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I have to start by mentioning by good friend Amir Saarony who officially launched Partagas The Book this week. This is the work of a true cigar lover and Amir has poured his heart and soul to this brilliant portrait of the Cuban cigar industry. Two other events during the week leading up to the gala dinner which are worthy of mention were the Tobacco and Gastronomy cooking show performed by avant-garde Croatian chefs Grgur Baksic, Zoran Simunic, and Pantelija Pekic (members of Gastronomadi) and the Habanos / Rioja duet with endless pairing being an absolute delight.
New Cigars launched this week
* Petit No.2. A smaller version of the always-popular Montecristo No. 2. This enriches the historic Línea Clásica after many years’ wait, and make it possible to enjoy all the Montecristo flavour in less time, thanks to its innovative figurado -tapered at one end- format * An elongated version of the Montecristo Double Edmundo. This is the second launch of the brand, offering a larger Habano vitola to enjoy the aromas and flavours of the classic Línea Edmundo in a smoking time of approximately one hour. * The Partagas Lusitanias Gran Reserva Cosecha 2007. The double corona was one of the standard-bearers of Cuban cigars in the 1990s, but lost favor to robusto and shorter, fatter cigars in the 2000s. . They are Totalmente a Mano Tripa Larga – Totally hand made, Long Filler after a meticulous selection by Master Tobacco Blender Arnaldo Bichot of leaves from the 2007 harvest, aged for five years, from Vuelta Abajo, from the tobacco districts of de San Juan y Martínez and San Luis. * Re-launch of the Vegueros brand, whose new Tapados, Entretiempos and Mañanitas vitolas, all of them Totalmente a Mano Tripa Larga –Totally hand made, Long Filler- conceived for a more accessible segment and with a Medium to Full flavour, may be sampled, together with Habanos of the Edición Limitada 2013.
Gala Evening: March 2, 2013
Hollywood star Danny Glover, a great Habanos lover was the show’s headliner and received a Special Award. Other celebrities included Boris Becker and NBA star Gary Payton. For me though the stars of the show were the Italian tenor Darío Balzanelli, Luciano Pavarotti’s successor, who sang the famous Cuban son “La Comparsa”, and the legend of Cuban music, Omara Portuondo, who performed with Maestro Patterson’s orchestra and Maestro Santiago Alfonso’s dance troupe.
The Gala Evening ended with the traditional Humidor Auction including also a new raffle among attendees this year. This raised US$ 1.3 million, which will be donated to the Cuban Public Health System. Six lots including masterpieces from the most prestigious Habanos brands (Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagás, Hoyo de Monterrey, and H. Upmann) were auctioned.
The Cuban Pedro Tejeda Torres, from the La Bodeguita del Medio restaurant-bar, was the winner of the renowned Habanosommelier International Contest which is held every year during the Habanos Festival, and which is now on its XII year. The Venezuela representative, José Gregorio Pereira, came second, and Peter Dobronti Marie, from the United Kingdom, won the third prize. The best pairing award was won by the French competitor, Fabrice Sommier, who proposed an alliance between Chateau D’Yquem and Cohiba Behike 56.
Heriberto González was the winner of the second International Contest Habanos in Images, which focused this year on photography, with his work “The smoker”. The winner of the Blind Tasting was Osiris Oramas, Director, Maitre and Habanosommelier of La Barca Restaurant. Matias Barcena received an honorable mention with 3 photos in the final selection.