Festival!

So I missed the great UK snowstorm of 2019, I’m pleased to say, whilst I was sunning myself in Central America. I understand it lasted all of 36 hours! That said it is incredibly mild for mid-February so I’m planning on some mega car herfing over the next couple of days 🙂 I blame it on global warming, my wife blames global warming on my use of hair spray lol.

I had a lot of laughs herfing my way round Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia as well as a few Caribbean Islands on a very lovely cruise over the last few weeks. In fact, the amount of counterfeit cigars I spotted was hysterical, if not quite ridiculous. If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen some of the funny photos and… funnier counterfeit cigar photos.

The ship had a lovely deck and bar that was packed with cigar smokers day and night, so I was not short of herfing company, and it shows how popular cigar smoking still is!

Sadly a few of my fellow travellers were duped into buying fake Cohiba cigars on the Islands. A few asked me for my opinion. In fact I laughed so much at the first person that asked me my opinion on an Esplendidos he must have thought I was a bit of a mad Englishman. Call me the doyen of tact… not. I mean seriously, do people really think that a “5 Buck” Esplendidos exists and it’s real? (Apparently some do sadly.)

We finished our vacation with a few days in very lovely Las Olas where I managed to find two cigar shops to herf at on the street where my hotel was located! Havana Republic Cigar has opened recently and is very lovely with super friendly service, right next door to the Riverside Hotel where we stayed (you can smoke in the hotel court yard as well). Maccabi Cigar Bar, 1219 E Las Olas Blvd is a bit further down the road and open until 1am.

Back to Blighty for a few days catching up and some finishing touches on the March 3rd auction catalogue. Surprisingly big sale with around 350 Lots to be knocked down. Plenty in the pre embargo section, a few limited edition humidors, Davidoff and Dunhill, aged and mature. Limited and regional editions. Should be an interesting sale and a good gauge on where values are headed at this time of the year.

Lots of requests received for Cohiba Robusto Reserva but I’m afraid the reality is there is little stock in the market currently. We did release around 100 sticks (5 boxes) so we could share them around as such but there is currently no sign of any more though I am ever hopeful. I can’t say I understand how the system works as it’s all a bit beyond my mathematics abilities. If there are 5000 cabinets… Where are they? Where did they go? Or were they not all actually made?

But we did get meaningful stocks of Siglo VI back after a rather long absence. So fill your boots (or humidors!) at the most competitively priced Siglo VI in the UK. Or… has everyone deserted Siglo VI and moved to Siglo IV instead? I think that could be the case as our Siglo IV sales have been quite astonishing.

New in… not much, but these are a decent whiff when you need something small snazzy packaging too.

Have you tried our exclusive range of Italian Nostrano cigars? these have taken us by some surprise as they are incredibly popular. Don’t diss it till you try them – they are a pretty tidy smoke.

Check out my range of Davidoff here. I have the largest most insane range of Davidoff in the UK, I even bought all their discontinued lines as I love this brand so much! Why?… Because they all draw, the construction quality on this brand is legendary, the blends are awesome and of course we guarantee the lowest prices in the UK. We really are the home of Davidoff cigars in the UK.

If you didn’t know, the Avo brand of cigars is one of Davidoff’s brands which we had an exclusive made for us last year, the Avo Orchant Seleccion – a fab smoke. Rich, smooth and balanced. A triumph of blending.

My rather yummy range of Stalla Dhu single malt whisky has some new bottle sizes in the range; the sexy 20cl bottles of Speyside, Islay  and Cigar Malt. You can find them here.

Bored? Go to one of our events 🙂 there’s always something going on. It’s worth the trek oop North, nothing quite like a Turmeaus tasting event 🙂

Loads of friends asking when our new Norfolk shop will open and my apologies that we are a tad later than expected as we put the finishing touches to everything. We have moved in but hope to open the doors to our retail clients in around 2 weeks’ time. It will be worth the wait! I don’t think Norfolk has ever seen anything like it!

I think we have reached a milestone with over 5,000 Customer Testimonials! If you have enjoyed good service in one of my shops please give us a review on Trip Advisor or Google reviews. If you have enjoyed your online shopping experience with C.Gars Ltd please give us a review on Trust Pilot… we are always grateful for reviews 🙂

Righto… I’m off to pack as I’m heading to Havana this week for the annual Festival. By my calculations that’s the 20th Festival I have attended and something ridiculous like the 110th trip to Havana since 1997, I should get a special prize for that – has to be a record?! Maybe make me president of something 🙂

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

January Blues!

Greetings from sunny London, the newspapers are talking about ‘Blue Monday’ but there seems to be no sign of the blues with C.Gars clients as we have kicked off January with record sales. Clearly stocks were being enjoyed over the Christmas holidays and humidors are being replenished 🙂

I can’t believe how amazing the weather has been over the last week, great topless car herfing weather… so off I went to Turmeaus Norfolk 🙂

I met up with C.Gars President, Ron Morrison, at our new and almost completed headquarters in Norfolk after a 2 and a half hour roof off drive and herfing my way through a Partagas Salomones, Romeo Wide Churchill and Por Larranaga Picadores.

Norfolk is an awesome county to drive across, flat B roads and awesome countryside. Smoking a good cigar in the car is truly paradise for me.

Our new premises is taking shape and will be complete in around a weeks’ time. The furniture has arrived and looks pretty amazing to say the least.

The humidor room, whisky room, pipe room, retail shop, sampling lounge, sales office, marketing office, photographic studio, IT office and a zillion other rooms are finally completed and our move from the existing premises will commence in a weeks’ time with a soft opening planned before Valentine’s day and a launch party in March.

It’s actually taken us over a year since we first planned to relocate due to the breathless pace of the business expansion. We have had every obstacle thrown at us from an abortive acquisition a year ago to objections to licencing, slow planning departments etc. etc. but… we have as ever beaten them all, one by one. If I do say so the results are quite stunning and no doubt our new HQ will be a destination point for cigar and whisky aficionados from all around the region.

I had my AGM at our esteemed importers Hunters & Frankau last week and it looks like it will be a very exciting year ahead. We are hoping (and very excited) to get the latest and overdue UK regional edition Havana fairly soon.

Wednesday and Thursday evening herfing was enjoyed at The Lanesborough (still my favourite!) where I enjoyed Bolivar Soberanos, Hoyo Rio Seco and Hoyo Churchills 1999 paired up with some excellent Glendronach recommended by Mario. Perfect combo.

Our new whisky website is due to go live in early February and promises to have one of the largest ranges in the UK, undoubtedly at the lowest prices in the UK. Watch this space.

If you haven’t tried Tomintoul single malt whisky yet may I highly recommend this range… we introduced the range to Turmeaus retail shops and Puffin’ Rooms in December and the feedback has been super positive. Plenty of offers on the range great value and the 14 year old is quite stunning with a good cigar.

I’m looking forward to a Burns Night herf at Boisdale Mayfair on Thursday evening and then I’m off on vacation for a few weeks… at last a real vacation 🙂

I have my baggie filled with:

Hoyo Churchills 1999 vintage – 20 year old cigars at a regular price, super value for a great smoke.
Juan Lopez Seleccion Super UK regional 2016 – last call on these as they are almost sold out and one of the best regionals out there.
Bolivar Super Coronas Limited Edition 2014 – smoking like a dream, an old style Bolivar blend, bold and full flavoured, earth and spice.
Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Shorty – ridiculously good value and the sweetest blend.
El Rey del Mundo Orchant Seleccion Choix Supreme – the perfect morning smoke, light, mild flavour bomb.
Avo Orchant Seleccion – I can’t get enough of these, truly an excellent blend.
Qua D’Orsay No. 50 – I tried these when they first came out and “didn’t get it”. Now, they have come into their own. An excellent medium flavour and medium strength smoke.

That should keep me going for a few weeks!

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all of our C.Gars, Turmeaus and Puffin’ Rooms customers and guests 🙂 and my thanks for making 2018 our most successful year ever.

We had record sales in mail order and retail with a growth rate that literally takes my breath away (or it could be that I’m smoking too much!) Clearly we must be doing something right as we have 10,000 more customers than a year ago so… welcome newbies, you have found the right cigar specialist to take care of you 🙂

The huge growth area was as expected New World cigars but not at the expense of Havana cigar sales which also increased substantially. I think it could well be a new generation of cigar smokers coming through that want to try cigars from different regions and are happy to explore the different blends and brands from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Honduras in particular.

I remember when I started out and the only New World brands we stocked were La Invicta, Don Ramos and Santa Damiana. Well the last two don’t exist anymore. La Invicta is still very popular and it’s been joined by around 70 other brands that make up our full and largest range available in the UK.

Pricing is good (always a bonus), quality of construction is generally spot on and blends seem to get better year in and year out. We are predicting by 2020 half of our premium cigar sales will be New World. Quite a shift in the market.

Some of my favourites include:

Regius Orchant Seleccion 2019 Limited Edition – Just released and unbelievable prices for a quality Nicaraguan

Avo –  Great range, packaging and super good value for a premium cigar

Avo Orchant Seleccion – …well I’m biased but I think this is just a splendid blend

Arturo Fuente – best of the best

Inka and Inca Secret Blend – the only cigars made 100% from Peruvian tobacco and rolled in Peru, a very sweet smoke

Macanudo – great smokes at a great price

Nostrano – Italian cigars, bit of a wild card but don’t dis them until you try them as they are a really good whiff

And my very favourite Davidoff Orchant Seleccion London Edition – last few boxes now released. When they’re gone… they’re gone!

I should have mentioned that all of the above are exclusive to C.Gars Ltd and Turmeaus… well of course they are/we are the biggest and best cigar specialist in the UK 😉

On the Cuban front we have just released the latest Orchant Seleccion which is an El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme. You will have to hurry though as they are already almost sold out.

And on the whisky front we have just bottled our latest single cask Stalla Dhu called ‘Saorsa’. A perfect dram with a good cigar.

Karyn and I enjoyed ‘working’ at Turmeaus Liverpool, Knutsford and Chester over the week before Christmas and spent most evenings at Puffin’ Rooms (my diet starts tomorrow!) are these the most beautiful cigar and whisky shops in the UK?… I think so, they certainly seemed to be the busiest! Great to catch up with my Turmeaus retail team and chat with so many customers over the week.

We also went back to Liverpool to enjoy the New Year’s event at Puffin’ Rooms. This brilliant party was booked up within minutes of tickets being released. Fabulous live music, Champagne, cocktails and delicious food…who could ask for more?!

Back in the London office for the next few weeks and getting ready to launch a couple of new brands… watch this space!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Ho Ho Ho!

It’s that crazy Christmas time of year again 🙂 and my December kicked off to a cracking start with our Winter auction of some 440 Lots of mature, aged and rare Havana cigars and the usual high 90’s (%) sale rate. So, I’m pleased to say, we have a lot of happy bidders and sellers out there.

Prices went somewhat crazy on Cohiba limited editions, Seleccion Reserva and Gran Reserva. Clearly there is no end to the demand for these cigars. It will be interesting to see how fast the new Cohiba Robustos Reserva sells out when they are finally and fully released. But will they be fully released > that’s the big question? I heard that some countries received such small deliveries that cigar specialists only received one single box each! I’m hoping that won’t be the case for the UK but it is a possibility.

Davidoff, Dunhill and pre embargo prices held firm. Some of the early limited editions sold very well and good quality stock from the 70’s and 80’s were in great demand as expected.

Our next auction is planned for early March 2019 and the catalogue is filling up fast as ever. For any information check out the C.Gars auction website or email the auction team at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk.

As if we were not busy enough with our regular business as well as the Winter auction we thought lets do a little more “crazy” (we do crazy very well!) and have The Cigar Smoker Of The Year event at Boisdale Canary Wharf the next night 🙂

Great to be the sponsor of this star studded event as well as present the cigar manufacturer of the year award. Chris Noth won the main award and was it was delightful to have him as the star guest of the evening, whilst legendary British actor and Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons scooped the Boisdale Lifetime Achievement Award.

The glamorous evening, hosted by prominent food writer, critic and three-time event host Tom Parker Bowles, had in attendance the cream of the cigar smoking crop; British acting royalty and Hollywood stars, 2016 Cigar Smoker of the Year winner Kelsey Grammer and wife Kayte, singer songwriter Rebecca Ferguson who performed on the evening, entrepreneur Nancy Dell’Ollio, Cuban Ambassador, Her Excellency, Mrs Teresita de Jesús Vicente Sotolongo, as well Love Island reality television show stars Rosie Williams and Charlie Brake.

Notable awards went to:

• Cigar Smoker of the Year – Chris Noth
• Lifetime Achievement Award – Jeremy Irons
• Cigar of the Year – Davidoff Late Hour Churchill
• Cigar Writer of the Year – Tobias Gorn
• The Cigar Producer of the Year – Joya De Nicaragua

Okay so now back to business, we have received a few more of the new Bolivar Limited edition, Trinidad la Trova (at our La Casa del Habano), the new Hoyo Rio Seco (in tiny quantity) as well as some Upmann Sir Winston and Romeo Wide Churchill Gran Reserva… woohoo! Grab them while you can though as we expect them to disappear again rather quickly.

I’m up North for the week pretending to be of some use at our Turmeaus shops in Liverpool, Knutsford and Chester, and thoroughly enjoying the evenings Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge, and of course Puffin’ Rooms in Liverpool.

We recently introduced the single malt whisky range of Tomintoul to our stores and online and it’s fast becoming a firm favourite. This superior Speyside pairs up exceptionally well with a good premium cigar. They describe it as ‘The Gentle Dram’… not sure about that lol but the 21 y/o is one hell of a perfect malt for me.

Already planning my Christmas baggie and its looking something like this:

Davidoff Orchant Seleccion Lanceros – my favourite Davidoff ever… no surprise there!

H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva – a sublime smoking experience

Bolivar Belicosos 2007 Orchant Seleccion – candy sticks for me lol

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Shorty – I can’t get enough of these

Avo Orchant Seleccion – recently introduced and quite delicious as a day time smoke

Oliva Orchant Seleccion Chubby – full bodied for the serious Nicaraguan cigar smoker)

Arturo Fuente Opus X 20th Anniversary Believe – words fail to describe how incredible the blend of this cigars is

Hoyo Maravillas Colección Habanos – I adore this cigar. Massive volumes of smooth full sweet flavour with a balance light – medium strength
Davidoff 4000 1988 – just for a treat… I love aged Davidoff!

Regius Orchant Seleccion Campanas 2019 limited edition – due out in the next few days – just arrived from Nicaragua and a superb smoke as expected

And I’m grabbing a bottle of Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt as well as a 21 y/o Tomintoul to take home and enjoy with the smokes 🙂

C.Gars is open 24-7 throughout the year including Christmas so if you have any questions or need any advice don’t hesitate to email sales@cgarsltd.co.uk… you may well get me replying 🙂

Our Turmeaus shops are open 7 days a week for the next week and have a huge range of… everything you could dream of in terms of whisky and cigars! Come in, enjoy a sampling session and the warmest welcome.

Have a peaceful, smoky and very merry Christmas.

Mitchell

Gallery from the Cigar Smoker of the Year Awards:

Back from Havana :)

Just back from another splendid trip to Havana for the rather swanky annual Partagas Festival 🙂

Some 300 friends of Partagas attended the amazing gala event at the Habana Libra Hotel and we were treated to some first class entertainment, too many cigars to count and plenty of rum of course! The charity auction feature some very beautiful and unique humidors and though I bid I wasn’t successful this year as in previous years.

I herfed at the Hotel Nacional terrace, Partagas VIP lounge and the Melia Habana La Casa, mooched around the shops as usual and was surprised at the lack of Cohiba available. Mainly Cohiba Maduro and a few Robustos, no sign of anything sexy so it looks like the shortage is real as well as continuing. On a positive note there was plenty of everything else.

Saturday nights entertainment was at Tropicana. This has to be the best show on earth and of course no problem smoking cigars there.

Happy to recommend a few places below, goodness knows there are plenty more and food has improved in Havana beyond recognition over the last few years.

El del Frente: Hip, modern restaurant with roof terrace

Carboncita: Small paladar, good food and great service.

Rio Mar: Very cool.

El Gelato: Excellent ice cream! (I love ice cream!)

I stayed in the excellent Manzana Hotel but another 5 star hotel, The Packard has just opened and I’ll try that out in February.

Back to Blighty on Virgin Upper, wasn’t too shabby, in fact I think we had the nicest crew ever (they must have had a good time in Havana!). Then straight back to the C.Gars London office to drop off a couple of antique cabinets and a half dozen excellent original Che photos for the collection.

Finishing touches and control checks being done on the auction catalogues which should be live by Monday on the auction website.

Avo Orchant Seleccion cigars will be available early next week, they’re currently available for pre-order, so if you want first dibs, order now!

Heading to Turmeaus and Puffin’ Rooms – Liverpool on Tuesday and looking forward to seeing friends and clients at our super cool jazz and tapas venue.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell