An Oldie But a Goldie!

I remember when I started selling Havana cigars back in the mid 1990’s like it was yesterday (time flies when you’re enjoing yourself!) and I would receive non stop requests for Partagas SD No. 4, Montecristo No. 2 and Romeo Belicosos.

Problem was that these three cigars were in very short supply and H&F didn’t want to supply a young upstart like me with too many of them, understandably so. In fairness they did give me small and regular allocation but it was never enough to satisfy the demand. As fast as they came in my clients ordered them. I even imported them from all over Europe in an attempt to satisfy demand and build the business.

Things of course changed over the years and  allocations grew as C.Gars grew into the giant in the UK cigar trade that it is today. Fortunately we don’t have supply issues on these three cigars anymore and their quality is generally very consistent. The one that is interesting to me is the Romeo Belicosos because it was insanely in demand in the 1990’s but seems to have fallen out of favour thereafter. I’m not quite sure why… It could be that the blend went a bit ‘off’ from 2000 – 2005, but then so many others were also off during the same time period. It could be that so many new sizes were introduced and it just wasn’t sexy anymore; (although Bolivar Belicosos remain ever popular).

Over the last year I have noticed a lot more interest in this cigar. I have been sampling them on and off but they have now gone back into my daily rotation as the blend is right back to 100% form. This is truly an old style Romeo blend with a layer of sweetness and cedar throughout. They are exceptionally well constructed with an excellent draw. The wrappers are a smooth Colorado shade and for a medium strength campana format I think they are quite a stunning smoking experience.

I’ve been smoking the Romeo Belicosos during the days over the bank holiday weekend and finishing with my favourite Bolivar Belicosos in the evenings. The weather has been surprisingly good (doesn’t it always rain on bank hols?!) so it’s been a garden herfing and car herfing few days 🙂 I could get used to three day weekends…

I paired up the smokes with some Stalla Dhu Saorsa (Freedom) and a few drops of water to open it up. A perfect combo! I’m sure this single cask exclusive whisky will win some international awards this year to add the the multiple awards we have won for others in the Stalla Dhu range.

I’m heading to Turmeaus Liverpool on Tuesday and Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge in the evening for an Avo cigar and Amrut whiskey sampling event followed by dinner and jazz at Puffin’ Rooms. If you’re in town, come and join me for a memorable evening at the best venue in the North!

Back to the London office late Wednesday to close off the Summer auction catalogue. Looks like we won’t be far off 500 Lots making it the largest stock we have ever offered at auction. Lots of interesting bits and pieces, one of the reasons I love the auction business as every sale is so different… from inexpensive sample packs of a few aged cigars though to mega rare and expensive humidors and rare cabinets.

There was a great article in the Robb Report last week which featured none other than yours truly. There’s a bit of info on which cigars I enjoy and a few other tips. Check it out here.

I’m often asked what are the future classics and good investments. Realistically it’s hard to have a crystal ball and obviously we are not investment advisers. Cigars should be bought for smoking pleasure in the first instance always. I can’t help but think that Bolivar Super Coronas look like a good long term hold. A limited edition that’s already 5 years old as they are from 2014, a very decent smoke and they look like good value to me.

Businesses these days seem to live or die by review sites. I know Karyn and I use a few of them like TripAdvisor and TrustPilot for just about everything. We put TrustPilot on the website a couple of months ago and it’s good to see that we have excellent ratings and reviews. We also have around 5,000 great reviews directly on our website. If you have enjoyed our products and customer experience we are always grateful for reviews. If you have not… email me personally on sales@cgarsltd.co.uk.

Have a smokey week,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

 

NYC Herfing

Just back from a herfing visit to New York City 🙂 lucky enough to have 5 very sunny days and just a couple of rather wet London style days, but fortunately NYC is very cigar friendly with no shortage of indoor smoking lounges.

My morning smoke was at Davidoff on 6th Avenue (previously De La Concha) where Kevin the manager made me feel very welcome indeed. I herfed a variety of Davidoff 702 and Winston Churchill as well as Avo cigars over the week that were all as good as they are in the UK 🙂

I also visited Grand Havana Room, Nat Sherman , Club Macanudo, Carnegie Club and Hudson Bar and Books… like I said, no shortage of great places to smoke or great pals to herf with. I herfed through Davidoff mainly as well as Padron and Fuente cigars. Splendid week and I can’t wait to visit again. Thanks to all my ‘Rat Pack’ herfing crew for such a brilliant week. More photos in the gallery below.

Back to the very sunny UK and a 300 mile round trip in the car to Turmeaus -Norfolk for a Team meeting. Perfect roof down car herfing weather with Romeo Wide Churchills (a very good return to blending form for these splendid cigars) and H. Upmann Magnum 54’s (wow… whatta smoke, the Mag 54’s have in fact really turned into super smokes now)

Apart for a couple of flags to be installed at the front of our HQ we are finally completed with this expansion with the last major job of air conditioning in the building having been completed last week. Just in time for the good weather (hopefully).

We enjoyed a whisky tasting of our Stalla Dhu Saorsa (Freedom) paired up to a cigar sampling of Juan Lopez Seleccion Superba, the 2016 UK regional edition, with Sean and Tim from Hunters & Frankau. The choice for the pairing worked very well, good timing too as the Juan Lopez are almost sold out. We hope to have our long awaited next UK regional edition in the next 6 weeks (give or take!)

Finished the week with a herf with a crowd of my London smoking chums with a BBQ herf where I treated myself to a Montecristo Gran Reserva… and it really smoked a treat!

Taking it easy this week at the London C.Gars office putting the finishing touches on to our Summer Aged, Rare & Vintage Cigar Auction. This will be a huge sale with over 400 Lots of aged, rare, mature, limited edition, Davidoff, Dunhill and Pre embargo cigars. All brands, sizes, vintage going back to the 1950’s and price ranges for all collectors pockets.

Have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

 

Havanas Back on Form?

Per the subject line, my feeling is that Havanas are really and truly… and finally, back on form, after a few years where blending and tobacco quality was something of a hit and miss affair, or should I just say; when they are good, they are great. And when they are not…

I sample quite a few cigars over the course of a day, so I’m in a fairly unique position to get a good handle on quality in general. Whilst my favourite cigars have always been, and still are, Bolivar Belicosos and Montecristo No. 2, I do sample just about everything. As an example over the last week I have tested out (multiple quantity as you can’t tell from one cigar in isolation) the following regular production Havanas:

Romeo Short Churchills
Bolivar Royal Coronas
Ramon Allones Specially Selected
H. Upmann Majestics
Por Larranaga Petit Coronas
Partagas SD No. 4, 5 and 6
Romeo Petit Royales
Cohiba Siglo VI

In terms of tobacco quality and blending they were all quite excellent. The only two cigars that I find consistently disappointing in terms of construction are the Partagas SD No. 6 and Romeo Petit Royales.  I don’t know why but these cigars always seem to burn down the side in the case of the D6 or be utterly over packed with no draw in the case of the Royales. I use my DuPont lighter to correct the D6 constantly (frustrating) and my PerfecDraw to sort out the Royales. I can’t understand what the issue with these cigars is and it’s been ongoing. It’s a shame as I love these smaller smokes. The size is great for a quick 20 minute herfette, so I’m hoping that QC improves on these in the near future.

The other cigars, without exception, were just about perfect in terms of blend integrity, construction and appearance, so it looks like we are back into good times for Havanas generally. We do still get quite a few cigars with very fragile wrapper leaf and it’s easy to get a minor foot split but that disappears fast when the foot is lit, so I’m not overly bothered. All part of the game.

I’ve also been sampling my way through the new Montecristo Coleccion Habanos Book. Just as well as our first allocation has already sold out. These really are something special. Bit of a time commitment though!

Havanas still the best smokes? Well it’s subjective realistically as there is so much first rate choice in the New World cigar ranges these days. It’s a bit like asking yourself do you prefer a Diet Coke of Diet Sprite? Sometimes you want one, or the other, or a variety. I think variety is best and perhaps sharpens up the palate too.

I visited Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge last week and sampled the Davidoff 2019 Limited Edition. I had smoked this 2 weeks prior and thought the blend was quite stunning so I wanted to try another one to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t! This is one very specially blended cigar. Truly one of the best New World cigars I have ever enjoyed and the presentation is outstanding, it’s literally a travel humidor, and a very classy one at that.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get much better from Davidoff they bring out another winner!!! The Davidoff Robusto Real Especiales. This cigar does what was thought to be impossible before; it uses 7 different leaves in the blend! I highly recommend trying one of these just to see the level of complexity they create. Unheard of and previously unimaginable. Superb quality and flavour, flawless every single time.

The next morning I started the day with a Davidoff Orchant Seleccion Lancero… now that was something special 🙂

I’m working on extending the Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion range of cigars which will include new sizes and small pack packaging. These cigars are specially made for me at the Raices factory in Honduras and I absolutely love them. They are full flavoured, sweet but light to medium strength. Construction is first rate and they are so popular I can’t seem to import them fast enough! They’re a super good value cigar that is consistently first rate quality.

Our whisky department goes from strength to strength and as the range increases week in and week out, the prices just keep getting better. In fact we guarantee best prices in the UK. Check out some of the specials here.

If you haven’t tried my Cigar Malt yet, grab a bottle of this international award winner and try a dram or two with your favourite premium cigar, the pairing combination is stunning. We also recently introduced it in a 20cl presentation.

Our  multi-award winning Stalla Dhu range of single malt whisky is as popular as ever and we will be bottling another 2 or 3 incredible casks before the Summer. My favourite is the Ben Nevis, but i think this will be sold out very soon! ( as I’m drinking too much of it!)

I can honestly say we are finally at the end of the C.Gars HQ and Turmeaus Norfolk project with the imaging completed and air conditioning being installed in the building this week. (JIT for Summer!) The finishing touches always seem to take forever but it’s worth the wait. The shop and sampling lounge are magnificent and our Norfolk and Suffolk customers seem to be enjoying the experience of visiting this Mecca for cigar/whisky/pipe aficionados. Can’t wait for my next visit.

I’m heading off to New York to visit some of the great cigar shops and lounges and herf with friends. Full report on my return!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell