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

Cigar Smoker of the year event!

According to my wife and friends I should definitely have received this award every year since I was 15 years old 🙂 but seriously… it’s that time of the year again and tickets are now available for this super bash at the fabulous Boisdale of Canary Wharf on the 3rd December.

Ranald and I dreamed up this unique annual event 5 years ago over a long strategy lunch herf (went on for bloody ages!) and it’s the largest cigar event in the UK on the calendar.

You can get tickets on the Boisdale website or if you would like to join Karyn and I on the C.Gars table, book on the C.Gars website. It will as ever be an evening to remember!

The Viña Carmen Cigar Smoker of the Year Dinner
Founded by Boisdale
Monday 3rd December 2018

Join Mitchell Orchant on the C.Gars Ltd table.

Boisdale is delighted to announce the date of the 6th Cigar Smoker of the Year Dinner in association with VIÑA CARMEN Wines. The world’s most prestigious Cigar Awards event outside of Havana, celebrating iconic cigars, producers, writers, terraces and smokers.

Previous winners, nominees and guests have included Simon Le Bon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Baroness Trumpington, the late great Burt Reynolds, Jonathan Ross, Kelsey Grammer, Andrew Neil, Tamar Hassan, Charlie Sheen and James Cosmo. Join us to discover who will win The Cigar Smoker of the Year 2018.

 

I had an action packed week last week with a visit to Turmeaus Liverpool during the day and supper and jazz at Puffin’ Rooms on Wednesday evening.

All Turmeaus shops are crammed to the rafter with the finest premium cigars, the chancellors Budget yesterday has meant there will unfortunately be an increase in duty on tobacco products. We will of course hold our prices as long as possible, but regrettably they will have to go up. Stock up on your favourites now while you still have the the chance at pre-Budget prices. The base increase is RPI plus 2% plus VAT but importers and distributors also take the opportunity to increase their prices taking into account manufacturers price increases and currency fluctuations.

So… you have been warned, top up your humidors at pre budget prices – whilst stocks last.

Jazz in a bit of a Boardwalk Empire style was performed by Amanda and Nick at Puffin’ Rooms and Chef Chris treated us to top notch cuisine as usual. We sampled Davidoff Late Hour paired up with Stalla Dhu Ben Nevis at Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge till the wee small hours. Simply, a perfect evening.

On Friday I visited Turmeaus Norfolk and checked out the work going on at our new headquarters building which we expect to move into a little later this year. Well… its coming along very nicely 🙂 Our sales team are getting the office of their dreams and the shop, humidor, pipe room. whisky room and sampling lounges are all taking shape nicely.

Our beautiful new headquarters building is a historic listed building spread over 5 floors with the original 200 year old oak staircase and wooden beams throughout. We’re already planning a grand opening event and our customers in Norfolk and surrounding areas will be amazed with this state of the art Turmeaus offering.

No good news on Havana supply regrettably with no availability of Cohiba BHK’s and Siglo VI still and the latest casualty is Piramides Extra which are now not available. Better stock up on Siglo IV and Robustos before they disappear as well!

I spotted the Boveda Smart Sensor at the trade show in Las Vegas in Summer and we have finally managed to get it into our warehouse and its selling like hotcakes! Great value, works brilliantly… like all wonderful Boveda Products.

For our pipe smokers we just ran a ridiculously popular buy one get the second half price promotion. We have an insane range, probably the biggest and best in the UK and always the best value in the UK.

Avo cigars are a C.Gars exclusive in the UK. Made by Davidoff in the Dominican Republic these high quality cigars are priced incredibly keen and we will launch an Orchant Seleccion next month which in my opinion is the best in the range. Look out for them as they won’t be around long (limited edition).

Check out our Whiskey of the Month offers guaranteed best value in the UK with rapid delivery of course.

This week I’m putting together the finishing touches on our Winter Auction which will conclude on the 2nd December. Some 300 Lots of aged, rare, limited, unusual Havana cigars will be offered and the catalogue will be online a week before the sale.

Have a smokey week, but don’t forget to top up the humidor sooner rather than later to ensure you don’t get hit too hard by the Chancellor. I’d advise stocking up on a few more than your usual order, upgrade those boxes of 10‘s to boxes of 25‘s for now!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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