Going up….

Greetings from sunniest London where we are still doing the ‘Lockdown Herf’, in my case the bar and humidor are open 24/7…nothing new there then. Between the weather and the Lockdown, cigar smoking is at an all-time high but what better way to stay safe, de-stress and relax from the crazy situation we find ourselves in?

I was asked for a photo for Smokers at Home website, check it out here, my pal Ranald from Boisdale is on it too. I’m on the last stretch of recovery from the post viral symptoms of Covid19 and working from home for another couple of weeks, then I should be fighting fit!

It’s odd not getting up in the morning and putting on a pin stripe suit to head to the office. It’s odd not being out most evenings to herf with friends and clients at some of the fabulous cigar terraces in London. It’s really odd not to be travelling up and down the country to our beautiful Turmeaus cigars and whisky stores and sampling lounges. I do miss it but I’m looking forward to getting back to normal whenever it’s safe to do so.

Zoom meetings have become the norm, Facetime and WhatsApp video calls great fun to see who on earth I’m speaking to but it does feel like an upside-down world for sure. I did my first Instagram interview ever (in fact I think it’s the first time I have used Instagram). Thanks to Abdullah for interviewing me, if you would like to follow him click here to get to his page. For latest photos of cigars, whisky and pipes follow C.Gars Ltd.

Per the subject line, I’m, afraid the time has finally come to increase prices. We were very lucky to have been able to keep prices the same for almost 2 years as last year’s Budget was cancelled but following this year’s Budget all cigar importers have increase prices and they are now being implemented in the marketplace. As ever, we do guarantee the lowest prices in the UK with our now legendary price match promise.

Occasionally I’m asked how on earth can a premium cigar be so expensive £10, £15, £20 or more for a cigar- madness?! ‘and I remember having the same conversation with a client 20 or so years ago and his reply went something like this: ‘are cigars really so expensive if you compare them say to a halfway decent bottle of wine? They usually last longer than it takes to drink a few glasses of wine and nothing can compare to the complete experience of relaxation from a fine cigar’.  certainly, makes sound sense to me. In fact, you can get some pretty decent premium cigars at less than a tenner still.

We have pushed back our Summer vintage cigar auction to late July and will put the date on the auction website early May. We are accepting entries from May 4th onwards.

London – Mayfair, Liverpool, Chester and Knutsford cigar and whisky stores remain open albeit on slightly reduced opening times. Norfolk and London mail order warehouses and offices remain in operation 24 hours a day – 7 days a week to cope with the increased demand which it has to be said is quite staggering. If you have any query about your order please do email Customer Services as they are online 24 hours a day but please do include your full name and order number!

Okay, time to head to my office in the garden, I’ve got a good selection for this week (I need it as I’m back up to 5 a day!)

Partagas Serie D no. 4, 5 and 6 (yep …I love Partagas)

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Twisty (for something a little different and an oh so sweet blend)

Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour Robustos

Fuente Eye of the Shark …bit of a treat

Cohiba Talisman … a lot of a treat

Have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing


A trip down memory lane.

As lockdown and orders to stay at home continue for most of us, we are continuing to send out wonderful bottles to you at an unprecedented rate! Doing our best to deliver you a little bit of comfort on a small scale! Most of us know that good spirits can help transport our minds elsewhere! So that’s what we are trying our best to do when we get questions from people looking to try something new and unique!

While distilleries around the world are doing an amazing job of producing hand sanitiser for the medical community, we continue to bring the public their drinks!

I have seen lots of great orders come through from some of you, a few that I hadn’t had in ages! Which of course created that desire to reacquaint myself with those bottlings. Not exactly some crazy special bottlings or anything, but ones that just bring on those great warming feelings! It doesn’t have to be anything crazy expensive, or some super rare one of a kind release to be something special! A special bottling could more often than not be that £40 bottle that you share with the right people! These days, share with the right people virtually and from any distance!

Some of the bottling I have seen come through that have triggered that desire to consume are not limited to the following! The Flora and Fauna release from Blair Athol, which gives you an abundance of sherry flavours with the perfect amount of creaminess. Moving out of the highlands and jumping the water to Islay, I saw an order come through for Caol Ila 15! Only released a few years ago in 2016, I love this unpeated offering from the distillery, lots of spice and honey with the perfect amount of medicinal notes. It wasn’t all whisky catching my nostalgic eye, rum and gin play their parts as well. Eden Mill’s Hop Gin used to be a clear favourite with their wonderful freshness. Created by the distillery in St. Andrews, they were the first hopped gin on the UK market. I highly recommend their whole line! Last but not least, all the way from Colombia, La Hechicera rum. I had definitely gifted this bottle to quite a few people a few years back, and for good reason! This rum had me sold with its incredible smoothness and bursts of delicious flavours!

Hopefully you can dig back in your memory banks and try to remember a bottle of something you may have forgotten about, but brought you great joy! If we can help jog your memory on something, please do not hesitate on sending us a message, and we’ll be delighted to do our best to help you out!

Take care and stay healthy!



So it looks like another 3 weeks of total lockdown and therafter who knows how much longer or if the restrictions will slowly and no doubt very thoughtfully be reduced. How long it will take to get back to any semblence of normality is anyone’s guess at this stage.

My recovery is going well, I’ve put back on the 10 Pounds in weight that I lost in hospital thanks to Karyn’s cooking! I’m taking good walks every day though nothing like I did pre Covid… that will take some time to build up to. I’m back to enjoying 3-4 good cigars a day and an occasional dram of Orchant Selection Cigar Malt (for medicinal purposes!) I’m lucky as I’m able to work from home with my study being a mirror image of my office, surrounded by some of my favourite very old Cuban photographs and with super fast WiFi its business as usual for me minus the herfing with friends and clients and the crazy travel schedule.

I miss visiting the retail stores, our HQ and sampling lounges but look forward to a better and safer day for everyone when we can all enjoy a dram and a herf together again. So the good news is that our retail stores are open with the exception of Norfolk at this time but obviously our sampling lounges remain closed. Our mail order division is still cracking away at 100% efficiency 24 hours a day. I’m very proud of our Team who are handling a huge uplift in order volumes as our customers stay at home. I think we hit the record of all time last week with over 2000 packages a day being shipped.

Shipping is slower than usual but 95% of orders are arriving on time. Has to be said that Royal Mail are doing an amazing job. The bad news is that Havana cigars prices will increase substantially at the beginning of May. We were fortunate that there was no increase last year and this one is pretty late but its going to be a fairly hefty increase this time round. We have good stocks and will try to hold prices for a week or two but invenitably they will be going up. At least you have a little pre warning to top up your humidors at pre increase prices.

No update on the release date for the well overdue UK regional edition , La Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra. Its delayed I understand as so many cigar specialist are closed during the lockdown so it would not be fair to the UK cigar trade generally to release them now which makes sense to me.

The weather forecast is looking great this week, should be sunny and warm so its perfect garden herifng weather which I hope is some consolation if you’re stuck at home.

My rotation for the coming week includes:

Partagas Serie D no.5 – smoking so well now and a perfect 40 minute smoke for me

Davidoff Lancero Orchant Seleccion – what a treat.

Alec Bradley Orchie – the sweetest blended cigar I know of.

Inka Secret Blend Robustos (red) – always a good smoke

Montecristo Dantes – these are now smoking very well with 4 years box age

Regius Orchant Seleccion Hermosos – great ‘Nic Kick’

Trinidad Esmeralda – I love this new cigar

Trinidad Topes – I adore this new cigar!

…and a bottle of Stalla Dhu Speyside  😉

Stay safe and have a smokey week

Peaceful puffing


An update during a difficult time

With all this madness we all are experiencing together, it is good to find things worthy of appreciation. We at C.Gars, like most, are EXTREMELY grateful for all the healthcare workers and first responders out there putting all their energy into taking care of us! We appreciate everybody that is doing their part, whatever that may be, in creating a safer community around us!

I much prefer to find some kind normalcy in all of this, even if I am staying inside! Sharing a good dram with someone is one of those normal things that brings some enjoyment to a crazy world. While we all may not be residing with someone to share a glass with, do like most are doing these days, find a virtual partner! Find a friend or even someone new to share a drink with through video chat. While I know self quarantine and staying inside is an introvert’s dream, there are plenty of people out there open to a friendly chat about spirits.

I have a decent rotation of bottles to help soothe the soul. As far as whisky, a few of our Stalla Dhu bottlings have been taking a good hit. Our Saorsa and Speyside single malt have been doing it for me lately. Both taking multiple awards for a reason, they are both so incredibly smooth! For rum I have been treating myself to the occasional glasses of Flor de Caña 18 and Dictador 20! Both of those companies I am big fans of. I’ve not yet gotten back into the swing of gin yet, but always have a bottle of either Botanist or Rock Rose on hand. Both great for those refreshing G&T’s.

Lastly, we are so extremely proud of winning an Icon of Whiskies award for Multiple Outlets Retailer of the Year!! C.Gars is a family that does our best to bring you the best products to put a smile on all your faces, especially in times like these! Normally we’d get to celebrate with other industry folks at an awards ceremony, but this year we’ll settle for a solo dance party at home! And no promo photos of that will surface!!! 🙂

Anyway, stay safe, stay healthy, and let us know how we can help!



I’m Back

Long-time no blog and not without good reason ….

As ever I attended the Havana Festival and had a wonderful time with the usual incredible gala event being the highlight of the trip.

Sitting at the Hunters and Frankau table with a great crowd of industry pals and laughing at how loud the entertainment was as usual making it more or less impossible to hold a conversation but enjoying some great cigars and drinks ( let’s not even talk about the food !)

Our table was right behind the major auction bidder of the night who made the charity auction the most successful ever.

Simon Chase’s Ramon 225 humidor was donated by his wife and sold for an astonishing 380,000 Euros. The Lot included a box of Ramon Petit Coronas that he had bought from one of the early C.Gars auctions. I remember how I always sat next to Simon for so many of the Festivals over the last 20 odd years and felt terribly sad. I think about Simon a lot and still refer to so many of our email exchanges. He really was a walking talking encyclopaedia of Havana cigar knowledge as well as a Gentleman without parallel in our industry.

After a few cigars in the lounge at Jose Marti airport I headed to Upper and was sitting next to Jemma Freeman, great excuse to catch up on a business chat which is always interesting for us even after all of these years.

I didn’t feel too good when I got back to the UK but in my usual way decided it was just a bit of jet lag and ploughed on with a relentless business schedule including visiting just about all of our locations including our Norfolk HQ, La Casa del Habano and Turmeaus shops and finishing with a lovely evening with friends at Puffin Rooms.

Heading back to London the next morning I really did not feel well and headed straight to a walk in Doctors surgery and was immediately admitted to St John and Elizabeth’s hospital with pneumonia which was no fun at all I can tell you.

From there it really just got worse as 5 days later I was diagnosed with Covid 19 and transferred by ambulance to the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Free hospital as I was to put it mildly very seriously unwell. High temperatures and flaked out beyond belief in ICU was a pretty scary experience as I wondered if I would ever make it out of there, happily a week later I was moved to isolation for a further 5 days before all the symptoms subsided and I had beaten the virus.

I’ve been home for the last 2 weeks resting and recuperating and getting over the post viral symptoms but I am making a full recovery and after a no cigar smoking month I’m finally enjoying a good smoke again every day.

I have never used the NHS before and am so impressed with the Doctors and nurses that looked after me and the incredible care they gave me to help me recover from this horrendous virus. I really can’t thank them enough. They are incredible and deserve all of our respect and support.

The effects of the virus on the country (and the world) are almost surreal to be living through and I honestly don’t think the world will ever be the same again once we hopefully come through this nightmare.  The Government seems to be doing everything they can to support employees and businesses at this unprecedented time in history.

In the middle of all of this we held our March vintage cigar auction which was a resounding success with all but 5 Lots selling at very high prices (possibly due to the weakness of Sterling). Shipping of auction Lots I understand will be slower than usual due to the weight of work our mail order teams are dealing with at this time.

Our business has been dramatically affected with the temporary closure of Puffin Rooms and the closure of our retail Turmeaus store in Norfolk as our retail staff are unable to work because they have to look after their children during the lockdown.

Our other retail stores in London, Liverpool, Chester and Knutsford remain open on reduced hours, with reduced staff as some are in isolation and of course our sampling lounges are closed, tasting events are all cancelled and new product launches are all delayed.

C.Gars Mail order division remains 100% open and operating at 100% efficiency at both our Norfolk and London warehouses. My thanks to my Teams coping admirably during these crazy times.

I can only hope that everyone is following the Government’s advice to stay safely at home. This virus is very real, very frightening and very dangerous – don’t take it lightly. I lost March but thankfully I didn’t lose my life which at one stage it looked like I might do.

If you can, treat it like an enforced holiday. Enjoy a dram or two of whisky and a good cigar and celebrate every minute of every day that you are healthy and hopefully stay healthy and virus free.


Peaceful puffing and stay safe