CURIOUS FACTS ON THE HABANO FESTIVAL
WHAT’S THE MOST EXPENSIVE AND EXCLUSIVE HABANO IN THE HISTORY OF THE FESTIVALS? WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST COVETED VITOLA? WHAT MUSICIAN AUCTIONED OFF HIS HAT FOR $17,500? LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT 20 CURIOUS FACTS ON THE HABANO FESTIVAL RIGHT AT ITS 20TH EDITION
THE FESTIVAL’S MOST EXPENSIVE HAT
That was a memorable night back on February 2001. During the 3rd Habano Festival, many people bid on the hat of Cuban musician Francisco Repilado, the celebrated Compay Segundo, who was attending the closing dinner. The hat went under the gavel for $17,500, an amount good enough to buy 50,000 vaccines for Cuban children. The late Cuban leader Fidel Castro was also in attendance and autographed the precious hat, which also carried Compay's signature.
THE NEW CENTURY HUMIDOR
The star of the night at the closing dinner of the 5th Habano Festival was a piece of humidor-furniture designed by Cuban company Dujo. It was built with solid cedar and could store up to 2,000 Habanos. It was part of a limited series created to usher in the new century. It sold for $60,000.
CUABA SPECIAL HUMIDOR
It was one of four humidors auctioned during the first edition. It was a recreation of Cemi, the God of Tobacco among aboriginals and the centerpiece in the Cohoba ritual. It was called Cuaba Case, just in dedication to that Habano brand.
FOR BOTH MEN AND WOMEN
The 12th edition set the tone with the launch of a fancy and state-ofthe-art aluminum pouch that carried a new vitola just for women. Julieta, from the Romeo y Julieta brand, was unveiled with opera singer Sara Brightman, one of the most beautiful faces in music, in attendance.
THE MOST PASSIONATE ROMEO Y JULIETA SMOKER
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was no doubt one of the top smokers of this brand. Since his Havana visit in 1946, his name has been used in some bands and even in a vitola: Churchills de Romeo y Julieta. In the course of the 6th Festival, an honor dinner was offered to his granddaughter, Jenny Reppard, to mark the British politician's 130th birthday.
HABANOS’ FIRST GRAN RESERVA
For the first time during the 17th edition, the first Habanos Grand Reserve was presented, thus bearing out the unique character of Habanos as a protected denomination of origin. Cohiba's Siglo VI vitola, with an output of 5,000 cases, was the cigar of choice.
THE MOST ROMANTIC PREMIUM CIGAR
Totally rolled by hand with long filler and founded back in 1875, the Romeo y Julieta brand was the star of the show at the 17th Habano Festival with the launch of Wide Churchills Gran Reserva 2009.
EL FLORIDITA GOES TO LONDON
Organizers of the 4th Habano Festival announced the opening in London of El Floridita, the famous Havana bar where American author and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway used to sip at his mojito.
THE MOST EXCLUSIVE AND SELECT LINE
It was rolled out during the 12th edition. Even though Habanos had made a splash with the most expensive and exclusive cigar of all, this time around the company came up with three new vitolas for the Behike Line called BHK52, BHK54 and BHK56. For the first time, a very scarce tobacco leaf called medio tiempo, which chips in more strength and taste to the Habano, was added to the mix. They came out with exclusive sizes, blends, boxes and bands. The latter used holographic paper with exclusive relief engraved on it for the first time.
THE LONGEST ASH EVER
It was by far one of the most anticipated moments of the 16th Festival. It was an original skill test taken by some 450 people who let their Habano ash stay attached to their cigars for the longest time during a tasting session.
THE WORLD’S LONGEST CIGAR
He has set half a dozen Guinness World Records and grabbed the Habano Man Award in Communication back in 2011. Jose Castelar, a.k.a. Cueto, rolled a 100-plusmeter-long cigar that proudly went down in the Habano Festivals' history books.
THE MOST PREMIUM PROPOSAL EVER UNVEILED BY MONTECRISTO
It was the 1935 Line, named after the year in which the brand was founded. During the 19th edition, three new vitolas joined the regular portfolio. Two of them were completely new: Maltés and Dumas, both featuring unseen presentations within the strong-tasting range. The third, called Leyenda, took on the size of the Montecristo 80th Anniversary Special Edition.
COHIBA’S FIRST FIGURADO
Pirámides Extra was the first figurado (torpedo) ever to join the brand's Línea Clásica on a permanent basis and the first ever for this brand. It clung to the Cohiba Classic Line's blend featuring a mild-to-strong taste. It was launched during the 14th Habano Festival.
THE GREAT AUCTIONEER AT THE HABANO GALA DINNERS
Simon Chase from the UK, winner of the 1998 Habano Man of the Year Award in Communication, has been the great auctioneer during the festivals. From just selling homemade jam under the gavel in his community, he turned out to be the event's first auctioneer.
THE PREMIERE OF THE AÑEJADO CONCEPT
The 15th edition gave birth to the Añejado (Aged) concept with a couple of rollouts: Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados and Montecristo Churchills Añejados. Both were new vitolas within their respective brands.
THE ONLY AND LIMITED LAUNCH OF A LEATHER CASE
Totally handmade and featuring 10 Mercaderes inside, it carried one of the most demanding vitolas from the San Cristobal de La Habana brand. It had a one-and-only limited presentation of 1,500 cases during the 15th Habano Festival. Italian fashion mogul Giorgio Gucci was in attendance that night.
THE MOST COVETED HABANO SIZE IN HISTORY
With over 1,000 million units sold since its launch back in 1935, Montecristo No. 4 basked in the limelight of the 9th Habano Festival's gala dinner.