And here is the news…

Greetings from Pre- Lockdown No.2 London where we are still trying to work out what’s actually going on and how to adjust business accordingly from this Thursday.

We were able to keep all of our stores open during the first Lockdown as our stores all sell alcohol and we are considered ‘essential’, it’s not clear if that still applies in the 2nd Lockdown at this stage though we hope it will.

After all, if you can buy a bottle of scotch from a supermarket, surely you should be able to buy the same bottle of scotch from an independent spirits specialist shop. We strictly enforce social distancing in our shops, we have hand sanitizer stations and customers and all staff have to wear face masks.

So, for now we plan to operate business as usual in our retail chain whilst our mail order division will continue operating 24-7 as always. We can already see demand has increased substantially with order numbers last week at almost double normal expectations. I think people were anticipating Lockdown restrictions (sensibly) and getting in orders earlier rather than later.

Hopefully Royal Mail and courier services will be able to cope well and maintain good service levels. We are releasing yet more of our reserve stocks of premium cigars as the shortages continue to get worse so we expect to maintain around 97% range availability. And what a range it is… now over 11,000 products. truly the largest range in the UK by a long stretch.

We remain positive that the Corona nightmare will be over at some stage in the future. So much so that I’m happy to announce we have started to fit out a new cigar and whisky flag ship store in the heart of St James’s . This will be the first ‘C.Gars’ shop’ (our other cigars and whisky stores are under our Turmeaus brand)

The building contractors are bashing away with the super modern design that will feature a beautiful walk in humidor, whisky showroom and comfortable sampling area. We’re very excited about this expansion in the Mecca of cigar land of London :).

No change planned for our lovely Turmeaus shop in Mayfair (many customers have asked) this small but exceptionally busy shop will continue to trade as always.

The long awaited second batch of Ramon Allones No.2 Limited edition finally arrived last week and all back orders are being fulfilled over the next few days or so.  I smoked one yesterday and it was truly a sublime smoking experience.

We expect the Quai D’Orsay Senadores Limited edition to be released next week (assuming no delays due to the Lockdown)  I love this brand as the blend is quite unique and nothing like any other brand. The range expansion a few years ago was very welcome and very popular with our clients.

I have just released 64 boxes of Quai d’ Orsay No.50 – Orchant Seleccion that are smoking exceptionally well. Individually numbered, double banded, matured and ready to smoke. I paired up with a Foragers G&T from the fabulous Snowdonia Distillery for a perfect palate tingling experience.

We recently bottled a cask of Stalla Dhu Caol Ila 11 year old at a whopping 60.4%. This is a serious single malt! Goes well with a full bodied Partagas or Bolivar. Only 287 bottles from this beautiful cask of exceptional character from our multi award winning brand.

Our Winter auction  was a resounding success with well over £1M in Lots sold a few weeks ago. Prices were startling (high) with much interest from the Far East. We are shipping auction Lots over the coming weeks. I’m not certain when we will hold the next auction. it could be as early as December or as late as January next year.

Havana cigar shortages continue with Cohiba continuing to be the worst affected brand.  Little sign of BHK’s, Siglo VI and Piramides Extra sadly. Even Siglo IV and Robustos seem to be sporadically going out of stock. My advice is stock up while you can as we don’t see the supply situation improving any time soon.

But what of Christmas this year? Will we be able to return to any semblance of normality? Who knows? the best advice is to stock your bar and humidor sooner rather than later.

Have a smokey week and stay safe,

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

THE LARGEST VINTAGE HAVANA CIGAR AUCTION IN HISTORY

No sooner than we have wrapped up the shipping from the July auction, which I can tell you was some task during this crazy Corona period of time we are just about ready to roll with the next sale.

Usually winning bidders collect their Lots from the auction office but with Corona just about everyone wanted shipping service. That was all fine and dandy except our friends at Royal Mail are overwhelmed to say the least and shipping is slower than ever and clearly continues to be challenging. But, Hey-Ho, looks like we just about got there in the end.

The auction calendar has been somewhat screwed up this year again due to Corona pushing forward the auction dates so I’m not sure if we are doing a Winter sale in December as usual at this time and it may well be pushed forward to January.

I can confirm that our October 13th sale is going ahead and will in fact be a mega sale with well over 800 Lots which by my memory makes it the largest vintage cigar auction in history.

We will be offering and selling on behalf of collectors, estates and aficionados a MASSIVE range of aged, mature Cuban Davidoff, Cuban Dunhill, Pre Embargo and by popular demand single malt Scotch Whisky. It’s quite a breath taking catalogue that will have Lots that appeal to both the cigar smoker and collector.

The catalogue and Lots will be online late on Tuesday and that’s when bidding opens. Bidding closes and the auction ends on the 13th October. It’s all very simple and works a bit like EBay, think of it as CBay 🙂

New bidders need to register and establish their credit limit in order to participate. We are happy to provide condition reports by email and strongly urge any prospective bidders to email the auction Team with any questions as we are online 24/7 and always happy to help

The auction department was established in 2009 and C.Gars Auctions are the only specialist cigar auctioneer in the world. It’s such a privilege to be able to deal with such rare Havanas throughout the year. I’m sort of the curator of the collection, I look after them and love them and then find a new home for them 🙂

In other news …

The Ramon Allones No.2 Limited Edition proved to be a resounding success but of course nothing goes smoothly in the cigar business and the first allocation that arrived for the launch was very small with the main delivery expected a few weeks later. Well, you guessed it – that didn’t happen as the shipment was caught up and delayed. The good news is that we finally do expect them in the next 10 days or so and will of course be fulfilling all back orders as well as releasing more availability as soon as they arrive. My apologies to our clients for this unavoidable and unexpected delay. It will be worth the wait for sure …

 

In the mean time we have released some more of our reserve stocks of La Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra, El Rey del Mundo La Reina and Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba on the website.

 

We don’t yet have a reopening date for our cigar sampling lounges , again –due to Corona. We were hoping it would be this month but it’s now pushed back to November. Hopefully we will get back to normal soon. You can join us on our virtual herfs though which are a lot of fun. We feature cigars and premium spirits and have some great brand ambassadors to talk about the products. Join me on the next one HERE

 

I guess that’s the end of Summer looking at the torrential rain outside my window but clearly the increase in our clients enjoying a smoke and a drink is here to stay. Happy to say that we have acquired two additional C.Gars mail order warehouse buildings that will be state of the art ( Think of us as Amazon for cigars !) and should be fully operational and integrated in the next month.

The Royal Welsh Gin Connection
We have recently partnered with a fantastic gin distillery that has blown us away with their amazing boutique gin. Check out the website here https://foragers.co.uk/ the gin available online and at all Turmeaus shops.

Foragers Yellow Label Gin - 46% 70clForagers Black Label Gin - 46% 70cl

Starting with soft juniper tones, Foragers gently takes you to fresh, semi-sweetness of apple and elderberry, before giving way to incredible, subtle, unmistakable floral notes from gorse and heather flowers. BUY NOW

Forager’s Black Label delivers intense, smooth juniper notes followed by beautifully mellow warmth and richness stemming from Sea Buckthorn. BUY NOW

 

Our Stalla Dhu range of single malt whisky continues to win multiple international awards and we have just released and bottled a very rather delicious single cask of Caol Ila at cask strength BUY NOW !

In the wonderful world of New World cigars we have the largest selection in the UK, something for everyone but my current favourite is the ‘sweet as sugar’ Plasencia Orchant Seleccion Toro. The best cigar in its class and if you don’t love it I will give your money back.

And … in the incredible world of Havanas I’m enjoying Partagas Lusitanias more than ever ( I have a lot of time to sample !) if you have the time …

Finally big congratulations to our friends ( Jonny , Pavel and Dominica ) at Havana Cigar Exchange who have just opened their second shop at 1A St James’s street. We wish them every success.

 

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Boisdale!

Greetings from my very sunny herfing garden which has become my office during the Lockdown and thankfully we have been enjoying some incredible Summer weather in London which seems to be going on for a while longer.

My friendship with Ranald from Boisdale restaurants (and delightful cigar terraces) goes back over 20 years. I have enjoyed countless lunches and dinners at all of the lovely Boisdale locations as well as many that went on so late, I had to leave my car parked outside till the next day.

Our vintage cigar auctions were held on the terrace of Boisdale Belgravia since 2009 and moved to Boisdale Canary Wharf when we outgrew Belgravia. We threw one of the amazing opening parties at Canary Wharf and are co-sponsors of ‘The cigar smoker of the year’ awards event that has become the biggest event on the cigar aficionado calendar every year.

For over 30 years Boisdale has worked closely with small specialist suppliers to bring their customers the very best produce from the British Isles and most delicious wines from our favourite vineyards. Now for the first time ever these exceptional products that were destined for the restaurants can be delivered to your door. Order here. I can vouch for the smoked salmon as well as the cheese. Try out their service, I highly recommend it.

As the effects of Covid 19 continue to be felt in the cigar industry I’m afraid out of stocks are growing every week. At the last count over 30 lines of Havanas and 50 lines of New World cigars were unavailable. Of course, there are always plenty of alternatives from our vast range and we are always happy to advise on which cigars to switch to. We are hoping that the supply situation will ease up by August.

No more stocks of Montecristo Supremos at this time but we are ever hopeful that we will have some more in June and what of the UK regional La Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra? Well they were almost released just before the Lockdown and then the release was delayed so we hope that they may be on our shelves in June. I can’t wait for this cigar to come out as it was one of the best regionals I have ever tasted at the pre-release cigar specialist sampling.

I’m going through a bit of a robustos phase at this time, herfing my way through copious amounts of the usual D4’s, Epicure 2’s and J. Lo 2’s but I have also rediscovered the Saint Luis Rey Regios . Not a robusto but a hermosos measuring in at 5” length and 48 ring gauge.  I used to smoke a lot of these many years ago in fact it was my favourite brand in the 1990’s. The blending on our current stocks is quite superior.

Booze sales seem to be going rather crazy this Summer and we are now doing a monthly subscription box . Check it out on this link.We are also doing some rather splendid offers on some of my favourite drams :

Tullibardine 15yo at just £39.99

Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask at just £41.99

…both perfect with a premium cigar

And of course my very own Gold medal award winning Orchant selection cigar single malt.

Join us for our weekly virtual herfs, great fun, educational and a chance to put faces to names. Details on this link.

Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing.

Mitchell

Supremos :)

I’m not quite sure if we are still in Lockdown or not?!  From the increase in cigar sales it seems that we may well be or it could be the sunny weather we’re expecting over the next week? Either way here’s hoping the CV19 nightmare is receding and the Lockdown is easing so we can all enjoy the Summer even if our vacations are cancelled for the rest of the year.

Karyn and I should have been herfing with friends and clients in New York City this week but obviously and sadly that had to be cancelled. Goodness knows when we will get a refund as the travel industry seems to be in a bit of a mess to say the least. We have had the best of times in NYC as its very cigar friendly but hopefully we will be back next year when life gets back to normal.

We are actually so busy our site was offline overnight for ‘essential maintenance’ whatever that means but we are back and faster than ever now! We finally raced through the 100,000 customer target on our database last week, in fact we are now over 103,000 customers! Pretty amazing when I think back to 1997 and our first Excel database of 43 customers. But then I also remember our monthly sales ledger of 60 orders a month which Laura and I were very proud of! Now we do upwards of 2000 orders a day and have over 70 brilliant staff working 24/7 every day of the year. A nice success story…

The good news is that Montecristo Supremos are expected to arrive into our humidors any time now. Measuring in at 5 ¼ length and 55 ring gauge, this Montesco vitola cigar delivers huge volumes of typical sweet and tangy Montecristo flavours. Presented in rather snappy yellow cabinets of 25 cigars with very tight allocations this is sure to be a very popular smoke. No sign of any other new releases at this stage but we are ever hopeful.

Supply lines for many cigar products from all regions are now starting to feel the squeeze as many factories have closed down and are only starting to slowly get back to production now. Fortunately we carry huge stocks and are still running at around 98% availability overall. If you have favourites that are out of stock, shoot me an email and I’ll gladly suggest alternatives. We expect supply to normalise by late July with any luck. I’m afraid one of the supply casualties is our own brand of Inka Secret Blend. The popularity of this range of cigars is incredible and despite our usual stock levels being 3 months worth we have all but sold out of them in the last month. We hope to be able to take in new stocks as soon as possible.

I seem to be spending half my time on Zoom meetings these days. What a brilliant app! I even did my first Zoom herf this week (maybe it’s a ‘Verf’!) this was a Davidoff Late Hour tasting with Sam Reuter from Davidoff as guest of honour and very ably hosted by Roy from Davidoff and my colleague Paul from C.Gars Ltd. It was great to put some faces to names of clients I have ‘known’ for many years.  I must admit I do love Late Hour, probably my favourite regular range of Davidoff. Deeply complex and packed with a kaleidoscope of superb flavours.

Looks like garden herfing weather (a Gerf!) this weekend so I have the following in the baggie:

Davidoff Late Hour Churchill (I love these cigars)

Partagas SD No.5 (amazing quality currently)

Regius Connecticut Toro (for something a little different)

Plascencia Alma Fuerte (this cigar is an insane smoke!)

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Pointy (no sweeter blend that we sell)

….and a bottle of our bestselling Cigar Malt whisky (Gold medal winner)

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Going up….

Greetings from sunniest London where we are still doing the ‘Lockdown Herf’, in my case the bar and humidor are open 24/7…nothing new there then. Between the weather and the Lockdown, cigar smoking is at an all-time high but what better way to stay safe, de-stress and relax from the crazy situation we find ourselves in?

I was asked for a photo for Smokers at Home website, check it out here, my pal Ranald from Boisdale is on it too. I’m on the last stretch of recovery from the post viral symptoms of Covid19 and working from home for another couple of weeks, then I should be fighting fit!

It’s odd not getting up in the morning and putting on a pin stripe suit to head to the office. It’s odd not being out most evenings to herf with friends and clients at some of the fabulous cigar terraces in London. It’s really odd not to be travelling up and down the country to our beautiful Turmeaus cigars and whisky stores and sampling lounges. I do miss it but I’m looking forward to getting back to normal whenever it’s safe to do so.

Zoom meetings have become the norm, Facetime and WhatsApp video calls great fun to see who on earth I’m speaking to but it does feel like an upside-down world for sure. I did my first Instagram interview ever (in fact I think it’s the first time I have used Instagram). Thanks to Abdullah for interviewing me, if you would like to follow him click here to get to his page. For latest photos of cigars, whisky and pipes follow C.Gars Ltd.

Per the subject line, I’m, afraid the time has finally come to increase prices. We were very lucky to have been able to keep prices the same for almost 2 years as last year’s Budget was cancelled but following this year’s Budget all cigar importers have increase prices and they are now being implemented in the marketplace. As ever, we do guarantee the lowest prices in the UK with our now legendary price match promise.

Occasionally I’m asked how on earth can a premium cigar be so expensive £10, £15, £20 or more for a cigar- madness?! ‘and I remember having the same conversation with a client 20 or so years ago and his reply went something like this: ‘are cigars really so expensive if you compare them say to a halfway decent bottle of wine? They usually last longer than it takes to drink a few glasses of wine and nothing can compare to the complete experience of relaxation from a fine cigar’.  certainly, makes sound sense to me. In fact, you can get some pretty decent premium cigars at less than a tenner still.

We have pushed back our Summer vintage cigar auction to late July and will put the date on the auction website early May. We are accepting entries from May 4th onwards.

London – Mayfair, Liverpool, Chester and Knutsford cigar and whisky stores remain open albeit on slightly reduced opening times. Norfolk and London mail order warehouses and offices remain in operation 24 hours a day – 7 days a week to cope with the increased demand which it has to be said is quite staggering. If you have any query about your order please do email Customer Services as they are online 24 hours a day but please do include your full name and order number!

Okay, time to head to my office in the garden, I’ve got a good selection for this week (I need it as I’m back up to 5 a day!)

Partagas Serie D no. 4, 5 and 6 (yep …I love Partagas)

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Twisty (for something a little different and an oh so sweet blend)

Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour Robustos

Fuente Eye of the Shark …bit of a treat

Cohiba Talisman … a lot of a treat

Have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell