During the closing ceremony of the 9th Cigar Festival, an auction was held featuring Cuban premium cigar humidors and works of art which raised €533,000 for the Cuban health system.
The first humidor, dedicated to the H. Upmann brand, went to the President of the Dag Holmboe Pacific Cigar company from Hong Kong for €33,000. A pyramid shaped humidor, donated by Michel Perrenoud from Switzerland, followed for €70,000 and went to Slavko Despot, President of Casa del Habano in Belgrade, Serbia.
A third humidor dedicated to the Vegas Robaina brand, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, reached €5 5,000 and went to Fred S.C. Kiang from China. Lot 4 was comprised of Montecristos and a picture of the late local musician, Compay Segundo and went for €105,000 to Terence Conraw from Great Britain.
The evening's highlight, dedicated to Cohiba, made up of three humidors and a sculpture symbolizing female Cuban cigar rollers, reached €270,000 and went to Javier Estander of Spain from the ALTADIS company.
Out of only 5,000 boxes that will soon enter the world market, the first Montecristo No. 4 Reserva was raffled off and was won by Mohammed Mohbi from the United Arab Emirates.
The Habanos 2006 Awards were presented to Cuban tobacco harvester Gerardo Medina Reloba for the category of Production, to Nicholas Foulkes of Great Britain for Communications, and to Walid Saleh of Lebanon for Business Management.
The gala event was held in Pavilion 24 of the EXPOCUBA fair grounds and included a special presentation of the Montecristo brand, the best selling cigar since its introduction in 1935.
The organizers stated that this Festival was the top public relations event celebrating premium cigars in the world with the Habanos being the best cigar on the five continents. The Festival included an international seminar, a commercial fair, visits to plantations and factories, and the tasting of many a good Cuban cigar.
Habano Sommelier International Award
The representative from Great Britain, Fabien Garrigues of the Malmaison and Du Vin Hotels, won the 6th Habano Sommelier International Award on the last day of the Festival. The 26-year- old French national was able to win over the jury with the union of a short Churchill cigar, created in 2006 by the Romeo y Julieta brand, together with a Mendoza brandy.
The event tested the skills of experts on proposing the perfect match between their drinks and Cuban cigars as well as testing their skills in selecting, cutting and lighting a Habano cigar.
This competition was held for the winners of the different national sommelier championships held all over the world. Garrigues won the final facing Ernesto Cardenas from Cuba who represented the Habana Libre Hotel and Arnau Marco from Spain representing the Racó d'en Cesc Restaurant in Barcelona.
The Habano Festival also featured for the second time the Habanos Armagnac Trophy, which designates the best matching of an armagnac with a Habano cigar. Armagnac, considered the finest of brandys, can be divided into blended and vintage categories. The armagnac competition is similarly divided.
The first part of the Armagnac Trophy was held in Paris in January with 27 competitors. Eight were selected by judges, four in each of the blended and vintage categories, and they participated in the semis and finals at the Festival.
In the category of blended armagnacs, the winner went to a matching of a Churchill cigar from the Punch cigar brand and the Jean Cavé Hors d'Age Armagnac. As for the vintage category, the award went to the matching of a Deluxe Churchill Partagás cigar and the 1978 Delord Armagnac.
Harmony, balance and pleasure to the client were the judging criteria for the pairings of these two great products.
At the commercial fair, the most visited stand was Cafe Cubano's and the Best Modular Design prize was given to Durero Caribe S.A.
The Free-Style Stand prize went to Internacional Cubana del Tabaco. Honourable mentions were also given to Brascuba S.A. and to Cafe Cubano in this category.
During the closing ceremony, the Vice-President of Development for Corporacion Habanos S.A., Javier Terrez, was pleased to state that the influence of premium Cuban cigars was increasing worldwide.