‘The Hammer’!

I’ve been attending the IPCPR tobacconist trade show in the USA for the last 17 years. It has always been a brilliant opportunity for me to meet suppliers and chat with other retailers as well as clients of ours. From exceptionally humble beginnings 2 decades ago Laura and I have managed to create a colossus of a cigar and smokers accessory business and the US trade show has been a monumental factor helping in that growth as it always gave us the opportunity to bring in ranges of humidors and accessories that no one else would have in the UK. Better still as importers we passed the savings on to our customers and ensured best value as well as best range in the UK.

As the business grew and grew we expanded our cigars range from Havanas only, steadily into New World cigars and introduced some incredible ranges to our clients such as Fuente, Padron, Oliva, Dunhill and Davidoff to name a few.  As the popularity of New World cigars grew we started to add boutique and other high quality brands such as Regius, Inka, Nat Sherman, Tatuaje and many others to bring our clients a huge choice of cigars from all the different tobacco growing regions.

At last year’s show I was ‘wowed’ at the Padron exhibition stand by the Padron 50th anniversary humidor – I think this is possibly the single most beautiful humidor I have ever seen. The cigars

Padron 50th Anniversary Humidorare called ‘ The Hammer’ and measure in at 6 ½” length and 52 ring gauge.

50 perfectly crafted cigars per humidor made with the finest tobacco aged for 10 years. Available in natural or maduro wrapper and a unique bold full flavoured blend make this possibly the finest cigar I have ever smoked from Nicaragua. Demand was high as we expected but Padron kindly allocated a small number of humidors to C.Gars.  We are keeping number 321 humidor for display in a flagship store we are planning to open later this year.

What a lot of fun I’ve had opening specialist cigar stores over the last 15 years. C.Gars started out as a mail order- internet cigar merchant and I remember when we bought the first cigar shop in Liverpool that everyone told me I was mad to do so! Well that store was on its knees thanks to the previous owner and pathetic management but we turned it around and Turmeaus Liverpool will celebrate its 200th anniversary in style in 2017. 🙂

I then moved on to open a Turmeaus in Chester, followed by Turmeaus Mayfair. Last year we opened our beautiful La Casa del Habano in Chester and we are soon to open a rather swish Turmeaus Tobacconist in Norfolk.

Whilst all this has been going on I was also the owner and Managing Director of Robert Graham Ltd, another business that was on its knees and hanging on with its last very sad looking whisky and cigar store in Glasgow. Well, long story short, we turned that one around as well, opening additional specialist whisky and cigar stores in Edinburgh Rose street, Edinburgh Canongate, London West Hampstead, Cambridge and of course our incredible flagship in the heart of Glasgow.

Robert Graham Ltd has also won a raft of awards for many of the incredible range of Independent bottled single malt whiskies we created so I’m very proud of that achievement. I am still involved with this fabulous business but have taken a back seat to concentrate on Turmeaus tobacconist expansion and handed the reins over to new managing director Steve Johnstone who will no doubt continue the solid growth and family run ethos of the business for the future.

The tobacco industry is extraordinary in terms of crazy legislation that seems to be never ending (despite being targeted at cigarette smokers but affecting cigar and pipe smokers) and products that are introduced but arrive late in the market, in tiny quantity or not at all ! We are still waiting for the Upmann No.2 Reserva introduced at last year’s Festival in Havana but absolutely no sign of them surfacing as yet ! I wish they would do as they were an outrageously good smoke when I tried them.

Some very good news though insofar as the Hunters and Frankau 225th anniversary Ramon Allones humidor will be released on time and is expected 3rd week of June. Tons of interest in this magnificent humidor and no doubt splendid cigars. I’ll be tucking a few of these away in my retirement fund !

A few events for your calendars 🙂 :

Monday 23rd February – Single Malt Whisky and Havana cigar tasting evening at La Casa del Habano –Chester

Tuesday 17th March – Opening party and Cuban rum tasting evening at La Casa del Habano – Chester. Guest of honour is Sean Croley, Sales Director of Hunters & Frankau

Tuesday 24th March – Launch evening for Turmeaus Tobacconist – Norfolk. Guest of honour is Brian Shapiro of Oliva Cigars

Wednesday 13th May – Cigar tasting evening at Turmeaus Chester featuring Alec Bradley Cigars. Guest of honour is George Sosa

Thursday 14th May Cigar tasting evening at Turmeaus Liverpool featuring Alec Bradley Cigars. Guest of honour is George Sosa

15th June Vintage Cigar Auction 2pm at The Bulgari Hotel Knightsbridge

Lots are already arriving for the next cigar auction and we expect to have a good range of Pre Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill, Limited Edition, Aged and Rare Havanas knocked down my resident C.Gars auctioneer Jonathan Humbert. If all goes to plan the format of the next auction will be completely different to all previous auctions as this will be a live auction but we are adding additional technology so internet bidders can bid online right up till the hammer falls. More details to follow.

Okay so I am constantly asked what is my favourite cigar and what am I smoking now ? well I can do no better than tell you that I don’t have a favourite ! Yes, I have regular smokes on rotation such as Bolivar Belicosos and Montecristo No.2 but it’s all down to vintage (much like fine wines) when it comes to Havana cigars. I love just about anything from 2007 but I also love trying out some of the great new Havanas such as the incredible Cohiba Robusto Supremo Limited Edition, Partagas Serie D No.6 ( great breakfast smoke) and Trinidad Vigia ( never had a Trini I didn’t like !)

Oliva Shorty Orchant SeleccionThat said I also mix it up a bit these days with New World cigars for a change of pace. My exclusive Orchant Seleccion range by Oliva are on the daily rotation and are selling like mad so it looks like I got that blend just about right. Perfect sizes and unbelievable value for a premium cigar. I honestly don’t think you can find a better value premium cigar in the UK


Oliva Cigars Orchant Seleccion

Orchant Seleccion By Oliva Chubby  £99

Orchant Seleccion By Oliva Skinny  £69

Orchant Seleccion By Oliva Shorty  £89

I’m also enjoying Inka – Secret Blend, the brand and blend I created from 100% Peruvian tobacco. Nothing else like it on the market and a huge success story for C.Gars Ltd.

Not long to go before this year’s Festival del Habanos in Havana. I reckon this is the 16th Festival ( out of 17 held ) that I will attend. This year the featured brands are Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo ( celebrating the 80th anniversary of good old Monte !) and I can’t wait. I think around 2000+ attend the Festival and it’s always good to catch up with friends from all over the world at the Mecca for cigars.

That’s me wrapped up for another week, I’m kicking back this weekend with a box of 2011 Cohiba 1966 Limited Edition and a bottle of Glendullan ( The Ghost!) 1999 …. What a combo 🙂

Have a smokey valentines weekend

Peaceful puffing


CGars Valentines Day

Anejados are Awesome :)

My La Casa del Habano in Chester is as expected becoming more popular by the day and our tasting event last week was a standing room only affair as it was so over booked!

humidor_chester_cubansThe tasting featured Dalmore and Jura single malt whiskies paired up with Romeo Petit Churchills and Rafael Gonzales Perlas.

The Cigar Malt from Dalmore was absolutely delicious and the Havanas complimented them perfectly.

We’re having a lot of fun with our ‘Open Tasting Evenings‘ where you can roll up for a 45 minute session for a Tenner, enjoy sampling the cigars and whisky and have an informal Q&A session with me and the Chester team.


My thanks to Dalmore and Hunters & Frankau for their kind support and a warm welcome to Sara , the newest member of our Turmeaus and LCDH Management Team in Chester.

Our next tasting event will be held on the 23rd February but pre booking is essential as we won’t be able to sell tickets on the night due to the overwhelming demand we received at the last event.

The first vintage cigar auction of the year was a resounding success and a good excuse for me to smoke my way through some Romeo and Montecristo Anejados as I sat glued to my computer screen watching the bidding for some 9 hours!

A bit of a bidding war going on with some of the Lots producing spectacular results (especially Partagas Lusitania cabinet of 50 from 1997 sold at £2710!)

Dunhill prices at well above estimates as in previous auctions so no sign of any decline in interest. Davidoff prices selling within the estimate range generally and ever popular.

Pre embargo lots sold very well with more interest than we have seen in previous auctions and spectacular prices achieved for Henry Clay.

Cohiba prices as expected were very strong with no end to the demand for this fine Havana cigar brand especially in Limited Edition.

Roughly a 99% sale rate

Top selling Lots – sold prices without fees (in Sterling)

PRE EMBARGO – Romeo y Julieta  Coronations de Lux – Pre embargo cabinet of 100 cigars £10000

PRE EMBARGO – Punch Double Coronas – cabinet of 100 cigars £9000

Cubatabaco Humidor  of 25 cigars from 1985 £7610

PRE EMBARGO – Ramon Allones Trumps cabinet of 50 cigars £5260

PRE EMBARGO – H. Upmann Cabinet de S.W.F. cabinet of 50 cigars £5000

Davidoff Dom Perignon – JM NIUC 1987 Box of 25 cigars £4960

Cohiba Sublimes Extra Coleccion Habanos – 2008 £4517

Davidoff Dom Perignon – 1980’s box of 25 cigars £4500

Cohiba Corona Especiales Diplomatic 1989 cabinet of 50 cigars £4010

PRE EMBARGO La Corona  coronas cabinet of 50 cigars £3810

PRE EMBARGO Por Larranaga Nacionales –cabinet of 50 cigars £3610

Rafael Gonzalez Seleccion Suprema –cabinet of 25 cigars made for Davidoff £3610

All sold prices are on the website as a resource http://www.onlinecigarauctions.com/index.php and  our Summer auction is already being planned for mid-June.

We are now accepting entries and are happy to advise by email sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

I reckon we have had just about all the new release cigars that were due or overdue and the choice is amazing!

Montecristo Churchill Anejado

Romeo Piramides Anejado

Trinidad Vigia

Partagas Serie D No. 6

On the New World cigar scene, these new Alec Bradley cigars are selling like crazy over the last few weeks, a puros from Nicaragua that’s bursting with sweet flavours. Available online and in all Turmeaus and Robert Graham shops.

The Orchant Seleccion Oliva cigars remain our most popular New World cigars so far this year and the feedback is that we have hit the spot with blend as well as sizes and prices. Checkout the sampler pack on this link

For something a bit different I would recommend trying La Estancia. The wrapper and binder are tobaccos from Nicaragua, whereas the filler is a blend of Cuban and Nicaraguan tobacco. The first two sizes launched are a Robusto and a Corona. They look like ridiculously good value for a premium cigar and well worth adding one to your next order.

And finally… We just received a huge import of Inka – Secret Blend, so all sizes are available again another best-selling exclusive from C.Gars and available at Robert Graham and Turmeaus shops.

Peaceful puffing,