Fuente Opus X… and Hublot!

No travel zone for me this week as my G.M. Michelle is on vacation so it’s rather relaxing 4 hour days in the office with some serious cigar sampling activity and not much else ☺ … though I did pop into Turmeaus Mayfair for a cheeky BBF yesterday and a wee dram of Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt (a marriage made in cigar and Scotch heaven I reckon).

That said I did enjoy a splendid evening at The Corinthia hotel cigar terrace on Tuesday as I was invited to a very special Hublot watch event as brand ambassador in the UK for Arturo Fuente cigars.

You’re probably wondering what on earth does Fuente have to do with Hublot watches?! Well check it out on this linka very cool watch and a very cool partnership between these two luxury brands.

Even more cool were the special Hublot Fuente Opus X cigars specially made by one roller to celebrate the partnership and coincide with the 100th anniversary of Fuente cigars in 2012. I can honestly say that these cigars were probably amongst the top 3 cigars I have ever enjoyed in my entire life. Smooth, sweet and complex flavour bombs that are in a superior class of their own.

Fuente is an amazing cigar manufacturer  that we are proud to be the UK importer and distributor of. Now into its 4th generation this family business makes the highest quality cigars with a limited production of around 30 million sticks a year.

Established in 1912 and until 1962 the cigars were made from Cuban tobacco (Arturo Fuente was in fact from Cuba). Made in their own factory in the Dominican Republic since 1980 and Fuente have recently opened a factory in Nicaragua.

So a fun evening was had by a lot of novice cigar smokers and quite a few experienced cigar smokers too. Great to catch up with Adam, the head cigar sommelier at The Corinthia. The terrace is super comfortable and the walk in humidor has an amazing selection of cigars.

We are expecting a rather huge shipment of Fuente cigars in the next week or so. It’s been long awaited and I expect our Fuente clients will be very happy when they see the selection 🙂

I’m off to Boisdale Canary Wharf for a wine tasting and a cigar, or two, or three… and a quick planning session for The Cigar Smoker of the Year 2018 event 🙂

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Cuba!

The year is flying by! It seems like it was only yesterday since I went to Havana for the Festival and next month I’ll be heading back for the Partagas Festival.

I have actually lost count how many times I have been to Cuba in the last 21 years, well over 100 I reckon! In the early years I would head out there 4 or 5 times a year, visit factories and Pinar del Rio, travel round numerous cities, smoke great cigars and drink… lots of rum 🙂 These days I just attend both festivals and still enjoy them as much as I did when I first started out.

Cuba is a wonderful country for tourists to visit whether you are into cigars or not. Great weather, super friendly people, music everywhere and of course cigars and rum.

There are so many great cigar stores in Cuba and of course the cigars are good value. Tourists can bring back to the UK a personal allowance of 50 cigars. It fascinates me that rarely a day goes by that I don’t receive emails from tourists who have bought cigars back and think they can sell them to us. Our standard answer is email a photo and tell us where they were purchased.

Shock/horror when we look at the photos as they are of course almost without exception rather awful counterfeits purchased on streets and beaches. Usually very bad fakes with lots of loose stickers, wrong bands, wrong sizes, wrong names etc etc. Our advice is pretty simple… if you are a cigar smoker, buy from official shops only such as La Casa del Habano or Caracol. If you’re not a cigar smoker, don’t waste your money on the streets or anywhere else as we’re not interested lol.

Last Saturday evening I herfed at a friend’s home with around 30 cigar smokers, great to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones too. Most of the guys were smoking Havanas but a few were definitely into new world such as Oliva and Padron. I meet a lot of people on my travels who ask me if people still smoke cigars which gives me a bit of a chuckle as premium cigar smoking seems to be increasing year in year out, quite substantially.

I visited our Northern empire last week and our La Casa in Chester was crammed to the ceiling with sexy smokes! We just received the new Romeo Tacos limited edition but you will have to contact or visit our La Casa in Chester as these are an LCDH exclusive in the UK.

Our La Casa is full of specialities including Ramon Allones 225th anniversary humidor, Hoyo and Romeo Coleccion Habanos books, H. Upmann Replica humidors, La Casa exclusive lines like Partagas Salomones (smoking like a dream!) Cohiba Majestuosos (simply incredible) and many others. Our sampling lounge is super comfortable and we have a fully licenced bar with a great range of  single malt whisky and rum on our whisky shop just next door.

Our Chester location is quite unique with La Casa del Habano sandwiched between our specialist whisky shop and the traditional Turmeaus Tobacconist shop. The original shop has a walk in humidor only offering New World cigars such as Davidoff, Avo, Fuente, Inka, Alec Bradley, Oliva, Macanudo… to name a few. My staff are super well qualified to advise and suggest the perfect cigar for any occasion or any cigar smoker whether novice or experienced.

My next stop was to Turmeaus Knutsford. A beautiful cigar, whisky and wine shop with a large and comfortable sampling lounge. Super friendly service from Andy and Liz and just down the road from Tatton Park.

On to Turmeaus Liverpool which is probably the most impressive cigar and whisky shop in the UK. The breadth of range is breath taking, my retail team are very knowledgeable and the sampling lounge is simply… perfect 🙂

Dinner and live jazz at Puffin’ Rooms was as good as ever. Victoria tinkled the ivories, Chef served up some delightful tapas dishes complemented with 2015 Chablis Premier Cru and the service was truly 5 star. The best evening out in Liverpool, bar none.

I finished the evening sampling a couple of cigars (Trinidad Vigia and Partagas Serie E No. 2) at Turmeaus Late Hour cigar shop and sampling lounge.

Both Puffin’ Rooms and Turmeaus were packed full of people enjoying this unique experience, a really great crowd. I looked at the Trip Advisor reports the next day which were a pleasure to read.

I’m off to herf for a few days in Las Vegas next week, take in some shows and do some target practice at the firing range. I’ll probably visit the lovely Davidoff bar and am planning to check out the smoking lounge at the Bellagio, looks really great from the report in Cigar Aficionado.

I’m taking a baggie for the trip crammed full of:

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Shorty
Oliva Orchant Seleccion Shorty
Davidoff Orchant Seleccion Lanceros

… and a couple of Fuente as a bit of a treat/ change of pace.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Cigar Auction Time Again…

It’s that time again! Our 4th auction of 2018 is now live and online and will finish on Sunday the 16th September.

330 Lots of aged, rare, mature and limited edition cigars will be sold and no doubt some bargains will be bagged 🙂 It’s easy to get in on the action and it works a bit like eBay. You have to register to bid and you have to request an appropriate credit limit. The whole process takes a few minutes and the bidding is lightning fast thereafter.

  • Our first cigar auction was held on the 1st December 2009 and we have held 26 Cigar auctions since our specialist auction department was established.
  • We hold an average of 4 cigar auctions per year (usually Spring, Summer and Winter) though this year we plan a 5th auction in December as well.
  • Our auctions have sold a total of 8,073 lots since we held our first cigar auction. Including 545 Davidoff, 447 Dunhill and 469 Pre Embargo lots sold!

The interest in these cigars seems to be insatiable and it looks like this will continue as we see more and more stock shortages from Habanos SA.

Some of the featured lots in this auction include:

Lot 317 – Pre Embargo cabinet of 500 Punch Coronas in exceptional condition and of beautiful appearance

Lot 276 – Box of 10 Dunhill Estupendos from the 1980’s

Lot 295 – Ramon Allones Hunters & Frankau 225th anniversary humidor of 100 cigars

Lot 283 – Cohiba Majestuosos 1966 humidor of 20 cigars

Lot 324 – Pre Embargo Ramon Allones Trumps cabinet of 50 cigars

Lot 298 – Trinidad 40th anniversary humidor of 40 cigars

All quite breath taking!

We leave all of the sales data online from previous auctions so it can be used as a reference for collectors to see how prices have increased (or decreased) over the years which can make for very interesting reading! For any advice or condition reports email the auction team at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk. The Team is online 24/7.

I’m just back to the office after a couple of days off for New Year (Happy new year to all who celebrated!) and getting back into routine with a sampling session at Turmeaus Mayfair followed by smokes and drinks at The Lanesborough (good way to start the year I reckon!) I’m getting quite partial to Romeo Belicosos as a change of pace to Bolivar Belicosos these days. The Romeo is far milder which suits my palate better as the current production Bolivar seems to have kicked the strength up a notch or two.

It’s a return to form for the Romeo which has been exceptionally unpopular for many years, though I remember back in the mid 90’s when just about every enquiry we had was for Romeo Belicosos, RASS and PSD4’s! In that time period they were more or less impossible to get. I even went over to Holland by car with my father to buy up all the retailers stocks and import them to the UK!

I hope we are not going back to those days as we are still seeing patchy supply on Cohiba and various other brands/vitolas.

We seem to be steaming towards 10,000 products on our website and I love the New Product feature. I remember when Laura and I started the website and we had around 200 products and a target of 50 orders a month! Now we have warehouses full of the finest tobacco and spirits and thousands of orders a week… incredible!

I think I will go and celebrate that with a dram of my current favourite and award winning Stalla Dhu Auchroisk; 19 years old and perfect with another Romeo Belicosos 🙂

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Out of Stock!

Greetings from my smoking cigar sampling office, nice to be back into routine and what a fab routine I have 🙂

I invited some of my original staff from my hotel business days to enjoy an evening at Puffin’ Rooms last week. I was in the hotel business with my father way back in the 1980’s and it’s amazing that the girls kept in touch with me.

We had a brilliant reunion and whilst enjoying Chef Chris’s amazing cuisine and a few bottles of champagne, it was brilliant to catch up as well as remarkable to 1) see how good the girls memories were (a lot of very funny stories!) and 2) how gorgeous the girls look, hardly aged! I’m told I was a nice boss and we certainly had a lot of laughs together and still do! Looking forward to seeing  Joanne, Mandy, Sandra and Amanda at our next reunion 🙂

I spent some time at Turmeaus Norfolk this week where we are planning to open our new headquarters later this year. This ambitious expansion is super exciting for all of our team as we plan the next few year’s growth for C.Gars Group. I can’t believe we will be up to 70 employees by the end of the year. It’s been a staggering year so far and clearly cigar smoking is more popular than ever. (TY dear clients!)

Our chairman Ron and I planned out the new walk in humidor, retail shop and two sampling lounges with the building contractor and I think it’s really going to be something special. We have loved being at Hall Farm for many years but have totally outgrown our current premises and our sales, marketing and IT Teams have grown dramatically over the years and will be moving to super comfortable high tech offices.

We have  stuck to the same ethos of employing kids out of school or college and didn’t judge on academic ability necessarily but judged the individual based on the potential we could see to train, mentor and develop them into a valued team member. It’s paid off well and we have incredibly competent and dedicated staff with very low staff turnover for a company of our size.

Back to London and a quick inspection/herfette at our lovely little Turmeaus Mayfair shop in the heart of Mayfair yesterday. This store is having its best year ever and was incredibly busy when I visited. We sampled Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Shorty cigars and Inca Secret Blend Roca with some Orchant Selection cigar malt whisky with a few clients before moving on to The Lanesborough (still my favourite place to herf in London) and changed the pace up to Ramon Specially Selected and Bolivar Belicosos Finos.

Havana cigar supply is still patchy with no sign of BHK’s or Siglo VI, though Lanceros, Corona Especiales and Esplendidos have made a reappearance albeit in very small quantity. Cohiba Piramides Extra (one of my favourite day time cigars) have also gone out of stock at the importer but we have pretty deep stocks so should be able to keep them available for a while longer. All very frustrating…

One of our bestselling small format Havanas is the Upmann Corona Junior Tubed. Years ago we sold these untubed as the Petit Upmann but they were deleted sadly. Apparently they have now had to be renamed Coronas J as it’s against the law to use the word Junior on a tobacco product. Have you ever heard anything quite so absurd?

The September 16th auction catalogue is finished and should be online in around a weeks’ time. This was supposed to be a small sale but its ended up a rather large 330 Lot sale with a great selection of aged, rare, regional, limited, Davidoff, pre embargo Lots entered.

My marketing team have gone a bit OCD with Colibri and DuPont lighters, listing huge ranges at guaranteed unbeatable prices in the UK.

The warm summer weather seems to be continuing in the UK so I’m planning to get the top off the car, have a rather long weekend of car herfing and visit one or two of my favourite pubs!

In my baggie for the weekend:

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Shorty – sweet as sugar
Oliva Orchant Seleccion Chubby – sophisticated and delightful blend
Montecristo Petit Edmundo – a return to form for this cigar after a period of being a bit disappointing
Davidoff 50th Anniversary Diademas Finas – what a treat!
Monte 2 – long-time favourite
Avo Syncro – I love these!
Partagas SD No. 4 – can’t go wrong!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

I’m Baaaaaack! :)

Well I’m back from a rather long break in sunny California 🙂 So far so good, except I came back to some idiot smashing one of the windows at our rather lovely La Casa del Habano Chester. Apparently the idiot told the police he had no idea how it happened. So well done and thank you to Cheshire police and hopefully some justice when this goes to court.

My US trip kicked off with a few fabulous days (and evenings)  at the IPCPR tobacco trade show in Las Vegas. I enjoyed meeting with some of our favourite cigar manufacturers and visiting their stands to see all the latest planned products for the year ahead.

It’s really one big herf and super fun testing out the product 🙂

I spent plenty of time with Regius Cigars, one of my favourite boutique brands and I’m delighted to introduce the 2018 Orchant Seleccion limited editions which are not only ridiculously good value but super popular with our clients:

Regius Seleccion Orchant Robusto – 4 1/2″ x 52
Regius Seleccion Orchant Hermosos – 5″ x 48
Regius Seleccion Orchant Campana – 5 1/2″ x 52

Regius are made by Nestor Plasencia and are a full flavour Nicaraguan smoke that smoke very well straight out of the box as they are already well matured, but also age very well indeed.

We also introduced Plasencia cigars to the UK market and the initial client reaction exceeded our expectations.

Plasencia Reserva Original Nestico Cigar – 1 Single – 4 1/2″ x 36
Plasencia Reserva Original Robusto Cigar – 1 Single – 4 1/2″ x 52
Plasencia Reserva Original Toro Cigar – 1 Single  6″ x 50
Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V Cigar – 1 Single – 7 ” x 58
Plasencia Alma Del Campo Tribu Cigar – 1 Single – 5″ x 52
Plasencia Alma del Campo Sendero Cigar – 1 Single – 5″ x 52
Plasencia Alma Fuerte Sixto II Cigar – 1 Single – 6″ x 60

I was privileged to be invited to the Alec Bradley distributors dinner again (even though I’m a retailer!) and had a great evening with the AB Team as well as Scott from Tor and Steve from Robert Graham Ltd. After the dinner we moved on to the Davidoff Bar which also hosted a 50th anniversary event that we gate crashed 🙂

Our Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion range is one of the most exciting and successful projects I have developed. These stunning smokes are now firmly in our best seller lists and we are planning range extensions before the end of the year.

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Shorty Cigar – 5″ x 50
Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Chubby Cigar – 4″ x 60
Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Skinny Cigar – 5″ x 43

The Davidoff booth was humungous as usual and the UK sales of Davidoff and Avo brands are growing at a frightening rate for us! Perfect quality and great blends. Avo is an exclusive brand for C.Gars in the UK and we are very proud to represent it.

We have a limited allocation of the magnificent Davidoff 50th Anniversary Diademas Jars but when they are gone… they are gone as its truly a limited edition.

I also visited Oliva cigars who make our exclusive range of Oliva Orchant Seleccion cigars:

Oliva Orchant Seleccion Skinny – 5″ x 43
Oliva Orchant Seleccion Shorty – 5″ x 50
Oliva Orchant Seleccion Chubby – 4″ x 60

I can’t seem to import enough Arturo Fuente Cigars to cope with demand! These super premium cigars are incredible smokes and we have the exclusive for the UK.

I also visited Scandinavian Tobacco who supply our exclusive Mitchellero range of cigars that are an exceptionally popular budget Nicaragua cigar made by Nestor Plasencia. Oh! and we also have the UK exclusive for Macanudo cigars 🙂

Mitchellero Chicos Cigar – 4″ x 30
Mitchellero Grandes Cigar – 4″ x 60
Mitchellero Orchies Cigar – 4″ x 52
Mitchellero Perlas Cigar – 4″ x 38
Mitchellero Sporty Cigar – 5″ x 38

Scandinavian Tobacco recently announced the acquisition of Peterson Pipes. A marriage of two brilliant companies. We love Peterson pipes and probably have the largest range and definitely the best prices in the UK.

Finally I visited our partners at Cigar Oasis, another brand that we represent exclusively in the UK. Awesome products and a great company to work with.

Cigar Oasis Electronic Humidifier – Ultra – 100 capacity
Cigar Oasis Electronic Humidifier – Excel – 300 capacity
Cigar Oasis Electronic Humidifier – Plus – 1,000 capacity
Cigar Oasis Electronic Humidifier – Magna – Cabinet humidors

Reading back all of the above exclusives I shouldn’t be surprised at our sales growth this year. C.Gars truly have the biggest and best range in the UK. I dare say the amazing heatwave in the UK didn’t harm summer sales levels as many of our clients like to smoke outdoors. I hope the great weather continues…

The rest of my trip was taken up with copious amounts of herfing with friends all over LA. I have an amazing crowd of friends who throw the best herfs imaginable. My New York “Rat Pack” smoking chums all flew in to herf and hang out for a week as well! … I think I need a vacation now!

Back to Blighty and putting the finishing touch to our September Auction Catalogue. This looks  like a pretty big 300 Lot catalogue again with a good variety of aged and rare, limited and regionals, as well as Pre-Embargo Havana cigars.

I’ll be visiting Turmeaus Liverpool and Puffin’ Rooms on Wednesday. Looking forward to catching up with friends and clients for the best live music and cocktails, and a late night cigar sampling session at Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge.

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell