Dreams That Co­me True

SER­GIO CI­MER­MAN AND CLAU­DIO HAA­SE MA­KE UP THE BRA­ZI­LIAN DUET THAT WON THE FIRST HA­BA­NOS WORLD CHA­LLEN­GE CON­TEST HELD IN THAT COUNTRY

Habanos - - Summary - BY / EX­CE­LEN­CIAS NEWSROOM

Em­po­rium Ci­gars, Ha­ba­nos, S.A.'s ex­clu­si­ve dis­tri­bu­tor in Bra­zil, held in Sao Pau­lo — Au­gust 2019 — its first Ha­ba­nos World Cha­llen­ge (HWC) con­test. The com­pe­ti­tion was won by Ser­gio Ci­mer­man and Clau­dio Haa­se, who in­tro­du­ced Cohi­ba Ta­lis­mán and Por­to Tay­lor's 1966 in their Ha­ba­nos Mo­ment. The duet re­pre­sents the South Ame­ri­can na­tion in the third edition of the In­ter­na­tio­nal Ha­ba­nos World Cha­llen­ge in Ha­va­na, as part of the 22nd Ha­bano Fes­ti­val. This Fes­ti­val, both say, means the ful­fill­ment of a per­so­nal dream. Ex­ce­len­cias sat down with both and heard about their ex­pe­rien­ces and ex­pec­ta­tions.

You che­rish a pre­vious ex­pe­rien­ce in this con­test. What we­re the most de­man­ding mo­ments you co­ped with?

Our ex­pe­rien­ce was the na­tio­nal leg held in Bra­zil. The con­test took pla­ce in the city of Sao Pau­lo and was di­vi­ded in two sta­ges, whe­re Ha­bano ent­hu­siasts from all over Bra­zil at­ten­ded. We had to deal with tes­to­rien­ted ques­tions in the first sta­ge held at La Ca­sa del Ha­bano, fo­llo­wed by a cock­tail for par­ti­ci­pants, with the qua­li­fi­ca­tion of fi­ve duets for the grand fi­na­le held at Iu­lia Res­tau­rant in Joc­key Club. The most

de­man­ding mo­ment was the blind­fol­ded tas­ting.

For Ser­gio Ci­mer­man and Clau­dio Haa­se, the toug­hest cha­llen­ge was the study of all Ha­ba­nos brands, sin­ce the Bra­zi­lian mar­ket does not sell them all, and so it will be in the sta­ge sla­ted for Ha­va­na: dea­ling with brands that may be unk­nown to them. Ho­we­ver, they are ex­ci­ted and happy to be able to show their ex­per­ti­se and thus, both can best ho­nor Bra­zil and Em­po­rium Ci­gars, which are sup­por­ting them every step of the way.

In ad­di­tion to boas­ting sharp know­led­ge about the best Pre­mium ci­gars in the world, par­ti­ci­pa­ting in this sort of com­pe­ti­tion en­tails a lot of study and a pro­found tech­ni­cal com­pe­ten­ce on Ha­ba­nos. The­re­fo­re, the Bra­zi­lian duet needs to look up in­for­ma­tion in books and on the In­ter­net, and rely on the ex­pe­rien­ce of Ha­ba­nos' ent­hu­siasts who ha­ve puf­fed on them for too long. Li­ke­wi­se, they be­lie­ve it is pa­ra­mount to ha­ve the ne­ces­sary skill to bring up the best of a Ha­bano, trig­ge­ring a tas­ting me­mory that allows its pai­ring with all kinds of drinks, bea­ring al­ways in mind the mood, be­cau­se “the spi­rit al­ways af­fects the puf­fing,” both point out.

Ser­gio Ci­mer­man is a spe­cia­list in in­fec­tious di­sea­ses. He works in a pri­va­te cli­nic and de­di­ca­tes part of his work to ca­ring for poor peo­ple. He says he ne­ver thought he could fall in lo­ve with to­bac­co, “but I de­fi­ni­ti­vely ha­ve a gour­met si­de on me. I reali­zed Ha­ba­nos we­re mo­re than just ci­gars. I found out that they ga­ve me no­tes si­mi­lar to that of wi­ne, which is my ot­her pas­sion. Hen­ce, I star­ted en­jo­ying it and that's it!

“A good Ha­bano is si­mi­lar to a good wi­ne: a su­bli­me gas­tro­no­mic ex­pe­rien­ce that gi­ves you great plea­su­re. The­re is no need to be wealthy to smo­ke a Ha­bano; this con­cept is ab­so­lu­tely wrong and must be sta­ved off as you might as well smo­ke one of a lo­wer brand and pri­ce; wit­hout sa­cri­fi­cing the de­light of en­jo­ying it at the right ti­me.”

Ci­mer­man and his part­ner Clau­dio Has­se, who is a law­yer, say that a Cu­ban ci­gar stands for a uni­que mo­ment. "When we are well, we smo­ke a Ha­bano to relax, en­joy in a plea­sant com­pany, and think about life. When we feel bad, it helps us to find a way out, to re­lie­ve stress. De­fi­ni­tely, smo­king a Ha­bano is the best part of the day.”

Re­pre­sen­ting Bra­zil in the birth­pla­ce of the fi­nest ci­gar of the world is cer­tainly the goal, the am­bi­tion, a cha­llen­ge. A dream that co­mes true as both will be in di­rect con­tact with the best brands, the best ci­gar-ro­llers, the best mas­ters.

“Cu­ba and its Ha­ba­nos al­ways pi­que cu­rio­sity and is a great res­pon­si­bi­lity for us to re­pre­sent our country in such a high-oc­ta­ne fes­ti­val,” Haa­se and Ci­mer­man said. “Being part of the Ha­bano Fes­ti­val is the mo­ment of grea­test hap­pi­ness for Cu­ban to­bac­co ent­hu­siasts. Li­ving the event at full th­rottle and sha­ring with friends from all over the world is ma­gi­cal. The ea­gerly-awai­ted laun­ches ma­ke us feel li­ke chil­dren at a candy sto­re; the sa­me fee­ling is trig­ge­red by par­ties, plan­ta­tions, fac­to­ries...It is a full week to­tally de­vo­ted to a pas­sion. Being in Ha­va­na, being in Cu­ba, mat­ches with the pri­de and res­pect we feel for this land of be­lo­ved and beautiful peo­ple in every way.”

PHO­TOS / COURTESY OF THE INTERVIEWE­ES

Ser­gio Ci­mer­man

Clau­dio Haa­se

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