Cigar of the year…. so far

Another exciting month end with my home office pc giving up the ghost after only 2 years faithful service, seems that computer equipment is more consumable than ever now. That said 24 hours burning day and night with smoke coming off  and ash falling on my keyboard whilst dealing with up to 2000 emails a day and I reckon I probably got my money’s worth. I was smoking a Flor de Cano Short Robusto whilst remembering that the first primitive PC I bought worked on dial up, was as slow as hell, continually crashed and cost me around £3,500 which was an awful lot of money back in the day – especially as I had no money!

I remember telling Laura that I truly believed that technology/ speed would continually double and prices would halve until every home in the country would have a computer, and I remember us cracking open a bottle of Dom Perignon when we went on broadband and downloaded our 4th version of the C.Gars website which had loads of new features and zillions of photographs… and sales doubled that year 🙂

Occasionally I look at the old versions of the C.Gars websites on waybacktimemachine and laugh at how primitive they were and how my daughter could probably do a better design but back in the day this was cutting edge!

So the replacement pc is installed, no data has been lost and life returns to normal after two evenings work on my laptop (still super fast and working thankfully) I’m often asked how do you manage so many emails, you must work 24 hours a day? Well some days it feels like I’m working 24 hours a day but I actually only work afternoons in the London office and late evenings at home so it may well be thanks to the Sales Teams that you get rapid replies to email. Well done Sales Team 🙂

I love working at the office but it has to be said that it’s a bit of a madhouse with 7 or 8  girls all talking (at once usually as well as very loud), phones ringing, doorbells buzzing, computers binging and bonging – not the easiest of  environments for a quiet cigar moment! Whereas smoking at home is an entirely different experience, quiet and relaxing. Some time for contemplation and the complete experience that only a good Havana cigar can do. 

I have been smoking the new Partagas SD5 since the day it came out and have been really impressed with it. I wasn’t sure if it’s my taste changing or I just seem to enjoy Partagas more and more these days. I decided to take 3 Partagas D5’s from 3 separate boxes home with me for a serious taste and quality test and I have to say that its so far my favourite smoke of the year, perhaps with the exception of the UK LFDC which is an entirely different animal, I really rate this first production batch of D5’s. They are smooth and full flavoured, well crafted, attractive wrappers and complex. Shorter than a D4 – yes. More satisfying smoke though and more going on with the blend than the D4 for sure. I can only hope that subsequent production batches maintain blend integrity.

True story – chap comes into my office last week, has a drink and a smoke with me and tells me that he buys his accessories and some of his cigars from me (has done for years) but gets most of his boxes from ‘ Don Nobody’ from overseas as they are 25% cheaper but he just wasn’t certain if all the cigars were genuine and what did I think. I have heard a few similar stories over the years and my thoughts were:

 -why would you want to buy from ‘Don Nobody’ who is not a cigar specialist just someone selling a product that happens to be cigars, could be bricks or soap bars. Surely one of the joys of Havana cigars is the experience of dealing with a genuine cigar specialist who is able to advise on what’s new? What’s good/bad/indifferent? What are the best factory codes? Best date codes? Suitable wrapper colours and correct storage conditions  – that’s all part of the experience that you are only ever likely to get when you deal with a real ‘specialist’

-To save 25% on the cost of our cigars but not be certain whether you are smoking the real deal or a fake seems to be a bit of a false economy to me to say the least

-Not clever risking shipping tobacco into the UK  as UK customs may well stop the package and I understand you may well end up in front of a magistrate….for the saving you may make on some questionable cigars it hardly seems worth the bother surely

-the bottom line I think is that you get what you pay for and there are no free lunches as such. Better to smoke less but smoke the best

OK so I‘m kicking back for the weekend with D5’s and E2’s don’t even ask for boxes of 25’s ! long sold out and could be weeks before we get some more but we do have the boxes of 5’s available which are cool presentation.

Getting ready for auction season which starts this week with the first 400 Lots going online and our catalogues being sent out this Wednesday. Tickets for the auction events will be online on Monday evening but places as always will be strictly limited. Featured cigars at the 27th November pre herf and pre and post auction herf on the 28th November include the latest ‘Orchant Seleccion’ release of Juan Lopez Seleccion No.2 as well as the fabulous UK regional LFDC Short robustos all matched up with copious quantities of champagne/cocktails and canapés…. October was a great month but November will be wild !…feels like Christmas season has started 🙂

Have a smokey weekend 

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Herfin’ in the Big Apple

Just back from a sunny week in New York City where I was herfing round the clock at some of the best cigar lounges with some of my favourite friends 🙂

Morning smokes were usually Davidoff at De La Concha with the window on 6th Avenue it’s the perfect spot to watch the world go by

Evening smokes usually at Grand Havana Room ( membership required ) or Club Macanudo ( no membership required) both places had the best of service and ambience and it was good to catch up with many friends over the week, and herf my way through countless Fuente, Davidoff and Oliva cigars to name a few.

Also popped into the fabulous Nat Sherman store to have a smoke or two or three with Michael Herklots. It was great to see some of the old Nat Sherman pre embargo Havanas specially made for them. Could well be one of the finest cigar stores in the world and I’m always made to feel very welcome there. ( TY NS!)

It’s always good to get back to London though… and my walk in humidor crammed floor to ceiling with Havanas! I delved straight into a Partagas SD no.5 followed by the new E2 which is fast becoming a favourite. The boxes of 5 are very cool.

Auction catalogue is about to be sent to the printers, we expect to post them out to clients next week. Although all 400 Lots will be online in the next few days and browsing as well as bidding is all clear and easy to do on the website. 

Looks like the press coverage has already got started 🙂 we’ll keep adding it to the media centre here 

More Cohiba 1966 expected to arrive any day now and we still have some decent stocks of the other 2011 limited editions : Ramon Allones- Allones Extra and Hoyo Short piramides.

Countdown to the Partagas festival in Havana in November- actually can’t believe how fast this year is flying by, 4 and a ½ weeks till the cigars auction and 8 weeks till Christmas!

Have a great week

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Grand Havana Room

Limited editions – yes they are!

I’ve been merrily sampling my way through all the new limited editions over the last week particularly whilst herfing at The Lanesborough and Ten Manchester Street ( both first rate as always) and this year’s LE’s are sooo good as well as terribly limited in supply. 

The Cohiba 1966 was as expected the fastest one to sell ( and sell out for that matter, although we expect some dribs and drabs of additional inventory to arrive over the next weeks)   Awesome packaging, first rate blend and the smoothest maduro wrappers I think I have ever seen. 

The Ramon Allones – Allones Extra gets the ‘ coolest band’ award- check it out here :  the band is a recreation from a vintage Ramon cigar band that I have seen from time to time with my past vintage cigar sales

The Hoyo – short Hoyo piramides is  a delightful size if you enjoy the shape but a belicosos or piramides is a tad to large in format, check it out here

The other new cigar that I seem to be smoking back to back is not a limited edition but an addition to the Partagas range ( and previously a limited edition ) Partagas SD no.5 tastes like  D4 on steroids and delivers volumes of full rich, and complex flavours but doesn’t knock you out with strength. This one is highly recommended.  they come in boxes of 10’s and 25’s  as well as singles

Partagas Serie E no.2 another new addition to the Partagas range is fast becoming a best seller for us, we literally can’t keep up with demand on the boxes of 5 which are just the perfect gift , also available in singles and boxes of 25

Our 28th  November cigar auction looks like it will be the largest cigar auction in history with something approaching 400 Lots !  we are very proud to be including the collection of the late Lord Leonard Steinberg which has been stored at Dunhill of London for many years until recent transfer to C.Gars Ltd London humidor. We expect the catalogue to be online at the end of this month and the hard copy catalogue to be posted to bidders shortly after.

Our fabulous range of Christmas stocks are due in to our shops and warehouses in a couple of weeks time and include the splendid Cohiba Siglo VI ceramic jars, Cohiba glass travel tubes Havana Hampers ,Cohiba Behike gift boxes, Christmas crackers to name a few, we should have photos on our websites in the next week or so.

I’m off to New York to meet up with friends for some serious Fuente cigar herfing at a few of my favourite clubs….back at the end of the month 🙂

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

 

Rousillon rocks!

What a great week…. well until today when the weather has turned a bit dodgy sadly but I finished the week in style with smokes at the Ritz hotel followed by a splendid tasting menu cooked to perfection by Shane at the simply superb Roussillon restaurant which is located at 16 St.Barnabas street SW1W 8PE – email reservations@roussillion.co.uk or phone 0207 730-5550.Now those who know me and Karyn (quite a few of my blog readers!) know that we are exceptionally fussy vegetarians but I can tell you that chef made us a dinner and an evening to remember. So, if you want to treat yourself and are near Chelsea, Roussillon is THE place to go. Mention C.Gars Ltd of course for star treatment! 

Monday sees the long awaited release of many new and rather exciting cigars including:

Partagas SD no.5 4 3/8” length and 50 ring gauge 
….as well as the 2011 limited editions

Cohiba 1966 6 ½” length and 52 ring gauge
 
Ramon Allones – Allones Extra 5 5/8” length and 44 ring gauge ( old style Ramon band- v. cool)
Hoyo Short Piramides 5 ½” length and 52 ring gauge ( this size is perfect) 
…and thankfully another allocation of the splendid Partagas Serie E No. 2 
which I have been chomping through like a fiend this week.

 …and our last allocation of the fabulous La Flor de Cano UK regional short robusto arrived today  smoke’em or stash ‘em while you can as they are great smokes and when they are gone… they are gone as only 1200 cabs were made – never to be repeated

So why all the excitement about these new releases? Well its quite simple, first batch release always seem to have total blend integrity and in many cases subsequent batches just don’t live up to the hype. So if you want to taste something special buy them while you can as initial allocations are scary small.

Michelle and I have been busy with the 28th November auction catalogue http://www.cigarauctions.co.uk/ and so far catalogued 200 Lots although this now looks like it will be out biggest auction ever as we expect the Lots entered to go to almost 300! Could well be some bargains to be bagged J on the evening, We are planning a pre herf for the out of towners at Ten Manchester Street and if you would like to be put on the guest list pleased drop me a line sales@cgarsltd.co.uk 

We decided a few years ago to fill the auction gap when Christies stopped selling cigars shortly after their cigars auctioneer Brian Ebbesen left Christies. Brian is now a consultant to C.Gars Ltd and has conduct of our Summer and Winter Auctions. Viewing will be right up to Sunday 27th November at our London offices. Drop Brian an email if you would like to see the lots or pre order a catalogue auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk

I looked around our walk in humidor today and wondered how on earth we manage to fill so many orders 24/7 every day of the year but thanks to our great suppliers including UK Importers Hunters and Frankau…we do !!! 

A promo film producer popped in to sell some cigars today and asked me ‘what is your unique selling point’ to which I could do no better than answer ’we are more knowledgeable. More enthusiastic, work longer hours, have larger stocks, ship faster than any UK cigar merchant we can possibly think of!’

Remember my advice – smoke less – but smoke the best

Have a smokey weekend 

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Happy New Year!

Late blog as have been offline for the last 3 days due to New Year Festival, a happy time of too much eating, drinking and lots of great cigars 🙂 including a cheeky little box of 10 1980’s Davidoff 1 that I have been merrily chomping my way through. 

Friends keep asking me ‘ aren’t these 80’s Davidoff past their prime now’ but the answer really is a yes and no answer. It’s all down to storage in all honestly. If you store these delicate light strength cigars at 70/70, by now they are just too far gone. Reasonable smoke but nothing spectacular. But the serious collector know s how to store and mature i.e. colder and drier. We store our aged cigars closer to 65/65 and I have smoked cigars back to the early 1950’s that are still quite sublime.

Sipped my way through a bottle of our latest release from the Dancing Stag series of single malts this lowland is a perfect partner to a great Havana. I paired it up with Punch Serie D’Oro no.1 and Por Larranaga Regalias de Londres. The Punch really is one of my favourite regional editions. Sold out now at importer level but still available in our retail shops and by mail order whilst stocks last

Still receiving some great auction entries for the 28th November cigar auction at Boisdale Canary Wharf  Looks like a great selection of aged. mature, pre Castro and Davidoff’s as well as some fine limited editions and we are already working hard on the catalogue. The catalogue will be online at the end of this month and hard copies will also be available as usual.

Not long to go now before this year’s limited editions are released in fact it looks like it could be as soon as this Friday or the following Monday. Massive interest in the Cohiba 1966 which I’m looking forward to. I smoked these ate the Festival in Havana  back in February and am so interested to see how they are smoking now. Hunters and Frankau advise that first allocations are tiny. As ever newsletter subscribers will have priority.

Last release of Flor de Cano short robustos ( UK regional edition) expected early this week. Snap them up while you have the chance, these cigars are delicious and are more or less sold out already New website section for collectible St DuPont if you want to treat yourself to something extra special 

We have Berta rolling freshies in the London office from this Monday for the week and if you would like to see her doing her thing drop me an email sales@cgarsltd.co.uk and come along to the office for a sampling. Fresh Havanas are a very different smoking experience. Roll ‘em and smoke them straight off the rolling table for a fabulous herfing experience.

Have a great week

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell