Coming soon to a cigar shop near you – that I probably own ☺

It’s been seriously sunny cigar smoking weather in Europe this week (not sure how long it will last!) so I hopped over to Paris for the day on Monday and dropped in on the lovely people at La Civette which is my favourite cigar shop in Paris. I always get a warm welcome and the shop and humidor are delightful. I smoked the French Regional Fonseca and Quai’D’Orsay with a glass of Bordeaux at Café Ruc opposite Hotel Du Louvre and enjoyed both of these fine cigars immensely.

If you are visiting Paris La Civette is a must for the cigar aficionado. Great range of singles and boxes as well as first class service.

You can find them at :

157 rue St Honoré
75001 Paris
Area: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre

Tuesday I zoomed over to our La Casa del Habano in Hamburg to catch up with Christoph Wolters and herf my way through a load of his stock. Our store not only has an enormous range of Havanas and smokers accessories but we also have a breath-taking selection of rum including most of the fabulous Cuban rum. Our sampling room is a must for the Cuban cigar and rum lover, in fact you may never want to leave!. You can find our gorgeous Hamburg cigar store at:

La Casa del Habano Hamburg
Orchant & Wolters GmbH
Burchardstrasse 15
Chilehaus C
20095 Hamburg

Back to the office for the rest of the week (plus a few visits to our Mayfair and West Hampstead shops in between of course) and I’m getting very excited for the launch of the UK regional Bolivar Britanicas  which are now expected in April ( sooner the better!) we have a little competition going with our sales Team to prove that we can make this the fastest selling UK regional ever 🙂 Just 3000 numbered boxes and the minute they are available we will be selling and shipping them 24/7.

Our mail order division and retail shops have sold huge quantities of UK regionals and it can only be for one reason: the blends are quite superb. Let’s face it the UK is not famous for having the cheapest cigars in the world but we always seem to have the best IMHO. Our esteemed importers Hunters and Frankau are now out of stock of all UK regionals with the exception of El Rey del Mundo Choix De L’Epoque  a most delicious day time smoke. So… when our warehouse stocks are gone on the other UK regionals, I’m afraid there are no more. See the range here >>>

Auction season is soon approaching and we have already photographed almost 150 entries. Catalogue will be online and in print as usual around 6 weeks before the event. More details on the auction website This will be our 6th Vintage Cigar Auction over the last 3 years and as usual Brian Ebbesen our Director of auctions will be taking the podium and knocking down some interesting smokes and a few bargains for some lucky winning bidders.

Pleased to see many of our clients heeded my advice about stocking up now before the budget increases kick in as prices will indeed be going up on the 1st April ( not bad for an April Fool’s joke…sadly!)

2 more of my Team are at Hunters & Frankau Cigar School this week. Ian from Turmeaus Liverpool and Danny from Alfie Turmeaus – Mayfair. That means just about all of our sales Team retail and mail order have attended Cigar School and by my reckoning that gives me more trained specialists than anyone else in the UK… by a mile 🙂

So I’m wrapping up today with a Punch Serie D’Oro no.1  paired up with some fabulous Robert Graham  single malt whisky – Auchentoshan 1991  perfect finish to the day

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Budget bashing- thank you Mr Osborne – not!

As expected the Chancellor has bashed the smoker and the drinker… easy targets I suppose.

Duty on all tobacco products to rise by 5% above inflation from 18:00 on the 21/03/12 – You may think that it doesn’t sound like much but when you factor in that many of the cigar importers absorbed industry price increases last year and are unlikely to do so again this year, I think that the overall increase is likely to be HUGE.

Perhaps the reality will look like this: 5% duty increase plus 3.4% inflation, plus industry price increase and of course plus 20% VAT on the lot. We won’t know how much that will total to until we receive the updates from the various importers but it looks like 10-15% overall to me which for an already expensive market is fairly hefty.

No change to existing plans on alcohol duty – meaning the duty will rise 2% above the rate of inflation – so not quite as awful for our single malt whisky customers.

The short term good news is that we will hold our mail order prices for as long as our previous stocks last but the sound advice is stock up soon before the price increases filter through.

Our retail shops will also hold their Havana cigar prices until the end of this month and having just come back from a trip to Turmeaus cigar shops in Liverpool and Chester I can confirm that stock levels are as always up to the ceiling but… sales are brisk so take advantage of pre-budget prices whilst you can.

Auction time is getting closer and Cigar Journal gave us a nice write up HERE. Drop me an email for advice if you are a prospective buyer or seller.

UK regionals editions are in very small supply now with the last of all available now except for reasonable stocks of Juan Lopez Seleccion Suprema and El Rey del Mundo Choix de L’Epoque. See the full range HERE.

Last few cabinets of Punch Orchant Seleccion no.11 now released and available although our Mayfair shop seems to be selling more of these than anything else this week! If you fancy an awesome ‘anytime robusto’ go for the Bolivar Royal Corona Orchant Seleccion – dark wrappers and quite delicious. See the full range HERE.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell
C.Gars Beat the Budget Cartoon

 

Wild Geese on the way!

Smokey greetings from my smokey London offices 🙂 where we are testing out Wild Geese Irish whisky all week soon to be trialled at a few of our stores in the next week or so. For more details on this fabulous whisky check out this website.

We tested three of them (Rare Irish Whiskey/Fourth Centennial Limited Edition/Single Malt) paired up with Punch Orchant Seleccion no.11Bolivar Royal Coronas Orchant Seleccion and finally Partagas Petit Coronas 1998 vintage and had a jolly <hic> good time. Seriously they paired up really well. Whilst I am a single malt Scotch drinker I have to say the Irish whisky was a great change of pace and worked very well with all three Havanas.

Continuing our sampling sessions for this week we enjoyed a fabulous evening of dinner, drinks and smokes with 16 avid cigars smokers (including a lady smoker!) at Boisdale Belgravia. Puffing our way through the same 3 cigars above which have all been added to my rotation as they are consistently excellent smokes. A few of us went on to the Lanesborough for a nightcap of Taittinger Rose and a one for the road smoke to finish off a great evening. If you would like to be put on our herf invitation list drop me a line or subscribe to my newsletter.

Busy week ahead with Mother’s day on Sunday and champagne and choc sales at Robert Graham shops going like crazy. Of course I shall be taking my Mother out for dinner on Sunday and then back to my Parents for a herf with my Father 🙂

Our Mayfair cigar shop is now open late nights till 8pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as the mild weather is bringing out all the smokers in Shepherd Market – and if the weather changes you can always smoke a cigar or two in the sampling room of Alfie Turmeaus cigar shop. Pop in and you are assured a warm welcome from Lucia and Danny and the complimentary bar is now fully stocked with our fabulous and exclusive range of Robert Graham single Malt whiskies

The budget is coming up next week and no doubt the chancellor will not miss the opportunity to clobber the cigar smoker. Stock up before prices increase! We’ll try and keep our prices down for as long as we can as we hold massive stocks but it’s best to order early and save money.

Still no confirmed release date for the superb UK regional Bolivar Britanicas but we are ever hopeful it may still be this month. The interest in this cigar is HUGE! I smoked them at the first tasting in Havana at the Festival a few weeks ago and can’t wait for them to come out. Till they do, I can highly recommend my Bolivar Royal Coronas Orchant Seleccion sweet and full flavoured but complex and medium strength. This robusto is a great ‘anytime’ smoke.

Auction in July is slowly creeping up and we are getting some interesting entries dropped into our offices every week. Should be the usual exciting C.Gars Ltd event 🙂 http://www.cigarauctions.co.uk/

I’ll be visiting our cigar stores in Chester and Liverpool on Monday and Tuesday and looking forward to sampling sessions with some of the regular customers-  (yes we can legally sample Havanas in our stores!)

Have a great weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

UK regionals rock!

Back from the sunshine of Havana to the rainy weather of London and already looking forward to my next trip to the Island which will be trip 55 for me! Not sure when it will be but perhaps later this year.

I wish I could say when the new UK regional Bolivar Britanicas will be released but at this stage my best guess is sometime late this month. I smoked 2 of these fabulous cigars in Havana and this is sure to be a hit with many of my clients who have a fairly sophisticated palate as the blend is bold and complex. Measuring in at 5 3/8” length and 48 ring gauge with a rich colorado maduro wrapper. Presented in wooden boxes of 10 and ready to smoke straight out of the box.

So for the Bolivar lovers out there who can’t wait for the new Britanicas the good news is that we are releasing today 100 boxes of Bolivar Royal Coronas Orchant Seleccion from July 2009. Selected for their perfect condition, wrapper and blend and presented with the distinct Orchant Seleccion banding and box labels. Medium strength and medium flavour, earthy and sweet with a cool clear draw. Singles here and boxes of 10 here.

We have had such great regional editions in the UK with superb blend integrity and great sizes and shapes too. See them all on this link.

To celebrate our wonderful EMS UK exclusives the first 25 blog readers that email or call in with an order can have one of these fabulous sampler packs containing 6 different UK regionals complete with an Orchant Seleccion Palio cigar cutter and free shipping.

Our fabulous UK regionals in a sampler including a Palio cutter at an unbeatable price 🙂

1 each…

-Punch Serie D’Oro no.1
-La Flor de Cano short robusto
-Juan Lopez Seleccion Suprema
-Por Larranaga Regalias de Londres
-La Gloria Cubana Gloriosos
-El Rey del Mundo Choix de L’Epoque

Palio cigar cutter

…all for £99 including FREE shipping!!

Call me on 07000 088 088 or email me at sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

And for our whisky lovers the latest NEWS… 🙂 :

To The Ends of Earth Benrinnes 23 year old – 2nd edition £85 reduced to £75 – just mention ‘Mitchells blog ‘ in comments section of order form or when calling your order in.

Dancing Stag Tobermory £44.95 reduced to £39.95 – just mention ‘Mitchells blog ‘ in comments section of order form or when calling your order in.

We have two new releases in our range; The first is an  outstanding Dancing Stag 22 year Old Bowmore 46abv a sophisticated, beautiful fruit and elegant finish, available in Store now and soon online for just £85… first  25 orders will get a free miniature of our gold medal award winner 17 year Old Speyside.

The Other is our own Ailein Mor a delightful well balanced honeyed fruity 10 year old Highland Malt  a t an introductory price of just £32 for one month only.

Coming soon… Customers can purchase a customised small cask of Vatted Malt to their own preferred taste… Ideal gift for the person that has everything 🙂

Back to Havana cigars and Montecristo Gran Reserva are now available from C.Gars Ltd as well as Turmeaus shops in Mayfair and  Chester and Robert Graham shops in West Hampstead and Rose street Edinburgh

Have a smokey weekend.

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

XIV Habanos Festival

This week’s blog comes to you from sunny Havana 🙂 where I am proud to be participating in the 14th annual Festival Habano.

After a rather bumpy Virgin flight (turbulence seems to be the same in Upper Class – even if laying flat!) I actually managed to zoom through immigration and grab my cases before I had time to herf a Partagas Shorts which is a record for Havana airport arrivals! Headed straight to Palacio for a smoke and to grab some Montecristo Gran Reserva to enjoy over the next few days… may as well enjoy Havana in style.

After a few worries as to whether I would even have a hotel room at the Nacional, it was a pleasant surprise to find I had been booked into a very comfortable suite with fabulous views of the Malecon. Spent the evening on the Terrace with numerous friends from all over the globe and ended the evening having a smoke with the Hunters and Frankau group. Simon Chase kindly gifted me a delicious San Cristobal (new size – looked like a Maravillas) and another friend gave me the new Cohiba Piramides extra which is not only a great size but also an excellent blend. I am looking forward to these cigars becoming available as I am certain they will be exceptionally popular.

Thursday has been a whirlwind days of herfing round the cigar stores starting with coffee and a BHK52 at Miramar LCDH and moving on to the Melia Habana where I hooked up my laptop and emailed the office 17 photos in 3 hours (so much for fast wifi!) but managed 2 BHK56’s whilst going through the painful email process. The cigar stores are well stocked and  there are plenty of the H Upmann Royal Robusto wooden boxes of 10 which I believe are only for sale in Cuba.

I visited the trade fair at the Convention Centre which was the busiest I can ever remember it (as well as the hottest) and collected some beautiful ceramic jars that were made for me. Some will be used to display Havanas in our retail cigar stores and a few may be sold in the future. Found a fabulous original photo of Che that will go nicely in our collection and a few large ‘tronquitos’  then back to the Nacional terrace for more smokes and drinks with Christoph from LCDH Hamburg and friends.

Hunters and Frankau invited the top UK cigar specialists including Eddie Sahakian of Davidoff and Parresh Patel of Regal to the first tasting of the UK regional edition Bolivar Britanicas – a celestiales finos shaped cigar – 5 3/8” length and 48 ring gauge cigar, presented in wooden boxes of 10 and hopefully due to arrive in our humidors this month.

After smoking two of these cigars I can report that this is another winner for the UK regional edition series. The blend is full flavoured, smooth, complex and medium to full strength. The construction was perfect with an even burn and an attractive Colorado maduro wrapper. Only 3000 boxes of 10 will ever be made and they are likely to sell out very fast. Despite having no confirmed price as yet we already have almost 500 orders!

This Festival has a buzz like no other I can remember. Havana seems jam packed this year and there is an amazing atmosphere. The weather is hot and sunny during the day and balmy in the evenings – just perfect.

There are some great cigars being introduced at the gala dinner including this year’s Romeo Gran Reserva which is a Churchill in possibly the most beautiful presentation box yet.

The highlight of the  Gala dinner of course was the Humidor Auction with all proceeds going to the Cuban National Health Service and conducted by Simon Chase. Each auction Lot can only be described as a unique creation. The cigars in the humidors are rolled by the most skilled master rollers and the humidors are quite breath taking.

Lot 1 H Upmann Humidor, ceramic jar and ashtray with 350 cigars, including H Upmann no.3 which has not been made since the 1970’s, as well as grandes and short piramides which are not commercial production vitola.

Lot 2 Hoyo de Monterrey, 350 cigars including specially made Obseqios, Extravaganza,Colosales and Belicosos no.1

Lot 3 Romeo y Julieta, 350 cigars including Fabulosos no.6, Seleccion de Luxe – a vitola not made since the 1960’s, Petit Piramides and Aguilas.

Lot 4 Partagas, 350 cigars including Serie D no. 1 and 2, Serie C no.4, Salmones no.2 and Sobrasalientes

Lot 5 Montecristo, 375 cigars including Gran Reserva, Double Coronas and Maravillas no.1

Lot 6 Cohiba, an incredible humidor of El Laguito complete with 520 cigars including the incredible 2009 Gran Reserva

I’ll scan the brochure and put up on the website soon as I get back to London so you can see the full descriptions.

I have been coming to Havana for 16 years, 54 visits so far! and have attended the last 12 Festivals but I think I have enjoyed this one the most due to the incredible atmosphere and the good times herfing with so many friends from all over the world.

The Gala dinner was a slick affair with nonstop entertainment by singers and dancers over a long evening that finished around 1.30 am. We enjoyed Romeo Exhibition no.4 on arrival followed by the new petit Churchill, Wide Churchill and finally Gran Reserva… with plenty of wine, port and rum served in a red Romeo imaged room at Pabexco that was very impressive.

Ana Lopez (marketing Director Habanos SA) welcomed us and the highlight of our evening was Jemma Freeman winning the Habanos award for business which was richly deserved. The UK market is a mature and sophisticated market and clearly a growing market. This is thanks to the stringent quality control by Hunters and Frankau that we believe make our English Market Selection (EMS) Havanas the finest in the world.
Results now in: Habanos Festival Gala dinner Auction results In Euros

Lot   

1. 60,000
2. 40,000
3. 130,000
4. 60,000
5. 80,000
6. 360,000

Total 730,000 Euros

Peaceful puffing  and best wishes from Havana

Mitchell