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Richard's Diary

February 2014

David at the Festival - Day by Day

By David on February, 24th 2014 - 2:45 pm

27 February - Day 4 - Another fab day in Havana, with our first offering of rain sadly. But that means a good time to visit the factories and this year it was H Upmann and La Corona. Whilst I was very tempted to take some cigars directly from the rollers, I found security very tight, and so decided against either getting them or me getting them in trouble with their managers. Such a skill the rollers have and the skill that in my opinion no other country can match.

Sadly no trip to the baseball due to rain, which is a must for anyone interested in Cuban life, and what could be better than watching a game, smoking a nice long Double Co?!

Gala dinner tomorrow night so looking forward to saying my goodbyes to all the wonderful people I have met on this trip.

Take care and good smoking!

26 February - Day 3 - Up again for another day of blistering Havana heat and humidity! Factories today having done the trade fair, with some lovely humidors and antique furniture on show yesterday. It is not huge, so don´t expect to be there for a whole day, but to walk around for an hour or 2 is about right. On my return we hope we will be able to offer some special relationship programs with our colleagues in the accessories industries, humidors and the like and thus pass on even more savings for our loyal clients. Enjoy your smokes folks!

25 February - Day 2 of Festival Habanos and off to the world famous plantations of Pinor del Rio. Lushush and green, it is such a beautiful site to behold. If one recalls the late great Vegas Robaina, that tough leathery skin is part of the deal down here. Such warm and friendly people and definitely worth the visit when coming to Cuba.

Then back in Havana, time for some mojito drinking and chatting with local people. I was speaking to some Partagas cigar rollers and they were educating me on everything from the variety of alcohols they drink, life as a roller and the difficulty of living in a 2 currency system. What comes through very genuinely is their positivity and warmness. Viva Cuba, we love you!

24 February - Day 1 - Hope all are well! Really great opening night at the Club Havana, with the rum flowing, and great food topped off perfectly with some great Hoyo and Partagas cigars. First outing of the new Partagas Serie D No 6, a small 20 minute smoke, my first impressions are a solid tasty cigar, but no wow factor. The Hoyo San Juan were the other new release, a bigger cigar, and for me these will stand the test of time. Great feel and size it is not an overpowering burden of a cigar. I had a frustrating issue of having to keep relighting it every few minutes, but that maybe my experience of the 2 I smoked.

Will try to keep you folks briefed as I go along but bare with me with the internet over here. Happy smoking!

23 February - Just getting on the plane to board, destination La Habana! Cannot wait to see what surprises our friends at Habanos have in stall for us but when mojitos and the best cigars in the world are on offer that is fine by me. Registration today and then hope to see you all at the cocktail party this evening.

Enjoy your smokes!

Highlights of the 16th Habanos Festival

By David on February, 19th 2014 - 4:50 pm

The XVI’th Habanos Festival will take place in Havana, Cuba and will run from the 24th through the 28th February. This year’s Festival will celebrate four of Habanos’s most famous brands; Partagas, Hoyo, H.Upmann and Trinidad.

Cigar aficionados from almost 80 countries will gather to take part in conferences, tastings, Master classes, visits and evening events. A special Cooking demonstration by two starred Dutch chef Ron Blaauw will be one of the highlights of the event with a menu developed around pairing great food with tobacco from the Trinidad and Cohiba blends. The alliance of Habanos with some of the best beers in the world and the first contest to get the longest ash will be some of the other new events at this year’s festival. I will be down at the Festival this year, so hope to see some of you on the terrace of the Nacional Hotel!

Other Highlights to look out for at this years Festival:

Welcome Evening Mon 24 - Feb – Club Havana, Havana – Celebrating Hoyo and Partagas
Trinidad Evening Wed - 26 Feb – Museo de Bellas Artes. Cuban art building
Gala Dinner, Habanos Awards & Auction - Fri 28 Feb – PabExpo, Havana - Celebrating H.Upmann

16th Habanos Festival Program

By David on February, 04th 2014 - 10:52 am

Monday 24/02

10:30-17:00 hrs.
Preliminary International Habanosommelier Contest. (Hall 5)

14:00 hrs.
Trade Fair and Habanos Gallery opening.

19:00 hrs.
Welcoming evening dedicated to Hoyo de Monterrey and Partagás.
Concert and Welcome cocktail. Club Habana.

Tuesday 25/02

07:00-17:00 hrs.
Visit to plantations in Vuelta Abajo, Pinar del Río.

Wednesday 26/02

09.30-09:45 hrs.
Opening of the International Seminar (Hall 4)

09:45-10:30 hrs.
Master Conference: "Germans in the Habano. Origin of the H.Upmann Brand" by Raúl Martell. (Hall 4).

11:.00-12:15 hrs.
Master Class on Cigar Rolling Technique "Totalmente a Mano" (Totally Handmade).

14.15-15:45 hrs.
Master Conference: "Tabaco, cine y grandes fumadores de la historia" by Rigoberto López.

16.00-17.00 hrs.
Habanos – Beer Alliance (Hall 3).

20:00 hrs.
Trinidad Evening.
Museo de Bellas Artes. Cuban art building.

Thursday 27/02

09:00-12:00 hrs.
Visit to Habanos factories. La Corona and H.Upmann.

14:30-15:30 hrs.
Master Conference: "Habanos Vintage. Tasting of an aged Habano" by Simon Chase

15:30-16:30 hrs.
Vodka and Habanos (Hall 3)

16.30-17.30 hrs.
Habanos Moments: Marriages of Habanos with Cocktails, Gastronomy, etc. (Different Halls)

Friday 28/02

09:30-10:30 hrs.
International Habanosommelier Final Contest (Hall 3)

11:00-12:00 hrs.
Master Conference: "Elements that have an influence in the Combustion of Habanos" by Vladimir Andino and Felipe Milanés.

Contest to get the longest ash.

12:00-13.00 hrs.
Closing of the Seminar and Trade Fair (Hall 4)
Awarding Ceremony:
- Best stand by categories
- Winner of the International Habanosommelier Contest.
- Winner of the Video Contest "Habanos in Images"

19:00 hrs.
Gala Evening: Dedicated to H.Upmann Reserva.
Humidor Auction.

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