Habanos World Days about to start. Since 1999, the exclusive marketeer and distributor of Cuban cigars, Habanos is hosting an annual festival. Every year in February, many cigar enthusiasts, retailers, distributors, tobacco growers, and even cigar manufacturers from other countries fly to Havana for the Habanos Festival. The festival consists of dinners, presentations of new cigars, visits to factories and farms. There are competitions for cigar sommeliers, but the highlight is the gala night. That’s sort of the Oscars for people within the Habanos community, awards are awarded that night. And it’s also when the Habanos auction takes place, where one-of-a-kind humidors change hands and proceeds go to charity.
The concept of a cigar festival is so successful that the Dominican cigar manufacturers copy it with ProCigar. The Nicaraguan tobacco chamber has Puro Sabor, also known as the Nicaraguan Cigar Festival. The last remaining country of the ‘big four’ Honduras had one edition of their festival, Puro Jaguar, but it took place only once.
Last year all three festivals took place right before the pandemic hit. For a long time, it was unclear what would happen to the Habanos Festival. Puro Sabor was the first to cancel. Procigar spoke about postponing but there was silence from Cuba. Of course, the Habanos Festival would highlight the 55th anniversary of Cohiba. And it means a lot, both in prestige and financial gains if the festival could proceed. But eventually, even the Habanos Festival was canceled. And Procigar did the same.
Where Procigar doesn’t do anything in the virtual realm, Puro Sabor works with Light ‘em Up for a series on Nicaraguan cigars. Habanos chooses a virtual festival, three days in a row with a packed program. And it starts today.
The program for Tuesday
Today at 8 am in Havana, the Habanos, S.A. Co-presidents welcome you. And he will show the main product launches for 2021. What follows is the Habanos World Challenge where prizes can be won. At 9 am the virtual trade show opens with exhibitors from all over the world. They will show all kinds of new items.
Later that day, Habanos is showing the collaboration with St Dupont for the Cohiba 55th anniversary. The day ends with a Cohiba Behike and Havana Club Maximo pairing by “Maestro de maestros” Habano sommelier Juan Jesús Machin (Cuba).
The program for Wednesday
On Wednesday participants can visit plantations and factories. These are all-around experiences due to the 360-degree videos. The Habanos World Challenge continues as well. The focus is Cohiba during the “Cohiba a success story” conference.
Next up on the schedule is the 2021 product launch and a pairing by the first female Habanos sommelier, Manuela Romeralo from Spain. She pairs a Cohiba Robusto with Havana Club 15 years. The day ends with a presentation of the Zenith Cohiba 55th anniversary watch.
The program for Thursday
Thursday at 8 am the virtual festival continues with a 360-degree visit to La Casa del Habano. After which Habanos presents the product launches for 2021 again. And then there is a pairing by Habano sommelier and Habanos World Challenge finalist Daylin López. The cigar is a Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios and the pairing is with the Martell Cohiba Cognac.
The final pairing of the festival is a Cohiba Espléndidos with Havana Club Tributo 2021. This is done under the guidance of Habano sommelier Contest winner 2018 Darius Namdar from the United Kingdom. The winners of the Habanos World Challenge are then announced. After that, it’s time for the Habanos awards. And finally, there is an official farewell by Habanos.
If you haven’t registered yet, do so quickly before it is too late: https://habanosworlddays.com
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