Embargo breaking down…

cuba_us_flagThe most interesting news recently is the breaking down of the US trade embargo with Cuba. If I understand the latest changes, American citizens are now legally allowed to purchase Cuban cigars and rum in any country and bring back 100 cigars for personal use.

Mail order is still not allowed as far as I know and over 100 cigars can be brought in to the US but will be taxed. Interesting situation for us as retailers with some cigar shops in very busy tourist locations because we expect a spike in tourism due to the continuing weakness of Sterling following Brexit.

Even more interesting as this will likely dramatically increase demand for Havana cigars which are going through significant supply issues. The supply vs demand situation may well force prices up as we see stocks of Cohiba and other large formats dwindle or cease completely till the agricultural issues in Cuba are resolved.

C.Gars and Turmeaus are heavily stocked as ever to try and iron out the rough spots of supply but I gather even we will expect stock outs on popular large format Cohiba over the coming months. Stock up your humidors early for Christmas (or try some new brands!)

Our first cigars and whisky tasting events at Turmeaus Liverpool, flagship store, were a resounding success with two packed sessions. We enjoyed sampling some great Havanas (Montecristo Media Coronas and Bolivar Royal Coronas) and a ridiculously large range of Dalmore single malt whisky. Paul Williams from Whyte and Mackay gave a wonderful introduction to each single malt and a great evening was had by all. More events to follow in the near future.

Last Saturday I gave a little cigar talk at ‘ The Succa herf’ for friends in Hampstead Garden Suburb which was great fun. We enjoyed some 2007 H Upmann tubed Monarchs which were quite deelish. I was surprised at how many smokers weren’t aware to check box codes and buy certain years that are better than others. Hopefully my message was put across and they will all be searching for 2007’s!

Back to the office for a few days after yet another 4 days off and catching up on auction work. Catalogue now full and closed for the 28th November sale which premises to be an interesting one. We have an incredible catalogue of aged and rare, pre embargo and limited edition cigars that our resident auctioneer Jonathan Humbert will be knocking down. It will be interesting to see where prices go given the weakness of Sterling and the fact that Americans can now bid/purchase/collect their cigars.

UK regional edition Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba is due for introduction to the trade on the 8th November at a little industry bash at the Churchill, which I’m looking forward to. We expect to be selling these first from our La Casa del Habano and then roll them out across all Turmeaus stores and of course C.Gars online.

The Cigar Smoker Of The Year Event at Boisdale canary Wharf is now confirmed for the 12th December and C.Gars Ltd are proud supporters as ever. Book tickets directly through Boisdale website or email me to join me on the C.Gars table sales@cgarsltd.co.uk. We are expected a star studded evening and the best of Boisdale hospitality.

Final Orchant Seleccion releases of 2016 now available. Just 20 boxes each Ramon Allones Specially Selected and Bolivar Royal Coronas. Two of my very favourite Robustos.

That’s the news for now… I’m off to herf a RASS 🙂

Peaceful puffing



As you may already know Japanese whisky has taken the world by storm winning many coveted awards particularly the Yamazaki 2013 sherry cask that won the award for the best whisky in the world 2014 according to Jim Murray! Having sampled a few malts from Japan very recently I was astounded by the quality of their single malts and there superb blends also!

Firstly I must talk about the Yamazaki 12 years. Scored 8/10 by Michael Jackson, whisky magazine back in October 2002.500x500_Suntory_Yamazaki_12_Year_Old

Nose: A good body with plenty of nut oils and zest, a pleasant floral character with an equally as pleasant hints of tropical fruits and a rooty note.
Palate: Smooth and soft with a good sweetness to it with warming winter spices. A lovely citrus note soon develops with more tropical fruit notes and a little rum.
Finish: Medium with fruit and zest.

Another fabulous Yamazaki to try is the Distillers Reserve. A fresh and fruity whisky from Yamazaki, full of berry fruit and a hint of sherry cask. It’s features some mizunara (Japanese oak) matured whisky in the mix, providing a complex spicy character.

Nose: Classic Yamazaki strawberries and dried fruits with fresh floral notes which come from the Mizunara cask whisky. Fragrant sandalwood and coconut, overall certainly a whisky you could get lost in its nose alone.

Palate: The dried berries remain lively on the palate having even developed some raspberry notes along the way but they are slightly held back to make room for light oak, peach and just a hint of spice.
Finish: Vanilla lasts, with spicy but sweet cinnamon acting as a final touch.
Overall: Top quality Japanese whisky, can’t go wrong and excellent value too.

Nikka_Whisky_From_The_BarrelAnother amazing malt I must highlight is the NIKKA From the Barrel! The quality and taste of this cask strength malt is outstanding! Fantastic value for the money, highly recommended and a real star, winning top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards in 2007 and 2010.

Nose: Medium-body with good balance. Notes of cut flowers and fresh fruits appear with a kick of spice and a little oak.
Palate: Full-bodied and punchy. There is plenty of warming winter spice and toffee, a little caramel, vanilla and a good mouthful of fresh fruit.
Finish: Long, warming and fruity with a little oaken spice.

Something else unique and amazing is the Ryoma 7 year old is a Japanese rum from the Kikusui distillery. Ryoma Rum is produced from freshly pressed sugar cane, and is aged for 7 years in oak casks. Produced from a distillery located south of the archipelago on the island of Shikoku in a village in the east of the Kohi prefecture, which is known as the oldest producer of sugar cane in Japan.

This Rum is named after Sakamoto Ryōma, a prominent figure in the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate during th500x500_ryoma_7e

Bakumatsu period in Japan.

Colour: Pale light.
Nose: Relatively floral with typical fruit flavours.
Palate: Sweet and fruity with bananas. Slightly floral, like the nose. A vanilla flavour then arrives.
Finish: Mid-long.

Enjoy a taste of the orient and have a great weekend.



Islay legends!

As a fan of Islay I was really excited to try these 3 fantastic single malts from these legendary distilleries.

500x500_laphroaig_triple_woodFirst up was the Laphroaig Triple Wood 40%.

Bottled at 48%, this Laphroaig is a non-chill filtered whisky meaning the whisky retains its original colour, aromas and taste. This expression of Laphroaig, from the remote island of Islay in the Western Isles of Scotland, has enjoyed a triple maturation in 3 types of cask. Just as with the standard Quarter Cask expression, the first maturation is in American oak, ex-Bourbon Barrels. Next, the most suitable of these barrels are carefully selected, each of which containing a range of different aged spirit before being transferred into a small 19th Century style Quarter Casks for a second maturation. The final maturation is in specially selected, large European oak, Oloroso Sherry Casks. It is bottled at 48% ABV and is non-chill filtered for a depth of taste and texture. Here are the tasting notes to get your taste buds tingling :

Colour: Bright gold.

Nose: Initially a sweet hint with a gentle mixture of sweet raisins and creamy apricots with a trace of dry peat smoke at the back. Smooth nutty flavours combine all these flavours into one smooth, syrupy whole.

Palate: A large initial burst of peat which is then gentled on the tongue by the creamier flavours of vanilla and fruit with just a suggestion of sherry sweetness. Add water and the peat is gentled, allowing more complex flavours of citrus and spice to come through.

Finish: Mouth filling and extremely long but balanced by the sweet smooth caramel taste.

500x500_lagavulin_distillers_edition_px_finishThe next Islay malt was the Lagavulin Distillers Edition. From the Lagavulin distillery on the island of Islay comes this fantastic Distillers Edition, a superb single malt which has been maturing since 1997 and enjoyed a finishing period in Pedro Ximénez cask before finally being bottled in 2013.

Thick and honeyed with characteristic smoky notes, these Distillers Editions from Lagavulin are always an excellent excuse to crack open a box of dark chocolates alongside your whisky after dinner.

Nose: Smoked, woody aromas of truffle oak, allspice and dry hay with a hint of nutmeg, delicious rum and raisin ice cream before finally prunes.
Palate: Smoked prune juice, porcini mushroom. A rich taste of christmas cake with a nice helping of rum and rich chocolate.
Finish: Demerara rum, cocoa powder and black pepper.
Overall: Very rich and beautifully balanced.

My final tasting, and this one really did get my attention as this one is the darkest expression from Ardbeg!

Dark Cove is a limited-edition whisky released on 28 May in honour of Ardbeg Day 2016 – the distillery’s open day as part of the yearly Islay Festival.500x500_ardbeg_dark_cove_gm

The Darkest Ardbeg ever, take this whisky and hide it well. For its heart has been matured in a combination of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, this whisky is smoky and spicy imparting waves of treacle toffee, coal tar, squid ink noodles and toasted coffee grounds.

Colour: Copper stills in moonlight

Nose: Dark chocolate, rich treacle toffee and distant bonfires – betrays a secret: a clandestine meeting of Ardbeg matured in exBourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks.

Palate: Hints of pepper spice and zesty lime lure you in. Smouldering charcoal and wood with raisins, dates and ginger emerging from shadows of tarry creosote.

Finish: Echoes of cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles signal the arrival of a long, spicy aftertaste.

I know all you Islay fans out there will share my enthusiasm and I hope you get to try these true legends!




New UK Regional… At Last!

I’m just back from the annual UK tobacco trade show in Nottingham. An excellent trade fair, sort of IPCPR (USA) or Dortmund trade shows in miniature! Nevertheless, still great fun to catch up with our friends and colleagues in the trade and see ‘what’s hot and what’s not!’

davidoff_yamasa_promoWe’re expecting stocks of the new Davidoff Yamasa range to arrive this week including the Petit Churchill, Robusto, Toro and Piramides. They ain’t cheap but they are a helluva smoke! We are also expecting Davidoff Nicaragua box pressed Robustos and Toro this week.

Well, the big and rather exciting news is that there will be a trade launch event of the UK exclusive regional edition Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba on the 8th November in London and we expect our La Casa del Habano – Chester to receive the first stocks of this excellent new cigar.

Beautifully presented in boxes of 10 and measuring in at a hefty 5 7/8” length and 54 ring gauge this is going to be a very very popular cigar to say the least. I first smoked samples in Havana and was very impressed. I love the brand as well as the size but clearly the finest quality leaf has been used to create a blend of merit and character. Medium strength and massive volumes of sweet tobacco flavour due to the large ring gauge.

Hopeful for a small additional allocation of the very short supply Montecristo 80th before the end of the year too and I have it on good authority that we may also actually see the long overdue Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Gran Reserva as well as the limited edition Cohiba 1966 humidor (I’m shaking with excitement!)

It’s a crazy roller coaster on the currency markets and our International clients are benefiting tremendously due to the weak Pound Sterling. English Market Selection (EMS) Havana cigars are more popular than ever and despite a lot of reported Havana cigar shortages in other markets, the UK is well supplied and C.Gars Ltd have 99.9% full range available at all times.

Our London warehouse expansion is going according to plan and the additional new walk in humidor should be completed in the next 10 days . All finishing touches will be completed by the 7th November which will come as something of a relief as we are bursting out of space in our existing facility. Our signage/imaging contractors are re-imaging the entire premises (old and new) and we have a wonderful new Davidoff humidor stocked to the brim as well.

Next week I’m heading up North to host the first few sampling sessions at Turmeaus Liverpool which sold out within minutes of being announced. Great to have a proper sampling lounge and not have to stand in the cold pub terrace as we used to in our old shops due to lack of space! If you haven’t visited our newest cigar and whisky shop yet, stop by and chill out, my team will be delighted to welcome you.

I’m also planning to host the cigar and whisky sampling at Turmeaus Norfolk on the 3rd November and will bonus up the evening with an aperitif cigar from Inka – Secret Blend and a contrast cigar from the awesome Arturo Fuente range

Our Winter Auction catalogue is pretty full now and I’m working 25 hours a day researching and cataloguing, our professional photographer is doing her thing and this promises to be an incredible catalogue of aged and rare cigars as ever. Lots will on online 2 weeks before the sale.

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,



Well I’m back from my summer holidays in the Canaries and having enjoyed a few rums and cigars relaxing on my hotel balcony just reminddictador_cafeed me of the new delivery of DICTADOR Rums that awaited me on my return back to work! I had heard amazing reports about these fine Columbian Rums and couldn’t wait to put them to the test! The first sampling was the Dictador cafe 100 rum. Aged for 100 months with lovely smooth and chocolatey coffee notes.

Colour: A deep vast colour which stands out in the glass.

Nose: Rich coffee nose, plenty of sweetness with fresh vanilla blends together nicely with malt and biscuit aromas.

Palate: A light palate of dry cocoa. Aspects of the nose continues, such as coffee and fresh vanilla.

Finish: Aspects of the palate creates a lingering finish.

dictador_amberThe next sampling was the Dictador Amber 100 Rum , again aged for 100 months, really smooth with warm notes! As the tasting moved on I was getting very excited about the final two expressions! Dictador 20 years! This Dictador, 20 Year Old Rum from Columbia is made from the fermentation of virgin sugar
cane honey, distilled partly in copper alembic and partly in steel continuous column, to achieve a medium body rum of which the honey is evident throughout the nose and palate.

The Dictador is then aged in pre-used oak barrels using the solera method and finally bottled under the highest quality control to ensure everything is contained in the liquid flavour.

The final tasting concluded with the Dictador XO.

Now this exquisite rum is also made in the same way as the 20 year old and has its own unique seductive notes and flavours of the following;

Colour: A deep mahogany shine which stands out in the glass.

Nose: A hypnotic aroma of roasted honey, pure vanilla, royal toffee, mature oak and a delicious parfait caramel.dictador_xo

Palate: Extremely smooth with a range of flavours. Fudge starts things off as yet more intense vanilla and caramel reemerges with Colombian coffee and a long balanced consistency, balanced with light oak giving you the sensation of extreme quality and satisfaction of sweetness and strength.

Finish: Long rich finish.

Well I hope you get to try and enjoy some of these outstanding Columbian DICTADOR Rums!

Farewell till next time!

Peter Spinks