The annual Havana Cigar Festival kicked off on the morning of February 23rd, 2015. The day took off with a press conference, where Jorge Luis Fernandez Maique, Commercial Vice-President of Habanos, the global distribution and marketing organization for Cuban cigars; and Javier Terres Ercilla, company Vice-President of business development, gave some insight on the sales of cigars around the world. Please click here to read our report on the first day.
The first day concluded with an event at the Viejo Almacén de Tabaco y Madera a historic warehouse recently restored overlooking the port of Havana. Attendees were handed the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills Grán Reserva Cosecha 2009 and had the chance of listening to Grammy award-winning musician Descemer Bueno.
Check out day 1 photos below:
On the morning of the second day, guests had the opportunity to visit the tobacco plantations of some of Cuba’s greatest growers in Vuelta Abajo in the Pinar del Río province. Growers opened all their facilities for visitors to learn about the different methods used to cultivate tobacco as well as all subsequent processes such as curing and fermenting that make a cigar. Click here to stream our movie “Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba” where the process behind the making of a cigar is painstakingly explained.
Check out photos of the plantations below:
During the evening Hunters and Frankau, the British distributor, released a new cigar as a commemorative edition to celebrate the British cigar-merhcant’s 225th anniversary under the label Hunters & Frankau Aniversario 225 Ramon Allones (50 ring gauge x 140 mm). This has been so far one of our favorite releases in this year’s festival. Click here for a blog and tasting note on the cigar as well as other releases.
The highlight of the third day of the festival, was the 25th anniversary of La Casa del Habano’s celebration dinner in Casa de Protocolo del Laguito. For the occasion, two new cigars, both Glorias Cubanas, were released, one called Pirámides and the other a Robusto. Both cigars were split into a limited edition humidor, containing 15 units of each cigar. Towards the end of the evening Max Gutmann, owner of Importadora y Exportadora de Puros y Tabacos, Mexico’s cigar distributor was recognized for building the Habanos brand in Mexico as well as for being the conceptual father of La Casa del Habano, a serigrahy made by renowned Cuban artist Rene Portocarrero.
Check out the 25th anniversary dinner photos below:
The fourth day began with a visit to el Laguito Factory where Phoenicia, the regional distributor of Habanos for Greece, Africa, Cyprus and the Middle East organized a tasting of two cigars with 18 tasters of various backgrounds and nationalities, in order to decide which will be released for Lebanon. Both cigars, made under the Ramón Allones brand, share the same ring gauge and length -55 mm by 130mm. Both are also made with wrapper, binder and filler from Vuelta Abajo in Pinar del Río – Cuba’s finest tobacco growing area. The difference between the two is that one was rolled three months prior to the tasting while the lighter colored cigar had only been in the box for three weeks. After a long morning discussion the 18 tasters agreed that the darker colored cigar was more serious and complex.
See photos of the cigar tasting and el Laguito Factory below:
The closing gala dinner took place in Pabexpo in Havana’s Siboney neighborhood. The evening was dedicated to the 80th anniversary of Montecristo. There were several performances that included dances, an orchestra and a film explaining the process behind making a great cigar. This year’s guests included supermodel Naomi Campbell and hotel heiress Paris Hilton. The night ended with the traditional humidor auction, which brought a total of 660,000 euros (727,834 USD) that were donated to the Cuban healthcare system. The big winner was the Cohiba humidor earning a total of 250,000 euros (275,690 USD)
Check out photos of the gala dinner below: