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Festival del Habano XX: Day 2

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While it was not quite as early a start on Tuesday, I was still up by 7 a.m. to have some breakfast and do a fairly large amount of work before the day really got going.

Since all of the booths were not quite finished being assembled yesterday when I stopped by, I decided that today would be the day to spend the time visiting the trade show floor and see what was new and interesting. As I mentioned yesterday, the trade show features more than 180 vendors this year, with everything from humidor makers to rum and alcohol companies and clothing vendors, all of whom are crowded into a fairly small area over two separate floors. The first time I saw it, I was a bit taken aback at just how small the show is considering how popular the Habanos Festival is, but Habanos S.A. does a good job of getting as many booths into as small a space as possible and it actually took me a significant portion of the day to see every booth.

As has been my custom, my first stop was to the official Habanos S.A. booth, which is filled with the new cigars that are debuting at the show. One of the most anticipated is the Cohiba Robusto Reserva Cosecha 2014, which was officially released at an event that I attended last night. Using tobacco that is aged at least five years, the Cohiba Robusto Reserva is a 4 7/8 x 50 robusto and will be packaged in boxes of 20 with only 5,000 boxes produced when it ships to retailers.

However, positioned right up front and impossible to miss is the brand new Romeo y Julieta Grand Churchills. Partially wrapped in gold foil, the measures 7 1/2 x 56 and is packaged in 100-count humidors made by Elie Bleu.


Moving on around the booth, I noticed some open boxes of the new Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de Rio Seco, a 5 1/2 x 56 vitola packed in boxes of 25 that will be a regular production release when it ships.

In addition, Habanas was showing off one of the three Edición Limitadas for this year, the Bolívar Soberanos Edición Limitada 2018. Coming in at 5 1/2 x 54, the Soberanos is packaged 25-count boxes.

There are also two new vitolas in the Partagás Maduro line that will join the previously released Partagás Maduro No. 1: the Partagás Maduro No. 2 (4 3/4 x 55 pirámides) and the Partagás Maduro No. 3 (5 3/4 x 50), both of which will be sold in boxes of 25.

After finishing there, I moved on to a humidor maker, who produces custom humidors that are truly works of art. The one that caught my eye immediately was a square made to look like a version of the Monopoly game with the center cut out and with a statue of a rat installed in its place.

I then moved on to the Havana Club booth, where the rum company was showing off its newest release, the Tributo 2018. This is the third time that Havana Club has debuted a Tributo blend at the festival and the newest release was crafted by master blender Asbel Morales from rums drawn from 60-year-old casks. In addition, this is the first time that one of Havana Club’s rums has been partially aged in barrels that previously held “smoky whisky casks.” Coming in at 40 percent ABV, the release is limited to just 2,500 bottles and will be shipped to 21 markets around the world priced at €400 ($487.50) each.

From there, I stopped by the adorini booth, where the company was showing off its new Cigar Cabinet Trolley Humidor, which gets its name due to the fact that it is the same size as some examples of actual airplane carts. In fact, the cart features three separate storage areas, all of which are humidified by the company’s Cigar Heaven electronic humidification, while the interior also features integrated lighting. Finally, the exterior of each Cigar Cabinet Trolley is covered in actual Cuban cigar boxes, all of which will be different for each humidor.

Finally, I made it back to the front of the room, where workers had just finished putting together a massive humidor that was produced to commemorate not only the 20th anniversary of the Festival del Habano, but also the 20th anniversary of HumidifGroup, a humidification company.

The humidor includes a number of different Cuban marcas, all of which include a special 20th anniversary secondary band.

Having finished walking around the trade show, for the time being, I decided to try and find the International Habanosommelier competition, which was supposedly having its preliminary rounds taking place all day. Unfortunately, when I visited the location that it was supposed to be at all day, there was no one there and the six people I asked at various locations around the room could give me no definitive answer on where they went, other than a local man who laughed, shrugged and said, “That’s Cuba!”

Knowing that the Habanosommelier competition would be going on all week and realizing it was getting late, I took a cab back to the villa where I uploaded some photographs and did some work before going out to dinner and turning in early to get some sleep before the next day’s activities.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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