were open, but few people ventured out on the streets during the lockdowns.

So, it was C.Gars Mail order divisions in London and Norfolk to the rescue, ably supported by our colleagues in the retail division fulfilling more than double the normal amount of orders we are used to (and that’s a lot!). We have been operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week to ensure on time shipping. I wish I could say that we had 100% on time delivery but Royal Mail and courier services have been stretched beyond their limits and a few orders were or are late or lost. Easy to criticize Royal Mail, but no one could have envisaged the amount of shipping that the crazy Corona situation would create, so I choose to applaud all of their hard work.

I’m grateful to our customers old and new for their patience when there were delivery issues or when we got their orders wrong (it’s rare but yep – we are only human and do occasionally get it wrong!) and a huge thanks to all of our suppliers for keeping the supply lines running so smoothly throughout the year.

During all this year’s madness we still managed to release new cigars including the fabulous Ramon No.2 with its exclusive world launch in the UK, Quai D’Orsay Senadores and Montecristo Supremos.  We released new casks of Stalla Dhu- single malt whisky, introduced Key West Rums and partnered with Snowdonia distillery and its fabulous Foragers gin and Y Bet Vodka.

Despite ongoing shortages of Havanas, our amazing UK exclusive distributor, Hunters & Frankau kept us well supplied and our huge stock levels ensured that disruption was kept to a minimum.

We expected to open our new C.Gars store on St James’s Street late Summer but constant delays due to Corona has set the opening back and now we expect to open early January. The store will be a true expression of the essence of C.Gars Ltd. Our finest ranges of premium spirits and premium cigars in the most comfortable of surroundings and of course, the best location in the UK.

C.Gars has grown so much since its humble beginnings 23 years ago that it would take all day to thank all of the Team (I think we employ almost 100 people these days!) for all their hard work and dedication. We have become a pretty big business, but Laura and I have tried to stay true to our founding ethos of treating every customer how we would like to be treated as a customer. We set the standards for service in our industry, guaranteeing quality and value and giving the best customer experience possible.

I’m looking forward to 2021 as we have more exciting expansion plans that I hope to share with everyone in January.

We may not be able to go out and celebrate the New Year this year due to the Covid restrictions but I hope C.Gars has bought a bit of happiness into your New Year celebrations with our fine cigars and splendid premium spirits.

Wishing all of our customers, staff and suppliers a very happy, safe and above all healthy New Year.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Larceny Bourbon

Definitely on a bourbon kick lately and this one from Old Fitzgerald Distillery is really hitting the mark this week! Larceny is another one of those bourbons that just isn’t widely spread, and usually brings out that reaction of ,“I haven’t seen that one before”, when you break it out for guests. It is always a joy to be able to introduce something to friends that haven’t had it before.

John E. Fitzgerald, who had exceptional taste when it came to bourbon, is the inspiration for this whiskey. The story goes that Fitzgerald, who was a bonded US Treasury Agent, had the keys to the old rickhouses where all the bourbon barrels were stored. He would use those keys to get himself in and steal bourbon from the barrels and take jugs of it home for himself. When those barrels were unusually light and unbelievably smooth, giving truth to his exceptional whiskey palate. These barrels became known as Fitzgerald barrels, which just solidified his legacy.

Larceny Bourbon, part of the Heaven Hill family, is one of only a handful of wheated bourbons on the market. Most bourbon make-up is corn, rye, and barley. Larceny has replaced the rye with wheat, on top of that, it has 25% more wheat than other wheated bourbons. In turn that creates a much more softer and smooth sipping bourbon. The bite of the rye is not there.

Just because it is a softer sip, it most definitely doesn’t mean it is less flavourful! This bourbon packs a hearty kick of flavours that open up into different avenues depending how you decide to prepare it. This is one I for sure do not get tired of drinking. Lots of honey and oak, along with some underlying cinnamon. This is not a polarising bourbon at all, I would bet most bourbon/American whiskey drinkers will get along with it. Very accessible, especially in a manhattan!

Slainte

Anthony