60 Seconds With Mitchell Orchant
I took some time to catch up with Mitchell Orchant, Managing Director of CGars Ltd. Taking sixty seconds out of his busy schedule, we talk about how the cigar scene in the UK has changed and how improving US/Cuban trade relations may affect the cigar market in the USA.
How do you feel the UK cigar scene has changed in the last 10 years?
The new and younger generation of premium cigar smokers are more receptive to mixing it up i.e Havana cigars and new world cigars. A huge proportion of our clientele are now ordering Havana cigars and at the same time New World cigars particularly from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Peru.
Our clients are constantly trying out new brands, sizes and shapes. They don’t ‘ stick’ to one favourite but are constantly looking out for the latest release by the large as well as boutique cigar manufacturers.
Cigar events have boomed in popularity throughout the UK and there are more cigars terraces or comfortable outside smoking areas than I can ever remember. The cigar scene is more vibrant in the UK than I can ever remember in the last 25 years.
“The cigar scene is more vibrant in the UK than I can ever remember in the last 25 years”
With US/Cuban relations improving in recent months, what do you think the impact on the US cigar market would be if the trade embargo were lifted? Would you expect the US market to shift more heavily to Cubans, or will the New World cigars hold strong in the ‘States?
If or when the Embargo does end I would guess that demand for Havana cigars will initially increase as many cigar smokers in the States will want to try them. I believe many will return to New World cigars that they normally enjoy as they may well suit their palate better than Havanas. I would be surprised if there would be any substantial decline in new world cigar demand.
Staying on the US/Cuban theme: It seems to me that as a result of the embargo, the demand for cigars in the US has led to a rise of a lot of brands with a strong contemporary or even avant-garde edge – think Alec Bradley or Ghurka. This trend doesn’t seem as strong in the UK as Cubans have always been available. What are your thoughts?
Over the last decade many brands such as Oliva, Alec Bradley, Fuente, Macanudo, Padron and Davidoff to name a few have understood what the cigar smoker wants better than ever. This includes blend integrity, quality control in terms of construction and draw, cigar sizes and presentation as well as price points.
At the same time the range of Cuban cigars has changed with magnificent releases such as Reserva an Gran Reserva as well as Anejados and some truly excellent limited and regional editions.
Given that you are (of course) a cigar man, and I would imagine love your whisky, what is your go-to pairing after a long day at the office?
Mitchell Orchant is Managing Director of CGars, the UK’s leading cigar specialist. They are completely independent and totally family-run. You can buy online at www.cgarsltd.co.uk