Cigar lovers praise Partagas brand

Cigar lovers from across the world praised Cuba's Partagas brand in this capital on Wednesday, in an unusual meeting of sybarites who maintain strong ties with the country, thanks to Cuban cigars.

The meeting brought together a group of 260 friends and customers of the Partagas Cigar House of this city who previously had the privilege of tasting the La Cabaña vitola, belonging to the San Cristobal de La Habana brand, presented during the beginning of the 32nd Meeting of that famous cigar shop, located behind the Capitolio building of Havana.

The encounter celebrated the 500th years of this capital (November 16) in a very unique way: through the famous Cuban Premium cigar store and with a cigar that pays homage to the city.

The Director of the Havana franchise of the Habanos S.A. international corporation, Nestor Valera, offered a speech praising the Partagas brand at the opening ceremony of the meeting of friends and clients (November 18 to 22).

He stressed to participants that this brand offers a medium-soft flavor, and its format, with a 50mm diameter and a length of 155mm, makes it a delight for the most demanding lover of Cuban cigars.

On Monday, according to reports from the organizers, attendees received a bag with exclusive cigars: White Churchill by Romeo y Julieta, Quaid'Orsay, Montecristo Tube Series D No.4 by Partagas, Partagas Salomón, and H'Upmann Robusto Total.

The event brings together people from Germany, Belgium, Canada, China, Spain, Holland, Japan, Grand Cayman, United States, Finland, France, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Russia, Brazil, Kuwait, Qatar, Colombia, Cameroon and Sweden.

The Casa del Habano franchise emerged in 1990 in Cancun, Mexico, and three years later the first installation of this type was opened in Havana, that of Partagas.

Cuba is world famous for its cigars, which experts considered the best in the world due to the triple conditions of soil, climate and expertise of producers.

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Habanos S.A Launches Montecristo Supremo Limited Edition in Italy

Habanos S.A will launch the world premiere of the Montecristo Supremo Limited Edition 2019 on Saturday, on the final day of the Friends of Partagas meeting, held in Lanciano, Matelica, in the Italian region of Marche.

Along with its exclusive distributor for Italy, Diadema S.p.A, the Cuban firm will present the new cigar in a specially-designed case with the brand's logo and containing 25 Habana cigar.

Each piece is totally hand-rolled following a careful selection of the wraps, filler and leaves from the Vuelta Abajo region, in western Cuba, which is considered the best land in the world to grow tobacco, according to experts.

The gala dinner at the closing ceremony of the 14th Friends of Partagas meeting, which brings together hundreds of cigar aficionados and unique high-quality cigars from Cuba every year, will be the setting for the presentation of the exclusive product, as happened three years ago at a similar event, at which the Romeo y Julieta Capuletos edition was launched in Lanciano.

This new edition of Montecristo Supremo, which is 55x130mm and takes its name after the novel 'The Count of Montecristo' by Alexandre Dumas, is the thickest vitola launched to date.

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Habanos S.A Seeks Greater Presence in Asia-Pacific Market

Habanos S. A., producer of premium cigars, is seeking to strengthen its presence in the Asia-Pacific market, a region considered one of the centers of the world economy, said Tuesday a source of the entity.

The Marketing Director, Ernesto Gonzalez, told Prensa Latina they are developing new products focused on that area.

Habanos S.A. has in China one of the strongest customers in Asia, and the company is currently focusing on consumers in that area to develop a culture on everything related to Habano and its properties, said the director.

The company, world leader in its category, now consolidates the European markets, which represent 56 percent of its sales, mainly in Spain, France, Germany, England and Switzerland.

The Cuban domestic market is also one of the most important in terms of sales volume.

We keep working focused on customers and satisfying their needs. Our strategy is to consolidate the gaps we have and continue growing, explained Gonzalez.

The company holds 70 percent of the world tobacco market, with the exception of the United States. Out of 10 cigars sold, seven are Cuban, he said.

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Cuba aiming to boost production of world-famous cigars

The Cuban government has been seeking to increase tobacco plantation on the island in order to boost the production of the country's world-renowned cigars.

Over 20,000 hectares of tobacco will be planted in the province of Pinar del Rio this year, where tobacco considered to be the world's best is grown. This is an increase of 1,000 hectares from 2017. Authorities aim to harvest more than 22,800 tons of the leaf.

"We have increased production in almost all of the province," Virginio Morales, an official from the state-owned company Tabacuba, told local media.

Tabacuba is a partner in the joint venture Habanos S.A, which works together with Altadis, a Spanish subsidiary of the British multinational group Imperial Tobacco.

Morales, who in 2017 won the coveted Cuban tobacco award the "Habano Man of the Year", said that as of Aug. 20, both state and private farmers will be involved in the planting of tobacco crops.

With the increase in tobacco plantation, new drying rooms are also needed and more than 5,300 rooms will be built, Morales said. The drying process, which aims to reduce the water and chlorophyll in tobacco leaves, could take months.

Carried out under the burning Cuban sun, tobacco harvesting is not an easy job. It is usually a family tradition of passing on from father to son the specialist knowledge that keeps the production of Cuban cigars alive.

The staggering success of Cuban cigars is considered to be due to a combination of good soil, excellent climate and the extensive experience of the producers. The selection and cleaning of the leaves are also vital to the production chain.

Last year, Habanos S.A. saw a global sales hike of 12 percent, generating a revenue of 500 million U.S. dollars.

This figure was achieved despite the fact that Cuban cigars cannot be sold to the the U.S. market due to the economic blockade the United States has imposed on Cuba since 1962.

The Cuban-Spanish firm is looking east to diversify and extend its market. It's currently the third largest supplier of Cuban cigars to China.

According to company executives, China is the most important emerging market and offers greatest sales potential in the future.

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Tributo 2018, First Cuban Smoked Rum

Tributo 2018 is the first Cuban smoked rum, produced in a limited edition with only 1,500 bottles for the whole world.

This edition of Tributo, honor the experts's contribution of a barrel for the rum, allowing to discover nuances given by the barrel wood. It also has a special case that looks like the white oak wood, said Cristiasn Barre, director-general of the company Havana Club International Inc., during the presentation.

This year, he explained, we will expand the production of the product and reach 21 countries, but not the amount of bottles.

During the presentation ceremony, held in the context of the 20th edition of the Habanos Festival, which is developing in this capital until March 2, Abel Alvarez, sales director to the company, highlighted that the rum was a jewel among the Havana Club rums, designed to be tasted while smoking Habanos.

We have great expectations, based on the success of the editions Tributo 2016 and Tributo 2017, he said before specifying that there were 330 bottles had been set aside for Cuba.

Cuban rum expert Asbel Morales announced that there would be new surprises in 2019, especially due to the emphasis we will make on the making of the rum.

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Cuban cigar sales hit record as China demand surges

On a roll

A surge in sales of Cuba's legendary cigars in China helped manufacturer Habanos S.A.'s global revenue rise 12 percent to hit a record of around $500 million last year, the company said on Monday at the start of Cuba's annual cigar festival.

Sudden demand in China

Habanos S.A., a 50-50 joint venture between the Cuban state and Britain's Imperial Brands Plc, said sales in China, its third export market after Spain and France, jumped 33 percent in value in 2017.

"Without doubt, there is potential for China to become the biggest market at a global level," Habanos Vice President of Development Jose María Lopez told Reuters after the company's annual news conference, while puffing on a smoke.

Best in the world

The Cuban cigar company's hand-rolled cigars, which include brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo and Partagas, are considered by many as the best in the world, and the festival attracts wealthy tobacco aficionados and retailers from all over for a week of extravagant parties and tours of plantations and factories.

Lopez said that growth in global sales of Cuban cigars last year outpaced the luxury goods market, which expanded 5 percent, according to consultancy Bain & Co. He put sales growth down to several good tobacco harvests and new products.

The Habanos executive said the outlook was also positive, given solid demand and "excellent" climatic conditions. Hurricane Irma, which wrought havoc throughout much of Cuba last year, left the western, prime tobacco-growing state of Pinar del Rio mostly unscathed.

Top exports for Cuban economy

Cigars are one of the top exports for the Cuban economy.

However, the Caribbean island cannot sell its signature export to the biggest market worldwide for cigars, the United States, due to the decades-old US trade embargo.

Trump's hostility has no effect on sales

Improved US-Cuba relations under former US President Barack Obama stoked a boom in international travel to Cuba and boosted cigar sales on the island, with American visitors able to take home as many cigars as they wanted.

Lopez said US President Donald Trump's more hostile policy toward Cuba, including tighter restrictions on US travel, did not appear to have impacted sales so far. Domestic revenue rose around 15 percent last year.

"We trust that despite Trump's measures the Cuban market will continue to grow in 2018," he said.

Cuban symbol

Cigars have been Cuba's signature product ever since Christopher Columbus saw natives smoking rolled up tobacco leaves when he first sailed to the Caribbean island in 1492.

Late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was often seen puffing on his favored kind, the long and thin 'lancero', until he quit in 1985.

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Habanos Festival returns to celebrate Cuban cigar industry

Cuba's annual celebration of its cigar-making industry, the Habanos Festival, will kick off on Feb. 26 in Havana, drawing cigar aficionados and buyers from around the globe.

The glamorous week-long festival features launchings of new premium brands, including this year's much-anticipated line of Cohiba Robusto Reserva, from the 2014 harvest.

Cuba's best-known brand, Cohiba was popularized by the legendary revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who was rarely seen without a cigar until he quit in his later years to encourage a healthier lifestyle among the people.

The festival, organized by Habanos S.A., a joint venture between state-owned Cubatabaco and Altadis, a French-German subsidiary of the British multinational Imperial Tobacco, which markets the cigars worldwide, also features gala dinners, tours of cigar factories and tobacco farms, and a renowned auction of custom-made humidors, with funds going to support the country's free healthcare system.

Habanos spokesperson Daymi Difurniao said this year participants will learn about the most diverse aspects of the cigar industry, and tour plantations in western Cuba's Pinar del Rio province, home to the world's best tobacco leaf.

"It is an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful plantations in San Juan y Martinez, recognized as having the best soil for attaining the leaves used to make renowned Cuban cigars," said Difurniao.

San Juan y Martinez, along with San Luis, Guane and the city of Pinar del Rio, make up the region of Vueltabajo, Cuba's prime tobacco-growing region.

In Vueltabajo, some 18,000 hectares of different tobacco varieties are planted each year. This year, production is expected to surpass 20,000 tons of leaves, more than previous harvests.

Another festival highlight is the traditional Habanosommelier International Contest, a culinary event that pairs cigars with a gourmet dish or cocktail.

This year, organizers are introducing the first-ever Habanos World Challenge, where cigar lovers from around the world will compete to test their knowledge about the world of cigars.

There will also be an evening dedicated to the history and success of the festival, now in its 20th edition.

In the past, the Habanos Festival has been attended by celebrities such as the late author and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez; American actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger; and British model Naomi Campbell, among others.

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New Habano Cigar at Market Shelves

Havana.- Cuba's Habanos S.A. Corporation launched a new cigar shape into the market known as Picadores, as part of a development strategy aimed at meeting the needs of the most demanding clients around the world.

  • Published in Culture
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