Adios January – Ola Monte Gran Reserva!

Delayed blog due to rather manic week starting with a trip to my shops in Liverpool and Chester on Monday which is always fun for me as I love searching through the walk in humidors to see if there are any goodies. Managed to find a few boxes of the now sold out Por Larranaga Regalias del Londres, Flor de Cano Short  Robusto, El Rey Del Mundo Choix De L’ Epoque, Punch Serie D’ Oro no.1, H Upmann Magnum 46 2001 vintage (no bands)Cohiba Gran Reserva (singles) and a few other great smokes that are hard to come by.

Congrats to our new Manageress Jayne at Chester and best of luck for the future to our retiring Manageress Fiona. Chester Turmeaus has gone through a bit of a face lift over the last few months finishing with lovely comfortable new leather chairs that have just arrived and are perfect for in store cigar sampling 🙂

Our professional photographer Tillman Prestcher from Hamburg arrived on Tuesday to photograph some vintage cigars for a client and was rapidly grabbed by the camera strap to do a load of Cuban antique cabinet photographs for me instead! Setting up studio in one of our offices, Tillmann did his usual excellent work for which I am always grateful.

Wednesday was Lanesborough herfing evening with friends from overseas. Packed as ever on the terrace and service as good as ever- this is the premier spot for a smoke/drink in Town. We herfed our way through a few UK regionals with some good single malt which was perfect on the cold evening.

Thursday was my annual meeting at Hunters and Frankau to go through all the new products expected to be launched through the year. Sampled my way through a Monte Open Eagle whilst chatting with Jemma and Sean and discussing how I could top last year’s record sales. Montecristo Gran Reserva will finally be released in the UK late this week but don’t get too excited yet as the allocations are quite tiny and it may be some time before we have enough stock coming through to satisfy the huge demand for these fine smokes. Limited edition of 5000.

We expect the UK Bolivar RE early march and that should prove to be hugely popular too. 3000 numbered wooden boxes of 10 Bolivar Britanicas measuring 5 1/3” length and 46 ring gauge specially double banded for the UK. Best to email and register interest soonest because if these sell as fast as we expect, they won’t be around for too long. The other UK regional will be a Punch Medaille D’Oro  but I don’t w3ant to hazard a guess on when this will become available!

Racing back to the office from my H&F meeting and just in time for an office herf that had started with a swing or at least a lot of cigar smoke and pink champagne as our pre herf to the Burns night dinner we have every year at Boisdale. This year we changed venue from Belgravia to Canary Wharf and it was good if not better than ever. Monte 2’s on the cigar terrace, dinner followed by cigars in the Cigar Library. My herfing chums and I love Boisdale!

Having my usual fun tweeting on Twitter and have sussed out that just about any time I tweet that I am heading to Alfie Turmeaus cigar shop in Mayfair, friends/clients show up for a smoke and a drink! (which is just fine by me 🙂 ) 

No fly zone for me this week (thank goodness) but just as well, I have a lot of serious Office and Boisdale herfing scheduled for this week!

Have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing


Last call for the good stuff!

We have had some remarkable Havana cigars released over the last few years. I am always surprised that some of them are actually available as long as they are. Some of the finest will be out of stock soon as our stocks are now steadily dwindling. So if you need to top up the humidor, now would be a good time!

Por Larranaga Regalias de Londres UK regional edition  

Cuaba Piramides Limited edition 2008  

H Upmann Magnum 48 Limited edition 2009  

Trinidad Short Robusto T Limited edition 2010  

The Larranaga is one of the finest regional editions I have ever smoked (I should know as I have smoked most of them!) The Cuaba is a first rate blended limited edition and the Upmann and Trini are perfect smokes when time is short.

I’m still looking forward to this year’s new releases in the UK including :

Montecristo Gran Reserva 2011 – In varnished cabinets of 15 due 6 1/8” length and 52 ring gauge

UK regional editions…

Bolivar Britanicas 5 3/8” length and 46 ring gauge in boxes of 10

Punch Medaille de Oro  6 1/8” length and 50 ring gauge in boxes of 10

I’ve almost given up trying to guess release dates as it never seems to quite work out! So hopefully sometime in 2012!

The latest Seleccion Orchant Havana cigars are due to be released first week of February

Punch Royal Seleccion No.11 – 2007 vintage, cabinet of 25.
An exceptional corona gorda vitola cigar that I can highly recommend. Full strength and full smooth sweet flavour typical of the brand. This one is not for the novice but for the experienced Havana cigar smoker.

Limited release of 32 cabinets Seleccion Orchant Havana cigars
are selected at Hunters and Frankau
and considered the best quality, condition and appearance Havana cigars. 

I did a bit of a single malt whisky pairing with Orchant Seleccion Punch cigars from our fabulous Dancing Stag range and I am pleased to announce the winners are *drum roll*…

Robert Graham Ltd, Dancing Stag series, Strathisla 1997

Robert Graham Ltd, Dancing Stag series,Glenallachie 1995

Both bottled at 46%. First try neat and then add a few drops of water but please no ice! I really do love Speyside’s with a good Havana cigar!

Our newest cigar shop in Shepherd Market Mayfair is already proving to be very popular with cigar smokers around Mayfair although this week we seem to have had as many visitors from the cigar trade over the last week as customers!

Fabulous new DVD by James Suckling out now –  Cigars : The Heart and Soul of Cuba. well done James, really superb and highly recommended.

Had a spot of lunch with Tom from Tom Tom Cigars at Boisdale Belgravia on Tuesday and enjoyed some delicious Romeo Short Churchills on the terrace with a glass of port. Is it me or is this a totally under rated cigar?

Looking forward to our Burns night herf at Boisdale Canary Wharf next week 🙂

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing


Herfing in Hamburg

Back to my usual routine this week with a herfette in our fabulous La Casa del Habano in Hamburg, I’m not sure cigar shops get any more beautiful than this! Fabulous cigar lounge that is packed with smokers morning till night, huge walk in humidor crammed with stacks of the finest Havana cigars and a tasting room with shelves full of the best rum and other premium spirits.

Herfing my way through a few of the German regional edition Sancho Panza Escuderos with a bottle or 3 of Champagne was a fine way to have a ‘business’ meeting with my partner Christoph Wolters 🙂 Christoph teased me with a stack of Montecristo Gran Reserva (sadly or gladly – all sold already!) but we managed to smoke a crafty one of these magnificent smokes before I left the shop. Now if only we could fine another 100-200 cabinets…

Back to London and it was time for a Mayfair herf at our newest shop in Shepherd Market where the humidor already needs restocking and we have been pleased to welcome existing and new clients. Jimmy from Hunters and Frankau popped in to check out the new shop and his report is in the Hunters website.

No sign of the Montecristo Gran in the UK as yet although we are still hopeful for first allocation this month and I should have a better idea on release dates later this month for UK regional edition for this year too.

At last the builders are out of the London office and improvements include a redec for the offices which was somewhat overdue and completely new lighting (a lot more slick) as well as our walls being filled with our fabulous collection of original photographs of Cuba/Che/Fidel etc. looks very cool if I do say so myself. I can’t believe how many times we have improved/refurbished/redesigned our offices/humidor/warehouse over the last 12 years! I reckon we are finally done! We also have the new Rabbit smoke air purifier installed which is quite incredible. I saw this on a recent visit to the incredible Nat Sherman cigar store  in New York where manager Michael Herklots very kindly showed me how the system worked and I was sold on it immediately (TYMH!) we are now installing it in our Mayfair sampling room too.

Planning a trip to Liverpool and Chester stores next weekend and will be herfing just a bit on the Monday morning so if anyone is around… Yes the shops are of course exempt from the ban 🙂

The C7GAR car is in for a service today but my trusty assistant Michelle drove me to the office and we smoked LFDC’s on the journey – perfect 30 minute smokes and good to calm my nerves now that London traffic is back to its awful normal levels.

Looking forward to our Burns night herf at Boisdale Canary Wharf on the 26th drop me an email if you would like to join me and my smoking chums.

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing


Whisky & Cigar Shops

The New year has started in style with record numbers of orders so I can only assume our clients had a blast over the holidays and humidors need some serious replenishing 🙂 which works for me!

Our retail cigar and whisky shops  took a good bashing over the hols but we are already restocked and looking as good as ever with our usual humungous range of Havanas and other premium cigars as well as our niche range of single malt whisky and rum. I had a serious herf with journalist James Leavey at our new Mayfair shop  yesterday to test out the sampling room air/smoke filtration- which worked perfectly.

We went through some fab Juan Lopez Orchant Seleccion matched up with our Benrinnes 1998  which made for a great combo. Lunch was opposite the cigar shop at the Kings Arms Great food and great service. Followed by Por Larranaga Magnificos  and some Deanston 1995.

James was in a pretty good documentary on smoking that was on BBC4 on Wednesday evening which was partly filmed at our West Hampstead shop  The documentary had some brilliant old footage. I just wish they would have distinguished more clearly between cigarette and cigar smoking.

You can’t buy our whisky at the Mayfair shop although we are likely to get it licenced in the next month or two as well as our Liverpool Turmeaus shops as we can’t find a specialist whisky shop in Liverpool so that will be a good addition to the range. We will be setting the date for the Summer Cigar Auction later this month and entries are already coming in.

We do of course buy and sell vintage and unusual Havanas all year round so if you can’t wait you can always drop me a line and I’ll be happy to advise if you are looking for anything unusual drop me a line as I may have it or be able to source it for you I’ll need to slow down on my smoking UK regionals as stocks are running very low on many of them.

All great cigars and a great range of brands and vitola. I have always thought that the UK market gets the finest Havanas cigars available and still do 🙂 Burns night herf this year will be at Boisdale  as usual although my smoking chums have not yet decided whether we will herf in Belgravia or Canary Wharf. If you would like to join us just email me ! I’m off to La Casa del Habano – Hamburg  next week for some German regional sampling with my partner Christoph Wolters as well as some rum sampling in our amazing new sampling room 🙂

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing