L.A. Herfing…

Greetings from sunny West Hollywood …this blog comes to you from my balcony where I’m enjoying an Oliva – Orchant Seleccion Chubby in 27c sunny blue skies. No wonder people look so happy here, I haven’t seen a cloud in the sky for the last month 🙂

I’ve been spending Summer in LA for as long as I can remember and have so many friends over here going back over the last 22 years, I actually have to move from one herf to the next on the same day just to get to see everyone.

It’s a bit of a crazy world where cigar smoking apparently is not welcome at a lot of places but weed is legal. Go figure….

That said, I have no shortage of places to go for a cigar. there’s GHR and Nazareth’s in Beverly Hills, State Social in WeHo, The Spot in Encino as well as hotels such as the Sunset Marquis and SLS to name a few where they have good areas to herf in the sunshine.

It’s been a very hectic herfing schedule with my chums from New York flying out for a week of non-stop herfing at Redondo Beach (TY Larry) GHR (TY Peter) and San Diego (TY VC) . They left and I carried on herfing in Bel Air (TY LS), The Duffy herf in Long Beach (TY Bob) and numerous other friends’ homes.

I’m enjoying the best of Fuente and Davidoff cigars and everyone seems to be handing me Havanas! (they seem to have more than me and I don’t even sell to them!!) I sent ahead a couple of cases of Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt to enjoy with friends and that’s going down very fast!

Being a bit of a petrol head, I finally managed to get my dates right and go to Pebble Beach for the incredible Concours d’Elegance show followed by smokes at The Inn at Spanish Bay which can only be described as idyllic. I also went to the Sunset GT car meet in WeHo which had the most breath-taking super cars on display (no smoking though!)

I’ve settled into a good routine of 4 hours work on the balcony every morning with a good cigar or two. Technology is quite amazing… I don’t think I could have run a business of this size remotely 22 years ago! I think the 8-hour time difference actually makes it easier to keep up with the mad pace of C.Gars business.

Aiming to be back in the London office by mid-September to wrap up the auction for the 22nd September as well as celebrate my 55th birthday and the release of my Bolivar Belicosos – Seleccion Orchant. As I was born in 1964, I have selected 64 specially numbered boxes with double banded cigars of exceptional appearance and quality. They are available on pre-sell early September.

I have managed a little down time with concerts at The Greek and enjoyed seeing Blondie, Elvis Costello and The Steve Miller band 🙂 my kinda music.

My Sales Team tell me the weather is great in the UK and sales at record highs this year. I’m guessing it’s due to the weather? Or maybe the Brexit effect?! There are still ongoing supply issues with Havanas with little supply of BHK’s, Partagas Salomones, Siglo VI and Lanceros. Fortunately, our stock levels are deep so we manage to iron out most rough spots.

El rey del Mundo La Reina – UK regional is still officially our fastest selling cigar ever. We are getting dribs and drabs of stock availability for this delicious Lancero sized cigar… but you may need to get your orders in fast as they are likely to be out of stock again very soon!

I have noticed a remarkable improvement in Havana cigar quality from boxes with 18 and 19 codes recently. In fact, not only is the quality and blending dramatically improved on 15 and 16 code but the construction is dramatically better. I recently enjoyed Magnum 54’s and CoRo’s that were better than I can remember them in a long time.

That’s the news for now, the sun is going down so I’m heading out for a walk with a BBF 🙂

Have a smokey rest of the week

Peaceful puffing from Lala Land

Mitchell

 

NEW Orchant Seleccion New World Cigars

Greetings from C.Gars London HQ where we are expecting a bit of a heatwave this week… perfect herfing weather 🙂

Last week I hosted the pre-release event for our new range of Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate at Turmeaus Liverpool, followed by a further event at Turmeaus Chester the very next evening.

We were very proud to welcome Jonathan Drew (pictured to the right) as guest of honour for the evening and the crowded room enjoyed his very interesting insights on Drew Estate as well as cigar manufacturing in Nicaragua (it really is a huge company/factory/region!), the samples that we tested out were superb.

This new range will be available online and in all of our stores by the end of August and will be presented in packs of 10 in three sizes initially:

Lightweight: 3 ½” Length x 46 Ring Gauge
Middleweight: 4 ½” Length x 46 Ring Gauge
Heavyweight: 5 ¼” Length x 46 Ring Gauge

It took us quite some time to settle on the right blend but I feel we have totally nailed it. I reckon they will be super popular!

Completely hand crafted and made in Estelí:

Wrapper: Stalk Cut Havana grown in Connecticut
Binder: Indonesian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Connecticut Broadleaf and Nicaragua
Strength: Medium to Full Bodied

Attendees were spoiled with our Chef’s canapes, Old Fashioned cocktails, Stalla Dhu Saorsa single malt whisky and quite a few Drew Estate cigars to sample including the Middleweight, a Lancero and a non-production A size Gran Corona. A great sampling event to say the least.

This week I’m heading to another sold out sampling event at our Knutsford branch which I am very proud to announce is now our second La Casa del Habano location (we expect to open more LCDH shops in the future too!).

We look forward to welcoming Yadira Bulnes of Hunters & Frankau as guests of honour to celebrate the opening. I have also now been informed that the person designated by the Cuban Embassador to represent her on the opening of the Casa is Mr. Guillermo Parera, Press and Culture Counselor. Mr. Julio Pujol will not be able to join us due to flying to Cuba early next morning.

C.Gars Ltd President Ron Morrison will be cutting the ribbon together with Yadira Bulnes, Corporate Director of Hunters & Frankau.

The premises consist of a cigar shop and walk in humidor with client lockers on the ground floor and a comfortable sampling lounge on the first floor. The full range of La Casa specialities including Coleccion Habanos books and limited edition humidors will be well represented.

LCDH Knutsford will be managed by Turmeaus tobacconist trained team Andrew, Liz and Sandra under the guidance of Sara and Calum (Master of Cigars) from LCDH Chester.

Opening a second La Casa del Habano is very important to our Group and allows us to continue our substantial growth in Havana cigars sales. It will enable us to have additional availability of La Casa specialities to satisfy our customers’ insatiable demand for the finest handmade cigars in the world.

In other news this week…

We are still experiencing some Havana cigar stock shortages including all sizes of BHK’s, Piramides Extra, Siglo VI in 10’s though 25’s seem to be coming back in small quantity. Bolivar Soberanos and Super Coronas are sold out by the importers and our stocks are almost exhausted.

El Rey del Mundo La Reina UK regional editions continues to be our fastest selling cigar of all time. We are continuously sold out though we are still accepting orders as we are expecting further allocations.

If you are one of the lucky clients to have been allocated the incredible 1790 Humidor, then well done you 🙂 it really is a masterpiece filled with the most incredible cigars. We may make an additional one available in the near future. Email me for details. sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

H&F aged release allocations have now been confirmed. They are very tight and in all fairness there were only a few boxes of each aged cigar available and no doubt much demand from the UK cigar trade. I’m not yet sure if we will be releasing them or I will be smoking them #joke 😀

We are now listing Lots for our September auction, email my auction team if you need any advice.

Short week for me as I’m heading to Bristol on Thursday and Friday to celebrate my daughters graduation (Double First in Spanish and French!), I think I will be firing up a Davidoff Dom Perignon to celebrate.

Next Monday I’ll be taking the car for a blast to our Norfolk HQ and Turmeaus Norfolk for the day to wrap up our quarterly Marketing Team meetings… it has been an astonishing quarter for C.Gars Group so my thanks to Laura, James and their brilliant Team… then I’m off to L.A. for the Summer… back sometime in September 🙂

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

New La Casa del Habano!

Greetings from sunny London where I’m puffing an Trinidad La Trova and having a wee celebratory dram of Orchant Selection Cigar Malt J I’m celebrating because we have recently signed the contract to open our second La Casa del Habano Knutsford, Cheshire on the 24th July.

La Casa del Habano Knutsford,
10 Minshull Street,
Knutsford,
Cheshire,
WA16 6AG
UK

We look forward to welcoming the Cuban Ambassador as well as Jemma Freeman of Hunters & Frankau as guests of honour to the to the opening event. Tickets are available on this link, but book up fast as there is limited availability already! Cigars, rum, whisky, wine and great food… should be a splendid event 🙂

The premises comprise of a ground floor cigar shop and walk-in humidor with client lockers and a first floor comfortable sampling lounge. The full range of La Casa specialities including Coleccion Habanos books and limited edition humidors will be well represented.

LCDH Knutsford will be managed by Turmeaus tobacconist trained team Andrew, Liz and Sandra under the guidance of Sara and Calum (Master of Cigars) from LCDH Chester.

Opening a second La Casa del Habano is very important and allows us to continue our substantial growth in Havana cigars sales. It will enable us to have additional availability of La Casa specialities to satisfy our customers insatiable demand.

My journey with La Casa del Habano started quite some years ago with LCDH Hamburg which I owned a 50% share until around 5 years ago. I learned a lot about the business, made some great friends and enjoyed some brilliant events. We sold our stake in the business to concentrate all of our efforts on the UK market which we completely dominate, We have the best specialist cigar shops, the most highly trained staff and of course the largest and most well-kept stocks of Havana cigars in the UK. I’m very proud to have two La Casas in our Group and my thanks to Yadira from Hunters and Frankau for all of her support.

In other news this week…

The launch event for the long awaited El Rey del Mundo La Reina was a great success and a lovely surprise when Chris Eubank popped in to say hello! He was certainly very popular with Sara and Michelle! The cigars were as wonderful as expected and our complete first allocation was in fact pre-ordered and shipped out pretty fast so I dare say we have a lot of happy cigar smoking customers out there 🙂

This is the fastest selling regional edition that I can remember and we are hoping for a second allocation to be delivered in the very near future.

Hunters & Frankau also displayed the cigars for their Aged and Rare releases. Allocations will be very tight as availability is very limited but we hope to be able to make a few boxes available.

The other star of the show was the 1790 humidor. A limited edition of 30 magnificent numbered humidors containing 10 each of all of the UK regional editions from 2005 until 2017 including the La Gloria Cubana Britanicas which no one had seen yet! I understand that all of the humidors sold almost immediately at an eye watering retail price of £58,800. We hope to be able to satisfy our customer but this is a strictly allocated humidor so I fear many will be disappointed.

I enjoyed a lovely evening at Boisdale Belgravia on Tuesday (wow… is that place busy!) with James Leavey (cigar journalist), Paul Futcher (Cigar Club), and Philip Shervington (JJ Fox). The weather has been pretty amazing in London and it was very relaxing to herf on the terrace.

My business partner, Ron Morrison, is heading back to London on Monday so I think we’ll be doing some serious herfing on Monday and visiting Turmeaus Mayfair as well as the other super cigar shops and lounges in Town.

On Tuesday I’m heading to Turmeaus Liverpool for the first release tasting event of Drew Estate Orchant Seleccion cigars… A very very sold out event indeed!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

At last!… La Reina :)

Can’t wait for the El Rey del Mundo launch event at The Churchill Hotel this evening. I can’t remember such a buzz about a cigar release since Talisman. We always get a generous allocation from Hunters & Frankau as we are of course the most successful cigar specialist in the UK, but even with a generous initial allocation its looking like we will be sold out before the cigars even reach our humidors!

These splendid El Laguito rolled Lanceros are presented in cabinets of 24 and we offered for pre-order around 10 days ago making this one of the fastest selling cigars we have ever known. Our La Casa del Habano will have them a day before our Turmeaus shops and C.Gars mail order and we will be shipping out as fast as we possibly can!

The event this evening will also introduce the H&F aged cigars releases as well as a super special limited edition humidor containing all of the UK Regional Editions (apart from La Reina) since the program started. It is indeed a work of art and beauty and I’m looking forward to getting these into our humidor.

I’ll be heading over to the lovely Garden Room at The Lanesborough to smoke a few more of them after the event 🙂

Our Summer auction was a great success with a 99% sale rate and some very robust pricing achieved for our sellers.  I think the main factors for the strong pricing is the weakness of Sterling as well as strong bidder interest from the Far East. The catalogue was splendid in terms of range and quality and estimates were reasonable with motivated sellers. Congratulations to all of the winning bidders. For those who have not collected… please do as we are running out of space! For the bidders we are shipping to, thanks for your patience, we will be clearing through all auction shipping over the next week or so.

Our next vintage cigar auction will be held at the end of September and we are already considering lots for eligibility. Email the Auction Team for advice at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk and check out the comprehensive FAQs page on the auction website.

I spent a lovely afternoon and evening at Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge Liverpool on Sunday for a Davidoff staff event where members of our retail and warehouse teams were presented with certificates for completing the second part of the Davidoff academy course. Well done team! We paired up Davidoff Entreacto and Millennium Robusto cigars with Remy based cocktails and then moved on to Puffin’ Rooms for the Sunday Blues set and an excellent lunch laid on by our head chef Chris and his assistant Matt.

I can’t wait to get back to Liverpool for the next event I’m attending on the 16th July our guest of honour is Jonathan Drew and we will be sampling pre-release Drew Estate Orchant Seleccion cigars paired up with a flight of the finest Stalla Dhu single malt whiskies. It will be an evening to remember!

Quite a crammed program of events this month; details on this link.

If the weather forecast can be believed we are in for a few weeks of warm sunshine… perfect herfing weather 🙂

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

UK Regional Edition… Finally!

The Regional Edition Havana program has been fascinating since its inception in 2005, or was it in 2004 as I’m sure we had the rather amazing Ramon Allones Belicosos in the UK as a first release in 2004. (There was even an Orchant Seleccion Ramon Allones Belicosos!). No matter, some of the regional cigars worldwide have been iconic including the Ramon Allones Phoenicios for Lebanon and Dante 109 for Mexico.

Some of the later regionals were a tad on the ‘average’ side with many saying that there was little in terms of blend differentiation or integrity. The UK has had its fair share of absolute winners including the incredible Por Larranaga Magnificos, Punch Serie D’Oro No. 1  and Flor de Cano Short Robustos to name a few.

Last year’s regional… didn’t arrive, in fact we are still waiting for the 2017 La Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra but we are still hoping it will arrive this year so it’s only 2 years late 🙂 The good news is we will actually receive the El Rey del Mundo La Reina 2018 UK Regional Edition next month! I’m looking forward to the launch event on the 1st July and stock available at our La Casa del Habano Chester on the 2nd of July with stocks on C.Gars websites and Turmeaus shops a few days later.

The Lancero sized cigars will be presented in numbered cabinets of 24 cigars and availability is expected to be fairly limited initially as our importers H&F wait for deliveries from Cuba. I was one of the lucky cigar specialists to be on the tasting panel at Hunters & Frankau and have also tried out the finished product a few weeks ago at our London offices. The cigars I understand were roiled at El Laguito and they are as good as we hoped they would be, well worth the wait!

We have a full schedule of tasting events across Turmeaus shops. Check them out on this link. I’m looking forward to the Drew Estate event on the 16th July at Turmeaus- Liverpool as it will be the pre–release of the Drew Estate Orchant Seleccion range with Johnathan Drew as our guest of honour! Book up fast as this will be a very popular event.

It’s been a London office week for me so far (though I’m off to Turmeaus Knutsford tomorrow) and the schedule included an excellent event in the Long Room at Lords for the Tobacco Trade Charity lunch. Guest speaker was Henry Blofield OBE. I know less than zero about any sport, but I’m sure it was very interesting for cricket fans though, the Belgian chap sitting next to me seemed a bit confused about what it was all about! Retailer of the year award went to Gauntleys of Nottingham… well done chaps 🙂 Paresh Patel of Havana House did his usual excellent job as Chairman and a great time was had by all.

I bumped into just about everyone in the UK cigar trade and it was good to catch up with Steve Johnstone from Robert Graham Ltd. He has the most insane event coming up – check it out on this link should be amazing!!!

My thanks to Tor imports for the invite, we had a great table and a lot of laughs together 🙂

I moved on to Turmeaus Mayfair to sample a Quai 54 paired up with some Mulata 15yo which worked very well. On release I didn’t reckon the Quai but they are smoking like a dream now, tons of flavour and very light on strength. Just what I love as a day time smoke, Mulata 15 year old has to be the best value Cuban rum available and its perfect with this cigar. Next stop was The Garden Room at The Lanesborough for smokes and supper 🙂 Cuaba Salamones, Partagas Salamones and a Serie P No. 2 with a glass or two of Chablis and a Glendronach to finish the evening. All in a day’s work…

Our Summer Auction catalogue will be online tomorrow. I think this will be our largest auction sale with over 450 Lots being sold on the 23rd June. A very impressive catalogue to say the least. Some breath-taking Havanas from the 1960’s as well as Pre-Embargo and a fair quantity of Davidoff, Dunhill and other delightfully rare Havanas.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell