February 18-22: the XXI Habanos Festival, an international celebration of Cuban cigars and fun

The world stage of the greatest event was Havana, marking its 500th anniversary this year. The Festival featured the elegant and inspiring Trinidad editions, celebrating its 50th anniversary as a brand. San Cristóbal de La Habana, another 20th anniversary, was also a special feature. Hoyo de Monterrey Gran Reserva Double Coronas Cosecha 2013, reserved for the real aficionados, was the surprise with its understated presence within the exclusive edition. There were more than 2,200 visitors from 70 countries.

The visitors of the XXI Habanos Festival enjoyed a packed five-day schedule of activities exploring the Habanos culture, knowledge and passion. The Festival featured special tours of the Vuelta Abajo tobacco plantations in the Pinar del Río region, known to have the best tobacco-growing soil in the world.

Then, there were the visits to the factories where the most important cigars for the year were made. The trade show, as always, was the key networking venue for the world’s tobacco industry. Each year, it features other manufacturers of luxury goods, arts and crafts, equipment and gourmet products.

The international workshop, with its conferences and tastings, is another permanent fixture in the agenda. The activities continued with master classes and presentations led by renowned Habanos World experts. The tastings and drink and cigar combinations are very popular with the visitors as a real feast for the aficionados and Habanos Sommeliers.

The second Habanos World Challenge competition, testing the general knowledge of the Habano, was also held during the XXI Habanos Festival. It ended on the final day with the last battle between Mayli Mostaza and Daylin López from Cuba and the Italians Aurelio Tufano and Giulio Amaturo. The Italian pair actually won the competition.

The daily activities culminated in the evening events, full of great live performances by international stars, the best Cuban cuisine, Habanos cigar tastings and a wide selection of drinks from many corners of the world.

The Welcome Dinner held at the Antiguo Almacén de la Madera y el Tabaco, at the Havana harbour, paid tribute both to the San Cristobal de La Habana brand for its 20th anniversary and to the 500th anniversary of the city of Havana.

The special evening event for the Hoyo de Monterrey Gran Reserva Double Coronas Cosecha 2013 was held at the reception room of El Laguito on Wednesday, with a cocktail dinner for 800 guests.

The gala event on the final day of the Festival celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Trinidad brand with a memorable, colourful performance.

Seven exclusive collector’s humidors with San Cristobal de La Habana, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo, Trinidad and Cohiba cigars were sold for a total of more than EUR 1.5 million, which are traditionally donated to the Cuban healthcare system.