Secret Blend!

I’ve had some fast selling cigars this year but the brand I created from Peru has taken the Team completely by surprise. Inka Secret Blend have literally stormed out of the humidor since they arrived and are more or less out of stock now even though I was sure I had imported enough to last for 6 months!

Inka Red FiguradoThe project started out some time back when I challenged my friend, who owns the cigar factory and tobacco plantation in Peru, to create a blend that would have character and merit, handmade cigars that are smooth but with some ‘zing’, easy draw and a competitive price. We created two lines, a red and a blue, long filler and medium filler in 3 popular sizes. Clearly its ticked all the boxes for our clients.

So, we expect our next shipment of Secret blend to arrive in a week or so and we are also adding additional sizes in maduro and natural wrapper. Apologies to clients who have been patiently waiting, particularly for the robustos but they will all be available again soon!

ICohiba Piramides Extra - New - 2012 - 10st’s been a Cohiba piramides Extra week for me 🙂 and although we always say that cigars are not addictive (unlike cigarettes) I could easily get addicted to these puppies! They are like candy for me, so sweet, rich, smooth and complex with excellent maturing potential. The 54 ring gauge makes it an exceptionally cool smoke.

No surprise that the new Partagas Serie C no.3 have been flying off the shelves at our cigar shops since their launch. I rate this as one of the best limited editions ever made, don’t smoke it on an empty stomach or in the morning though as this is a full bodied-full strength Havana and it will make your head spin!… Not for the novice.

The collection we were offering last week sold so fast I actually wonder if people are investing in cigars instead of putting money in the bank, probably sensible as the right cigars certainly increase in value over time. The trick is picking the ones that increase and not the ones that don’t!

We still have a couple of new releases to go this year: Ramon petit Belicosos UK regional edition for the UK (This is going to be a treat!) and Montecristo 520 Limited edition, a monster sized 6.1″ and 55 ring gauge cigar in boxes of 10… Now that’s a gobstopper! (May even shut me up for a few minutes!)

LAlfie Turmeaus Tobacconist - Mayfairooking forward to kicking back on the weekend but will be at Mayfair – Alfie Turmeaus cigar shop on Sunday at noon if anyone wants to speed herf with me and have a wee dram as we start offering our award winning Robert Graham single malt whisky this weekend in store.

2 days off for me again Monday and Tuesday but I’m armed with a baggie overflowing with UK regionals 🙂 Just released another 10 boxes of Punch Serie D’Oro no.1singles available too, one of my faves if not the best of the UK regionals so far, at least for my palate.

If you are not already following me on Twitter… why?! You should be! and my Facebook site is good fun too!

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing


Cigar Cloud 9 Cartoon - C.Gars Ltd

It Never Rains… It Pours!

…Metaphorically speaking that is 🙂 Of course I refer to the usual odd timing of new cigar releases when we have a famine for months on end followed by loads of new cigars coming out at the same time. Great for sales perhaps but not a lot of fun for our humidor managers trying to find space in our walk in humidors which are routinely at bursting point they are so full of cigars.

So, we have had the interesting H Upmann Robustos limited edition a few weeks ago, followed by the Cohiba Piramides Extra which is like a slightly milder version of a Behike and a most splendid cigar in appearance and construction and a few days ago we saw the release of the Partagas Serie C no.3 Limited edition, now this cheeky smoke is more my kind of cigar.

Partagas Serie C No 3 – Limited Edition 2012First thing I noticed was that the size was wrong as the ring gauge is supposed to be a 48 but all the boxes we have opened so far (quite a few) are 50 ring gauge cigars – Marvellous. 5 1/2″ length, perfect dimensions for me. Smooth silky dark and oily maduro wrapper and a price tag that I thought was pretty reasonable. I tried 3 cigars from 3 different boxes as soon as they arrived (to see if there was any blend variation from box to box) and they were all perfectly consistent in blend. Construction and pre light were excellent and this cigar truly has a rustic, full flavour (sweet, earthy and a bit of spice too) and full strength Partagas blend. I think this will mature for many many years and turn into a classic.

Yes, yes I know many of us are no longer big fans of limited edition maduro cigars as many have disappointed and never been potentially anywhere near as good as some of the early LE’s such as Monte robustos, Partagas Piramides and SD3’s , Cohiba Sublimes and Piramides but I reckon this one is at least as good as any of the aforementioned. Anyway, awesome smokes so my advice (If you have the space) – Buy a box to smoke and a box to stash away for later and you won’t be disappointed.

Funny old trade which even after many years of being a Havana specialist I still don’t really understand – In the UK we have an incredible range of Havanas, new sizes. Limited editions etc. and literally as much stock as we could dream of from our fabulous importers Hunters and Frankau. You name it and we have it Partagas Sere E, Behike all sizes, Cohiba 1966 LE and on and on. So, no complaints from me there but the contrast is at our La Casa del Habano in Hamburg supplied by an equally excellent importer affectionately known as FAPT (5th Avenue Products) and we struggle to get many of these new lines which seems so odd. Ahh well, count ourselves lucky in the UK I reckon.

We have plenty to get on with in Hamburg of course as we still have a huge range and will be busy for the next few months selling a gigantic collection of interesting Havana cigars on behalf of a client. If you would like details, drop me an email. (Sorry; not possible to deliver these particular cigars to the UK)

I wasn’t surprised to see that one of our best selling accessory ranges is rapidly becoming Cigar Oasis they look good, they are good value and yes, they actually work. Three cheers for Cigar Oasis. These have been so successful for our mail order division that we’ll roll them out to our retail shops in the next few weeks as well.

Squeezed in a Thursday evening herf at the Lanesborough with friends/clients from overseas and puffed through a few Cohiba Piramides Extra which worked very well with Macallan 18, that said, any good smokes work with Mac 18 for me!

My assistant Mishie headed off to Gib for a cigar dinner hosted by our friends at Stagnetto and left me in charge of the office (Good grief!) I managed to cope but missed some good herfing activity at the Mayfair cigar shop – Alfie Turmeaus cigar shop which by the look of things on our webcams had a busy days nonstop client sampling sessions. When it was time to close up I understand we sent all the clients over to Boisdale Belgravia to continue smokes/drinks/dinner and I dare say they likely had a great evening.

London is once again the Mecca for cigar smokers with great new smoking venues opening all the time. I can’t wait for the Wellesely to open in December. I reckon this will be the premier cigars smoking location in the UK if not Europe.

Have to start work on Cigar Auction catalogue in the next week or two as time is marching on. Catalogue will be online and in print around 4 weeks before the auction. The pre auction herf will be at lovely Ten Manchester street as usual, as they take very good care of us and the auction event at Boisdale Canary Wharf.

I hear the next UK regional edition Ramon Allones Petit Belicosos is likely to arrive in our humidors early October now and I just can’t wait for this one. I love the Ramon brand and remember of course the Ramon Belicosos from 2004 which was the first regional edition as such to be made despite not being double banded. We even had our own Orchant Seleccion version of this cigar in 2007. They were simply magnificent smokes and I am hoping that the petit Belicosos will be of the same calibre.

I’m off to smoke another Partagas C No. 3 🙂

Have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing



This week’s blog comes to you from sunny New York City.

On arrival last week, my partner Ron at Robert Graham Ltd had left a delightful message on my answer phone – Whisky Magazine had just held the 2012 Independent Bottlers Challenge, our Company won a Bronze Award for Independent Bottler of the Year in the Islay category for our Dancing Stag 1990 Bowmore as well as a silver award for our Ailein Mor 10 year old in the Highland category.

We are terribly proud of our own range of single malts and we are currently bringing out limited edition new releases almost every month.

You do have to buy them fast though as there are only around 330 bottles released from some of our casks!

Cohiba Piramides ExtraCohiba Piramides Extra came in last week just before I headed to the US so I managed to test a couple of sticks and they didn’t disappoint, this large format cigar had a cool draw with delicious full, sweet and almost chocolatey flavours, a light to medium cigar in terms of strength all packed up in a vein free colorado – colorado maduro wrapper. Boxes of 10 and singles are available but stocks are very limited.

We always advise friends to buy first production batch codes where possible as that is the only certain way of testing and enjoying the cigars to the original intended blend. Certainly subsequent date codes may be as good but conversely the tobacco used may be from a different batch and the precise integrity of the blend may not be maintained although I dare say the general characteristic should in theory always be the same.

Sadly no Havanas for me over the last week in New York but plenty of ‘domestics’ as my American chums would say. Nice routine of going over to De La Concha in the mornings for an après breakfast smoke which has been a Regius Corona  and very nice it was too. I’m starting to become quite a fan of this NC and have now expanded the range which you can see here as well as reduced the prices to help introduce the range to more of our clients. If you like a fairly full strength and full flavoured Nicaraguan, you will love this brand.

I have quite a good routine in NYC as I know most of the places to herf at and lots of friends to herf with but Saturday nights is always Sinatra night at the Carnegie Club, situated at 156 West 56th Street. Not an impersonator but a tribute show by Steve Maglio and the Stan Rubin Orchestra. Carnegie Club is of course a cigar lounge so my pals and I enjoyed Sinatra music, scotch and some great cigars until… Well, early Sunday morning <hic!> Now I have finally decided not to drink any more… or any less 🙂

I went through too many Fuente cigars to recall! It was fabulous long evenings herf but this cigar was just outstanding I could probably enjoy this cigar as part of my daily rotation, great blend, wrapper and construction.

Popped in to say ‘hi’ to Michael Herklots at Nat Sherman which is always a great place to herf and bumped into Edward Sahakian from Davidoff of London! He’s in Town for the Cigar Aficionado bash at Grand Havana Room this evening. We all have a lot to thank that mag for, it really did start the boom off.

Herfed till late at Club Macanudo on Sunday and tried to learn what on earth is happening in an American football match, gave up in the end as they all seem to attack each other for no apparent reason (makes rugby look tame) but did enjoy the tennis (Serena) and enjoyed the Murray game even more on Monday! (Did he smile finally?)

I may have found one of the friendliest places in New York to smoke cigars: Cigar Inn has an eclectic crowd of cigars smokers and its very buzzy, plenty of seating, lockers and huge range of just about anything the cigar smoker could want. Add great service and it’s a highly recommended venue to herf.

Ok, so it’s just about time for me to check out of the hotel and meet friends for an afternoon herf before heading back to Blighty… And I better not miss that flight as its Karyn and my birthday on Friday and I still haven’t decided what celebratory smokes to have!

If you’re celebrating New Year this Sunday evening, let me wish you a Shana Tova

As they say in NYC (Over and over and over and over and over again) have a great day!

Peaceful puffing


Happy Anniversary!

Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself and I have to say that the last 6 years of my life have been the best 6 years of my life – filled with love and laughter as well as lots of good smokes and drinks. So, it really has flown by 🙂 BIG happy anniversary to my wife, and co-Director of C.Gars Ltd, Karyn (KJ as many know her).

KJ has met hundreds of my clients worldwide over the last 7 years and most of you will know her as my (overseas) events organizer although KJ has also been very involved in a lot of our UK cigar parties and events. Now if only I could persuade her to work a few more days in the week…

I need to find something unusual to smoke/celebrate with on my anniversary and I have decided to do a day of UK regional’s; starting with a 2004 Ramon Belicosos, moving all the way through to a Bolivar Britanicas and then finishing the evening with an Old Dunhill, probably a late 80’s Cabinetta and I’ll match it up with some of that old champers from my ever diminishing vintage Champagne collection lol. Probably some Bilecart Salmon ’89. I don’t think it gets much better than that.

New cigar season is upon us again with the launch of the H. Upmann robustos limited edition and H. Upmann Half Corona in tins (How cool is that for presentation?!) last week and Cohiba Piramides Extra launched this week. It’s already a success as we have been receiving tons of reserved order on this cigar. I must admit the few that I have smoked since they were introduced to the trade at the Festival dinner have been very very good indeed. It seems that the cigar world is having a huge love affair with Cohiba as they are becoming uber popular.

I’m desperately excited to try out the new UK regional Ramon Allones Petit Belicosos due out in the next week or two. I really think UK regional’s rock.

Mayfair Turmeaus now has its liquor licence and stocks are arriving early this week so you should be able to try out our fabulous range of exclusive single malt whisky by Robert Graham Ltd later in the week at this location.

Success story of the month is Inka Secret Blend cigars. I created this blend with my friend who owns the only cigar factory an plantation in Peru with the idea of bringing a different type of blend of cigars entirely to the smoker. I wanted something smooth and sweet enough for the novice but with a bit of ‘zing’ to be interesting enough for the experienced NC smoker. Well it has proved a runaway success, way beyond my expectations and we have already sold out of our robustos with repeat order rates at scary levels. Great value and well crafted, available in singles and boxes of 10 and of course exclusive to my cigar shops throughout the country as well as our websites. We expect a massive new shipment in the next few weeks.

I met up with my partner Ron last week at our potentially new but still top secret location! If all goes to plan this will be the finest venue for cigar and whisky aficionado’s in the UK and we hope to be open well before Christmas although builders and surveyors as usual tell me it’s impossible.

Just getting my body clock adjusted back to London time from West Coast time difference but not for long as I’m off to the East Coast on Friday! Hope to have a little herfing time with friends in between business meetings.

Have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing