Awards Presented at the 17th Habano Festival’s Tradeshow


When it comes to special moments, the 17th Habano Festival saved a deluxe session for last, mainly the closing day, when the much-anticipated awards linked to the world’s best tobacco were doled out.

Brazil’s Walter Saens and Kuwaiti Ali Alami won Friday two of the most coveted competitions in a weeklong event that came to a close following seminars, master lessons, presentations, lectures, tasting sessions and more.

Saens walked out as the winner of the Habanosommelier Contest (tasting and pairing sessions between habanos and drinks and food), dogged closely by Cuba’s Andrés Piñón and Luca Tramontana from the UK.

Another eye-popping competition was the one to get the longest burning ash out of a cigar, nicknamed the Perfect Smoke. A jury made up of veteran members waited patiently for 45 minutes to watch the excellent ash managed by Alami, who eventually was called the winner.

The awards were handed in at the International Conference Center in Havana, the event’s main venue, where attendees to the Tradeshow also grabbed their own prizes. In this particular case, the Award in the Comprehensive Communication category went to Internacional Cubana del Tabaco, with an honorary mention to Empresa Comercial Caribex, also from the island nation.

As to the best Modular Stand Design, the winner was Comercial Iberoamericana Coiba from Spain and Humidif, also from Spain, with an honorary mention to Italian company Boghab S.A.

As far as the Best Freestyle Design, the top honors were for Grupo Empresarial Cimex from Cuba, with an honorary mention to Cuba Ron, also from the largest Caribbean island. The award to the Most Visited Stand went to Comercial Iberoamericana S.A. Coiba from Spain and Humidif, with honorary mention to Grupo Empresarial Cimex.

The jury huddled from Feb. 23-27, assessing the exhibition space that this time around had 61 stands or booth from seven countries. The nations were Italy, Germany, Canada, China, Brazil and Spain –the latter with the largest turnout of visitors.