Happy New Year!

It’s been quite an astonishing year in our world of whisky and cigars, kicking off back in January with an astonishing increase in sales that continued through to February. All of our trading divisions and product categories were firing on all cylinders. Mail order and retail were up in double digit growth and our uber cool Puffin Rooms venue was packed seven nights a week with a waiting list that seemed to get longer every week.

I was surprised by the sales growth so early in the year. After all – this was our 23rd year in the business. So, off I went to the Festival in Havana not feeling terribly well for what reason I couldn’t fathom, still managed to enjoy myself but as many know, soon after I got back to the UK, I was desperately unwell with CV-19.

Thankfully, I made a good recovery after a very, very long recuperation period and in the meantime, we had to close down Puffin Rooms due to Government restrictions, but we were allowed to keep our retail shops open as alcohol shops are classed as ‘essential’.  The only flaw to the plan being that the shops were open, but few people ventured out on the streets during the lockdowns.

So, it was C.Gars Mail order divisions in London and Norfolk to the rescue, ably supported by our colleagues in the retail division fulfilling more than double the normal amount of orders we are used to (and that’s a lot!). We have been operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week to ensure on time shipping. I wish I could say that we had 100% on time delivery but Royal Mail and courier services have been stretched beyond their limits and a few orders were or are late or lost. Easy to criticize Royal Mail, but no one could have envisaged the amount of shipping that the crazy Corona situation would create, so I choose to applaud all of their hard work.

I’m grateful to our customers old and new for their patience when there were delivery issues or when we got their orders wrong (it’s rare but yep – we are only human and do occasionally get it wrong!) and a huge thanks to all of our suppliers for keeping the supply lines running so smoothly throughout the year.

During all this year’s madness we still managed to release new cigars including the fabulous Ramon No.2 with its exclusive world launch in the UK, Quai D’Orsay Senadores and Montecristo Supremos.  We released new casks of Stalla Dhu- single malt whisky, introduced Key West Rums and partnered with Snowdonia distillery and its fabulous Foragers gin and Y Bet Vodka.

Despite ongoing shortages of Havanas, our amazing UK exclusive distributor, Hunters & Frankau kept us well supplied and our huge stock levels ensured that disruption was kept to a minimum.

We expected to open our new C.Gars store on St James’s Street late Summer but constant delays due to Corona has set the opening back and now we expect to open early January. The store will be a true expression of the essence of C.Gars Ltd. Our finest ranges of premium spirits and premium cigars in the most comfortable of surroundings and of course, the best location in the UK.

C.Gars has grown so much since its humble beginnings 23 years ago that it would take all day to thank all of the Team (I think we employ almost 100 people these days!) for all their hard work and dedication. We have become a pretty big business, but Laura and I have tried to stay true to our founding ethos of treating every customer how we would like to be treated as a customer. We set the standards for service in our industry, guaranteeing quality and value and giving the best customer experience possible.

I’m looking forward to 2021 as we have more exciting expansion plans that I hope to share with everyone in January.

We may not be able to go out and celebrate the New Year this year due to the Covid restrictions but I hope C.Gars has bought a bit of happiness into your New Year celebrations with our fine cigars and splendid premium spirits.

Wishing all of our customers, staff and suppliers a very happy, safe and above all healthy New Year.

Peaceful puffing,


Larceny Bourbon

Definitely on a bourbon kick lately and this one from Old Fitzgerald Distillery is really hitting the mark this week! Larceny is another one of those bourbons that just isn’t widely spread, and usually brings out that reaction of ,“I haven’t seen that one before”, when you break it out for guests. It is always a joy to be able to introduce something to friends that haven’t had it before.

John E. Fitzgerald, who had exceptional taste when it came to bourbon, is the inspiration for this whiskey. The story goes that Fitzgerald, who was a bonded US Treasury Agent, had the keys to the old rickhouses where all the bourbon barrels were stored. He would use those keys to get himself in and steal bourbon from the barrels and take jugs of it home for himself. When those barrels were unusually light and unbelievably smooth, giving truth to his exceptional whiskey palate. These barrels became known as Fitzgerald barrels, which just solidified his legacy.

Larceny Bourbon, part of the Heaven Hill family, is one of only a handful of wheated bourbons on the market. Most bourbon make-up is corn, rye, and barley. Larceny has replaced the rye with wheat, on top of that, it has 25% more wheat than other wheated bourbons. In turn that creates a much more softer and smooth sipping bourbon. The bite of the rye is not there.

Just because it is a softer sip, it most definitely doesn’t mean it is less flavourful! This bourbon packs a hearty kick of flavours that open up into different avenues depending how you decide to prepare it. This is one I for sure do not get tired of drinking. Lots of honey and oak, along with some underlying cinnamon. This is not a polarising bourbon at all, I would bet most bourbon/American whiskey drinkers will get along with it. Very accessible, especially in a manhattan!



5 Warming Whiskies to Help Usher in the Colder Months

With the colder weather rolling in and most of us having to stay home, I thought a list of some of my favourite warming whiskies felt right. These are some of the ones I like to crack open if I want a bonfire feeling inside on those chillier nights. Now if you are not the biggest fan of smoky or peaty whisky, I may skip this list! If you love those flavours or open to getting into that peaty bite, then stay right here!


Bowmore Vault Edition 2nd Release – 50.1%

This 2nd release is focusing on the distillery’s smoky character and how it balances so well with the other flavours rolling in. The name referencing the distillery’s basement vaults that sit below sea level, the “No. 1 Vaults”. Wonderful flavours of stewed fruits, sweet creaminess, and of course a wood smoker BBQ!

Stalla Dhu Caol Ila 11 year – 60.4%

This newest release from our fantastic cask strength line up has quickly become one of my favourites. From the northern shores of Islay, Caol Ila has always been an understated winner in my book. This release doesn’t disappoint with that slight maritime sweetness, fresh cracked pepper, smoked almonds, and the not so overpowering campfire.

Laphroaig Lore – 48%

This no age statement release was created to represent the distillery’s over 200 years of knowledge and traditions. Lore is described as the “richest of the rich”, and I can honestly say it lives up to that. It is big, bold whisky that has waves of vanilla, dried fruit, with those telltale medicinal maritime flavours. This has been the perfect by the fire sipper!

Longrow 18 – Various

Not from the wonderful world of Islay, but equally delicious. From those fantastic folks at Springbank, this was bound to be good. Longrow is their heavily peated style and every release of the 18 I have had has been a winner! Very warming flavours of smoldering embers, lemon custard, roasted coffee, and a dry smoke.

Highland Park 18 – 43%

Couldn’t finish this list without mentioning that Viking elixir! Delivering some absolutely delicious whiskies from all the way up in Orkney. The 18 is a perfect representation of what the distillery is capable of. A very harmonious complexity that is velvety smooth and equally as rich. A soft sweet smoke, with rich honey and stewed cherries are only some of the flavours. This one brings out very indulgent tendencies.

Hopefully this list might help you decide on your next dram to savour on those colder nights!



Old Fitzgerald 9 year Bottled in Bond 2020

If you are looking for a super-premium American whiskey for that special someone this year, Heaven Hill has a good option for you! This Old Fitzgerald is part of the distillery’s series of well-aged wheated bourbons that are being released for each distilling season. This is the 2020 spring release that was pushed back because of the pandemic, but alas it finally arrived safely into our warehouse!

These bottled-in-bond bourbons have to be distilled at the same distillery, during the same distilling season, minimum of 4 years aging in a government bonded warehouse, then bottled at 100 proof or 50% ABV. So, it’s safe to say that to receive that designation it’s a bit stringent. And way way back John E. Fitzgerald was a treasury agent that used to patrol these bonded warehouses, often utilizing his palate for a bit taste testing.

The Old Fitzgerald name has been synonymous with quality bourbon for as long as it has been around, and that has not changed since the acquisition by Heaven Hill. These BiB releases are produced to offer whiskey lovers something a bit more special in the wheated bourbon space. The presentation is inspired by the original 1950’s Old Fitzgerald diamond decanter, honouring the brand’s long history and pedigree. The bottle will also don the tax strip that is a signature of transparency for Bottled-in-Bond products. The liquid inside the beautiful bottle pulls from different allocations from across their different rickhouses to pull a premium bourbon!

So if a wonderful premium wheated bourbon in an equally wonderful decanter is what you’re after, than this bottle is great for that collector…or drinker in your life!