Holy Smokes, We’re Going To Cuba! By Steve Nathan
When I first heard the news that Brian Massey, our Senior Product Merchant, and I would be attending the XVIII Festival Habano in Havana, Cuba, I had to pinch myself! Was this really happening? To me, this is the culmination of 26 years in the tobacco industry. In fact, Cuba is like the Promised Land for any serious adult cigar smoker, and I get to live it!
Now that the butterflies have finally subsided and I am able to write, let me tell you what this prestigious honor entails…
The Habanos Festival* is held annually to celebrate some of the world’s best tobacco: the “Habano” or Cuban cigar. To celebrate, all of the big name Cubano brands will be featured along with new launches including special editions and new product releases in the regular portfolios. The Cuaba brand, celebrating its 20th Anniversary, will be launching an exclusive special edition for La Casa del Habano and the famous H. Upmann brand will introduce a significant addition to its regular line. The Hoyo de Monterrey brand will also have a significant presence during the festival with the presentation of Reserva Cosecha 2012.
This year’s festival will also reveal the 2016 Limited Editions of Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and Trinidad brands, not mention the tons of other handmade top-quality Cuban stogies that many herfers just dream about smoking!
This intense week, fully focused on Habano leaf will include a visit to the plantations in Vuelta Abajo in the Pinar del Río region, considered the world’s best land for the production of tobacco, and a factory tour of El Laguito, home of the famous Cohiba brand, as a tribute to the brand’s 50th Anniversary.
If you think all of this sounds overwhelming, let me tell you this is just scratching the surface, as Brian and I will be heading to the streets of old Havana to report on this fascinating region from an American adult cigar smoker’s point of view. Tons of pictures, stories, and a day-to-day journal of our amazing trip will start unfolding just as soon as we return. We were both hoping to be able to report live, but from what we hear, the Wi-Fi situation in Cuba is rather sketchy, but who knows maybe we’ll surprise you! So stay tuned, as you are all about to share our incredible journey!
*Habanos S.A. is the Cuban company that has exclusive rights to market and sell Habanos cigars and worldwide.