Habanos World Days London 2024

Habanos World Days London 2024
Date: June 2024
Author: Usman Dawood

Habanos World Days London started on Thursday, June 20th, 2024, with a cocktail party in the picturesque Belgrave Square, marking the start of a three-day celebration dedicated to the 55th anniversary of the Trinidad brand. This event, showcased the rich heritage and excellence of Habanos cigars in the heart of London.

The Opening Cocktail Party

The festivities began with a cocktail party where guests received a luxurious gift bag containing a cigar case from Bosquet, lighters, cutters, and several Trinidad cigars, including the Fundadores, the Robusto Extra, and the special Trinidad Ingenios—a limited edition cigar from 2007. The inclusion of the Ingenios was a delightful surprise for attendees.

The first vitola served was the Trinidad Fundadores, the cigar that officially introduced the brand to the world in 1998. This was followed by the reintroduction of the Trinidad Robusto Extra, which had been discontinued in 2012. The return of this classic cigar was met with great enthusiasm, signalling a revival of beloved traditions and flavours within the Trinidad lineup.

Industry Insights

On Friday, June 21st, the celebrations continued in Belgrave Square with a panel of industry experts discussing “Trinidad: Past & Present.” This session provided a fascinating and informative experience for Habanos enthusiasts, industry professionals, and members of the press, offering insights into the brand’s storied past and its promising future.

Following the seminar, guests were invited to an exhibition featuring some of the rarest Trinidad pieces ever made, including celebratory humidors and boxes signed by Fidel Castro. This exhibition not only highlighted the craftsmanship and artistry of Trinidad cigars but also celebrated the brand’s deep historical roots and cultural significance.

Cigar roller Juana Ramos Guerra demonstrated the fine art of cigar rolling. Having started her career at the Laguito factory in 1973, Guerra was part of the team that rolled the original Trinidad Diplomáticos and the first Fundadores in 1997. Her demonstration offered a rare glimpse into the meticulous process of crafting premium cigars, captivating both seasoned aficionados and newcomers alike.

The day’s events concluded with the announcement of the winners of the Trinidad Perfect Pairing competition. Antonis Giannousakis and Robert Tomko presented their winning combination of the Trinidad Topes with a non-alcoholic Canchancharito (made with lemon verbena tea) and the classic Canchanchara (with Eminente Cuban rum), complemented by almond chocolate bars crafted by Birley Bakery’s Maître Pâtissier, Vincent Zanardi. This pairing exemplified the harmonious relationship between fine cigars and gourmet flavors, delighting attendees.

The Gala Evening at the Victoria & Albert Museum

The highlight of the Habanos World Days was the gala evening on Saturday, June 22nd, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum—one of the most beautiful locations in London. Guests enjoyed a cigar and champagne reception in the Raphael Court, surrounded by Renaissance masterpieces. This stunning setting created an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere, perfect for the evening’s events.

The introduction of the Trinidad Limited Edition 2024 Cabildos cigar was a momentous occasion. This unique cigar, measuring 6 3/8 inches by 46 ring gauge, known as an Ilustres in Cuban factories, was launched in exclusive Premier Packs of five cigars. These packs are available only in the United Kingdom, with just 10,000 numbered packs produced, making a total of 50,000 cigars. The anticipation for the Cabildos’ general worldwide release in boxes of 12 cigars added to the excitement of the launch.

The Auction

The evening also featured an auction of five Trinidad-themed humidors, which raised significant funds for Cuba’s public healthcare system. The lots included an S.T. Dupont vertical trunk holding 550 Trinidad cigars, a double-door Trinidad cabinet from DeART S.r.l. containing 204 cigars, and a console humidor from DeART with 110 cigars. The highlight of the auction was the Trinidad Aniversario Fundadores Vintage 10, a colorful S.T. Dupont horizontal trunk containing 55 aged Trinidad Fundadores. This lot commanded the highest bid, selling for 2.5 million euros (about $2.7 million).

In total, the auction raised 5.2 million euros (approximately $5.5 million), with the proceeds earmarked for Cuba’s public healthcare system. The auction was a testament to the generosity and enthusiasm of the Habanos community, underscoring the strong connection between cigar culture and philanthropic endeavors.

The Future Prospects

The Habanos World Days in London was a historic event, being the first of its kind outside of Cuba. Ana Lopez, Head of Marketing for Habanos & Special Projects, expressed her joy and gratitude, saying, “It was a real joy to welcome the world of Havana cigars into our home in the United Kingdom. To entertain them during the Habanos World Days and to show off the wonderful cigar shops, lounges, terraces, and clubs that are woven into the fabric of our cigar culture here. So many friends and colleagues made the trip, and we will always be grateful to them for helping to make the first ever in-person Habanos World Days a suitable tribute to the Trinidad brand on its 55th birthday. The gala dinner at the V&A and the auction that raised €5,150,000 for the Cuban health system were the perfect way to draw the event to a close. It has been a privilege for Hunters & Frankau to organize this event. Exhausting but great fun.”

Habanos has confirmed plans to host more events in different locations, although no specific dates or venues have been announced yet.

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