What’s going on Mitchell Orchant?!

Turmeaus Tobacconist LiverpoolLife is never dull as the owner of the largest specialist cigar merchant in the UK! With shops across the UK and the most successful (and first ever) cigar website, www.cgarsltd.co.uk, in the UK my business is constantly changing and developing.

We are currently busy developing a new Havana cigar shop and sampling lounge in Chester and another one in Norfolk as well as retrofitting our two shops in Liverpool to expand the great range of cigars and whisky we offer our clients.

For those who don’t know, C.Gars Ltd was established on the internet back in 1997 and acquired Turmeaus Tobacconist established 1817 and Robert Graham Ltd established 1874. From humble beginnings (just me and co – director Laura!) we now operate in 10 locations, 24 hours a day – everyday of the year and our Team numbers almost 50 highly trained personnel

We have the largest range and stocks in the UK and the fastest delivery. Our entire range is available in singles as well as full boxes so it’s fun for clients to mix and match and try out new cigars. We also guarantee the best prices in the UK. I like to think of C.Gars Ltd as the Amazon.com of the cigar industry!

Auction Lot HUM1278 - Partagas XX Anniversary Humidor - 2013Our cigar auctions go from strength to strength and in addition to the fabulous if not outrageous event Ranald and I put together with the Spectator in December we have also been running substantial Spring and Summer online auctions which have been incredibly popular and successful.

C.Gars is in fact the only auction house in the world to run regular vintage cigar auctions and both our buyers and sellers are from all over the world. We always have a wide variety of vintage Cuban Davidoff and Dunhill, Pre embargo, limited edition, aged and mature cigars on offer and no doubt some bargains can be had on this excellent and transparent sales forum. Visit it here: www.onlinecigarauctions.co.uk

My role in the business has changed over the years and now I’m responsible for retail strategy, client liaison and new product development. That basically means I have to meet a lot of people and test out a lot of cigars… could be worse!

It’s been a busy old week with some serious herfing with chums including my partner Ron from Robert Graham Ltd, Gennaro from Tabacalera del Oriente (who make my Inka – Secret Blend cigars) and my smoking buddy Ashwan (aka the sheriff of Nottingham!) kicking off with lunch outside at Francos and herfing our way through some Montecristo Gran Reserva then over the road to say hi to Edward and Eddie at the fabulous Davidoff of London cigar store.

Next stop was to say hi to Robert Emery at the incredible Dunhill shop at 1A St James’s street and then off for a dinner herf at The Sahakian cigar lounge in the Bulgari hotel (Mortlach and Cohiba Behike 56’s). As if that wasn’t enough, we then headed back to my smoking deck for a post herf 🙂 and whammed our way through some Cohiba 1966 and a nightcap or two of Dancing Stag Strathmill till the wee small hours.

We picked a great day for all of that serious herfing as the weather was quite glorious in London. Fortunately Tuesdays weather wasn’t too shabby either as I set off on a 2 ½ hour drive to our Norfolk offices with the roof off. It was great to meet up with the C.Gars – Norfolk Team (Laura, James, Michael and Liam) and plan out my smoking shop that is already under construction adjoining our offices and warehouse at the lovely Hall Farm location.

Pipe Tobacco at our Chester ShopThe new Norfolk retail showroom will feature the largest range of pipe tobaccos in the UK at the best prices in the UK! It will also have a walk in humidor with a fabulous range of premium cigars and a sampling lounge. More details to follow 🙂

The cigars of merit that I am currently enjoying and recommending include:

Partagas Gran Reserva: A double corona measuring in at 7 5/8” length and 49 ring gauge. Made with tobacco from the highly rated 2007 harvest. This limited edition of 5000 cabinets of 15 beautifully crafted cigars are not only a splendid cigar to smoke but also likely to become a most desirable cigar investment that will appreciate in value much like previous limited edition ‘Gran Reserva’ £975

Romeo y Julieta Reserva: A churchill measuring 7” length and 47 ring gauge and presented in 5000 limited edition cabinets of 20 cigars. An iconic cigar using the best tobacco harvested in 2008. £703

La Flor de Cano Gran Cano: One of the finest Havana cigars, delicately balanced, light to medium strength and sweet flavour characteristic, this cigar is exclusive to the UK market with only 5000 boxes of 10 cigars made. £159

Bolivar Belicosos Finos: One of my all-time favourites but now better than ever as we have just released our 2007 vintage boxes. At 5 1/2” length and 52 ring gauge this cigar is sweetness and spice throughout with a mouth-watering dark and oily wrapper. Presented in dress boxes of 25 cigars. £359

Inka – Secret Blend Bombaso: Well I had to include this one in as I created the brand! This brand is in fact our best-selling ‘New World’ cigar range.  100% made by hand from the finest long filler Peruvian tobacco, this cigar is ‘the bomb’, an explosion of sweet flavours on the palate and measuring in at 4” length and 60 ring gauge. £68.99 for a box of 10 and exclusive to C.Gars Ltd.

I like to advise clients to ‘smoke less but smoke the best’. Your cigar experience should always be the finest. Punctuating a celebration or quiet moments of relaxation. On your own or with friends, nothing will better the joy of a fine cigar.

Have a smokey holiday weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Cigar Auction Cartoon

Summer Cigar Auction

Seems like we just got wrapped up with the Spring Auction and its already Summer Auction time again!

Over 360 Lots will be online from Tuesday May 19th and the auction will end on June 1st

Here’s a link to the auction website

The next Vintage Cigar Auction starts 19th May... ends 1st June

We have added an excellent new ‘zoom’ feature so you can see the cigars up close and personal 🙂 but we are of course always happy to provide specific condition reports by email and you need only drop us a line at sales@cgarsltd.co.uk
We have loads of new sellers for this auction and a mouth-watering, high quality selection of cigars under the following categories:

– Jars of cigars
Aged Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction– Mature cigars
– Vintage cigars
– Gran Reserva and Reserva Edition cigars
– Limited Edition cigars
– Limited Edition Books
– Limited Edition Humidors
– Dunhill cigars
– Davidoff Cigars
– Pre Embargo cigars

Our Summer auction is being held with the kind co-operation and assistance of our colleagues Edward and Eddie Sahakian from Davidoff of London and many of the finest Lots in the sale can be viewed at their fabulous cigar store at 35 St James’s.

Aged, Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction LotsClients frequently ask me when I think the supply of vintage cigars will start to dwindle?  but I honestly see no sign of the market or supply slowing down.

We previously held 2 auctions a year (Summer and Winter) and knocked down around 600 Lots in total but we will already have knocked down over 600 Lots between the Spring and Summer auctions so we reckon by the time we have completed our winter auction we should be up to almost 1000 Lots, which is quite a hefty increase.

The online auction works a bit like eBay… think of it as CBay! You can bid up to the last second if you wish and if you have a fast connection you may bag a bargain.

Aged, Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction LotsOur Winter auction date is now set for the 1st December and will follow the same format as last year’s auction in so far as it will be held at the fabulous Boisdale Canary Wharf at 3.30 pm and is part of the spectacular Spectator Magazine Cigar Smoker of the Year Awards event.

The auction will be conducted by resident C.Gars auctioneer Jonathan Humbert and we look forward to welcoming him back to the rostrum.

If you came to the last event you won’t want to miss this one! Tickets £250 each and will include luxury Champagne reception, three course dinner with fantastic wines, Cognac and malt whisky on the terrace after dinner plus seven hand rolled cigars per guest AND a goody bag.

Last year tickets completely sold out so we strongly advise reservations are made early. Ticket to dinner entitles guests to attend the Vintage Cigar Auction. Contact for ticket sales: susanna@boisdale.co.uk

Aged, Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction LotsThose wishing only to attend the auction please see http://www.cigarauctions.co.uk or contact sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

Auctions are great for buyers and sellers. The market is transparent and market prices are established clearly. We leave all of the sold Lot results on both of our auction websites permanently as a resource and its terribly interesting to see ‘what’s hot and what’s not’

Without doubt interest in pre embargo Havanas is at an all-time high and demand for Davidoff and Dunhill as well as Gran Reserva and Coleccion Habanos books seem to have no limit.

Cuban Cigar Stocks in our London Walk in HumidorOf course we buy and sell limited edition and vintage Havanas all year round (not just by auction!) in fact auctions are a small part of our overall vintage cigar sales yearly. I like to think of myself as a bit of an old fashioned cigar merchant. We take huge stock positions in many cigars every year and we lay them down for a further 3/5/7/10 years until we feel they are at their peak and ready to release into the market again. Our walk in humidors are bursting at the seams with the finest Havana cigars, literally from floor to ceiling. I am indeed the ‘kid in the candy store’!

I’m often asked, what should clients invest in? It’s a question I can’t honestly answer as I’m not an investment advisor, just a cigar merchant. Cigar brands and vitolas come into fashion and sometimes go out of fashion and then come back again. What I can comment on is past performance and if that is anything to go on, the brands of Cohiba, Partagas and Montecristo will always remain the most popular for collectors and investors.

Cuban Cigar Stock in our London Walk in HumidorCigars such as the Cohiba 1966 Limited edition are incredibly popular for many as a lot of people see their future values going up to £100 per cigar, similar to the 2004 Cohiba Sublimes Limited edition. I don’t know if that will happen but I do know that the presentation is beautiful and the cigars have a blend of exceptional merit. We have a few hundred boxes stashed away in our Directors Reserve humidor.

This week’s travels took me to Nice in the beautiful South of France. Squeezy Jet fly there from Gatwick (mad early 6 am flight!) and I think it took me longer to get from home to the airport than the actual flight took! C’est la vie. I was asked to do a valuation on a small but delightful collection of Davidoff and other vintage cigars by a new client. The weather was magnificent, hot and sunny and I had an hour to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine and an H. Upmann Connoisseur A before boarding the flight back to London and getting back to the office mid-afternoon. I must be crazy but I do love my job 🙂

Popped over to my Father’s last night for a mini herf and over a bottle of Boisdale Champagne enjoyed some 2005 Montecristo No. 2’s. My Dad moaned on and on and on… and on about how they are not as good as the Monte 2’s he smoked years ago but he had to admit that they were still a  bloody good smoke! (He went through 3 cigars so they can’t have been too bad!)

My diary was clear on Friday (very rare) so I’m up in Scotland visiting Robert Graham shops in Rose street and Canongate – Edinburgh and enjoying a few cigars and single malt’s with my partner Ron.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Cigar Auction Cartoon - Aged Robusto

Cigar tastings – good idea?

So what do you reckon – are cigar tastings a good idea? Personally, I love them – especially when our evenings are a combo of fine single malt whisky and premium cigars.

Well I’m biased as I own a very successful retail whisky business and award winning Independent whisky bottling  line (Treasurer cask strength range, Dancing Stag range and Core range of Hoebeg. Ailein Mor and Caerban)

I think our clients and friends love these evenings too as they are a very civilised and sociable way of sampling, herfing and meeting new friends who share the same passion for whisky and cigars.

We’ve had a program of tastings across our numerous locations over the last year but we’re planning to step it up and make them more frequent over the coming months.

cambridge_tasting_may14I attended a splendid evening at our Cambridge store this week with the kind support of Hunters and Frankau – the UK’s Havana cigar importer and distributor (thank you Tim!)

Cambridge events usually sell out within a day of being announced and this was no exception. 30 girls and boys enjoyed a cosy evening at Robert Graham on Sussex Street and the earlier arrivals had a bonus Inka Secret Blend cigar before getting tucked into an H. Upmann Half Corona and a Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Epicure Limited edition.

I was a bit concerned about the Hoyo as I didn’t like this cigar when it was first released. But, I may have just been having a bad day as this huge ring gauge, dark and oily beast was a thoroughly enjoyable smoke. Rich, smooth, bold, balanced and sweet. Perfect construction and a perfectly even burn. Needless to say, I am grabbing a box to take home for the weekend 🙂

My Cambridge Team of Cailin, James and Mimi are truly a delight to work with… Thanks you chaps (and chapette!)

cambridge_tasting_may14-2We sampled some delightful Treasurer and Dancing Stag single Malt whisky which paired up to perfection with the cigars. Check out the ranges on these links:
Treasurer
Dancing Stag

Thanks to everyone that attended and thanks for all your thanks emails! ( that’s a lot of thanks going on!) Hope to see you at our next tasting which will be a Davidoff evening at Cambridge.

A few of the chaps were debating what region works with a cigar and clearly we fall in two separate camps – those that enjoy Islay/peaty Scotch and the rest, like me, prefer Speysides. Call me a heathen if you will but I think all that peat (read that as TCP!) drowns out delicate flavour and taste of a good cigar. I’ve been debating this with our Director of whisky Ron Morrison forever and he will hear nothing of it! He loves Islay whisky. Oh well, each to their own.

So I’m trying to work out how to increase the tasting evenings and I reckon we need more sampling lounges in our cigar shops. Hmmm… How do we fit them in I hear you thinking! Well, we need to buy a few more shops alongside our existing shops! Easier said than done unless I ‘make them an offer they can’t refuse’ as we say in the Mafia (that’s the cigar Mafia of course!) watch this space… New Turmeaus cigar sampling lounges coming soon 🙂

Founder/Co-Director of C.Gars Ltd – Laura Graham advises me that at long last she has signed the lease for additional premises in Norfolk! Hurrah 🙂 We have been busting out of our huge warehouse for the last year and Laura is planning to open a lovely retail showroom, pipe and cigar specialist with sampling area in the next few months. I think it’s about time Norfolk had somewhere to sample. Well done Laura.

They may be small but they are cool and yes you can sample cigars at our shops in Mayfair, West Hampstead, Liverpool and Chester.herfing_bologna

I zoomed over to Bologna in sunny Italy for a little client and friend herfing activity this week. Tough day herfing some 1970’s Dunhill cigars and 1980’s Davidoff but it had to be done 🙂 thanks to Davide and Luca for a lovely days herfing.

My Inka Secret Blend cigar import arrived and we have a pretty good range in store and online again staggering sales again exceeding expectations. Should I really be surprised? Great blend and great value and only available from C.Gars Ltd.

La Invicta cigars are re-launched and may I say a large step up from the previous version both in blend and presentation. Good value and a very tasty Honduran cigar indeed.

Herfing in BolognaCigar Auction fast approaching! Lots will be up and available to bid on from 19th May and auction ends 1st June. Here’s the website. Over 350 Lots (that’s a huge auction!) including some incredible pre embargo Havanas that even I have never seen before and no doubt will never see again. Delicious Davidoff and Dunhill. Aged, rare and mature cigars. If I do say so myself this is a very impressive catalogue.

Wrapping up for the week now and chilling out this weekend with Hoyo Grand Epicure and BBF’s from 2007 and perhaps a wee dram of Treasurer Deanston.

Next week I’m off to the South of France for a few hours and perhaps will shoot up to Scotland too!

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

Inka – Secret Blend YES YES YES!!!

IMG_20140430_112401Still can’t seem to anticipate the demand and stock requirements for our best-selling range of Inka – Secret Blend. The sales are just staggering . Thank you dear customers 🙂

It’s gratifying to know I hit the spot on blend and price for this fabulous range of cigars that I created exclusively for C.Gars customers. We have just received another HUGE import that I hope will last a month or two! Sweet blend and sweet pricing, who could ask for more? If you would like to see a different size or presentation, drop me a line and I’ll work on it . How’s that for personal service!?

Did you see the TV documentary on Amazon.com? I was quite mesmerized and found it terribly interesting especially as my first cigar website (I think the first in the UK) was online back in 1994 and though we ain’t the size of Amazon, our business has become a bit of a giant in the cigar world and is still growing at a rather scary pace.

I have co-director and creator of C.Gars, Laura to thank for this monster creation we know and love as C.Gars because without her genius we would never have gone online in the first place bringing UK cigar clients the best service as well as guaranteed lowest prices. I remember a long, long time ago we used to use ‘never knowingly undersold’ as our marketing line and then we had to remove it when John Lewis legal department wrote a friendly warning letter to us! Have a laugh and read more on this link here.

The business has changed so much over the last 20 years it’s hardly recognizable. We are now working on different pricing structures to bring even better value to our customers and we are looking on further expansion as well as larger sampling lounges at our retail cigar stores in the North of England, where we have our Turmeaus Tobacconist shops (second oldest UK cigar specialist established way back in 1817!)

alfie_turmeaus_shop_front_sliderI remember when we started out only selling Havana cigars and then over the years introducing different ranges of New-World cigars. It was almost unheard of for a Havana cigar clients to try anything else. These days a massive amount of our clients order Havanas and New-World  cigars at the same time and the increase in interest for cigars made in Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and other regions seems to be growing month on month. I think it’s great to ‘mix it up’ and experiment with different cigars.

This week didn’t get off to the flying start expected as I missed my Tuesday flight to Italy due to the bloody train strike in London. Oh well , c’est la vie, I spent the day working from home and puffing my way through too many Partagas SD4’s to remember. This is such an awesome ‘anytime’ smoke for me, great size and great blend. Current stocks have fabulous dark and oily wrappers (thank you to those nice chaps at Hunters and Frankau for selecting these dark and oily beauties for C.Gars) they look good enough to eat. 🙂

Wednesday and I hopped on to the Eurostar to Paris for lunch at Café Ruc by Hotel du Louvre. Beautiful sunny and hot day, bottle of wine and herfed through French regional edition El Rey del Mundo and Vegas Robaina. Sorry, can’t remember their names as I gave up trying to memorize all the regional editions a few years ago! The ERDM was a petit piramides and I had to cut it down by almost half to get a draw on the cigar. The Robaina had a perfect construction and they were in fact both very nice smokes.

I buy my lunch smokes from La Civette, beautiful shop and humidor and very friendly service.

Back to the office on Thursday for a filming session for a TV program which was a lot of fun. I’ll blog details if it ever gets on to the TV!

BBC_atCgarsltd_1Friday is monthly meeting time with my Partner Guy from the Decent Cigar Emporium in Dublin so we’re having a pre-bank hol weekend herf and sampling session in the office with a few friends. Civilized way to end the week I reckon.

We ran a 48-hour special on Saint Luis Rey Serie A in cabinet selection. New price was just £199 for a half cab of 25 cigars or £399 for a cab of 50. Needless to say that we sold out in around an hour! These are smashing smokes, corona gorda sized 5 5/8” and 46 ring gauge. Well matured from 2001 or thereabouts. I have good stocks of SLR as I have always enjoyed this brand (as does my Father and did my Grandfather.)

I’ve been friends with the owner of the brand for a long time and always like chatting to him about cigars as he’s terribly knowledgeable. SLR is a bit of an anomaly as it’s the only brand that’s sort of independent in the UK market. Quality is good as is blend and construction generally. If you are subscribed to the C.Gars newsletter you can take advantage of the next SLR release which will be at killer pricing again. 🙂

Just wrapping up the next auction catalogue, looks like it’s a huge sale with around 350 Lots being offered from the 19th May on the auction website. The catalogue will be at the printers early next week so if you want a printed catalogue as well you just need to shoot us an email.

Looking forward to the long weekend and if the weather holds up, we should be able to get a bit of topless motor herfing in as well but it’s the UK so it will likely rain!


My weekend baggie includes
:

Partagas SD No. 4’s – see above notes!

Regius Culebras – for a bit of fun and Nic kick with my morning espresso.

Davidoff Puro D’Oro Gorditos – yes, yes I know the big story is Davidoff Nicaraguan! What can I tell you I just love the Puro D’Oro blend.

La Flor de Cano Gran Cano – one of my fave UK Regionals; Tasting notes? fugedaboudit I just bloody love them!

Bolivar Belicosos – I just can’t get enough of them. Well aged stocks that are smoking like a dream. Now this is how a Havana cigar should taste!

Another damn train strike for next week… Hopefully I won’t miss another flight! Oh and a cigar tasting event at our Cambridge store on Thursday… looking forward to herfing with old and new friends. 🙂

Have a smokey holiday weekend!

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

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