Tokyo herfing …and other news

Hunters and Frankau treated me to a spot of lunch at the Churchill cigar bar last week. They seem rather pleased with my little company as we are buying more cigars than ever….quick celebration with a some champagne and Siglo VI’s :-) Thanks H&F.

I was getting a tad bored last week waiting around for all these delightful new Havanas to be launched so I decided to spend the weekend in Tokyo (!)

Yes,yes I know a bit of a schlep for the weekend but I can only bear being away from my lovely wife ( and her wonderful cooking ) for a day or two… so a weekend it was :-)

I have never been to Tokyo before although traditionally C.Gars Ltd has always had a large client base in Japan so this was as good a time as any.

My friend and smoking buddy Zaff came along for the trip and we arrived in Narita airport on Friday morning after a first rate Virgin Atlantic flight ( well done Richard Branson! Shame he doesn’t smoke cigars…as far as I know)…turned my Orange cell phone on to find that it would not work as Japan is on 3G and I was not ( travellers you have been warned!) rented a phone for around tuppence a day..problem solved.

The weather was sunny and hot and we smoked some excellent Partagas shorts whilst waiting for our shuttle bus. Perfect smoke after a 12 hour flight :-)

Checked into the delightful Sheraton Miyako hotel in the Minato -Ku area which is best described as a high class business area of the city.The hotel was splendid and the service and friendliness from the staff beyond compare.

In fact I must admit I have never come across such friendly and polite service on any of my world travels as I found in Tokyo.Simply superb.

I was told that there are some 200 cigars bars throughout Japan which is staggering. We headed to the M Bar in the Sheraton which is a cigar bar with fabulous ambience and a decent range of cigars as well as first class service.Drank some calvados an smoked a BBF.

Dinner at the Takanawa Prince Hotel was an incredible experience with friends who kindly took us there.The chef prepared our meal on a hot plate in front of us.Quite excellent.Dinner was followed by Ramon Allones Belicosos in the “Le Connaisseur” cigar bar at the same hotel….a very cool cigar shop…humidor…and lounge bar. Highly recommended.

We relaxed with our friend Yagi-san at his wonderful cigar bar,called Bar Bridge on Saturday evening,enjoying some P2’s and drinking some rather old Scotch.(thank you!)

Bar Bridge looks like a traditional English cigar divan,Leather couches,dim lights,lots of very very cool cigar memorabilia.Without doubt my favourite cigar bar in Tokyo. Oh! and the owner speaks excellent English and is a rather knowledgeable cigar merchant so it’s really a pleasure to “hang out”

We went on to “Maduro” cigar bar at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to listen to some live jazz ( why does jazz go so well with cigars? !) This was one BIG cigar lounge! Smoked some old Monte 2’s matched up with my favourite Bilecart salmon champagne…does life get any better?…ummmm…no don’t think so:-)…oh hold on it does,I forgot to mention the line of cars outside the hotel ….Ferrari 430,Rolls Silver Cloud,Lamborghini Murcielago amongst other Supercars :-)

Thanks to my Japanese friends for such a lovely weekend.

Zipped back to London…well 12 hour flight sort of zip…and back into the game as we say.I find out that the new Cohiba maduro 5 range is being released to our La Casa del Habano in Hamburg late this week and my sales team are selling these splendid new Havanas like they are going out of fashion:-) Happy days! Sorry to my clients in the UK,you will have to wait till they are launched on the 5th of July. I always love the first batch of a newly created/released Havana.The blends are so perfect and the excitement of trying a new cigar is tantalizing.

I was disappointed to hear that the UK regional Por Larranaga Magnificos is now delayed till September as I can’t wait to have them in my humidor.That said I doubt they will stay in my humidor for long as only 1400 boxes are being made ( all numbered I am pleased to say) A cigar for the smoker as well as the collector.

Only around 11 days till the stupid smoking ban in England so I’m off to Langans with friends….to puff my way through lunch whilst it’s still legal.From next month if you get caught they cut your nose off or something like that.

Tomorrow another smoking lunch organized by the Association of Independent Tobacco specialists

Thursday…..a diet :-)



Smoking ban

Sadly the smoking ban in England is looming.June will be the last month to legally smoke in public places.

No more smoking in pubs,clubs,restaurants or company cars thereafter.

Instant fines for the smoker and hefty fines for the establishment.

£30,000,000 wasted on “smoke inspectors”….what a joke…better off giving it to the homeless.

So late and all night drinking will continue with teenagers strewn over the streets of London on weekends drunk out of their minds and the police show little interest in various drug use and abuse but the cigar smoker continues to be tarred with the same brush as the cigarette smoker.

Lets not confuse the issue….smokes cigarettes and you will damage you health…Smoke Havana cigars and you will…relax…and are not likely to damage your health at all providing you do not inhale ( Havana cigars are not meant for any inhalation of course)

So how will it affect us? well it won’t. Fortunately our London showroom as well as our retail cigar stores in Chester and Liverpool are exempt from the ban and clients are allowed to smoke on the premises for “sampling purposes” Bravo for some small measure of common sense prevailing.Unfortunately the same common sense did not prevail for our cigar shops in Scotland.

Lots of talk about outdoor smoking areas in London restaurants.No doubt the Conran Group restaurants and Boisdales will lead the way…good for them.They will get all of my business in the future.

Global warming? bring it on I say :-) More outdoor smoking opportunity the better the weather and this summer is predicted to be a hot one in the UK :-)

Hunters and Frankau are planning an outdoor event on the 5th of July launching the wonderful new Cohiba Maduro 5 range of Havanas.Email Michelle at my London office if you would like to attend

Por Larranaga Magnificos exclusive to the UK are due to be launched later in July…only 1400 boxes (!)

Tastes seem to be changing over tha last 2-3 years,I am amazed that Partagas P2’s are now selling more than Monte 2’s.Smaller fatter cigars are selling like crazy such as the petit Edmundo which is an excellent 1/2 hour Havana.Partagas shorts blending is the best I have ever known.Romeo short churchills are fast becoming a best seller.

Best wishes from sunny London


what’s going on?!

Hi Folks,

Just back from our La Casa del Habano in Hamburg where my partners the Wolters family hung out with the Orchant family for a few days:-) Dinner at Doc Chengs in the Fairmont Hotel was sublime…highly recommended.

Stocks in our massive walk in humidor seem be never ending ,right up to the ceiling,has to be one of the coolest cigars shops in the world.If you ever go to Hamburg say hello to Christoph…he’s the best cigar merchant I have ever met.Knowledgeable and helpful to novice and connoisseur alike.

Lousy weather in London today so I popped over to Dunhill in St James for a change of scene and met up with some friends for a smoke or two.

For those who have not visited,it’s worth the trip:-) Howard is now managing the cigar store and doing a great job at it.Comfortable leather chairs and great smoke extraction..Smoked a 2006 BBF..perfect.

Lunch at Francos opposite the delightful Davidoff shop in Jermyn street.Good food and wine,decent prices and very attentive service ( I counted 10 times they offered me water …but they still never sold me any!….do I look so dehydrated?!)

Back to the madhouse…oops I mean my London office where my lovely London sales team are working 25 hours in a day taking and shipping orders worldwide and dealing with a multitude of emails faxes and phone calls from our retail shops…time for me to chill with a dram of Tomatin single malt and a Partagas P2 :-) I don’t think any regular production Havana has been blended as perfectly as the P2 in years….I could smoke them all day…in fact I do :-)

My Liverpool shop which was slowly falling to pieces in Water street has now relocated down the road to 34 Fenwick street…a little smaller but modern and well stocked.Well done to my team ( Chris Alf,Mish,John and Veronica) for all their hard work in the move.All being well we’ll be opening another shop in Liverpool this year :-)

Simon Chase ( marketing director Hunters and Frankau) gave me a call to invite me to the launch of the Cohiba Maduro 5 cigars on July 5th which will be a delight as long as the weather stays sunny as the launch will be après smoking ban so it’s an out door event I gather.No doubt my sales team will be offering the new Cohiba maduros from midnight July 5th ;-)

The new Por Larranaga Magnificos is now confirmed by Hunters and Frankau for delivery to us last days of July so a few months later than expected but I believe it will be worth the wait.

Only 1400 of these regional edition numbered boxes will be available to the UK.Cabinets of 10 and 25.Please don’t email to ask me the price …I don’t know !…yet :-) If you have subscribed to my newsletter you will be informed the minute these stogies are available…and they won’t last long! ( 1 client has ordered 250 boxes from me and he doesn’t care what the price is!) The PL Magnificos is a remake of one of the most rare and desirable cigars namely the PL Magnum. I understand the name change was to avoid confusion with the Upmann Magnum cigars.

Could be a great investment ( if you can be patient) as PL magnums sell for around £5,000 for a box of 25 cigars these days!

Spoil yourself with a Dunhill Havana Club…this week only £175 per cigar ( plus VAT if you’re in the UK) email for details

Fancy trying a pre Castro Havana or two? drop me an email I always have them available in singles and by the box.

Monte 2’s and Bolivar Belicosos recommended this week…fantastic smokes with great dark silky wrappers and perfect construction….Don’t wait !!…enjoy life…smoke a great Havana now:-)