I would like to start this article by correcting a great injustice. I made a grave mistake with my list of 'Cigar Rollers' in my previous article by omitting one of the most important people in that position. His name is Jose (Cueto) Castelar and he is the house roller at the Parque Morro-Cabaña Cigar Shop in Havana. That would be across the bay next to the Castillo el Morro, another Havana fortress. I have yet to meet this man where he works, I've been introduced to him at an event some time ago. He's in the Guinness Book of Records for having rolled the world’s longest cigar measuring 81.80 meters or 268 feet 4 inches long. Not having met him personally on a one on one… he just simply (and embarrassingly) was forgotten. I apologize to him and my readers.
The next roller I wish to talk about is the latest addition to the higher echelons of this trade. His name is Alejandro Gonzalez Arias and he is officially the youngest of all the rollers that hold this position having started rolling at the Hotel Comodoro in Miramar, Havana when he was only 28 years old. He's now 30 and has garnered quite the following with aficionados singing his praises from every corner of the world.
Origin : Cuba Format : Petit Corona Size : 42 x 129 mm (~5 in) Box date : 1986 Hand-Made Price : 150 EUR / cigar
Before delving into the meat of this review, I must take the time to give an appreciative nod and a tip of the cap to Frederic of LCDH Knokke for dipping into his private stash to give me the opportunity to cross one of the few things remaining on my bucket list of things to accomplish before I leave this world--- enjoying a technically and aesthetically perfect Cuban cigar. Originally released in 1969, this Davidoff remained un-banded until around 1980 and the line was completely discontinued in 1991, remaining amongst the best of the best during its entire release. One look and one glorious puff and you are hooked. Without qualification, this smoke was absolutely flawless in every respect. They just do not get any better than this.
Sometimes big things come in small packages, and Partagas 2014 release of their D series Size #6 is no exception. Don’t let appearances fool you. This midget of a robusto packs plenty of surprises, and all of them good ones. It is a perfect choice if you do not have a ton of time, but want to indulge yourself with a classic habanos cigar. Grab yourself a tasty beverage and sit down for a nice ride to the Caribbean.
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
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!
Origin : Costa Rica Format : Pyramid Size : 7 x 54 Wrapper : Ecuador Filler : Dominican Republic and Peru Binder : Ecuador Hand-Made Price : ~$18 each
If you are shopping at the tobacconist and you spot MBombay Kesara cigars on the shelves, they’ll stand out instantly. They are quite unusual to look at, particularly where the band is concerned (more on that shortly). MBombay is a pretty new brand owned by Mel Shah. You may previously have known him better as the owner of Fame Wine & Cigar Lounge in Palm Springs. Shah’s cigar company MBombay launched in June of 2014 with two different lines: MBombay Classic and MBombay Maduro. The third line, Mōra, debuted that August. At the end of the year, Kesara came out.
Kesara is available in three sizes: a 6 x 52 toro, a 4 ½ x 54 robusto, and a 7 x 54 pyramid. Mel Shah, the owner, sent me a sampler of the pyramids (thanks Mel!), which I am reviewing today. And we've got some more cigars to give away, read on for details!