The other week we reported that this year’s Festival del Habano XVIII would commence in Havana on February 29th and run through March 4th. Now that the festival is concluded, it is time to take a look back over the highlights.
More than 2,000 participants flocked to the capital of Cuba to enjoy this year’s event, traveling from more than 60 different countries. This year’s event coincides with the 50th anniversary of Cohiba, so Cohiba was the center of attention. The festival was very much in their honor.
We saw three special releases from Cohiba at the festival:
- The Cohiba Medio Siglo (52 x 102 mm). This is a new addition to the regular product line.
- The Cohiba Majestuoso 1966 (58 x 150 mm). This is a special edition.
- Cohiba 50 Aniversario (60 x 178 mm). This of course is also a special edition, designed to mark the occasion. The Cohiba 50 Aniversario cigars go with the luxury humidor (more on that below).
Additionally, Cohiba created a sumptuous humidor to celebrate their anniversary; only 50 units were manufactured, each one built for a specific person and customized with the owner’s name. Each is lined with 24-carat gold-plated Cuban ligero tobacco leaves. A great deal of craftsmanship and attention to detail went into the construction of these humidors. The gold-plated leaves were hand-picked, and the humidors are made out of luxury woods like pink cedar and sycamore. Jean-Philippe Martin is responsible for the design, and the firm Elie Bleu carried out the manufacturing.
The awards 'Habanos Man of the Year - Hombre Del Habano' were also announced... and we are happy to report that Dominique Gyselinck, our friend and founder of LCDH Knokke / Gent / Hasselt & La Casa del Tabaco Bruges won the award in the Business category. Congrats!
Other exciting new releases unveiled at the 18th Festival del Habano include:
- The Hoyo de Monterrey Reserva Cosecha 2012
- The H. Upmann Magnum 54
- Cuaba 20 Anniversario
And the yearly limited editions:
- Romeo y Julieta Capuletos
- Montecristo Dantés
- Trinidad Topes
Other key highlights and events during the festival included visits to the Vuelta Abajo tobacco fields and tours of the El Laguito factory. Participants also had a chance to visit the Cohiba headquarters. Throughout the week, Habano experts conducted talks and classes. Festival-goers were able to enjoy a variety of tastings and pairings with premium cigars, Chianti wines, whiskeys, rums, and more. As usual, the longest ash contest was held (photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters):
All things told, this year’s event was a huge success. Javier Terréz de Ercilla, vice president of Development at Habanos. S.A. stated, “There is no event like this in any other country … It is a unique showcase to launch new products, introduce our own products and exchange with consumers. I’ve been working in Cuba since 2000 and increasing numbers of enthusiasts of the cigars made on this island come, which makes us strive each year to offer the very best to our customers.”
Hopefully, with relations slowly warming between the US and Cuba, the annual Festival del Habano will only continue to grow in the years to come. Did you have a chance to attend Festival del Habano XVIII? We’d love to hear all about it. Share your experiences with us in the comments below!