The 6 different Habanos concepts explained. Habanos focuses on two things when creating a concept besides cigars that is. Three retail concepts and three experience concepts. But some concepts do have an overlap. Yet the concepts aren’t clear to everybody, and the Habanos website doesn’t give much information on any of them. So it’s time for us to dive into these concepts and create clarity.
The lowest tier of the retail concept is the Habanos Point concept. This is a concept for smaller shops, where shelve space is an issue. To award small shops owner that is very passionate about Cuban cigars. Some small shops can’t meet the requirement to become a Habanos Specialist just because they lack the space. Yet, if they consistently show passion and knowledge they can qualify to become a Habanos Point. The owner or staff of the shop have to get a certificate at the Habanos Academy to qualify for this concept. In this case the Junior certificate is enough. There should also be a good number of Habanos cigars available at the shop from the global brands. And it should be in balance with New World cigars. Habanos Points can’t get the high-end cigars such as BHK and Edicion Limitada cigars according to sources within European Habanos distributors.
The second tier is Habanos Specialist. These are tobacconist retail stores with space for a walk-in humidor. Because that is one of the requirements to become a Habanos Specialist. Other requirements are certificates from the Habanos Academy, the Senior level. These courses can only be given by certified Habanos Academy Masters. Plus all Habanos Specialists are required to visit Cuba on a study trip organized by Habanos or its regional distributor. Becoming a Habanos Specialist allows the retailer to purchase a wider variety of Cuban cigars. Which selection is available to regular shops, Habanos Points, and Habanos Specialists depends on the regional distributor. Habanos Specialists also get an allocation of the annual Edicion Limitada releases from Habanos and the Edicion Regional for their territory.
The third and most prestigious tier is to become a La Casa del Habano. This is a franchise concept. Where the Habanos Points and Habanos Specialist fall under the responsibility for the local distributor, La Casa Del Habano is a direct contract with Habanos. For that, a walk-in humidor is a requirement just as certificates from the Habanos Academy and a study trip to Cuba. But on top of that, each La Casa del Habano has to have a cigar lounge. La Casa del Habano locations are only allowed to sell Cuban cigars when it comes to tobacco. But that limitation more than compensated. La Casa del Habano stores get the biggest allocation of Edicion Limitada and Edicion Regional cigars. They also get all the La Casa del Habano exclusive cigars and first picks to special editions such as humidors and jars. La Casa del Habano retailers can order straight at Habanos in Cuba, although imports will go through the local importer and distributor. Due to the requirement of the lounge, this concept crosses over into the experience concepts.
Hotels and restaurants can offer an experience too. They can become an official appointed Habanos Terrace. Habanos Terrace is the latest concept by Habanos. The Habanos Terrace hotels and restaurants offer a selection of Cuban cigars to their customers and a place to enjoy those cigars. It’s Habanos concept for the food & beverage industry. And as the word suggests, the Habanos Terrace is an outdoor space.
If you move the Habanos Terrace to an indoor location you get the second tier of the experience concepts. That’s the Habanos Lounge. When hotels and restaurants offer the same experience as an Habanos Terrace but indoors, in a dedicated cigar lounge, they can apply for the Habanos Lounge certification.
The most exclusive and luxurious concept is the Cohiba Atmosphere concept. Just as the La Casa del Habano concept, this is a franchise. A Cohiba Atmosphere is all about luxurious experiences in both settings, service, drinks, and cigars. Only the best is good enough. The requirements are stiff, the bar is high. All the requirements of the Habanos Specialists and La Casa del Habano apply, but then with a high-end bar and top notch service. Visiting a Cohiba Atmosphere should be a sensory experience. Unfortunately, some countries prohibit the use of brand names outside of the cigar itself. These countries consider it as advertising tobacco, which is not allowed in countries such as The Netherlands.
Now the 6 different Habanos concepts explained, we hope it’s clear for everybody what to expect when they see one of the logos on the door of a cigar store, hotel, restaurant, or lounge.