Give me a Habano and I Will Move the World
By: Roberto F. Campos, Photos by José Tito Merino
This February the Habanos Festival welcomed more than one thousand people from all over the world who were not only interested in cigars but also in Cuba´s culture and environment.
Visits to tobacco plantations and factories, discussions and tastings of new products were an attraction not only for experts and merchants, but also for plain cigar smokers. As in other occasions, the awards, the auction and other highlights of the festival made this event stand out. The Humidor Auction presented pieces of: H.Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Romeo y Julieta, Partagás, Montecristo and Cohiba brands, and the $740, 000 raised went to the Cuban Health System, to which it is dedicated. The Gala Evening was a propitious moment for the announcement of the Montecristo brand´s 80th Anniversary as well as the delivery of the Habano of the Year (2014) Award.
The Production category award went to Cuban Rogelio Ortúzar; the Business category award went to Cyprian George Fereos, and the Communications award was won by American Gary Heathcott.
Attending the closing dinner were also international celebrities such as American model, singer and designer Paris Hilton, British top model Naomi Campbell, and actors Kabir Bedi from India and Stephen Frey of the United Kingdom.
Brazilian Walter Saes and Kuwaití Alí Alami won some of the most coveted awars of the Festival. Saes won the Habanosommelier Awards (tastings and pairings of Habano cigars with food and drinks), escorted by Cuban Andrés Piñón and Brit Luca Tramontana.
A very interesting contest is that of the “The Perfect Puff”(the longest ash) during these Cuban Premium tobacco meetings, with a demanding jury who this year patiently sat through 45 minutes of smoking to see Ali Alami´s excellent results.
The Trade fair associated with this event had 61 stands from various countries: Italy, Germany, Canada, China, Brazil, Spain and Cuba, in a 800 square meter area. The Festival was attended by 1,650 people from 60 countries, and approximately 250 journalists from about 30 nations.