C.Gars – Bigger than ever!

Happy Easter! …and it really is a very happy time for C.Gars Ltd as we recently announced our merger with La Casa del Tabaco in Belgium to form a new Group Company: Dominique London. More details on our new website. We can proudly boast to be one of the largest cigars and spirits merchants in Europe and the expansion march will go on over the course of this year and beyond.

No change to my position as Managing Director of C.Gars but I’m also the Chief Commercial Officer for the DL group which is a terribly exciting challenge for me for the future, that I relish. Over the last 24 years I have built C.Gars into a pretty huge business with the help of an incredible team but we can now take the business to higher heights than ever with the added expertise of Dominique and Frederic from our Belgian merger partners La Casa del Tabaco. When travel restrictions are lifted, I can’t wait to visit our shops in Belgium and host some fantastic whisky and cigar sampling events.

The merger took well over a year to complete and what a crazy year it was with a Pandemic, stock shortages, a new mail order warehouse and opening a flagship store in St James’s! Imagine what we can do in a normal year! Congratulations to all of my team as well as our Belgian partners on this monumental merger.

Cohiba stock shortages continue as well as a few other lines, though bits and pieces do go in and out of stock but not in the quantity we need as yet. We are hoping this will improve as the year goes on but huge kudos to our supplier Hunters & Frankau for keeping us at around 95% stock availability which is a lot better than many countries over the last few years.

And what of the quality of Havana cigars at this time? Well, let’s face it, there will always be the odd stick with a construction issue. that’s the nature of the game (you can always try a Perfec Draw  but the tobacco quality and blending recently is definitely in the superior category. I have been smoking through some incredible Punch Double Coronas from 1999 like a fiend! Amazing smokes, almost 22 years old and smoking like a dream.

H. Upmann Sir Winston have been steadily coming into stock over the last few months after a long absence and are also first class as are El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme  which have recently come back into stock, albeit in small quantity.

We have great stock availability of most La Casa del Habano lines and are expecting the long awaited Hoyo Year of The Ox this week.

I can’t wait for the Lockdowns to be over and things to get back to normal. I’m so looking forward to hosting some sampling events at our new St James’s store as well as our other stores around the country. Hopefully it won’t be too long but, in the meantime, join me at our virtual events which are a lot of fun as well as educational (and great value!)

Checkout Nick Hammonds Audiobook… Around the World in Eighty Cigars its great fun and his book is also available online.

Looking for a really special dram? Try our Stalla Dhu Glen Elgin Port Wood. Its delicious. My business partner Ron and I sampled some on the rocks last week paired up with Trinidad Vigia. Truly a sublime combination and highly recommended.

For a change of pace check out Y Bet Rose Vodka.  Vodka isn’t my regular tipple but this really is something special…

Look out! I’m launching a new range of incredible value Nicaraguan cigars later this month. They will truly be the best value smoke in the UK. We still have a UK regional Havana sometime this year as well as a Davidoff-Orchant Seleccion and a Plasencia – Orchant Seleccion to release so it’s going to be a very exciting year of new releases.

I’m putting the finishing touches on our next cigar auction which will conclude on the 20th April, we expect around 350+ Lots of aged, rare and unusual cigars as well as some splendid single malt whisky Lots. The Lots will be online and bidding open 7 days before the auction concludes. Registration is easy and bidding very straightforward. Condition reports are available by email from the auction team who are always happy to assist and advise sales@onlinecigarauctions.com

Looking forward to see you soon at our virtual herfs and soon after at our cigar sampling lounge events.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Cocktail of the day

We have all been waiting for the warmer weather and sunshine. Not that you need a certain time of year to drink a certain cocktail, but we all have those cocktails that just work with springtime. So, I thought I would put together some of my favourite cocktails that will be in heavy rotation coming into better weather!

Citrus Breeze

Ingredients:

  • 50ml (2oz) – The Botanist Gin
  • 25ml (1oz) – Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 15ml (0.5oz) – Elderflower cordial
  • 85ml (3oz) – Tonic water
  • Sprig of thyme to garnish
  • Grapefruit wheel to garnish

Method:

  • Mix the gin, grapefruit and elderflower cordial in a mixing glass.
  • Pour into an ice-filled highball and top up with tonic water.
  • Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a grapefruit wheel.

Slàinte

Elijah

Pipes… where to start?

So, you are new to pipe smoking and want to know where to start? Well, let’s start with the first question I often get asked when a new pipe smoker comes into my shop…

“Which pipe should I buy?”

Pipes come in many different shapes, sizes, colours, and finishes. When you search on our website for pipes, the results can be overwhelming for a new pipe smoker. We’ve all been there! The first time I bought a pipe, I was overwhelmed with the pipe selection that my local shop had (and their selection was really small!)

So, let’s break it down.

Shapes:

The pipe’s shape will mainly affect three things: the draw, the smoke and the build-up condensation.

A bent pipe will have condensation forming between the bowl and the shank, and because of the curve, the draught might be a bit harder. On the other hand, it will be easier to hold it in your mouth because the pipe is more balanced and will be easier to smoke on the go while you are out or doing something.

Have a look at these Savinelli, I love their bent pipes.

A straight pipe will have an easier draught and no condensation build-up because there are no curves in which the smoke will linger. The main problem of straight pipes for a beginner is their balance and weight. It will feel heavier when you clench it and not so easy to deal with when doing something else while smoking.
For a classic straight pipe, try a Peterson.

Length: 

The length of the pipe will affect the warmth of the smoke. The longer it is, the cooler the smoke is going to be.

For a beginner, I would suggest going for a medium-length pipe. The smoke is cool enough that it should not bother you, and it will not be too challenging to light.

Filter:

Pipes come filtered and non-filtered. We always mention on the description if the pipe has a filter and which kind it uses. 😊
Filters helps to achieve a smooth and pleasant smoke. They also help to remove humidity and impurities. There are many different filters, but for now, let us talk about the most common: metal and 9mm.

A metal filter, often called a stinger (because of the shape), will help reduce the impurities as they will get stuck to it which will then change the smoke flow.

In my opinion, the most efficient filter is the 9mm! It will filter humidity and impurities without affecting the smoking experience. If your pipe uses 9mm filters, try Vauen Dr Perl Junior 9mm Pipe Filters.

This sums up the pipe smoking basics, but which one should you buy?

A good tip is to think about the pipe that you envision yourself smoking. Or even better, visit one of our shops to let us help you decide. Physically holding a pipe sometimes gives you a better understanding on which finish and sizing you like.
A pipe needs to fit your style but also be something that you like to look at when you are not using it.
In the current times though, the pandemic may make it difficult for you to come see us in store so be sure to have a look on our website and if you have any questions, get in touch with us.  We are more than happy to help with selecting your first (or third 😉) pipe!

Most importantly though, take your time and be patient. Remember, your pipe smoking journey has just begun.

Let me know about your first pipe experiences or if its your first time, let me know which one you go for!

Christian

The Glenturret Maiden Range

I am always excited to see when longstanding distilleries that I have enjoyed for so long embrace the future! Not only embrace the future, but do it with some grace and elegance! The Glenturret has done that with style, merging their long history with a refined contemporary style.

Glenturret has the honour to call themselves the longest running whisky distillery in Scotland and so they are bringing along a lot of whisky making wisdom and traditional craftsmanship. So, in 2019 when the Lalique group bought the distillery, they added an elegance that has meshed well with their history. The new Maiden Releases were crafted by a very highly respected whisky maker, Bob Dalgarno, to create an amazing new core range. Not only do you get some delicious whisky crafted by a legend, but you get some absolutely beautiful bottles made by Lalique.

Right now, we have three of the new core range so you can experience Glenturret for yourself. After you finish the liquid, refill those bottles with something else!

The Glenturret 10-Year-Old Peat Smoke 2020 Maiden Release – 50% 70cl

“We are in the rare position of producing peated and non-peated spirit at different times of the year from the same small stills. This has allowed us to craft this mellow, sweet, smoky 10 years old single malt that shows its character off to the full at a strength of 50%.”

Maker’s Tasting Notes: Smoke from the peat fire envelopes. Fresh citrus fruit, vanilla, and light spice drift from the embers with hints of sea salt and smoldering heather.

The Glenturret 12-Year-Old 2020 Maiden Release – 46% 70cl

“A whisky driven by European Oak casks which have patiently cradled the spirit from its inception 12 years ago after passing through the small batch, manual production processes which defines Glenturret… Never overpowering, but enhancing and developing to give a rich, layered complexity of flavour and a deep russet colour.”

Maker’s Tasting Notes: Rich fruit cake dressed with walnuts. Sweet apple and ginger in balance enjoyed with lemon tea. The European oak politely drives the chosen strength.

The Glenturret Triple Wood 2020 Maiden Release – 43% 70cl

“Triple Wood is a continuation of our history, part of the old range and reborn in the new. A thoughtful combination of European and American Sherry Oak casks alongside Bourbon barrels gives a light and subtle whisky showcasing the sweet, fruity style of our new make spirit – the starting point of the journey for all our single malts.”

Maker’s Tasting Notes: Aged in American and European Sherry casks and bourbon barrels. Sweet fruit and caramel flirt with sticky ginger cake and vanilla, maturing oak and light spices look on with interest from the sidelines.

When things start opening back up for us, make sure to take a trip up to the distillery for a tour and bite to eat at their cafe!

Slainte

Anthony

New store …New auction

I can finally and very proudly announce the opening of C.Gars – St James’s. Well overdue as we should have opened last Summer buy hey ho, who would have known the disruption that Corona Virus would cause?

And who would be mad enough to open a specialist cigar and whisky store in the middle of the third Lockdown? Answers on a postcard…

But open we are and the premises looks great, more like a Chanel store than a traditional cigar store and with a mouth-watering range of the best of the best cigars and single malt whisky money can buy.

We have a comfortable sampling area that will be available when it’s safe to open fully but, in the meantime, if you are in the West End pop in and feast your eyes and treat yourself to a great cigar or splendid bottle.

My staff will assure you a warm welcome, Sam used to work with us at Puffin Rooms – Liverpool, and Viktoria is well known by all the regular customers at Turmeaus – Mayfair so they bring a wealth of experience and offer the best in customer service.

I think that Turmeaus – Mayfair and C.Gars – St James’s may be the only cigar specialist shops remaining open in the West End at this time. Every time I pass any other cigar shops, they all seem to be closed. Let’s hope everyone can re-open soon and our industry can get back to normal.

So this lovely premises joins the C.Gars Group and makes it a nice round number of 10 including our other businesses in London, Liverpool, Chester, Knutsford and Norfolk. Add to that our two huge fulfilment warehouses and I’ve got to say this sure turned into a huge business that Laura and I could never have dreamed about so many years ago when we started the business from our bedrooms!

C.Gars Auctions are holding the first auction of the year on Tuesday 26th January.

Over 430 Lots of Vintage, Mature, Pre-Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill, Limited Edition Havana cigars as well as aged Havanas from the 1960’s through to the 1990’s will be on offer on behalf of estates, investors and collectors. There will also be 100 Lots of rare single malt whisky.

Lots are now live and bidding open online until the auction concludes on the 26th January on the Cigar Auction website.

This will be the 36th cigar auction by C.Gars since the auction department was established in 2009.

Auction Lots can be viewed and bid on online.

Featured Lots include:

Dunhill Estupendos, Mojito and Don Candido 502

Habanos 1994 humidor

Cohiba Seleccion Reserva, Lanceros Presidencia and Coronas Especiales Presidencia

Davidoff No. 1,2, Dom Perignon, 1000, 3000, Margaux and Ambassadrice

Montecristo, Partagas and Romeo Gran Reserva

For any questions don’t hesitate to email Laura Graham and the auction team at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk

Substantial interest is expected from overseas buyers due to the continued weakness of the Pound Sterling currently as well as the continuing increased demand from the Far East…

Have a smokey week.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell