Happy New Year!

Bad year for celebs to say the least. I was so sad to hear about George Michael. I think that was the first concert Karyn and I went to together many years ago.

Fortunately it’s been a good year for cigars and specifically for C.Gars 🙂 In fact, the best year we have ever known with fairly meteoric sales growth and expansion.

We’re up to 52 staff now in our retail and sales teams, employing more apprentices than ever before, opening more shops, expanding our range of cigars, tobacco and whisky beyond our dreams and having great fun doing all of this! So, BIG thanks to all my team as well as all of our lovely customers for making this possible.

I don’t think Laura and I ever dreamed we would build such a gigantic business when we started out all those years ago! But we did 🙂 … and we ain’t finished yet, in fact we are just getting ‘warmed up’, we have further expansion plans for 2017 that extend way beyond our current Liverpool project. Watch this space… the best is yet to come!

The four day holiday weekend was brilliant, loads of down time and a lot of herfing with family and friends. I’m currently going through Trinidad Topes like they are candy sticks and went through a cab over the weekend washed down with a few bottles of Pol Roger Winston Churchill ( 1996 and 2000). The Topes is such a rich and bold blend and so far construction has been perfect on all that I have tried. I still can’t get enough of the UK Regional Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba – they’re flying off the shelves at record speed. Big smoke and a bit of a time commitment but during a long day at the office, I just love this cigar.

Our first auction of 2017 will be on the 26th February. I had to bring the date forward as the catalogue is almost full already, still time to get a few more Lots in but likely to close mid-January. I expect to offer a wonderful catalogue of aged, rare and unusual cigars as ever.

2017 will mark 20 years of C.Gars Ltd being in business on the internet and 200 years of Turmeaus cigar shops (Est. 1817) which is quite a milestone for any business let alone a cigar business! I have commissioned some very special limited edition humidors to mark the occasion and expect to release them late March. We have certainly come a long way since we took over the last surviving Turmeaus shop in Liverpool (it was a bit of a dump) and I think I can safely say I have restored Turmeaus to its former glory.

We will be celebrating the anniversary with a number of special events throughout the year at our various locations and spoiling our customers more than ever!

Still waiting for a lot of cigars to be released including the Cohiba Majestuosos Humidor (limited edition of 1966), the Hoyo Coleccion Habanos Book, the Partagas 170th Anniversary Replica Serie Humidor… and Romeo Wide Churchills Gran Reserva (yes… whatever happened to that one?!). Hopefully we may see some of the ‘good stuff’ early in 2017.

If my warehouse managers are right we’ve managed a 99.99% successful on time delivery service for our clients this month which can’t be bad. Even with the odd cigar going out of stock from suppliers, fortunately most of the time we have been able to iron out the rough spots with our cast cigar reserves and we intend to continue releasing cigars from our reserves next year.

I’m planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve with some Bilecart Salmon Rose 1989 and a Dunhill Estupendos 1989, may as well see the new year in with style 🙂

My warmest wishes (from bloody cold London!) for a peaceful and very happy new year.

Mitchell

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Merry Christmas!

CzfyCU3XUAA4JOPThe 4th annual  Snow Queen Cigar Smoker of The Year Awards event at Boisdale Canary Wharf was possibly the best one we have ever been involved in. I don’t know how Ranald and the Boisdale Team can possibly make this event better every year but somehow they do.

C.Gars are proud to be co-sponsors and we had a rather huge table of friends who enjoyed the best food, wine, (cigars of course!) and entertainment possible. Kelsey Grammer won the cigars smoker of the year award with Charlie Sheen as runner up and Andrew Neil was the winner of the lifetime achievement award. The award winners all made splendid thank you speeches but Charlie Sheen’s can only be described as hysterically funny.

The full list of nominees and award winners.

The Snow Queen Cigar Smoker of the Year 2016 Nominees15390650_1167709423349362_2754392487116356766_n

Winner: Kelsey Grammer

  1. Charlie Sheen
  2. Boris Becker
  3. Jeremy Irons
  4. Sir Terence Conran
  5. Calum Best

The Snow Queen Cigar Writer of the Year Nominees

Winner: Nic Wing

The Cigar Terrace or Cigar Lounge of the Year Nominees

Winner: The Churchill at Hyatt Regency London

  1. The Edward Sahakian Cigar Lounge at The Bulgari
  2. Cigars at No. Ten at Ten Manchester Street
  3. The Garden Lounge at Corinthia

The Cigar Retailer of the Year Nominees

Winner: My Smoking Shop

  1. Davidoff of London
  2. Birley Cigars
  3. Sautter Cigars
  4. Turmeaus, Chester

The Cigar Producer of the Year Nominees

Winner: Habanos S.A

  1. Inka – Secret Blend
  2. Arturo Fuente
  3. Padrón
  4. Alec Bradley
  5. Davidoff
  6. Dunhill

The Snow Queen Cigar of the Year Nominees

Winner: Joya De Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Doble Robusto

  1. Macanudo Inspirado Robusto
  2. Partagas Serie D No. 6, Habanos

15400519_1167709440016027_283247713483995059_nThe Snow Queen Cigar Lifetime Achievement Award Nominees

Winner: Andrew Neil

  1. Stephen Evans
  2. Alan Greenspan
  3. Sir Terence Conran

Continuing on the Boisdale theme and wrapping up my pre-Christmas herfing, Karyn and I popped into The Lanesborough for a pre supper herf (Montecristo 80th anniversary/very nice indeed) and then checked out the new and very very cool Boisdale in Mayfair. At least as good as all the other fabulous Boisdale restaurants!… and cigar friendly of course 🙂 Highly recommended.

I had a brilliant week up North at La Casa del Habano – Chester and Turmeaus cigar and whisky shops in Liverpool, Knutsford and Chester. My assistant Roy and I zoomed between the 3 locations in our rather loudly liveried C.Gars vehicle. Call me bias but I honestly think we have the best cigar shops in the UK. All licenced for alcohol sales both on and off the premises and all featuring super comfortable cigar sampling lounges. Did I mention that we have the largest range of premium cigars in the country? 🙂

I’m wrapping up the week working at Turmeaus- Mayfair and looking forward to a few days kicking back with friends and family this weekend. I have a baggie stuffed with:

Davidoff Chateau Haut Brion – My favourite Cuban Davidoff cigar!

Trinidad Topes – My favourite limited edition cigar in years.

Montecristo 80th Anniversary – Just WOW!

Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba – Another winner for the UK market.

Oliva Orchant Seleccion Chubby – My favourite Nicaraguan cigar.

Inka – Secret Blend Robusto – With some of our NEW Secret Blend Peruvian chocolate!

… and a bottle each of Dom Perignon and Pol Roger Sir Winston kindly gifted by friends.

Last minute holiday gifts available from all of my shops today and tomorrow 🙂 and C.Gars is of course online throughout the holiday weekend for any queries or advice sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

Wishing all of our customers, suppliers and of course my fabulous C.Gars and Turmeaus Team a very merry Christmas/Happy Chanukah!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Christmas Spice and Festive Treats!

500x500_Dark_Matter_RumWell the Christmas spirit is in full swing now and nothing comes to mind more than indulging in some real festive tipples for this fabulous time of the year!  My favourite spirit at Christmas time has to be Rum and the one that springs to my mind is spiced rum called Dark Matter Spiced Rum.

Created in Banchory by two brothers, Jim and John Ewen, Dark Matter Spiced Rum is molasses-based rum which features full-bodied notes of long pepper, fresh ginger, green peppercorns and allspice.

The taste equivalent of warping into a liquid black hole but without every atom in your body being crushed to an infinitely small point.
Nose: Peppercorn, sweet & sour pork and balsamic vinegar.
Palate: Chewy with ginger and yet more peppercorn. A kick of chilli, plum and raisins.

It wouldn’t be right not to mention  some fabulous mouthwatering Single Malts perfect to share amongst your friends and family over the aberlour_18_yoChristmas holiday. For me nothing beats the rich Sherry or the Port cask finished Single Malts.
The first one I just love is the Aberlour 18 Years.

Introduced in 2008, this 18 year old is now one of the stars of the range: rich and fruity, with a smooth texture. The Aberlour 18 year old has been a previous winner of a Gold Medal & Best in Class at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Nose: Rich and complex, milk chocolate and butterscotch combine with ripe peach and orange zest.
Palate: Perfect structure – initial notes of soft apricot and cream offset by developing flavours of Liquorice and oak with a touch of honey.
Finish: Very long and balanced, progresses from creme brulee to a gentle oak flourish.

A second real favourite of mine also is the Tomintoul 15 Years Portwood Finish.

Tomintoul have upped the age on the Portwood Finish from 12 to 15 for this stunning limited release.

Bottled at 46%, this 15 year old is full-bodied and rich with lots of red-fruit notes.

Overall this Tomintoul 15 Year Old, Portwood Finish is a very approachable yet, complex whisky.500x500_tomintoul_15
Nose: Blueberries, scones and clotted cream with a hint of peppery oak and tobacco.

Palate: Barley sweets, delicious caramel, quince with light wafts of red wine.

Finish: Zesty, damson, red grape and a hint of butterscotch candies.

I hope these great spirits have put you in a festive mood to get you inspired for this month ahead!

Slainte

Pete

Trinidad Topes Released!

Trinidad_Topes_LE_2016_box-1 (1)Just received the 2016 Limited Edition Trinidad Tope and I can tell you it’s a helluva smoke! The huge 56 ring gauge delivers massive volume of flavour balanced with medium strength. Allocations were disappointingly tight and they are likely to sell out horribly fast. You have been warned 🙂

If you’re looking for a special gift for Christmas checkout my limited edition Orchant Seleccion Partagas books I have selected the most beautiful cigars from our vast inventory, they look good enough to eat!

I’ve just made another 30 boxes of Cohiba BHK 52’s available online and a few singles of 54’s and 56’s. Truly splendid smokes.

Michelle has finally had the delivery of humidors that she selected when visiting Gentili in Italy a few months ago. It’s a beautiful range and they are simply outstanding value for such a great quality humidor. Check them out on this link.

I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Boisdale Belgravia on Thursday followed by smokes on the cigar terrace. Just super in every way from the service to the music, ambience, food and rather too much champagne 🙂 As we were about to leave, Ranald showed up so we had a couple of Behike 54’s and a wee nightcap or two.

The great news is that there’s a new Boisdale in Mayfair which I’m looking forward to going to in the next few days as it’s pretty close to Turmeaus Mayfair, It may well become a regular herfing spot I reckon as it has a cigar terrace that seats 28. More details to follow.

This Monday I will be at Boisdale Canary Wharf for The Cigar Smoker Of The Year Awards event which promises to be a start studded evening. This is the 4th year that C.Gars have co-sponsored the event.

Next Wednesday I’m heading up North to Turmeaus cigar and whisky shops in Liverpool, Chester and Knutsford, I’ll be herfing, oops I mean working there till just before Christmas. Karyn and I will see if we can make ourselves useful to our highly skilled Turmeaus retail teams! Looking forward to talking cigars with loads of clients in our beautiful lounges. All three locations are licenced and have charming bars with a pretty decent range of single malt whisky, Cuban rum and other premium spirits as well as champagne. Come and join me for a drink!

I can’t believe that’s another week done, its flown by so fast, only a few weeks till Christmas! We’re guaranteeing on time delivery up till the 21st or you can always pop in to our brilliant Turmeaus or Robert Graham shops across the UK.

C.Gars is open 24/7 – 7 days a week, no other cigar merchant in the UK has the vast stocks and incredible range that we have. Always delighted to advise and we reply to emails rapidly 24 hours a day sales@cgarsltd.co.uk

I’m having a quick rest on Saturday and then back in the office on Sunday so a few drams of Cigar Malt and some Trinidad Topes in the baggie for the weekend.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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Vintage Cigar Auction

aged_rare_humidor_londonIt’s been the usual crazy/fun week at C.Gars – London with our Winter Auction on Monday afternoon at The Bulgari Hotel. Clients from all over the world had been viewing Lots prior to the auction at my beautiful new walk in humidor (only for aged and rare!) and the consensus was that its far more comfortable now we have split the recent production cigar stocks from the vintage stocks. I know my London Team are much happier to have me out of their way!

Auction-Nov-16-IMG_0305So what’s going on with the auction world? Well, we offered 354 Lots with around 10 passed, so a pretty high sale rate again. Prices seemed to be very firm indeed though the weakness of Sterling may have an effect for International bidders. My feeling is that anyone that won Davidoff Lots were very lucky as I reckon the supply is all but over now in the same way as its more or less impossible to get any Dunhill cigars anymore.

Pre Embargo prices were firm and Limited editions were too. Clearly the market appetite is still huge for the more unusual type of Havana cigar. The auction was live at The Bulgari and simultaneously online with over 400 bidders combined which was in fact the largest number yet.

Auction-Nov-16-IMG_0434Post auction cigar and whisky sampling was held at the lovely Sahakian cigar lounge with delicious canapés from the Bulgari. The aperitif cigar was a Montecristo Medias Corona followed by a Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba UK regional edition 2016. The smokes were paired up with Orchant Selection Cigar Malt and Stalla Dhu Islay. Fair to say, a good evening was had by all 🙂 Our next auction is planned for the 12th March 2017 and we are considering entries from Monday onwards.

packing_team_mail_sacksI can’t believe how fast December has come around, the older I get the faster time flies or perhaps it’s that I’m enjoying myself so much?! Thanks to our clients (and my team) as we are having the best year in our entire history. Our cigar and whisky shops have never been so busy and our mail order division is insanely busy with no end of new clients. I can’t work out if premium cigar smoking is just becoming more and more popular in the UK or if clients are defecting from other cigar merchants… or both.

mitchell_officeWe expanded into our new building a week ago but I can already see we are utterly at capacity.So that’s both mail order fulfillment premises in London and Norfolk completely at capacity again! (Woohoo) It’s  hard to capture the madness on camera as we have various warehouse areas in the same building but I have popped up a few photos to give you an idea. I like to think of us as the Amazon.com of cigars 🙂

The weather’s turned bloody cold in London but thankfully still dry so I am getting my last few days of topless driving in while I can. I love car herfing! No idea why but my baggies in the boot keep my smokes in perfect condition despite temp fluctuations.  I keep cigars in the car based on the length of journey time, so short journeys: Monte Medias Coronas, medium journeys: Bolivar Belicosos (2007) and Hoyo Epicure Especial (2008) and long journeys: Cohiba Piramides Extra. (now you get why I love car herfing lol)

Supply shortages of Havanas are getting worse week by week and we are doing our best to release enough of our reserve stocks to meet demand. We released 100 or so boxes of Behike last week but they all sold out in around 19 minutes. Sorry but we do on occasion have to restrict clients to one box per order.

Latest casualties include Cohiba Siglo VI, El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme and Por Larranaga Petit Coronas (oh no!… all of my faves… maybe I caused the shortage!) Anyway, stock up while you can as I gather supply ain’t likely to get better any time soon.

So, Christmas season is upon us 🙂 and I have one more event before I head up North with Karyn to work in our shops. This really is the UK cigar event of the year. C.Gars has a huge table of friends for the event and I can’t wait. Maybe able to squish a couple more people on our table but you will need to hurry! More info and ticket booking here.

To get me in the Boisdale mood and relax a tad now the auction is over I’m heading over to the lovely Boisdale Belgravia for supper and smokes with friends next week. Still one of my favourite places to herf 🙂

I’m finishing off the week sampling a Hoyo Epicure Especial from a 2008 50 cab and a wee dram of Ben Nevis 1999 which we will be bottling early next year under our Stalla Dhu label. It’s a stunning combination after a splendid week!

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

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