Habano’s times

Habano’s times

I've always wondered why habanos are called so, if Havana is the last stage in the chain of production… Tobacco leaves for cigars are harvested in San Luis, San Juan, Manicaragua or Trinidad, but not in Havana. The Cuban capital is only for business. That’s why I prefer to speak about cigars. Classic me...

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A God-given habano is distinguished by its impeccable coat, its gut, its taste and flavor, and its stylish death. Smokers let the fire extinguish on the ash-tray, dignified, keeping it for being chewed like a miserable stub.

It’s fascinating and yet contradictory the social abyss between those who produce the tobacco and those who smoke it. The humility of its origin contrasts with the ostentation of the habano as a status symbol.

But of course, it’s not the same a cheap cigar than a premium Cohiba auctioned and kept in a 300 grands humidor cabinet. A glimpse of that is shown every year at Cuba’s Habano Festival. Both experts and ring smokers join this frenzy in the land of the best tobacco in the world. There are several days of smoke, luxury, and spending money big time.

Spanish sommelier José Joaquín Cortés believes that this event has been reduced to smoking, drinking, eating, and selling souvenirs in the exhibition spaces, so it’s about time to renew the Festival. Which is not, by the way, the only changes needed.

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According to Habanos S.A., this sector made over 500 million dollars in 2017, despite the restriction of sales in the huge market of United States. With such profits, one should expect a great life for those who make this selling possible in the first place, but it is not like that ...

In fact, several producers complain about how difficult is to get good money out of the harvest. For example, a garlic producer earns more than a producer of the only item in which Cuba is truly a world leader. That’s crazy, but true…

The bureaucracy, the delays in the payments, and the lack of incentives, such as the right to sell their own cigars, spread the disenchantment among many producers who remain faithful to this crop who knows why.

The possibility - remote but real - that tobacco disappears should activate the alarms of anyone with common sense: in the end, dignified death it’s for cigars, not for one of our most dearest treasures.

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