Recession?…really? …you sure?…well maybe!

I’m sitting here on my balcony in sunny Miami overlooking the water as the sun goes down, smoking a Partagas P2 and sipping some HC15.


I get the English newspapers every day out here and read the doom and gloom about the economy. I watch the news on Cable and it’s mostly economical doom and gloom but how accurate is all of this doom and gloom reporting?


I’m not sure but then I know little about politics and economics as I am only a simple cigar merchant. What I do know is what I see with my own two eyes. So lets start with the West End of London 2 weeks ago before I left for the US. The roads from my office in North London all the way to St James’s were packed. This was not due to roadwork’s but was in fact sheer weight of traffic.


The amount of “Supercars” that I counted was literally staggering. Porsche and Bentley were common as muck, Mercs and Ferraris plentiful……and the stores were jam packed with shoppers. The pavements ( sidewalks) were jammed with shoppers. The restaurants crowded.


Maybe London is a bit more isolated or insulated or maybe we are maxing out our credit cards but I couldn’t see any sign of recession. Sure the price of petrol is up at £1.20 a litre and the property market going nowhere but I do wonder about what I read in the newspapers


Fast forward a few days and I’m in Las Vegas…and now in Miami. You guessed it, lovely cars in plentiful quantity, crowded shops and restaurants along Deco Drive, Shopping Malls…packed. Plenty of lovely cigars shops and all have plenty of customers…..gas is apparently “expensive” at 4 Bucks a gallon and the property markets in the crapper.


So my American friends complain about $4 a gallon gas whilst we pay nearer to $10 a gallon…go figure.


Meantime what of the cigar business? Well it could truly be recession proof as all of our trading divisions (retail, mail order, international, aged&rare, humidors) are reporting an increase in sales so far in 2008. Interesting….maybe my clients are “addicted” to cigars. Nope, that’s not it as cigars aren’t addictive in the way we recognize a tobacco product like cigarettes for example.


Perhaps we are staying at home more during these recessionary times and spoiling our selves with more good food, drink and cigars. Quite possible as my specialist whisky shops in Scotland also report an increase in trade this year.


I’m just not sure that we should believe all we read in the papers.


I’m back in London in August and planning a series of monthly Tuesday evening  (complimentary) cigar tasting dinners at Boisdales. If you would like to be put on the guest list drop me an email should be good fun and I’ll probably invite some industry personalities along as well….and we can all discuss “recession” over a good cigar and drink!




Have to get back to the sunshine and my P2 🙂


Peaceful puffing




Last day in Vegas……

Last day in Vegas RTDA and I’ve made a few final purchases. Some pipes for the shops, a few more humidors, personalized Csonka travel cases (very cool)  some humidifiers, lighters, cutters and ever a few thousand printed humibags…that should do me till next years RTDA 🙂


Off to The Parasol bar at Wynn hotel for a herf organized by Rob from Cigar Czars, a first rate Havana cigar specialist based in Brisbane Australia. Met up with George, Ron, Matt, Bob, Dag, Peter and many other friends and smoked some pretty awesome cigars.


George herfing at the Circle bar in Palazzo


….5 hours later 🙂 and it’s time for some dinner at Bouchon in the Venetian Towers with dear friends George and Amy, capping off our trip with another nice meal and some delightful Californian red (and a BBF or two)


Mitchell, Vito (from the Sopranos) George and Barry herfing at RTDA


I’ve enjoyed this years RTDA more than all the previous ones I have attended, there seemed to be a great “buzz” about for the whole week and it was great to put so many faces to names of friends I have been emailing for many years. I’m not sure the same buzz will be around in New Orleans RTDA next year.


Mitchell and Vito 🙂


So I’ve walked my socks off and lost a couple of Pounds in weight 🙂 and not lost my shirt at the Casino 🙂 now I’m heading off to Miami for a few weeks.


Miami’s skies are blue and the sun is shining and it seems wonderfully quiet after Vegas. I’m taking a few days R&R and then it’s back to some serious herfing activities 🙂 If you are in or near Miami, shoot me an email  🙂

Click this link to see more photos from RTDA


Peaceful puffing



RTDA and more…….

100°F and they tell me its cool for this time of year but thats going to take some convincing!

This years’ RTDA show is bigger and better than any show I can remember.  It never ceases to amaze me how many changes on a theme of a humidor are possible, but I think I’ve bought most of them now 😉

Monday night I enjoyed dinner with friends at the SW Steakhouse at Wynn Hotel (thanks for the Port, George!)

We enjoyed some custom blends at the Parasol Bar after dinner enjoying the half hourly slightly bizarre show by the waterfall.

It was great to catch up with Gary and Tim from CAO at the show and very kind of them to give me VIP tickets for their party at Palms Hotel featuring the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, followed by an after party at the Playboy Suite on the 34th Floor which was pretty cool. Plenty of booze and plenty of cigars, thanks for a great evening CAO 🙂

The show is a great meeting place and I bumped into Gemma Freeman from Hunters & Frankau yesterday and I can only tell you we have some very exciting and exclusive products coming up in the next few months…… watch this space 😉

Also had a chat with David Savona from Cigar Aficionado.  David runs the cigar forums on CA and its a great place to learn about cigars.

Also bumped into Vito from the Sopranos! Fuggedaboudit!  He’s bringing out his own cigar line and I wish him the best of luck with it.

Hung out with Bobby at the Fujipub stand and as usual he was handing out shots of Scotch which went very well with our BBFs….. thanks Bobby!

Dinner was at ‘Table 10’ at the Palazzo and was probably the best meal so far in Las Vegas. Highly recommended with an impromtu herf following dinner at the Palazzo bar. Nice to hang out with Marc, Jack, Barry and George and finish the evening off with a delicious bottle of champagne. I’ve been gifted more cigars than ever at this show so thanks to all, I don’t think there’s enough hours in the day to get through all of these smokes, but I’ll try my best 🙂

I’ll post up some photos of the various herfs at the show in the next 24 hours if all goes to plan, but for now the show must go on! 

Peaceful puffing


Does life get much better??

Here I am in a bar,round the pool in 100 F heat of Las Vegas smoking a BBF with my friend George asking myself if life gets much better?


Well that’s a tough one as we just had dinner last night in David Burke’s (celebrity chef) restaurant in the Venetian Hotel… modern American cuisine at its best if somewhat over the top service.


After dinner we saw Jersey Boys at the Palazzo Hotel. Highly recommended (assuming you like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons music ,which I do) and it was great to see smoking on stage, common sense has prevailed on stage here whereas it seems to be an ongoing issue on the UK stage.


I’ve been to Vegas quite a few times,in fact I came here as an 11 year old kid with my folks a long time ago so I have certainly seen some changes over the years.Smoking wise,the main change is that whilst you can still smoke cigars on the casino floor and in the bars,it seems that just about every restaurant went no smoking 18 months ago. Of course if you are under 21 you can’t get into the bars…in other words,don’t bring your kids as Vegas is a Disneyworld… for adults.


So far so good at the tables,Karyns been shooting dice like one of the boys and winning 🙂 whilst losing her winnings on the roulette tables! we’re even so we may quit at this stage!


I managed to lose my gold bracelet and only realised it halfway through a gondola ride at the Venetian ( very funny being serenaded by an Italian living in LV!) but security at the Venetian found it and handed it to lost and found… not sure I would have been that lucky in London!


I’m in Vegas for the best cigar trade show on this planet, “RTDA” sourcing new products for my retail stores or existing ranges at better prices than before. It’s great to offer products in the UK that are generally only found in the USA. I reckon C.Gars Ltd probably sells more humidors that anyone else in the UK ( possibly than everyone else) and we have always prided ourselves on having the perfect humidor to suit anyone’s taste and budget.


Bumped into old friend Marc Aub from Palio (cutters) and had yet another BBF at La Scena bar in the Venetian.If you don’t already use a Palio… you should do as they are probably the sharpest and most precise cutter on the market as well as stylish and great value.


The registration starts today and the show tomorrow, so a bit more time today for some fun in the sun or at least a pina colada or two and some P2’s with my herf pal Barry from LA


I hear there’s a good CAO party going down on Monday evening so I’ll check it out and blog if it was fun:-)


Peaceful puffing



H. Upmann Magnum 50 & Hoyo Epicure Especial!!

Greetings from sunny and…rainy London!

The long awaited launch of the new H Upmann has arrived:-)

First production batch in English Market Selection ( EMS) sure to please even the most discerning Havana cigar smoker.

Available now:

The H Upmann Magnum 50 measures 6 1/4″ length and 50 ring gauge and was first seen as a maduro limited edition in 2005

Singles £14.50

Boxes of 10 £139

Cabinets of 25 £335

Cabinets of 50 £669

Expected next week:

The Hoyo Epicure Especial measures 5/12″  and 50 ring gauge ( gordito vitola) and was first seen as a maduro limited edition in 2004

Singles £13.50

Boxes of 10 £129

Cabinets of 25 £309

Cabinets of 50 £609

I smoked both of these cigars at the launch party in LOndon last month and can thoroughly recommend them
Peaceful puffing.