Cigar Smoker of the year event!

According to my wife and friends I should definitely have received this award every year since I was 15 years old 🙂 but seriously… it’s that time of the year again and tickets are now available for this super bash at the fabulous Boisdale of Canary Wharf on the 3rd December.

Ranald and I dreamed up this unique annual event 5 years ago over a long strategy lunch herf (went on for bloody ages!) and it’s the largest cigar event in the UK on the calendar.

You can get tickets on the Boisdale website or if you would like to join Karyn and I on the C.Gars table, book on the C.Gars website. It will as ever be an evening to remember!

The Viña Carmen Cigar Smoker of the Year Dinner
Founded by Boisdale
Monday 3rd December 2018

Join Mitchell Orchant on the C.Gars Ltd table.

Boisdale is delighted to announce the date of the 6th Cigar Smoker of the Year Dinner in association with VIÑA CARMEN Wines. The world’s most prestigious Cigar Awards event outside of Havana, celebrating iconic cigars, producers, writers, terraces and smokers.

Previous winners, nominees and guests have included Simon Le Bon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Baroness Trumpington, the late great Burt Reynolds, Jonathan Ross, Kelsey Grammer, Andrew Neil, Tamar Hassan, Charlie Sheen and James Cosmo. Join us to discover who will win The Cigar Smoker of the Year 2018.

 

I had an action packed week last week with a visit to Turmeaus Liverpool during the day and supper and jazz at Puffin’ Rooms on Wednesday evening.

All Turmeaus shops are crammed to the rafter with the finest premium cigars, the chancellors Budget yesterday has meant there will unfortunately be an increase in duty on tobacco products. We will of course hold our prices as long as possible, but regrettably they will have to go up. Stock up on your favourites now while you still have the the chance at pre-Budget prices. The base increase is RPI plus 2% plus VAT but importers and distributors also take the opportunity to increase their prices taking into account manufacturers price increases and currency fluctuations.

So… you have been warned, top up your humidors at pre budget prices – whilst stocks last.

Jazz in a bit of a Boardwalk Empire style was performed by Amanda and Nick at Puffin’ Rooms and Chef Chris treated us to top notch cuisine as usual. We sampled Davidoff Late Hour paired up with Stalla Dhu Ben Nevis at Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling Lounge till the wee small hours. Simply, a perfect evening.

On Friday I visited Turmeaus Norfolk and checked out the work going on at our new headquarters building which we expect to move into a little later this year. Well… its coming along very nicely 🙂 Our sales team are getting the office of their dreams and the shop, humidor, pipe room. whisky room and sampling lounges are all taking shape nicely.

Our beautiful new headquarters building is a historic listed building spread over 5 floors with the original 200 year old oak staircase and wooden beams throughout. We’re already planning a grand opening event and our customers in Norfolk and surrounding areas will be amazed with this state of the art Turmeaus offering.

No good news on Havana supply regrettably with no availability of Cohiba BHK’s and Siglo VI still and the latest casualty is Piramides Extra which are now not available. Better stock up on Siglo IV and Robustos before they disappear as well!

I spotted the Boveda Smart Sensor at the trade show in Las Vegas in Summer and we have finally managed to get it into our warehouse and its selling like hotcakes! Great value, works brilliantly… like all wonderful Boveda Products.

For our pipe smokers we just ran a ridiculously popular buy one get the second half price promotion. We have an insane range, probably the biggest and best in the UK and always the best value in the UK.

Avo cigars are a C.Gars exclusive in the UK. Made by Davidoff in the Dominican Republic these high quality cigars are priced incredibly keen and we will launch an Orchant Seleccion next month which in my opinion is the best in the range. Look out for them as they won’t be around long (limited edition).

Check out our Whiskey of the Month offers guaranteed best value in the UK with rapid delivery of course.

This week I’m putting together the finishing touches on our Winter Auction which will conclude on the 2nd December. Some 300 Lots of aged, rare, limited, unusual Havana cigars will be offered and the catalogue will be online a week before the sale.

Have a smokey week, but don’t forget to top up the humidor sooner rather than later to ensure you don’t get hit too hard by the Chancellor. I’d advise stocking up on a few more than your usual order, upgrade those boxes of 10‘s to boxes of 25‘s for now!

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Fuente Opus X… and Hublot!

No travel zone for me this week as my G.M. Michelle is on vacation so it’s rather relaxing 4 hour days in the office with some serious cigar sampling activity and not much else ☺ … though I did pop into Turmeaus Mayfair for a cheeky BBF yesterday and a wee dram of Orchant Seleccion Cigar Malt (a marriage made in cigar and Scotch heaven I reckon).

That said I did enjoy a splendid evening at The Corinthia hotel cigar terrace on Tuesday as I was invited to a very special Hublot watch event as brand ambassador in the UK for Arturo Fuente cigars.

You’re probably wondering what on earth does Fuente have to do with Hublot watches?! Well check it out on this linka very cool watch and a very cool partnership between these two luxury brands.

Even more cool were the special Hublot Fuente Opus X cigars specially made by one roller to celebrate the partnership and coincide with the 100th anniversary of Fuente cigars in 2012. I can honestly say that these cigars were probably amongst the top 3 cigars I have ever enjoyed in my entire life. Smooth, sweet and complex flavour bombs that are in a superior class of their own.

Fuente is an amazing cigar manufacturer  that we are proud to be the UK importer and distributor of. Now into its 4th generation this family business makes the highest quality cigars with a limited production of around 30 million sticks a year.

Established in 1912 and until 1962 the cigars were made from Cuban tobacco (Arturo Fuente was in fact from Cuba). Made in their own factory in the Dominican Republic since 1980 and Fuente have recently opened a factory in Nicaragua.

So a fun evening was had by a lot of novice cigar smokers and quite a few experienced cigar smokers too. Great to catch up with Adam, the head cigar sommelier at The Corinthia. The terrace is super comfortable and the walk in humidor has an amazing selection of cigars.

We are expecting a rather huge shipment of Fuente cigars in the next week or so. It’s been long awaited and I expect our Fuente clients will be very happy when they see the selection 🙂

I’m off to Boisdale Canary Wharf for a wine tasting and a cigar, or two, or three… and a quick planning session for The Cigar Smoker of the Year 2018 event 🙂

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Cuba!

The year is flying by! It seems like it was only yesterday since I went to Havana for the Festival and next month I’ll be heading back for the Partagas Festival.

I have actually lost count how many times I have been to Cuba in the last 21 years, well over 100 I reckon! In the early years I would head out there 4 or 5 times a year, visit factories and Pinar del Rio, travel round numerous cities, smoke great cigars and drink… lots of rum 🙂 These days I just attend both festivals and still enjoy them as much as I did when I first started out.

Cuba is a wonderful country for tourists to visit whether you are into cigars or not. Great weather, super friendly people, music everywhere and of course cigars and rum.

There are so many great cigar stores in Cuba and of course the cigars are good value. Tourists can bring back to the UK a personal allowance of 50 cigars. It fascinates me that rarely a day goes by that I don’t receive emails from tourists who have bought cigars back and think they can sell them to us. Our standard answer is email a photo and tell us where they were purchased.

Shock/horror when we look at the photos as they are of course almost without exception rather awful counterfeits purchased on streets and beaches. Usually very bad fakes with lots of loose stickers, wrong bands, wrong sizes, wrong names etc etc. Our advice is pretty simple… if you are a cigar smoker, buy from official shops only such as La Casa del Habano or Caracol. If you’re not a cigar smoker, don’t waste your money on the streets or anywhere else as we’re not interested lol.

Last Saturday evening I herfed at a friend’s home with around 30 cigar smokers, great to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones too. Most of the guys were smoking Havanas but a few were definitely into new world such as Oliva and Padron. I meet a lot of people on my travels who ask me if people still smoke cigars which gives me a bit of a chuckle as premium cigar smoking seems to be increasing year in year out, quite substantially.

I visited our Northern empire last week and our La Casa in Chester was crammed to the ceiling with sexy smokes! We just received the new Romeo Tacos limited edition but you will have to contact or visit our La Casa in Chester as these are an LCDH exclusive in the UK.

Our La Casa is full of specialities including Ramon Allones 225th anniversary humidor, Hoyo and Romeo Coleccion Habanos books, H. Upmann Replica humidors, La Casa exclusive lines like Partagas Salomones (smoking like a dream!) Cohiba Majestuosos (simply incredible) and many others. Our sampling lounge is super comfortable and we have a fully licenced bar with a great range of  single malt whisky and rum on our whisky shop just next door.

Our Chester location is quite unique with La Casa del Habano sandwiched between our specialist whisky shop and the traditional Turmeaus Tobacconist shop. The original shop has a walk in humidor only offering New World cigars such as Davidoff, Avo, Fuente, Inka, Alec Bradley, Oliva, Macanudo… to name a few. My staff are super well qualified to advise and suggest the perfect cigar for any occasion or any cigar smoker whether novice or experienced.

My next stop was to Turmeaus Knutsford. A beautiful cigar, whisky and wine shop with a large and comfortable sampling lounge. Super friendly service from Andy and Liz and just down the road from Tatton Park.

On to Turmeaus Liverpool which is probably the most impressive cigar and whisky shop in the UK. The breadth of range is breath taking, my retail team are very knowledgeable and the sampling lounge is simply… perfect 🙂

Dinner and live jazz at Puffin’ Rooms was as good as ever. Victoria tinkled the ivories, Chef served up some delightful tapas dishes complemented with 2015 Chablis Premier Cru and the service was truly 5 star. The best evening out in Liverpool, bar none.

I finished the evening sampling a couple of cigars (Trinidad Vigia and Partagas Serie E No. 2) at Turmeaus Late Hour cigar shop and sampling lounge.

Both Puffin’ Rooms and Turmeaus were packed full of people enjoying this unique experience, a really great crowd. I looked at the Trip Advisor reports the next day which were a pleasure to read.

I’m off to herf for a few days in Las Vegas next week, take in some shows and do some target practice at the firing range. I’ll probably visit the lovely Davidoff bar and am planning to check out the smoking lounge at the Bellagio, looks really great from the report in Cigar Aficionado.

I’m taking a baggie for the trip crammed full of:

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Shorty
Oliva Orchant Seleccion Shorty
Davidoff Orchant Seleccion Lanceros

… and a couple of Fuente as a bit of a treat/ change of pace.

Have a smokey weekend,

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Cigar Auction Time Again…

It’s that time again! Our 4th auction of 2018 is now live and online and will finish on Sunday the 16th September.

330 Lots of aged, rare, mature and limited edition cigars will be sold and no doubt some bargains will be bagged 🙂 It’s easy to get in on the action and it works a bit like eBay. You have to register to bid and you have to request an appropriate credit limit. The whole process takes a few minutes and the bidding is lightning fast thereafter.

  • Our first cigar auction was held on the 1st December 2009 and we have held 26 Cigar auctions since our specialist auction department was established.
  • We hold an average of 4 cigar auctions per year (usually Spring, Summer and Winter) though this year we plan a 5th auction in December as well.
  • Our auctions have sold a total of 8,073 lots since we held our first cigar auction. Including 545 Davidoff, 447 Dunhill and 469 Pre Embargo lots sold!

The interest in these cigars seems to be insatiable and it looks like this will continue as we see more and more stock shortages from Habanos SA.

Some of the featured lots in this auction include:

Lot 317 – Pre Embargo cabinet of 500 Punch Coronas in exceptional condition and of beautiful appearance

Lot 276 – Box of 10 Dunhill Estupendos from the 1980’s

Lot 295 – Ramon Allones Hunters & Frankau 225th anniversary humidor of 100 cigars

Lot 283 – Cohiba Majestuosos 1966 humidor of 20 cigars

Lot 324 – Pre Embargo Ramon Allones Trumps cabinet of 50 cigars

Lot 298 – Trinidad 40th anniversary humidor of 40 cigars

All quite breath taking!

We leave all of the sales data online from previous auctions so it can be used as a reference for collectors to see how prices have increased (or decreased) over the years which can make for very interesting reading! For any advice or condition reports email the auction team at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk. The Team is online 24/7.

I’m just back to the office after a couple of days off for New Year (Happy new year to all who celebrated!) and getting back into routine with a sampling session at Turmeaus Mayfair followed by smokes and drinks at The Lanesborough (good way to start the year I reckon!) I’m getting quite partial to Romeo Belicosos as a change of pace to Bolivar Belicosos these days. The Romeo is far milder which suits my palate better as the current production Bolivar seems to have kicked the strength up a notch or two.

It’s a return to form for the Romeo which has been exceptionally unpopular for many years, though I remember back in the mid 90’s when just about every enquiry we had was for Romeo Belicosos, RASS and PSD4’s! In that time period they were more or less impossible to get. I even went over to Holland by car with my father to buy up all the retailers stocks and import them to the UK!

I hope we are not going back to those days as we are still seeing patchy supply on Cohiba and various other brands/vitolas.

We seem to be steaming towards 10,000 products on our website and I love the New Product feature. I remember when Laura and I started the website and we had around 200 products and a target of 50 orders a month! Now we have warehouses full of the finest tobacco and spirits and thousands of orders a week… incredible!

I think I will go and celebrate that with a dram of my current favourite and award winning Stalla Dhu Auchroisk; 19 years old and perfect with another Romeo Belicosos 🙂

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

Whisky & Curry!

Ok… Now I know many a whisky aficionado who sings (or sang before converted) in perfect harmony with the choir 🎶 Nooo Way! 🎶 I completely understand that, savouring the purity of “The Water of Life” without subjecting your taste-buds to an onslaught of spice and heat fighting for survival so they can savour the next caress of a gentle dram, blah blah blah.

Well that’s just it for a starter, not all drams are gentle and peaceful, in fact many are prepared for battle in full armour and ready to take on all challengers.

So after a recent and necessary whisky tasting I invited my tasting partner, a visitor from the States, for a curry where I advised him we could continue our tasting experience elevated of course by the pleasures of as the Indians themselves say “First Class” experience. He of course was massively sceptical both about food and the pairing.

Now we arrived at the sparsely seated establishment early evening and were promptly seated when I asked for some poppadoms and sparkling water to refresh and prepare 🙂

A selection of Tandoori starters were ordered and I took the lead in ordering the booze. First up a Bowmore Old Fashioned, no explanation needed this just works at every level with the starters.

For his main, being a novice, he opted for a safe Chicken Korma. No problem, double Eagle Rare Bourbon on the rocks (25 ml just does not do it and to interject; Puffin’ Rooms is the only place to get 35ml) anyway it’s candied fruity, honey complexity and oakyness was perfect.

Now I ordered Lamb Rogan Josh and Garlic Naan… when your pairing anything, particularly cigars and whisky, the rule of thumb is contrast or compliment. But I like to take one step further and challenge.

The idea is to bring out the best in both, not that it’s advised to have a mouthful of complex food and swirl it around with a counterpart spirit, but to take a bite enjoy all that the dish has to offer allow settle then reach for the glass of challenge see it raise to the occasion.

So fortunately this restaurant had a whisky that fit the bill Laphroaig Lore. Spicy, peaty and seriously good with hints of sherried sweetness! Perfect Harmony to my Rogan Josh.

Oh and on the table, left over from the poppadoms, sat my favourite lime pickle which I emptied on to my curry and left out of the equation just because it’s the “Pickle King!”

On the way out my friend said as Americans do that was “Awesome”.

Slainte

Ron Morrison
Chairman of C.Gars Ltd