- Title: CUBA: TOBACCO AFICIONADOS DESCEND ON CUBA FOR THE HAVANA CIGAR FESTIVAL
- Date: 23rd February 2004
- Summary: (L!3) HAVANA, CUBA (FILE) (REUTERS) ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA, WALKING IN THE STREETS OF HAVANA AND SMOKING A CIGAR (L!3) SIERRA MAESTRA, CUBA (FILE) (REUTERS) FIDEL CASTRO WRITING WITH A CIGAR BOX BY HIS SIDE REBEL SMOKING A CIGAR
- Embargoed: 9th March 2004 12:00
- Location: HAVANA / SIERRA MAESTRA / PINAR DEL RIO, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Business,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA8QSWJTUGRSK67DTBPDBNLZ6ME
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Tobacco aficionados descend on Cuba for the Havana Cigar Festival.
Wealthy aficionados and retailers descended on the Mecca of cigar lovers this week for five days of smoke-filled parties and tours of tobacco plantations and factories that roll the world's most famous cigars.
The annual Habanos festival includes the most lavish banquet laid on each year by the communist-run country where humidors signed by President Fidel Castro are auctioned off for tens of thousands of dollars.
For the connoisseur, the festival offers a first hand view of cigar production and how the tobacco harvest is doing. It is also an opportunity to indulge in the pleasures of cigar smoking and Havana nightlife. For many aficionados, the festival is a chance to go on a spending spree and stock up with their favorite smokes.
Visitors toured factories where smiling Cubans rolled famed Cohiba and Montecristo cigars under posters of Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and other revolutionary heroes.
"For me its my life," said cigar roller Jose Ramon Cueto.
"I was born in tobacco, I grew up in tobacco. I feel like I am IN the tobacco. So it's with this history that I help smokers to have the best of all cigars."
An interesting stop for retailers was the new H.Upmann cigar factory opened this year in a remodelled building that used to make Partagas cigarettes.
To mark the 160th anniversary of the founding in Havana of the legendary brand by two German bankers, the Upmann brothers, a special humidor of 100 cigars was on sale for $1,600 (850 pounds).
"There is no tobacco in the world that has the flavor and aroma of Cuban tobacco," said Carlos Cambria, a festival participant.
"It's something that is very special."
A new warehouse for ageing tobacco in Havana won praise from experts as a major development for Cuba's $250 million a year cigar industry, allowing the ageing of filler and binder, not just the wrapper leaf.
Cigar sales peaked two years ago, after the stock market bubble burst and cut into expensive pleasures, retailers said.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None