Herfing Round London!

It’s been a bit of a power herfing week as ever but Tuesday I was definitely on a crawl of London’s best spots 🙂 The day started out with me meeting up with my business partner Ron for a wine tasting at 10 a.m. at Berry Brothers. My kind of breakfast!

Our premier jazz, tapas and cocktail lounge venue, Puffin’ Rooms, has an extensive wine list which we are constantly adding to. So in the best interests of the business, I tried my best to enjoy sampling the range of wines from Ridge Vineyards. 8 wines including the rather delicious Monte Bello 2018 and Estate Cabernet 2016. Being a bit of a Bordeaux fan I have to admit I did enjoy these rather big and bold Californian wines.

Problem was that after this liquid breakfast I fancied a smoke and it was of course pouring with rain… no problem! a few shops up the road was J.J. Fox! So we zoomed in to the humidor, selected a couple of splendid Hoyo Epicure No. 2’s with light wrappers (my preference) and sampled them in the sampling lounge. By the time we had finished the rain had almost stopped and we headed further up the road to the beautiful Davidoff shop to say hello and have a mooch round the excellent humidor.

After a chat with Alberto at Davidoff, we moved on to The Ritz – London cigar shop and sampled Trinidad Reyes. Ron and I love this brand, in fact it’s our favourite Cuban brand, though the smaller gauge cigars occasionally suffer from construction issues which is such a shame as the tobacco quality is truly superior, as is the blending.

Our next move was just round the corner to Turmeaus Mayfair where our new chairs had just arrived (we now have 5 chairs in the sampling room!) obviously we had to test them out so we grabbed a couple of Davidoff Orchant Seleccion paired up with a dram (or two) of Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt and i can confirm the new chairs worked perfectly 🙂

Over to the C.Gars office to catch up on a little work and a sampling of a Trinidad Vigia (my favourite in the range) paired up with some Ron Mulata 15 year old. Outrageously good rum and looks like great value to when you compare it say to Havana Club 15 year old.

Our next move was to the Garden Room at The Lanesborough for some supper and a bottle of Petit Chablis with a couple of Diplomaticos No. 2 which were magnificent. I have never understood why these cigars are not more popular. The blend seems to always be more consistent than Monte 2’s (we sell heaps of Monte 2’s!) and the construction rarely lets me down.

Finally a herf till silly O’clock at Chez Orchant with some more Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt and a couple of Partagas Salamones that Ron brought over from our La Casa del Habano Chester which was a great finish to a hard day’s work.

No let up on Wednesday as I had a rather long business lunch meeting at Boisdale Belgravia followed by Trinidad Vigia’s on the terrace. I really do love Boisdale restaurants, the menu is great (always loads of veggie options for me) and the wine list is ridiculous… It goes on and on and on and on and on (a bit like me!) It’s a book! Where do they keep all that wine?! Anyway we tried to leave them with a bit less wine as they must be out of space.

Thursday was a crazy early start to head over to C.Gars Norfolk (thankfully by train) for a senior management and quarterly marketing meeting. Those clever people in our IT and marketing departments have some fabulous new website innovations and promotions about to roll out. All very exciting stuff. I’m often asked how on earth did I build such a huge business? Well, in truth it must be because I work with people far smarter than me 🙂 (Thank you Laura and James and the team!)

That was one hard week’s work…

Glad it’s the weekend and absolutely no serious work planned as I’m heading to Beaulieu for the annual Simply Aston event 🙂 Last year some 300 Astons’ were there in horrendous wet weather so I’m hoping it will be better weather this year.

The weekend baggie is filled with:

Hoyo Epicure No. 2
Trinidad Reyes
Davidoff Orchant Seleccion Lanceros
Trinidad Vigia
Partagas Salomones

That should keep me in good shape for the long drive on Sunday and back on Monday.

Busy week next week with dinner at Boisdale Canary Wharf (TY Davidoff) on Tuesday where I understand Charlie Sheen is the guest of honour (should be a good laugh) and Spamalot at the theatre on Thursday (definitely good for a laugh).

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell
Department of Cigar Herfing and Social Affairs

Grand Opening Event!

Turmeaus Norfolk opening event was something special to say the least. The event sold out within minutes and we had a rather crammed cigar shop and sampling lounge from the second the doors were opened!

Pascal Lori from Davidoff cut the ribbon on the new shop and Jim Young the COO of Davidoff kindly sent us his good wishes by video. Davidoff kindly presented me with an Avo turntable- I’ll have to play ‘Strangers in the night’ on it in the sampling lounge!

Attendees enjoyed music by Victoria Sharp and canapes by Chef Chris both from Puffin’ Rooms Liverpool.

The evening featured tastings by Tomintoul whisky, Diplomatico rum and Botanist gin. The cigar sampling included Davidoff Entreacto, Davidoff Late Hour Robusto, Camacho Barrel Aged Robusto and Avo Domaine Short Perfecto cigars by Davidoff. All were immensely enjoyed! 🙂

The Norfolk expansion has been a huge step for C.Gars Ltd, but our growth in sales meant we had to have far larger and better premises. The team has expanded as you will see from the team photo! I’m so relieved that we have completed the move as our sales growth so far this year continues to be meteoric!

It was great to see our regulars and some new faces at the opening. For those disappointed that we were sold out, don’t worry, we will be holding regular tasting events every month. Updates are on the events page.

My thanks to Davidoff for all their support in our expansion. I’ve been selling Davidoff for the last 20 years but the last few years has seen monumental growth in popularity of this brand. I think it’s down to the introduction of new blends and ranges that are of truly superior quality. I don’t remember ever having a Davidoff with a construction issue!

My current favourites include:

We have exclusivity for the UK on Avo cigars made by Davidoff. Great cigars and super value for money. Don’t miss the Avo Orchant Seleccion – very proud to put my name on such an excellent cigar and exciting blend.

Thanks to all of our customers that came to the opening and gave us such great feedback and thanks to Laura, James and our Turmeaus and C.Gars – Norfolk team for working so hard on this event.

In other news this week…

Havana cigar supply seems to be pretty stable currently with our importers only short of a few lines like Cohiba Lanceros, BHK 54 and 56, Coronas Especiales and Piramides Extra. More or less everything else is in stock and we have good availability of Cohiba Siglo VI in 10’s and 25’s (no tubes!) at the best possible prices in the UK. We even have a few boxes of BHK 52’s knocking around our La Casa del Habano in Chester.

My current fave Havanas include:

Last call I fear on Monte 80th – Our stock is 2017 code but we are down to the last few boxes now.

Our Summer auction catalogue has filling up extremely fast and we may have to close it off far sooner than expected. As a result we are now planning a September sale in addition to our Winter sale. Details will be updated on the auction website.

This week we are featuring our exclusive Nicaraguan – Regius Connecticut cigars. I loved these smokes when I tested them out at the IPCPR trade show last year. If you are a fan of the regular range these won’t disappoint. Similar in flavour profile but with a tasty tang to the wrapper.

Stalla Dhu 20cl bottles have new ultra-cute bottles! They are absolutely flying off the shop shelves, as are our new face-lifted Orchant Seleccion Highland Cigar Malt 20cl’s… perfect gifts.

Our new whisky website is up and running, we are adding to the range all the time and guarantee best prices in the UK.

I’m heading to Puffin’ Rooms in Liverpool this week to enjoy supper/cocktails and jazz as well as what promises to be an amazing Nicaraguan event at Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge.

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell
Department of Cigars and Social Affairs

Turmeaus – Norfolk/open!

Greetings from gusty Brexit/ no Brexit crazy UK…. crazy weather and crazy politicians… but great whisky and cigars thankfully.

Our March auction was a resounding success with a super high sale rate as well as some remarkable prices achieved. If you were a successful bidder who has requested shipping, we thank you for your patience whilst my shipping team carefully pack your lots over the next week or so. If you’re in a hurry… come and collect them.

Our next auction will be in June and the catalogue is already filling up. For advice and free valuation service drop the auction team an email. Just to be clear our auctions are for aged, rare, interesting and discontinued Havana cigars only. If you have returned from the beach in Cuba and bought a box of Esplendidos… we’re not interested.

Loads and loads of enquiries for the new UK regional edition but please don’t get too excited yet as we don’t expect to see these till May at the earliest which will probably end up being June.

Image may contain: outdoorOur move to our new HQ building in Norfolk is finally complete. Over budget of course and 3 months late…the story of my life lol. Well it was worth the wait and we are super pleased with the results. I think we are the only specialist cigar/pipe/whisky shop in the region so it’s sure to become a destination point. We now have fabulous office suites for our IT, Marketing and sales teams, photographic studio and modern warehouse… we’ve got the lot! Well set up to cope with the unprecedented sales growth C.Gars continues to experience. Well done to Laura, James , Anthony and the C.Gars –Norfolk team for all their hard work.

The C.Gars HQ features a new Turmeaus shop with a comfortable sampling lounge so our customers can select singles to try and decide if they want to buy a box or two. We have a huge range of Havanas and New World cigars and are featuring a magnificent range of Davidoff cigars as well as all our fantastic and explosive to the UK range of Avo cigars.

The humidor range features many of our favourite brands such as Inka – Secret Blend, Regius, Fuente, Oliva, Macanudo and Camacho to name a few. We have a pipe room with 100’s of pipes on display as well as the largest range of pipe tobacco in the UK. The whisky room features our award winning range of Stalla Dhu single malt whiskies as well as the ever popular Dalmore range and my current favourite Tomintoul range. If you haven’t tried the 14 year old, you should do as its quite stunning and pairs very well with a premium cigar.

Our launch event is on Tuesday and as expected sold out in minutes. Don’t worry if you missed out as we will be holding regular whisky and cigar tasting events. Check out our events here, book fast as they sell out fast. Our IT Team have added Trustpilot to our website. Have you enjoyed good customer service? If you have then you can leave a review.

I had a great time visiting Turmeaus in Knutsford, Chester and Liverpool this week. Always good to catch up with the retail teams and our local customers. I’m so proud of our Turmeaus shops, fantastic range or products ( I dare say best in the UK trade) super friendly and knowledgeable staff and a comfortable environment to sample a dram or a premium cigar. I enjoyed and evening in Puffin Rooms with some fabulous music, delicious food and some rather excellent wine. If you haven’t been yet… its worth taking the trek to Liverpool, in fact there’s nothing like it. I just wish there was one in London…

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and indoorOn a terribly sad note, Simon Chase of Hunters and Frankau passed away this week. Simon was not only the most knowledgeable person I have ever met in the cigar industry but he was also the kindest person. I met Simon 25 years ago when I was starting out on my Havana cigar business journey. He always had time to answer my zillion questions about the industry . legislation and of course vintage Havanas. Sometimes we would chat for ages on a Friday afternoon. Simon also kindly wrote the forward for my photo book on Cuba. He will be sorely missed and our sincere condolences to his family.

Mitchell

Havana Festival and C.Gars Auction!

Just back from the XXI Festival in Havana celebrating the San Cristobal and Trinidad brands. This was the 20th Festival that I have been privileged to attend and was in fact one that I enjoyed immensely. The weather in Havana was perfect, hot and sunny days warm balmy night… perfect for herfing. Flight arrived on time, cases came out super-fast and my colleague Roy from Turmeaus – North and I headed straight over to the Packard hotel where we were staying. I had previously stayed at the Manzana which was great but decided to try the Packard which was at least as good but much better value, with breath-taking views over the Malecon.

Getting into the herfing swing of things with a Partagas D.5 and a few shots of Havana Club Union at the hotels cigar bar before moving on for more rum and smokes on the terrace of the Nacional (when are they getting rid of that awful white furniture)?! We herfed at the usual spots, Partagas, Melia Habana, Nacional , Espacios etc and bumped into friends and customers just about everywhere! We did the healthy thing and met up every morning for a 5 mile ( rather hot!) walk in old Havana. Detouring down the side streets was quite a sorry site with worse condition that I have ever seen before, crumbling buildings, trash in the streets. Very sad state of affairs.

The gala evening was the usual super event and I had a great table in a perfect location to see the entertainment. The volume for a change was not quite ear bursting so it was actually just about possible to have a conversation with the great group of people that included Yadira from Hunters & Frankau ( TY H&F for the ticket) we were gifted a presentation box of Trinidad, ashtray as well as copious amounts of Trinidad  throughout the evening. The new Media Luna and Esmeralda were excellent if a tad fresh smokes. The 3rd new Trinidad is the Topes which was last seen as a 2016 limited edition. The charity auction featured the most incredible humidors and raised around £1.3 Million for the Cuban National Health Service.

All in all a wonderful trip to Cuba which is probably my 108th by my reckoning since 1997!

Seems that I brought the sunshine ( and jet lag)  back to London as it was 18C when I arrived home. Amazing and great for some open top car herfing, but back to reality and good to be in the UK for the next 2 months as we’re swamped busy at C.Gars and our Turmeaus shops are out performing our expectations for the first 2 months of the year. I can’t wait to get the new Turmeaus – Norfolk open which should be in the next week.

Good stocks have just arrived including:

Cohiba Siglo VI

Partagas Presidentes

All sizes of Montecristo La Linea and Por Larranaga ( smoking one now…very very good indeed !)

This Sunday our online auction will end  a rather huge 380 Lot auction. My auction team is available to advise 24/7 auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk. Lots are live and bidding open online on the Cigar Auction website. This will be the 29th cigar auction by C.Gars since the auction department was established in 2009. Almost 400 Lots of Vintage, Mature, Pre Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill and Limited Edition Havana cigars on behalf of estates, investors and collectors are on offer. Auction Lots can be viewed online and bid on here.

Featured Lots in this sale include:

-Davidoff Dom Perignon, No.1, No.2 and Chateau Yquem

-Cohiba Sublimes, Gran Reserva, Majestuosos 50th anniversary humidors and singles from Cohiba Behike 40th anniversary humidor.

-Pre embargo H. Upmann Dunhill Double Claro Seleccion Suprema no.15

-Pre Embargo H Upmann Miniatura

-Pre embargo Romeo y Julieta Coronation de Luxe

-Pre Embargo Bolivar Mundiales

-Ramon Allones 225th anniversary humidor

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

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