With less than a week until the opening of Festival del Habano in Havana, Habanos S.A. and the Cuban government have named new cigars to be debuted at the cigar festival.
Still unknown is what surprises are in store as part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cohiba, the flagship brand of Cuban cigars. But reports this week from Granma, the official Communist party daily, and Habanos, the Cuban cigar manufacturer, give a hint of what’s to come.
Granma on Tuesday said those who make the festival will have the opportunity to sample two new selections from the Habanos Añejados line: Partagás Coronas Gordas Añejados and Hoyo de Monterrey Hermosos Nº4 Añejados.
Cuban Añejados cigars are special edition smokes aged for five years or more.
Inocente Núñez Blanco, co-president of Habanos S.A., also told the newspaper that limited edition cigars from the Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and Trinidad brands will be rolled out during the festival.
In addition, the Cuaba brand, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, will be launching an exclusive special edition to be sold at La Casa del Habano stores, according to a back-dated Habanos S.A. news release.
Habanos has previously said the festival’s opening evening will be dedicated to the release of the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 Reserva Cosecha 2012.
The 2016 Habanos Festival is to be held February 29 to March 4. The international expo celebrates the Cuban cigar with special cigar tastings, dinners and lunches, vendor exhibitions and seminars about Cuban cigar production. The closing night’s festivities include a lavish gala event with musical entertainment and a charity auction of antique humidors.
Núñez Blanco said more than 1,600 participants from 60 countries are confirmed to attend, including distributors and cigar enthusiasts.
The closing gala is to focus on the Cohiba anniversary, and Habanos says, “to celebrate this milestone, new launches are going to be featured, including special editions and new product releases in the regular portfolios.”
Additions to the Añejados Portfolio
Habanos introduced the Añejados line in February 2015 with the Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados (52 ring gauge x 156 mm long) and Montecristo Churchills Añejados (47 ring gauge x 178 mm long).
The Partagás Coronas Gordas Añejados (46 ring gauge x 143 mm long) and Hoyo de Monterrey Hermosos No. 4 Añejados (48 ring gauge x 127 mm long) will be sold in boxes of 25, Habanos says.
The cigars have been aged (añejado) for at least five and as long as eight years.
“Through the aging process the cigars have become rounder and mellower to the palate, getting touches of wood taste thanks to the years of rest with the cedar protecting it,” Habanos says.
Boxes of añejados cigars are stamped with the production date and set aside to age. Eventually each box is opened and every cigar is checked, according to Habanos. Each cigar gets a band for the brand and a second añejados band, and the box is stamped with a Revisado (checked) date.
The new issues are to be available “all over the world during the first quarter of 2016” but sold as a unique Edición Especial in limited quantities and for one time only.
Cigar Aficionado says the original añejados were well-received in the international market. In reviews, it gave the Romeo y Julieta Añejados a score of 92 points and the Montecristo Churchill Añejados 91 points.
Habanos Festival Entertainment Announced
Habanos has also named performers to appear at the cigar festival’s two largest gatherings.
The closing night gala is to feature:
- Chucho Valdés, Cuban pianist and composer, winner of five Grammys and three Latin Grammys
- Estrella Morente, a Spanish Flamenco singer
- Jorge Drexler, a Uruguayan singer-songwriter, winner of an Oscar and two Latin Grammys
- Rising Cuban stars Alain Pérez, Cucu Diamantes and Geidi Chapman.
Alexander Abreu, renowned trumpet player, composer and winner of a Latin Grammy, and his group Havana D’Primera will play a show to close the opening night of the festival.
Also during the festival, participants will have opportunity to watch sommelier competition in which contestants are tasked with recommending wines to go with specific Habanos, and the longest-ash competition.
Attendees can also visit tobacco plantations in Vuelta Abajo and the Habanos factory, learn to roll their own tobacco leaves, tour Old Havana in a parade of classic automobiles, and visit Ernest Hemingway’s home at La Vigía.