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

Partagas Festival :)

Let’s face it you can’t go wrong with a D4 and that said I reckon Partagas is my favourite brand. I can’t think of anything in the range I don’t enjoy and D4’s and P2’s have been on my daily rotation for years and years.

I have been visiting Havana since 1997 and in fact the second factory tour I took was the Partagas factory (the first was La Corona… sadly both are no longer at the same locations) I love herfing in the VIP lounge and have seen it change over the years but always for the better.

Partagas celebrate with an annual Festival every November and I reckon I have attended all but one. Over the years the gala events get more lavish and professional and many prefer this Festival to the main Festival del Habanos as it is more focused on the aficionado rather than the industry. Hundreds of aficionados attend from all over the world and some great friendships have been and are formed over blue swirls of smoke from many Partagas cigars.

In the early years I would spend a week in Havana but as C.Gars Ltd grew to the huge size it has become, my time is always limited, so I zoom in on Thursday evening, attend the swanky gala event on the Friday, chill on Saturday, tour on Sunday and head home on Monday… crazy schedule but a lot of fun.

So, I’m off again tomorrow for my final trip of 2018 and looking forward to herfing a lot of Partagas cigars in the sunshine with fellow Amigos de Partagas.

In other news this week…

Tickets are selling out fast for the Cigar Smoker of the Year event at Boisdale. To join me on the C.Gars table… book here. It will, as ever, be a night to remember!

Our Winter auction catalogue is closed and being finalised, but it looks like it will be our biggest sale yet with almost 450 Lots!

Lots will be live and bidding open online on the Online Cigar Auctions website on the 25th November.

This will be the 28th cigar auction by C.Gars since the auction department was established in 2009.

This will be the largest cigar sale with almost 450 Lots of Vintage, Mature, Pre Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill and Limited Edition Havana cigars on behalf of estates, investors and collectors.

Auction Lots can be viewed online and bid on here.

Featured Lots in this sale include:

– Habanos 1492 humidor
– Ramon Allones 225th anniversary humidor
– Davidoff 4000, No.1, No.2 and Chateau Yquem
– Cohiba Sublimes, Double Coronas, Gran Reserva, Majestuosos 50th anniversary humidors and singles from Cohiba Behike 40th anniversary humidor.
-Pre embargo Dunhill Double Claro Seleccion Suprema no.25
-Romeo 130th anniversary humidor
-Trinidad 40th anniversary humidor

The auction will also feature an amazing charity Lot signed by Lennox Lewis and Randolph Churchill. View details here.

Newly released Romeo y Julieta Taco Limited Edition are now available and a very fine smoke indeed.

The first of the 2018 Habanos Limited Editions to be released, the Romeo y Juliet Taco represents the 9th occasion that the brand has been selected to be part of these prestigious and highly sought after series of cigars.

Presented in labelled boxes of 25 and measuring 6 3/8” x 49 ring gauge, this rare impressive size offers over an hour of rich yet rounded and smooth medium bodied aromas due to the extra ageing.

Limited Edition cigars use only the finest tobacco leaves grown in the Vuelta Abajo zone in Cuba. Each leaf selected for use has been aged for a minimum of two years which melds and rounds the flavours and aromas to provide the distinct smoking signature associated with Limited Edition cigars.

Okay… I’m outta here to sip some Havana Club and smoke some Partagas on my favourite Island 🙂

Have a smokey rest of the week.

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell