Dear fellow aficionados,
It is our turn to be back from the already 16th Habanos Festival.
In the meantime, you may have been informed through various sources about the new cigars we are expecting in 2014. Nevertheless, we already reported on this way beforehand.
On the other hand, what surprised us was that at the last moment there were still a number of changes made and we didn’t get all the supposedly released cigars. The story goes that this has to do with prevention of counterfeiting.
We noticed that the last years fewer and fewer new cigars are offered at the festival.
For instance, we only got 1 of the 3 Edicion Limitadas and there was no mentioning of the Por Larrañaga Picadores, Quintero Petit Quinteros, Romeo y Julieta Cedros de Luxe, the collection book or the next replica humidor.
In the course of this year, perhaps we will know more about whether these are for this year or might be reserved for next year or…
Nevertheless, on the opening night at Club Habana we received the Hoyo de Monterrey San Juan (Geniales: 54 x 150) and the new Partagas Series D No.6 (D No.6: 50 x 90).
Regarding the D6, we remember that this is actually a small nub.
With it’s a 90 mm length, it is as long as the H. Upmann Half Corona which is a very nice short smoke.
The question is whether this also qualifies as a 50 cepo cigar (since the whole D - series has a cepo of 50).
On Tuesday we planned a private party at our villa, yet we still had a lot of "actes présences" to do. We had a quick drink at the Cigar Aficionado party where guests were offered this year’s CA No. 1: the emblematic Montecristo No.2. We also popped in at the Melia Cohiba to afterwards rush for a drink at the Hotel Nacional. At this reception a humidor was going to be auctioned...
Last year we placed the winning bid on a replica of the famous Hotel Nacional, but this year, artist Alfredo Gómez Cervantes surpassed himself. This year he created the humidor "Mi Habana". The humidor carries the four main symbols of Havana: El Morro, symbol of Havana Giraldilla, hotel Nacional and on top there is an exact copy of the Paseo del Prado - beautiful and more artistic than the previous humidor. You can guess what happened... Soon we’ll have to rearrange a whole display window of one of our shops to fit in this massif work of art. For the time being, we’re considering to place this humidor in the lounge of our shop in Knokke.
At the Trinidad evening at the Museo de Bellas Artes we received the new Trinidad Vigía. As you may recall, after the discontinuation of the Robusto Robusto T and Robusto Extra there was some panic. What will eventually happen to Trinidad? Is the entire brand going to be discontinued? Ultimately, the goal was to bring renewed attention to this brand to make it thrive again. Habanos SA has succeeded in its intent to give it a second life. With the introduction of the Vigia, it fills the gap with the aforementioned models and it answers the market demand for short and thicker cigars. The Vigia with a cepo of 54 and length of 110 is a classic "short fatty". We have already smoked it and yes ... it is promising.
That same night one of the new Edicion Limitadas was also showcased: the Cohiba Robustos Supremos. Originally, it was meant to be a magnificos (55 x 127), but on the presentation sheet it was suddenly presented as a cepo 58 (!). This is definitely the biggest "regular" Habano ever made and we silently wonder how long it will take till the mythical limit of 60 is achieved. We have been informed that a vitola of such cepo is already listed... We’ve been told that the market demands larger cepos, so we guess that must be true. The band that graced our sticks was anyway too small...
The highlight of the week, however, was the gala. Apart from enjoying a guest performance by living legend Tom Jones, we smoked the new H. Upmann No.2 Reserva, but we mainly went for the auction of the humidors. As you may know, every year there are several humidors auctioned by Simon Chase. The proceeds of the auction will be used for Cuban health care. These are absolute gems and they often contain extremely unique cigars.
Before the auction, Belgian beer sommelier and publisher of cigar magazine El Gusto Ben Vinken was allowed to receive the Hombre Habano award in the category "Communication". The atmosphere was good in the Belgian team, and under optimal conditions the auction could start.
After an exciting bidding, we can call the H. Upmann humidor our own. This humidor is in the form of the old H. Upmann factory facade. It is an artwork of self-taught artisan Neury Alberto Santana Ges and contains classics, as well as some "specialties":
· 25 Prominentes (49 x 194)
· 20 Grandes (49 x 168)
· and ... 50 Butifarra No..2 (58 x 129)
In 2011 an H. Upmann humidor with some Butifarras was already auctioned. In the underground cigar scene these quickly got a legendary status; undoubtedly, because of the "old school" vitola (flying pig). The sequel is the No.Butifarra.2 and this "would" be included in the replica humidor for 2014. We are in any case very pleased with this acquisition, the H. Upmann humidor of the H. Upmann Reserva evening!
Luck was certainly on our table’s side, since one of our friends also placed the winning bid on the Cohiba humidor. Also an absolute work of art, this humidor has been crafted by none other but Jose Ernesto Aguilera Reino. We are already fans of this artist who very skillfully combines metalworking with carpentering. This humidor also includes a number of unique vitolas:
· 25 Sublimes Extra (54 x 184) once part of the collection book of 2008 (which is now effortlessly auctioned at three times the original price)
· 25 Petit Robusto (50 x 102)
· 25 Majestuoso (58 x 160)
· 25 Robustos Especiales (50 x 192)
After the auction, marketing manager Ana Lopez, personally handed us an H. Upmann No.2 Reserva. A warm ending to a fabulous evening!
With habanophile regards,
Dominique & Frederic
La Casa del Habano Knokke - Ghent