Time to swot up!

Oooh it’s good to be back! I had a brill week of dossing about in the sun in the Lake District, but I’ve got to admit it’s nice to be back in the shop. So here I am in my usual spot in the Whisky Shop, with a sweet and floral bowl of Bosun Cut Plug in my pipe, back to my blog as normal. I was glad to see that the shop had been running brilliantly in my absence, with preparations for our anniversary events in full swing. Norfolk have just had their event, which was a bit far away for me to attend, but I heard they had a fantastic night! There’s still time to book into one of our three remaining ones at Chester, Knutsford and Liverpool (Tickets can be found here) so don’t miss out!

We’re also approaching the final week to buy flavoured rolling tobacco and small sample portions of any rolling tobacco, so don’t forget to stock up if you’re a fan. I’ve blogged about that a lot lately though, so I’m not going to go into it anymore today!

On top of all that fun business going on, we’ve also entered the racing period in Chester. For those of you who don’t know, Chester Racecourse is a stone’s throw from our shop and we get a lot of people popping in en route to the racecourse to stock up on cigars (because cigars and horse racing go hand in hand, of course!) Naturally we’ve been making sure we’re prepared, with a selection of convenient race day samplers available in store, with a small selection of cigars, a cutter and matches, so people can grab everything they need for a day at the horses in one convenient package. If you’re heading to the races this year, make sure you pop in to see us!

Anyway, what else has been going on? We’ve been putting on our school caps in the northwest with a couple of cigar training sessions. We started the other week, with Hunters and Frankau popping up North to give host to the introductory level of their Havana Cigar School for some of the newer staff members. I stuck around for a bit of it (never too late to brush up on the basics) and was reminded of how much I enjoyed getting into cigars for the first time. Now all our staff in the north have a solid foundation of cigar knowledge, so feel free to pop in to test them at some point. During the training, the attendees sampled a box of Montecristo No.4s and I managed to nab myself a delicious Ramon Allones Specially Selected. Damn, we know how to do training right ;-)!

Keeping the ball rolling, a bunch of us popped over to Liverpool’s plush new store at the Albany (I’m still a little bit jealous of their massive, record breaking cigar room) for some training from Davidoff in their lounge.  Davidoff cigars are often a point of contention with a some of our staff and customers; They are unquestionably good cigars (the Nicaragua Robusto and Winston Churchill Churchill are two of my faves) but they do also carry a price tag that is close to that of a Havana, which some people resent paying for a New World cigar. This training session really helped open our eyes to just how much goes into the manufacture of Davidoff cigars, with some insanely elaborate blending and sourcing combined with some seriously extended ageing processes… some of their leaves are aged for up to TWENTY years before being used. Now it’s easy to understand the price tag! During the training, we all got to sample a Davidoff 2000 from their classic range, which is an excellent measuring stick for high quality Dominican cigars. We also got to try something very new and exclusive, which I’m going to keep to myself for now, but hopefully we’ll be wrangling some for our stores in the not too distant future, so you’ll be able to check them out for yourself. Don’t worry: I’ll let you know when I can ;-)!

I’m so glad that we can offer so much training for cigars, I’m pretty sure a lot of the staff in attendance will be true cigar connoisseurs in no time! Even the more experienced of us are still picking things up; I’ve definitely gained a lot more of an appreciation for some of the more unusual  cigars produced by Davidoff, such as the Yamasa range, which use tobacco from the Yamasa region, where many people thought it was impossible to successfully cultivate tobacco. This makes them quite unlike anything else on the market! If you are still a bit put off by the price, there are a couple of decent budget options: The Petit Panatela and Belicoso from the Winston Churchill range are both excellent value for short smokes. They’re both medium filler, but honestly, you wouldn’t guess it from how smooth and complex they are to smoke. Great as an introduction to the range.

That’s all for me this week, we have one more race day in Chester for the week (wish us luck!) and then we’re heading straight into our anniversary event. Hope to see some of you there!

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


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