What goes on in Vegas…

So, after a zillion flights so far this year my smoking chum George and I decided on a road trip to Las Vegas for the annual IPCPR trade show with a quick stopover in Iowa where I have some relatives and so we can look for some places to visit in Iowa 🙂 Renting a no smoking car we immediately lit up some rather huge cigars and headed off for a 4 hour drive from LA to Vegas enjoying Davidoff, Fuente and Alec Bradley smokes whilst taking in some great scenery on the way and watching the temperature soar to a peak of 115F near Death Valley (how appropriate!)

George, Mango Joe, Jenny, Craig and Mitchell at the Torano PartyNo sooner than I checked in to the Venetian Hotel did I start bumping into friends and colleagues in the industry. Over the next few days we enjoyed fabulous parties hosted by Cigar Journal, Torano Cigars, Alec Bradley Cigars and Davidoff to name a few.

Met up with old friends from the ASC newsgroup as well as Cigar Family and walked the show over and over again from 10 in the morning, usually starting at Fujipub for a liquid (whisky) breakfast to get us going in style. (TY Bobby!) and tried to methodically go up and down the miles and miles of booth of exhibitors.

I am always amazed at how many new brands of cigars are at the show and I can’t for the life of me understand where they think they will find a niche in the market with so many well established and first rate brands. I mean seriously how many similar blends and similar packaged brands of Nicaraguan cigars can there realistically be? Maybe some folks think that the cigar trade is easy? – Connect with someone to brand up some off the shelf cigars and ‘create’ a new brand and then hey presto ‘success.’ I don’t think it’s that easy personally but no doubt we will see how many new exhibitors are still at the show next year.

It was great to meet Charlie, Bruce and Brian from Torano out on a fabulous evening. I’m a big fan of this brand and they kindly made our very successful house brand of Nicaraguan cigars. We also import some of the Torano range to the UK as we  highly rate their cigars. There are some great new ranges that we will be bringing in later this year.

Davidoff Nicaraguan cigars from Davidoff dinnerBumped in to my new friend George Sosa (we did a tasting with him at our Cambridge store a few months ago) and met Alan Ruben from Alec Bradley cigars at their huge booth (complete with bar and not too shabby single malt!) and was presented with a delicious new limited cigar to try  which C.Gars Ltd will exclusively be selling in the UK in the next month or two. More details to follow.  Their party was a huge event at the Palms hotel swimming pool and that part was preceded by the Davidoff Golden Bands Awards black tie dinner at the Venetian. An amazing evening as one would expect from this premium brand, packed to capacity with the best Davidoff retailers in the trade. Always great to see Edward and Eddie Sahakian from Davidoff London too.

Davidoff introduced their new Nicaraguan cigar range which we hope to introduce to the UK shortly. Not for the novice, this cigar has a very bold full strength and full flavour blend. Rich, complex and smooth.

I love going to the trade show as I’m able to do all my buying for the next season. Literally 1000’s of pipes, 1000’s of humidors and of course Palio cutters and lighters to name a few bits and pieces.

Also in discussions to import some of the other fabulous new world cigars such as Litto Gomez, Drew Estate and CyB through our friends at Tor Imports. May take a little while but C.Gars Ltd will of course have the largest and best value range of new world smokes in the UK and quite a few exclusives too.

A brand to watch out for is Regius which seems to be gaining sales traction by the day. Made in Nicaragua by hand with finest long filler tobaccos this range hits the spot for quality and value. 2 exclusive limited editions that I assisted in selecting the blends of and are co branded with our specialist cigar store Turmeaus Tobacconist est. 1817 were introduced at the show and immediately sold out! I selected the very popular short robusto and the funky Culebras. The blend is sweet, smooth and spicy. I will have allocation of these limited edition cigars for my UK clients later this year of course.

I’m well known as a Havana cigars specialist and very proud indeed to be a Havana cigar connoisseur and people constantly ask me ‘What are you doing messing around with these non Cuban brands?’ well the simple answer is that Havana cigars in my opinion are the finest cigars in the world, however they may not suit everyone’s palate so my job as cigar specialist is to give my clients ‘choice’ from cigars of merit that may suit the non Havana cigar smoker as well as the Havana cigar smoker for perhaps a change of pace. New World cigars are not inferior in any way they are simply different. A bit like comparing a Coke to a Sprite! To educate ones palate variety is indeed the spice of life for many.

Inca - Secret Blend Prototypes in 5 sizesI was very proud to be able to present the first prototype cigars and packaging of Inca – Secret Blend cigars for the US market. These 100% Peruvian long filler puros that I have created in partnership with Tabacalera del Oriente in Tarapoto Peru. They were very well received and feedback was very positive and encouraging. We are looking forward to first production samples in September and market roll out soon after.

If I can replicate the success of the UK version (Inka – Secret Blend) I will be more than satisfied. The second generation development of the UK version will roll out in August with additional sizes and superb professionally designed packaging – all exciting stuff for me.

Back from Las Vegas and continued herfing with a splendid evening at Grand Havana Room Beverly Hills (TY P.L.) where 20 chums gathered for dinner, drinks and smokes till we… Closed the joint down 🙂

Next it was off to Pebble Beach, a beautiful place that can best be described as Disney Land for golfers! (You guessed I’m not a golfer) pretty cold  in Pebble after the sunshine of West Hollywood but I read on the news that the UK is going through an incredible heatwave (my luck I missed it!)

Now back to my hotel for a few days catching up on testing a load of cigars from the show and making some final decisions on what to order for our fabulous Robert Graham and Turmeaus cigar shops. Tough job…

…And finally, BIG congrats to Will and Kate on the Royal baby!!! What a great year the UK is having and about time we did too 🙂

Peaceful puffing


C.Gars Las Vegas Cartoon

Herfin’ USA!

SoCal cigar herf C.Gars LtdWith apologies to the Beach Boys but I really am ‘Herfin USA’ at least till mid August that is 🙂 I always look forward to Summer in Los Angeles except by the time I arrived last week it was sunny and hot in London and cloudy and raining in Los Angeles! No matter, it was temporary and has not curtailed the serious planned herfing schedule.

Possibly the most famous and continuous annual organized herf ever is the SoCal herf, this year being the 14th year that Kelly (Poker) and friends have hosted the event. Its grown to a monster 4 days of pre pre herf, pre herf, mega herf and post herf and features the now legendary Dollar Auction that raises a shed load of money for a different charity every year.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending some of the SoCal herfs in the early years and it’s good to be able to attend this one too. Meeting up with old Pals (going back to the mid 90’s) and making a load of new herfing chums too.

SoCal cigar herf C.Gars LtdThe pre pre herf was at Casa Rodondo courtesy of Larry last Thursday, an afternoon and evening of solid herfing with attendees coming, staying, going throughout the day/evening. I smoked loads of well matured Fuente Opus X that I had been saving for this herf and they were quite delightful. We matched up the smokes with a load of different single malts including Robert Graham Ltd Ailein Mor, Mac 12, Glen Ord 12 and Dalmore 15 to name a few (TY VV and Lee!)

Saturday evening I’m planning to be at Kelly’s Patio and I’ll pop some photos on my next blog. My thanks to Larry, Barry, Kelly and the SoCal crew for always making me so welcome.

I’m off to Vegas on Sunday to attend the IPCPR annual trade show. Staying at the lovely Venetian hotel (which I don’t expect to step out of for a few days which could be just as well as its 110F predicted temperature!) and as ever accompanied by smoking chum George who assists me in selecting the finest products for our clients.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new with the companies that we distribute for such as Fuente, Palio, Cigar Oasis as well as the companies that supply us fabulous products such as Davidoff, Daniel Marshall. Elie Bleu, Xikar and others.

This is the suppliers showcase to the International audience of retailers in the cigar trade and most exhibitors have great new products and great offers. I love taking the opportunity to do a complete seasons buying all in one place (I think many of my suppliers like it too!) Maybe that’s what made me the largest specialist cigar merchant in the UK? Most of the competition sell the same old crap at the same old high prices, year in and year out – we, on the other hand, have the largest range that includes the latest products that we import and guarantee the best prices in the UK.

My promise has always been the same – I won’t be knowingly undersold on cigars or cigar accessories in the UK. I also promise the best service imaginable.

If you’re following the Inka – Secret Blend story you will know that I am also in the USA getting a little closer to the US launch of Inca – secret Blend 🙂 I’ll tweet some photos of the prototypes this week if all goes to plan.

What a pleasant surprise I had reading on Twitter that the ridiculous ‘Plain Packaging’ was not going to proceed any further. More details on this link and well done to everyone who took part in the consolation, at last some common sense has prevailed in the UK.

As well as the aforementioned fabulous result, the UK is definitely going through a feel good Summer, with continued low interest rates, the fab weather, The Royal baby due and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon… Lots of reasons to celebrate with some fine smokes!

Talking of fine smokes I decided to reduce prices on my Saint Luis Rey Regios boxes of 25 last week which as a consequence sold out in around 2 hours (I had a lot of stock set aside for my clients!) at a give-away £199 I shouldn’t be surprised  at the popularity of this very very good handmade Havana cigar. If you subscribe to my newsletter you will of course be notified of price reductions and other special offers on accessories and humidors.

I always liked the Saint Luis Rey brand (as does my Father and did my Grandfather) I remember Regios being given out  and smoking these at my first wedding. Would have been better off grabbing all the cigars and running out the door!

On that note… I’m off to have a smoke with my fabulous cigar friendly co Director Karyn (v.2 as we refer to Mrs O!)

Peaceful puffing


Inka Cigar Summer BBQ Cartoon



SoCal Summer Cigar Herf C.Gars Ltd SoCal Summer Cigar Herf C.Gars Ltd
SoCal Summer Cigar Herf C.Gars Ltd SoCal Summer Cigar Herf C.Gars Ltd

Online Cigar Auction!

Our Summer and Winter Cigar Auction events have outgrown themselves! We’ve been holding twice yearly Cigar Auctions since 2009 and literally knocked down millions of Pounds worth of great cigars. Davidoff, Dunhill, Pre embargo, Aged, Rare and Mature – you name it and we have sold it at our auctions in substantial quantity.

Our problem is that our auction catalogues are bursting at the seams when we get to 300 Lots, we have even auctioned up to 400 Lots and still have more sellers asking us to include their late entries which just becomes impossible.

So… The only solution to keep the sellers happy was to start our very own Online Cigar Auction website. That will also keep the regular bidders happy as well no doubt as we are frequently asked if we can do more regular auctions.

… And of course we will still be holding our regular Summer and Winter Auctions at the fabulous Boisdale Canary Wharf.

Laura, my Managing Director of C.Gars Ltd – Norfolk and her team have been hard at work creating an online cigar auction platform as we didn’t want to use any off the shelf auction software and wanted it to function very specifically for our cigar auctions. Now, if all goes to plan it should function fairly easily if not similar to eBay. In fact I wanted to call the website cBay but was dissuaded as we didn’t want to upset eBay!

Online Cigar Auctions - Brought to You by C.Gars Ltd

Delighted to confirm that our first Online Cigar Auction is now live and active on our new Auction website OnlioneCigarAuctions.com. We have listed a small quantity of Lots initially to make sure everything is working as it should 🙂 but from late next week we will be listing new Lots every day Monday – Friday with 7 days to get your bids in.

We have quite a backlog of Lots to enter (probably a month or so backlog!) but sellers are welcomed to email us should they wish to enter Lots for next available listings. I’ve kept bidders and sellers fees at the same low rate as our regular auctions which is roughly 40% cheaper than most other auction houses.

As ever happy to assist in shipping of Lots but advise bidders to read descriptions very carefully as certain Lots cannot be shipped to the UK/EU as we have tried to clearly describe. I hope you enjoy bidding and win some bargains 🙂 and best of luck to our sellers too of course.

If you need any advice or guidance shoot me an email sales@cgarsltd.co.uk, always happy to help.

…And in other news this week 🙂 Hunters & Frankau have announced that their ‘Summer Party’ will be held on the 15th October on HQS Wellington which looks like a jolly good venue to me. The star of the evening will be the long anticipated launch of the UK regional edition La Flor de Cano Gran Cano which measures in at 5 ½” length and 50 ring gauge which is a Gordito though I like to think of it as a Long Robusto 🙂 If the blend is anywhere near as popular as the outrageously superb LFDC short robustos, we are in for a treat. These cigars will be presented in SBN boxes of 10 cigars. Needless to say I’m counting down the days in excitement and anticipation.

Partagas Serie D No. 4 Box of 10 from C.Gars LtdHad an impromptu herf with Mr Orchant Snr.  last night and enjoyed some D4’s on the balcony together with some rather smoky and peaty Hoebeg exclusive to Robert Graham Ltd. My dad moaned on and on and on about how ‘Partagas Serie D4’s just don’t taste the same as they used to’ but had to admit that whilst they are not as earthy and powerful as he remembers a quarter of a century ago! They were a delicious smooth and sweet smoke that worked well with the whisky.

Dinner was at the scrummy White Fish restaurant with a bottle of Petit Castel followed by a Davidoff Chateau Haut Brion 1988 back at home snagged out of my Dads humidor. Splendid evening… Now back to the diet.

Last couple of days in the office and then I’m off to the USA for just over a month. No Cubans for a month but plenty of Davidoff, Fuente, Torano and Inka – Secret Blend… Not too shabby. Looking forward to the magnificent IPCPR tobacconist trade show in Las Vegas from the 14th July where I will be seeking out the best accessories and cigars to import into the UK exclusively for C.Gars Ltd, Turmeaus Tobacconist  shops and Robert Graham Ltd whisky & Cigar shops.

Next blog from sunny Los Angeles… Hasta luego!

Peaceful puffing


C.Gars Ltd Gone Herfing Cigar Cartoon