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A very special tasting (and some fun new stuff!)

So, I’m back to work after my time off. It’s always nice to get back to the shop after a week or so away, but that’s not to say I didn’t get up to some fun cigar and whisky related shenanigans while I was away. I’ve already mentioned that I enjoyed our last tasting night in Chester while I was off, but that wasn’t the only fun I got up to. I was invited to a private Whisky and Cigar tasting seminar in London for Masters of Havana Cigars. The seminar was called “The Art of the Master Blender” so I was somewhat under the assumption it would be about the blending of cigars. However, on arrival I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was actually about the blending of single malt whisky, specifically Dalmore.  Even more pleasantly surprising was the fact the seminar was presented by industry legend, Richard “The Nose” Paterson, whom I’d heard amazing things about but never met or seen in person.

I’ve heard many people talk about him before, but nothing could prepare me for his passion, knowledge and general showmanship when giving a seminar about whisky. I was gripped for a solid three hours while he told us the history of Dalmore and talked about the various types available. Throughout the seminar, we tasted a range of Dalmore including the 15 year old, the Cigar Malt, the King Alexander III, amongst a few other things. We also enjoyed a Montecristo No.2 and the now almost impossible to find Bolivar Britanicas (another amazing surprise.) I’ve always loved whisky, but I left this tasting with a seriously invigorated passion and a much better understanding of whisky, plus some excellent tips on how to taste whisky to its fullest. Seriously, if you ever get the chance to see Richard Paterson give a presentation, take it!

Anyway, on to more current stuff. I’ve been back for a little while now and I was pleased to see some new and exciting stock in the humidor when I arrived. Namely the stunning H. Upmann Supremas 2014 Replica Humidor, which contains H. Upmanns in a large, double figurado format. Very unusual and absolutely gorgeous. I’m pleased to say we’ve also managed to get our hands on some more Cohiba Talisman, which tend to fly out as quickly as they come in, mostly due to being absolutely delicious and only available in limited quantities. At the time of writing we still have a couple of boxes left in La Casa, but they may well have disappeared by the time this blog goes live!

On a similar note, the latest LCDH Exclusive vitola, Trinidad La Trova has started to poke its head up, but again: only in limited quantities. This cigar promises to be extremely popular already. Sharing its dimensions with the legendary Cohiba 1966 in a blend that many say is fairly similar to Cohiba’s, it looks to be a great alternative for when they disappear. Trinidad has had something of a resurgence in popularity lately, with a few big gauge, heavy hitters modernising the blend from its slender sized roots. It’s worth noting that our most popular Trinidad of late has been the Topes (and rightly so IMO) which is just a couple of gauges shy of being the same vitola as the Cohiba Robusto Supremo, so the fact that La Trova is the same format as an equally popular Cohiba Edicion Limitada bodes extremely well for its inevitable popularity. Sadly, La Trovas are already out of stock again, but you can request a notification of when they arrive on their page on our site.

While I’m talking about new things, here’s a quick shout-out for Roll Up Cigarette smokers: We’ve just started stocking Red House fine cut tobacco in Chester. It’s not very often that you see new pre-packed brands for this type of tobacco, so naturally I was very intrigued. Once I tried it, I immediately fell in love with it. It’s produced by Davidoff, so has their instant seal of quality. The flavour itself is fantastically complex for a cigarette tobacco blend. Rich and sweet, but also rugged and robust. Vaguely reminiscent of the Gitanes/Gauloise style of tobacco, which you haven’t been able to get in the UK for a few years now, so this is definitely worth a try if you’re missing either of those.  I genuinely haven’t bought a different brand since I first tried this. It’s also very well priced, coming in at a quid or so cheaper than many of the other brands, while tasting significantly better (IMO).

That’s all for this week folk. Keep an eye out for more news on incoming products and upcoming tasting events!

Until next time: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!


A Bit of a break: Tasting Evening time!

Hi readers, I’m writing this just as I finish up some annual leave from the shop (they have to let me out to play, every now and again!) As luck would have it, I happened to be off when we had one of our trademark Turmeaus tasting events in Chester, so for the first time ever, I was able to attend one as a guest with Jo and her nephew Kaelan (who some of you may now know as an occasional staff member in Chester) It was great to see this from a customer perspective.

We started the evening in what is now our traditional way: A round of delicious coffee and a light and creamy H. Upmann Half Corona to get everyone’s taste buds ready and raring to go. I absolutely love Upmanns and the half corona is a genius idea IMO. Its diminutive 3 ½” length makes for a quick and easy smoke, but the slightly larger than average (for the length) 44 ring gauge allows the blender more freedom to express the classic Upmann profile, in a less restrictive way than the 38-42 gauges that are usual found in sub-4” cigars. They also paved the way for the growing family of more substantial cigars that measure up at 4” or under, including the Montecristo Media Corona (3 ½” x 44,) The Partagas Serie D No.6 (3 ½” x 50) and the Cohiba Medio Siglo (4” x 52). These are all perfect cigars for a satisfying smoke that can be enjoyed quickly!

Next up was the main course; another new-ish cigar and another with instant-classic potential, the Hoyo de Monterrey Elegantes. Elegantes are made in the double figurado style (pointed at both the foot and the head) which means the flavours develop slightly differently than a regular parejo – or straight sided – cigar. I’ve had a few customers express concern that the shape might be more susceptible to being plugged or generally not having a good draw, but every one of these that I’ve had have been perfect.

While the shape may be more difficult to roll, the positive side is that you’re more or less guaranteed that it’s been rolled by a higher-grade roller, when compared to something like a Mareva or Robusto, that less experienced rollers often produce. The Elegantes will give you the classic woody Hoyo taste, but revealed gradually up to its thicker point, before mellowing (but also getting sweeter) as you approach the foot. Deeeeee-licious! If you’re into more full bodied cigars, the Partagas Presidentes shares its dimensions with this cigar (known as a “Taco” in Cuba’s factories) and has a lot more hair on its chest. If you’re feeling especially bold, check out the beefed up Partagas Salamones, an enormous double figurado (7 ½” x 57) which is extremely full bodied (even by Partagas’ standards) and is constantly at the top of our staff favourites list.

Naturally, it’s inhumane to separate cigars and alcohol, so we had the option of a selection of drinks. Either a flight of Scotch or a flight of Rum. I usually go for whisky, but this time I pinched a taste of some of Jo’s Rum and I’m very close to being converted. I was especially impressed with Ableforth’s Rumbullion. From its striking bottle with a dripped black wax seal, to its supremely rich, almost liqueur-esque, syrupy sweetness. Follow it up with the insanely good value Flor de Cana 7 year old, a delicately sweet Nicaraguan Rum and the classic Cuban Ron Mulata 5 year old and I may well be converted! Naturally though, I stuck to my old faithful whisky and enjoyed drams of Glenkinchie Distiller’s Reserve, Benromach 10 year old and the exclusive Ledaig 2008 (A Robert Graham Dancing stag bottling). I was particularly impressed with the Ledaig; I’ve only recently been won round by peated whisky and found it to be extremely approachable, with a subtle yet satisfying level of gentle smokiness. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in dipping a toe into the world of peated whisky.

After finishing up with another round of coffee, we cleared out the way for the next set of guests to enjoy their session, but not before picking up a personal favourite each: Partagas Maduro No.1 for me and a little gem from a 1998 box of Vegas Robaina Familares for Jo (what can I say, my lady has fine tastes, obviously!) It was such a nice experience to be able relax and enjoy one of these evenings, even if it did feel very very odd…

That wasn’t the only tasting going on during my time off, but I’m going to save that for my next blog, as it’s particularly awesome!

Until next time: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!



So, we’re well on our way into 2018 by now (and miraculously I’m yet to accidentally write “2017” on anything so far!) I hope you all had a great Xmas and New Year’s! We had a great Xmas up in the North-western Turmeaus Squadron, with the shops fuller than ever before with us barely able to keep stock in before it got snapped up as a Christmas gift.

At this time of year, I always like to look back over the the last 12 months and pick out the smokes that have really stood out for me. So here we have the Turmeaus Awards 2017:

Best Newcomer – Por Larranaga Montecarlo

I was so amazed when I first saw this cigar was coming out. I’ve rambled on a lot in the past about how short, stubby cigars are seemingly the way for the future and long, thin, elegant cigars are dying out as a result. Then Por Larranaga have to go and completely buck the trend. However, I’m not complaining as this cigar is absolutely magnificent! Measuring up at 6 ¼” x 33rg, it really is a breath of fresh air. Beautifully mellow, but with a surprisingly complex taste that is delicately revealed across its considerable length. If you’re a fan of cigars like the Montecristo Especial or Trinidad Fundadores, this is a must-try. They’re already firmly in my rotation of “Day-to-Day smokes” along with many of my colleagues.  Singles are currently £8.59 online, which means they’re a bargain to boot (smoking time: roughly 30mins). My old faithful H. Upmann Majestic might have competition for the “Best Value Cigar!”

Best Returning Cigar – Partagas Maduro No.1

I’m so glad to have these bad boys back in stock! We briefly had them a few years ago, but if I recall correctly, we only had a few boxes, which got snapped up immediately and then they immediately fell off the map for several years, before finally resurfacing in 2017. Thankfully, they’re just as good as I remember. With Partagas’ unbeatably rich and sweet blend, dressed in a stunning Maduro wrapper. Smoking one of these is like Smoking a Serie D No.4, wrapped in a brandy snap, dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled with dreams. They’re just absolutely ridiculous. Can’t recommend enough!

Most Reliable Smoke (pipes tobacco) – Kendal Scotch Mixture

Traditional English/Scotch mixtures are often ten a penny in specialist pipe shops and to the uninitiated they can often seem very similar. Naturally that’s not the case, in the way some people think all whiskies taste the same. There is certainly a similarity between many of these blends – at least in the cold aroma – as they all tend to use at least a small amount of Latakia, which can dominate the aroma somewhat. However, some blends still stand head and shoulders above the rest and this mixture is one of those. We have regulars in Chester who literally buy this stuff by the Kilo! This is partly due to the unique blend of tobacco in the base mixture, (Zimbabwe, Malawi and Brazilian Virginia with a mixture of regular and sun-cured Malawi Burley) with the Latakia providing only 12.5% of the blend. Rather than just leaning on the Latakia for flavour, this blend has a rich and complex base, which really sets it apart from its more simplistic rivals. Cool burning too as an added bonus!


Most Reliable Smoke – Cigars: Montecristo No.4/Petit Tubos

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, as the world-famous Montecristo No.4 (Or its tubed counterpart the Petit Tubo) are consistently at the top of the UK’s best-selling cigar. It’s easy to see why, as its rich, spicy and slightly sweet taste is seen by many as the “Classic” Cuban taste profile. If (for some bizarre reason) you’re only ever going to try one cigar, make it this one!

Best Gift – EMS “Seleccion” Packs

These things are just awesome and make a perfect gift at any time of year. Each set contains five cigars of the same vitola, with a card containing a little bit of info and space for you to make your own tasting notes. Putting the presentation, convenience and value aside, these are great for anyone who is looking to experiment with different blends. The fact that you get different blends in identical vitola makes these sets great for comparing blends side by side, as the taste is not affected by the subtle difference you get between different shapes and sizes. I’m especially fond of the Petit Robusto set, as it contains a few blends that you don’t usually see in the Petit Robusto format (such as Cohiba and H. Upmann) so they’re also a nice chance to try something new!


Honourable mention for next Christmas: Pickering’s Gin Baubles

I know it’s a little early to be thinking about next Christmas, but these were such a huge hit with us I just had to mention them! These are a set of plastic (ergo non-smashable) baubles, each of which contains a double measure of Pickering’s Gin. They’re an amazing gift, but also an excellent decoration for your own home.  They were one of our best-selling gifts this Christmas and I dare say they will be again for Xmas 2018, so keep your eyes peeled (Or get a set now while you still can!)

So those are my top picks for the last 12 months. I’m looking forward to finding my picks for the next 12! I hope you’ll be about to enjoy them with me in 12 month’s time!

Until next week: Put that in our pipe and smoke it!



Oooooh it’s been crazy up in the North West lately. All out stores are absolutely bulging with customers, getting their Xmas presents sorted or just stocking up for little treats for themselves (don’t you just love having the cover-all excuse of “It’s Christmas!” whenever you want to do something in December 😉?)

Somehow, we’ve still managed to fit in some of our usual fun and games in around all this excitement, with tasting events at our Liverpool and Knutsford stores, not to mention regular tastings at The Puffin Rooms and Late Night Turmeaus in Liverpool all through December. We must all be crazy!  As always, you can find info on all our events here

Before I go on to my inevitable list of Xmas recommendations, just a quick tip for anyone who wants to see more from us. We’ve really started building up our Youtube channel, so check it out for reviews, recommendations and of course, the youtube staple: Lists!

Anyway, it’s that time: Christmas gifts! For others or for yourself.


It pretty tricky to actually nail down a few select picks for Xmas, as Cigars are such a classic Christmas present, you could pretty much choose any and still have a perfect gift! However, there are always a few that stand out as favourites every year.

If you’re keeping it simple, tubed cigars are ideal (and a great stocking filler!) Montecristo Petit Tubos are consistently the most popular cigar in the world and it’s easy to see why.  Their rich, sweet and spicy blend is regarded by many as the “Classic” Cuban taste and the Mareva format is a conveniently quick(ish) smoke for the chilly Christmas weather! Alternatively, I always recommend H. Upmann Corona Juniors as a “Safe bet” cigar. They won’t be too strong, even for the “Cigar once a year at Christmas” type cigar smokers, but they’ve got enough flavour going on that the more experienced can still enjoy them. Naturally, you also can’t go wrong with a Tubed Cohiba, for an immediately recognisable seal of approval!

If you’re looking for something a little fancier, there are plenty of options for gift packs. These Single Cigar Gift Packs make for a well-presented gift that doesn’t break the bank and they come with a double-bladed cigar cutter to boot! For larger gifts, I always recommend these EMS Seleccion gift packs, which showcase some of Havanas most popular brands and formats. You know I love a bargain, so my personal favourite is the Seleccion Perla pack, for its great value! A little tip: A lot of these packs now come with outer sleeves that show the gross new health warning pictures, this means you can remove these sleeves before wrapping, so you don’t have to give someone a gift with a revolting picture on it. Bonus!

Pipes and Tobacco

Cigars might be seen as the classic Christmas gift historically, but pipes and tobacco are a close second

IMO! Speaking as a pipe smoker, I can say we always love having a new pipe to add to the collection. Packs of tobacco are great too: they may not seem the most “gifty” thing out there, but it’s something that pipe smokers constantly need to replace, so we always appreciate receiving some as a gift.

There are actually a few special edition pipes out there, such as this stunning range of Peterson Christmas Edition pipes. These feature a warm dark ruby bowl fitted to a snowy white mouthpiece, all made with the love, care and craftsmanship that makes Peterson pipes so world renowned.

For something a little different, you can also get a selection of Chirstmassy pipes from Chacom. These have a nice light brown bowl, a white stem, all finished off with a festive ribbon.

If you don’t want to go in the overtly festive direction any classic pipe will still make a lovely, traditional present and it doesn’t get much more traditional that the Peterson System 317, which comes in a variety of colours and finishes.

Now, for the stuff to actually go in the pipe!

This is our first Christmas since the new laws that banned a lot of flavoured tobacco, but fortunately, there are still some festive blends out there that would make a perfect accompaniment to a Christmas Pipe. My personal favourite is Samuel Gawith’s Christmas Mixture. We still have some stocks of the 2014 edition, which is starting to age beautifully and has all the tastes you’d expect from a Christmas mix; Xmas Pud, brandy, orange, cinnamon, all in a mixture that burns slow and smooth, all the way to the bottom of the bowl.

Finally, some of you may remember my tradition for mixing up a big batch of our own custom mixed “Christmas Pudding” tobacco blend. Sadly, the aforementioned new laws mean we can no longer sell our own custom blends. But that doesn’t stop me telling you my recipe, so you can mix your own:

To make our Christmas Pudding blend, simply mix the following:

2 Parts American C & V (Cherry & Vanilla)

1 Part Century BR (Buttered Rum)

1 Part Stokkebye Highland W (Highland Whisky)

Optional Base of 1 part of any natural, uncased tobacco to give more of a “Tobacco-y” taste. Mix it all up in a bowl, leave to marry for as long as you can resist, then get stuck in!

So those are my recommendations for the merriest of Christmases. I hope I’ve given some inspiration!

Until next time: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!


Cohiba Talisman Time!

Hi readers! Did you miss me? I’ve just got back to business after a couple of weeks off, where I enjoyed various smokes and Halloween mischief with Jo. As the clocks went back I fulfilled my annual tradition of breaking out a tin of my person favourite “winter warmer” pipe tobacco: Samuel Gawith’s Fire Dance Flake, which is a beautiful Virginia flake, topped with the essence of blackberries, brandy and vanilla, guaranteed to warm the cockles!

I also had my first taste of the recently released Davidoff Winston Churchill Late hour, which – somewhat intriguingly – are aged in whisky barrels, giving them a bold but sweet character.

I may have confessed this in this blog before, but I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Davidoff cigars, as I spent a long time as something of a “Havanas only” smoker and was always put off by the fact that Davidoffs tend to cost a similar amount to Havanas. However, over the last year or so, I’ve really developed an appreciation for Davidoff and can understand why they carry the premium price tag; In many cases, the blends are just as enjoyable as Havana brands and the consistency of the construction is absolutely on point. I’ve smoked a lot of ‘Doffs lately and I’m yet to have one that hasn’t burned and drawn absolutely perfectly. Particular favourites have been the Nicaragua Robusto, the Winston Churchill Toro and for a great value option the Winston Churchill Belicoso (It’s medium filler, but I promise you wouldn’t guess!) I’ve also been continuing my recent obsession with traditional English/Balkan/Scotch style pipe tobacco, in fact, I’m puffing away on a beautiful smoky and nutty bowl of Davidoff Scottish Mix (Davidoff aren’t paying me to say this, I promise… this one’s a genuine coincidence that I literally didn’t realise until I started typing that sentence…)

Anyway, on to more current affairs. I’m writing this on the evening of Thursday November 9th, which means we’re just a few days removed from one of the most highly anticipated events on the cigar calendar this year: The launch of the Cohiba Talisman! This is the 2017 Edicion Limitada that we’ve all been excitedly waiting for nearly all year! I was lucky enough to get invited to the official launch in London. Unfortunately, I had the travel day from hell and my train was delayed by several hours so I missed part of the event, but I just got there with enough time to try this insanely luxurious new cigar and catch up with the rest of the C. Gars crew in attendance. If you haven’t already snapped up one of these beauties, you absolutely have to give them a try. Classic sweet grassy Cohiba notes, but with a little extra oomph. If the last few Cohiba Edicion Limitadas (Robusto Supremo and 1966) are anything to go by, these cigars will disappear in a flash, so make sure you get them before they’re gone for good. Seriously, blink and you might miss them, so don’t delay!

If you didn’t make it to Cohiba Talisman event, don’t fret! We still have plenty more events lined up in the remainder of the year. There are still loads more on top of those too and Late Night Turmeaus in Liverpool now host weekly tastings! Keep an eye on our Upcoming Events page for more details.

Before I go, just a heads up, now we’re getting deeper into November, its officially Christmas in retail, so get ready for plenty of festive themed blogs and gift suggestions!

Until next time:

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!


Turmeaus Late Hour – Liverpool – Cohiba Talisman LE2017 Launch

Our next event at Turmeaus Late Hour Cigar Shop & Sampling lounge see’s the launch of the first Limited Edition Havana cigar for 2017 – the much anticipated Cohiba Talisman Limited Edition 2017 (Edición Limitada 2017)!

Due to the extremely limited and desirable nature of these cigars, we expect them to sell out in the UK market very quickly. This event therefore is an exclusive chance to be one of the first people to sample the cigar after the official launch of this flagship Cuban cigar at the Hunters & Frankau event on the 7th of November.

Your event ticket will include one of the new Cohiba Talisman 2017 along with a dram of Tomatin Whisky to pair with. If you’ve been to our events before you will know they are a great night of fun and conversation. Our very own managing director Mitchell Orchant will be making an appearance so be sure to get your tickets fast before they sell out.

Tickets are priced at £40 per person and are available on this link.

An evening With Alec Bradley – Round 2: The launch

A few years ago, we hosted an Alec Bradley tasting night. if memory serves, it was possibly our first ever New World cigar evening in Chester… definitely one of the first few anyway. In fact, it was long enough ago that it was actually before we opened Turmeaus Whisky in Chester, so we had to host the event outdoors at our favourite local venue, Bar Lounge, Chester.

Even though we love Bar Lounge, we felt we could do a little better now that we have dedicated New World Cigar Sampling areas, meaning we can sample New World cigars indoors! So, last week we invited our customers and friends to join us for another evening with Alec Bradley. Once again, we were honoured to be joined by George Sosa of Alec Bradley Cigars; An industry legend. George was there to tell us all about Alec Bradley and the special cigars we had for that evening (more on that shortly) as well as telling stories of the cigar trade and entertaining us with his rapier sharp wit.

We were also joined by Scott and Helen from Tor Imports, plus David and Mark from Turmeaus Liverpool & The Puffin’ Rooms, so this was a pretty full house for us! On top of all that, we also had platters of ridiculously delicious food from the aforementioned Bar Lounge and a cake!

So, you might be wondering why we laid on so much this time? Well, obviously, it’s because we really like our customers and want them to have the best time possible when they come to these evenings, but it wasn’t just that. This evening was the launch of our very own exclusive line of Alec Bradley cigars!

We’ve had some wonderful results with our own exclusive ranges of cigars so far… Inka Secret Blend, our Peruvian Puros, were our first proper

step into own brand cigars (We did have some exclusive “C.Gars Nicaraguan” cigars available when I first started, which were delicious, but now long gone) and have always gone down well with our customers. From what we see, people really appreciate the quality of the cigars compared to the price. The fact that they’re totally different to pretty much anything else available in the UK is a huge plus too! Following the success of Inkas, we branched out to offer a premium premium version: The Inca Reserva D’oro, which features the notoriously hard to grow Pele D’oro leaf, giving it a delicate, sugary sweet flavour.

After the success of Inkas, we launched something else a little different for us: The Orchant Seleccion Olivas. This was the first time we’ve had a pre-existing cigar manufacturer make us an exclusive cigar under their own name. I’m glad that Oliva was the brand chosen to do this, as they’re hands down my favourite range of Nicaraguan cigars (Especially the Flor de Oliva Robusto & Churchill and pretty much everything from the “Melanio” range!)

That’s without mentioning cigars that aren’t technically our own brands, but that we do have exclusive UK distributions rights for. Such as Regius and Avo.

So the next step is the Alec Bradley Orchant seleccion. This range comes in the same sizes as the Oliva Orchant Sleccion: Shorty, Skinny and Chubby. They use tobacco from Honduras and Nicaragua for a smooth, sweet blend. Interestingly they also use a double binder, which makes them a suuuuper sloooow smoke! During our launch, our guests were given a Shorty (Robusto) and a Chubby (Bombaso) to sample and even thought it was a 2-hour session, most guests only just finished the Chubby in that time!

Of course, that might be because we kept distracting them with talks, food and cake. We also sampled some whisky from Highland Park, including their latest release, the Highland Park Valkyrie,  which continues to embrace the Viking heritage of Highland Park.

Once we’d finished, the crew hit the road for Liverpool, ready to do it all over again the following evening for our friends and customers in the other side of the Mersey.

These events were exclusive early tastings for the cigars, so they’re not fully available yet. However, if you’re lucky, a few of our shops might have a few left over from the tasting. If you flutter your eyelashes at the staff, they might just be able to sort you out with one to have your own exclusive early tasting. Failing that, watch this space for news on the full launch of the range.

If you missed out, there a short video on youtube showing the fun and frolics at the Chester event, which can be found here.

Also, don’t forget to check out our Upcoming Events section so you don’t miss any fun in the future!

Until next time: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!


Tasting Nights and New Tastes

Hi readers! It’s been a little while since I last blogged and we’ve been having a lot of fun “Ooop North”.

Last Wednesday, we had one of our awesome cigar and whisky tasting sessions in Chester. These are always popular and we had a nice full house for the second session. Nothing makes me happier than seeing this shop full of happy customers enjoying themselves with whisky and cigars to sample. I know I say this every time, but it really drives home just how far Turmeaus has come in the years since I first took a Saturday job here back in 2009!

We’ve been mixing up the format of tasting sessions a little since we first started doing them. They’re still insanely good value (more on that shortly) but this time we switched from doing a “starter” and a “Main course” (a small cigar followed by a larger one) to doing one nice big cigar!

We also gave our guests the choice of two cigars of the same format, depending on their preferences. This time, the selected vitola was the “Geniales,” a beefy, 5 7/8” x 54rg Parejo. The choices were also both (relatively) new additions to the UK Habanos portfolio: The Hoyo de Monterrey San Juan and the Montecristo Open Eagle. The

San Juan is a beautifully delicate cigar, with subtle sweet, woody notes and a surprisingly rich finish for such a mellow cigar. The Open range of Montecristo is theoretically a milder alternative to the traditional, medium-full Montecristo blend, but the Eagle’s 54 ring gauge allows for a slightly fuller bodied and spicy taste profile. Both cigars produce extremely satisfying clouds of smoke… it got a little hard to see in the Casa lounge at times!

Across the evening, our guests were also given three drams of whisky to try along with their cigars, including Springbank 10 year old (our Malt of the Month for September) and one of our new exclusive releases: Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Ben Nevis 18 year old which is already going down extremely well with our customers.

The following week, our Liverpool store held its next tasting event: An evening with Amrut Indian whisky. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend myself due to other commitments, but it sounds like it was an excellent night. The gang tried some Amrut whiskies that aren’t even released yet, as well as the more classic Amruts. As an Anglo-Indian (I know… I was surprised when I heard I wasn’t half Jamaican/Caribbean too…) I’ve always had a soft spot for Indian whisky, especially because Inida’s hot climate massively accelerates the ageing process! Attendees also got to sample one of our exclusive Avo cigars, the Avo Domaine ND 20 . Sounds like it was a great night, so I’ll definitely make sure I can get to the next one!

As I said, these evenings are insanely good value. To put it in perspective, a single Montecristo Open Eagle is £22.99 online (at the time of writing). A ticket to the last Chester Event was only £20 to begin with! So even if you just showed up and had the cigar, you’d still be saving a few quid and that’s not even factoring in the three measures of whisky or rum and the two hour reserved slot in our comfy lounge… it’s kinda crazy really isn’t it?! Throw in the fact that members of our exclusive Whisky Club get tickets for HALF PRICE and it starts to get seriously loopy!

So, if you’re near to one of our stores and haven’t tried one of our events yet: Get on it quickly before we realise how crazy we’re being and put the price up 😉! You can find all our upcoming events here

In other news, we’ve recently added a few new lines of Blending Tobacco in Chester. These are to help people who had previously been enjoying our custom blends but can no longer buy them due to the new laws. So now you can buy a few different tobaccos with which to experiment at home yourself! These include Louisiana Perique, (for adding a powerful, spicy edge to your bend), Turkish Coarse Cut (Rugged, robust and full bodied) and McConnell’s 100% Cuban (the champagne of tobacco leaves, cut to be suitable for pipe smoking. If you’ve been missing our custom blends, get yourself a few of these and have fun experimenting with your own blends, you never know what you might stumble across.

Sidenote: Personally, I think the 100% Cuban blend is suitable to be smoked on its own, but it has one hell of a kick to it and is on the slightly drier side, so you might want to test the water first

before diving in fully. I’ve also had some (limited) success using it as alternative to rolling tobacco (like you can do with some of the Kendal Coarse Cut blends) but frankly, I’m a bit of a savage and can’t really be trusted on things like this, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to sensible people. Even my throat wasn’t overly impressed with me after a few days of “Cuban rollies!”

So that’s what we’ve been up to recently. Check back next week for more news and updates!

Until then: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!


Puffins and Petersons

This is my first blog since I visited the Puffin’ rooms, which was nearly a week ago now, but I’m still blown away by it. I knew to expect something special, as I’d seen a few photos of it and have had glowing reviews from several customers who like to frequent both locations. However, nothing could prepare me for just how ridiculously awesome it has turned out! From the moment you walk in, you know something special is going on. Low light, sleek black leather chairs and tables and a piano positioned in the corner of the room, just to remind you that you’re standing in the coolest jazz bar in the country. They even have back lit menus so you don’t have to strain your eyes. Amazing.

The mandatory cigar sampling area in Late Night Turmeaus is spacious yet cosy, with plenty of space to sit and enjoy good cigars and good company, with a gorgeous “Humidor Wall” filled with some of the finest cigars available on hand for convenience. I had to get back to Chester, so I didn’t have the chance to stay to check out their food, but even a cursory glance at their menu lets you know you’re in for a real treat if you do stop to eat there.

The Liverpool Turmeaus itself has changed a lot since I was last there too, with the former “Whisky and Pipe” section now dedicated purely to top quality spirits and it’s now absolutely bulging with them. Don’t fret though, pipe smokers: There’s still a great variety of pipes and tobacco available for us!

Make sure you check out these stores if you haven’t already. You definitely won’t regret it.

Anyway, back to other news. We’ve recently been looking at our Peterson range and looking at some of the lesser known types. It really is an astoundingly large and varied range. Peterson’s trademark “P-lip” and “Peterson System” feature in all of their standard range pipes, but they also have various ranges of more “Normal” pipes that feature traditional mouthpieces.

One of my favourites is the Aran range, which feature pipes with a smooth matte brown finish and an extensive range of classic English shapes and sizes, from Bulldogs (Aran 105) to Apples (Aran 03). Each pipe is finished with a fishtail mouthpiece – which combines comfort with an excellent spread of smoke for maximum flavour and coolness – and is fitted to a nickel mount. These are truly classic pipes.

These are my favourite for “Classic” pipes, but here are a few of my top picks for something a little different (cos you know how much I like things that are “Different”!)

Peterson Racing Green

This range really represents Peterson’s proud Irish roots, by offering a selection of pipes with a beautiful and striking, emerald green finish. This is combined with a Hallmarked Sterling Silver band, which compliments the colour of the wood and the black of the stem wonderfully. For a unique style of pipe, there’s a decent range of shapes on offer here.

Honourable mention to the Irish Sea range, which is similar, but the bowls are coloured an incredible deep sea blue/green, with a double nickel band. Breathtakingly beautiful.

A couple for the horror fans…

Double entry for this one, as they’re both suited to fans of classic horror. The Jekyll and Hyde Collection is hands down one of the most unique pipes available. Like its namesake, it features two distinct characters. One half is smooth, while the other half is rough. Guaranteed to raise eyebrows wherever you go!

The second half of this entry is slightly less weird, but in my opinion it’s the more beautiful of the two. The Dracula Ebony range was originally made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of author Bram Stroker, but is now a regular member of the Perterson line-up. It features pipes made from jet black ebony briar, contrasted against a bold, blood red stem with added gothic graphics on the stem and a winged bat engraved on the nickel band. Striking, but in no way tacky. Quite the achievement, really!

Belgique & Calabash

After running through some really unusual pipes, I thought I’d finish with something delicate and simple. These pipes are small, delicate and lightweight. They’re ideal for quick smokes or for gently sipping a slow burning tobacco. Again, a fishtail mouthpiece allows for maximum spread of the smoke from a small bowl. These miniature marvels are a perfect example of Petersons’ skills are pipe makers.

So those are my top picks for Petersons that are a little different from their standard “P-lip and System” Combo. I hope I’ve given you some cool ideas for your next pipe!

We’re just about ready for our next tasting event in Chester on Weds 20th September. There are a last few places available if you happen to be reading this before Wednesday evening), so drop me an email on or call us on 01244 348821 if you’d like to join us!

Until next time: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!




Once again, I’m writing this from one of my favourite locations: The beautiful Knutsford Turmeaus. As I’ve said before, I helped out with the initial set up and management of this shop for its first year, so I always love getting back over here every now and again to see how it’s getting on. The town of Knutsford itself is also gorgeous and well worth a visit, especially if you finish off with a cigar and a dram in the homely sampling area!

Whenever I’m here, I like to have a little mooch through their shelves and cigar room to see if I can find anything a little interesting: Stuff that we don’t stock in Chester, or lines that are starting to run low due to discontinuation. So, this week I’m giving you the lowdown of any of the harder to find stuff that I’ve spotted while I’m here!

Reserva and Gran Reserva Havanas

These select ranges of Havanas are extremely exclusive and consist of leaves selected from the finest fields Cuba has to offer before being aged for a minimum of 3 years for Reservas and 5 years for Gran Reservas. This means that these cigars are already delectably aged, right off the shelf!

Knutsford currently still have the Upmann No.2 Reserva and the Partagas Lusitania Gran Reserva. The latter consists of tobacco from the 2007 harvest, so we’re talking ten years ageing here and in the slowly heavy-hitting double corona format; It promises to be an overwhelmingly satisfying smoke.

Flor de Cano – Short Robusto – UK regional Edition 2010 

There are a few of these around, but we’ve really been struggling to get a decent amount of them! Knutsford still have a very tasty looking stash of this UK Regional Edition Havana. It was the UK release for 2010 and is very much a “cigar of the times:” Short, but with a heavy ring gauge, for a cigar that is convenient for these smoking ban afflicted times, but doesn’t let up on flavour. Expect sweet, light to medium notes throughout. At 7 years old, they’re also maturing very nicely at this point! Don’t miss your chance to try one!

Alec Bradley Fine and Rare –  Diademas

Another extremely limited release, with just 3000 ever being made. It’s extremely varied blend, utilising TEN different tobaccos (just don’t make me list them!). It’s also the only use of the very underused (IMO) double figurado style of cigar (pointed at both ends) that allows the flavour of the cigar to develop in a very different way to the standard “Parejo” (straight sided) cigar format. Technically, we do still have a few of these in Chester too, but supplies are incredibly scarce, so I’m pretty jealous of the selection Knutsford have!

All the wine!

I’ll be honest, out of all the stuff we sell, wine is probably the area I’m least clued up on. However, I’m always impressed with Knutsford’s addition of a specialist wine room. Andrew has a reputation with the local Knutsfordians as being a true wine expert and has years of experience, so he’s right at home here! Even as a relative wine novice, I can appreciate how comprehensive the wine selection here is. With prices ranging from just £8.29 for a bottle of La Campage 2016 Shiraz, up to £400 for a bottle of Dom Perignon 1976, there’s truly something for everyone here. If you’re like me and aren’t too clued up about the details of wine, simply come and talk to Andrew and the staff here: they won’t steer you wrong!

Side note: Port

While it might not be as big a range as the non-fortified wine selection here, there are plenty of options for port fans. I really enjoy a glass of port, so I always check these out while I’m here. I’m a big fan of Graham’s Six Grapes for a traditional glass of port, but my favourite is something a little bit different. I’m talking about Rubis! This dark, sweet port has the added flavour of natural chocolate. It might seem a little strange to begin with, but don’t let that put you off. Give it a try: The chocolate really brings loads of extra sweetness to the table, but without becoming sickly. It’s also silky, silky smooth. Definitely recommended!

So those are my top picks for things to try if you ever pop into the Knutsford store (which you absolutely, definitely should do, if you get the opportunity!) Next week, I’m taking a long overdue trip over to Liverpool, where I’ll be helping out in the shop, but also giving the swanky new Puffin’ Rooms a thorough test-drive. I look forward to filling you all in next week!

Until then: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!