- In its first decade of existence, the Habanos’Festival has become a “must” for Habanos lovers from all over the world
- Distinguished international personalities such as Gabriel García Márquez, Chucho Valdés, Compay Segundo, Joseph Fiennes or Jeremy Irons have participated in the different editions of the Habanos’ Festivals.
- The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial and the H. Upmann Magnum 50 were the star launchings of the X Habanos’ Festival.
Havana, March 3, 2008.- The Cuban capital hosted the X Habanos’ Festival from February 25-29, an event that has become the most important date on the calendar for lovers of “a good smoke”, who pay tribute to its most distinguished product: the Habanos.
This Festival, in its 10th edition this year, has helped again to promote the knowledge about the Habanos as one of the most exclusive products in the world. The Festival plays a key role in the transmission of the Habanos’ culture, and provides an extraordinary setting for sharing the pleasure of smoking it in the country of its origin.
Since the Festival’s establishment in 1999, many professionals from the world of Habanos and gourmets, smokers, craftsmen and collectors explore the roots of Cuban tradition to pay homage to one of its most valued products: the Habanos. Throughout these ten years, many distinguished personalities from politics, economy, cinema, arts, literature, sports and media have participated in this unique and exceptional vision of the world of Habanos.
Just to name a few, Nobel Prize for Literature Award Winner Gabriel Garcia Márquez, actors such as Joseph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons, or Cuban artists such as Compay Segundo or Chucho Valdés, among others.
The Habanos’ Festivals have also been a showcase for the launchings of the most distinguished new Habanos products that have set the trend in the international tobacco world, such as the launch of Edmundo de Montecristo in 2004, the Pirámide de Partagás (Serie P Nº2) in 2005; the Short Churchills from Romeo y Julieta and the Cohiba Behike in 2006; or the Reserva de Montecristo No.4 and the Línea Cohiba Maduro 5 in 2007.
An exciting journey through the Habanos’ world
As it is customary, the Festival program, running this year from February 25th to the 29th included special evening events, dedicated to stage an outstanding celebration of the Festival’s 10th anniversary, launch of new products, etc.
Festivities started the 25th February with the Welcome Night, which took place at the Karl Marx Theatre. Habanos S.A. presented 2 new products for 2008 during the evening:
On 27th February the Distributor’s Night was held, dedicated this year to the German and Swiss markets. This event has become the meeting place for cultural exchanges for Habanos’ Distributors and guests from all over the world, and is eagerly anticipated by all.
Celebrations reached their peak during the Gala Night, dedicated to commemorate these ten years of Festival, during which La Habana has become international capital for the flavor and glamour of the world’s most exclusive cigars: the Habanos.
During the Gala, the Habanos 2007 Awards were presented to those who have made relevant contributions to the world of Habanos year after year. This year, the winners were:
Communication Category: Mr Artashes Shirikyan from Russia, to acknowledge his work as the Editor and promoting Cigar Clan Magazine, and as one Cigar Clan Club founders.
Business Category: Mr Ricardo Aramburu, from Spain, due to his high record of sales in Spanish market in 2007.
Production Category: Cuban tobacco farmer Héctor Luis Prieto Díaz, who is also distinguished by using innovative ways in the cultivation techniques and irrigation systems, besides his excellent tobacco harvests.
Another highlight of the evening was the Humidors’ Auction. These humidors are true works of art manufactured by Cuban master craftsmen. The results of the Auction, totally forward the Cuban Health System, reached 945,000.00 Euros for the sale of 7 magnificent humidors, filled with more than 300 Habanos each. The humidor X Aniversario del Festival del Habano, sold in 260,000.00 Euros, was the highest bid. It is a highly valuable art craft piece, inspired on these ten years of Festival’s celebration, filled with 700 habanos from the main brands and all auctioned sizes in former Habanos’Festivals.
In keeping with tradition, the Habanos’ Festival has organized – together with the Havana International Conferences Center – another edition of the Trade Fair, a meeting place for professionals of the sector, with the possibility of buying Habanos-related products, as well as gourmet and luxury products.
The rest of the activities traditionally held within the Habanos’ Festival took place during the week. The most relevant of these was the International Habanosommelier Contest, with the participation of the winners of the different competitions organized all over the world by Habanos S.A. Exclusive Distributors. This year, a new record was set with the participation of 8 sommeliers. Countries that traditionally did not compete, such as Japan, Belgium, United Arab Emirates and Israel, participated in this exciting competition this year. This competition has quickly gained a following from the growing number of enthusiasts who ask the sommelier for advice when choosing a Habanos.
The name of the winner of the International Habanosommelier Competition was announced: Cuban Zudlay Nápoles, sommelier of the La Floridita Restaurant in Havana. Zudlay had already represented Cuba in this competition back in 2006, with the 2nd place.
The three finalists were selected after the preliminary rounds held on the first day of the X Habanos’ Festival among a total of 8 participants, all of whom were professionals who had won the national competitions at their respective countries. The Contest held its 7th edition this year, and has become the most famous competition for professionals of marriage with Habanos. This year, at the Final Habanosomelier Contest, she had to face Félix Hartmann (2nd place), sommelier at the restaurant of the Burj Al Arad Hotel in the United Arab Emirates and Carlos Echapresto (3rd place), from the Venta de Moncalvillo Restaurant in La Rioja, Spain. This is the second time a woman is awarded. Two years ago the winner was Manuela Romeralo, from Spain.
Furthermore, Festival’s participants had the chance to attend the Habanos-Armagnac 3rd Edition, which seeks the perfect match between these 2 luxury products. During this competition, that held its first phase in Paris and has become one of the most traditional activities of the Festival, participants have blind-tasted to define the perfect match between a Habano and an Armagnac. Contenders will select two different Habanos, whose brands were kept in secret until the end of the Contest (Cohiba and Partagás), and several Armagnac brandies from 12 different makers of this French region, to attain the perfect combination. The spirits, including some that were tasted already during the first selection, include 6 Armagnac Millesime and 6 Armagnac Assemblage. 1 Armagnac Millesime and 1 Armagnac Assamblage were selected for the Final held the last day of the event. The final results of the event: Armagnac Millesime Domaine de Joy combined perfectly with Partagás Sobresalientes (Habanos Special Series 2007) and the Armagnac Veuve Lanfontan et ses enfants combined properly with Cohiba Siglo VI.
More than 1,800 Habanos’ lovers from all over the world traveled to Havana to visit the cradle of the best cigar the world. Once again, the Festival gave them the opportunity to visit the plantations and the sorting houses from the most prestigious growing areas in the island: San Juan y Martinez, both in the Pinar del Río province.
Finally, in keeping with its purpose of showing the process of the Habanos, the Festival organized once again a visit to two factories closely linked to the launch of new products during Welcome Night: Factories La Corona and H. Upmann.
Habanos S.A., world leader in the “Premium” cigar market, sells Habanos in Cuba, and in the rest of the world, through its Exclusive Distributors Network in more than 150 countries in all five continents, and its “La Casa del Habano” franchises. These franchised points of sales have been very successful since their establishment, and have consolidated through an impressive business growth. Currently it includes more than 130 Habanos shops all over the world, both in Domestic and Duty Free – Travel Retail markets.These luxury Habanos point of sales have become the benchmark for international Habanos retail sales.
Habanos S.A. currently markets the Habanos under 27 tobacco Cuban brands, such as Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagás, Hoyo de Monterrey, H.Upmann, Punch, San Cristóbal de la Habana, Trinidad, Cuaba and Vegas Robaina, among others.
For further information:
Habanos S.A.: José Antonio Candia (@:firstname.lastname@example.org, www.habanos.com)