Cyprus: Champion of the Habanos World Challenge


 An authentic duel was held on Friday by the teams from Cyprus (Raffi Der Garapetian and Alexis Tselepis) and Cuba (Mayli Mostaza and Daylin Lopez) during the grand finale of the Habanos World Challenge, an unprecedented initiative in the history of the Festival that tested the competitors’ knowledge on Habanos.

The jury, which in this edition was headed by Roberto Delgado, Market Supervisor for Habanos, S.A.; and made up of Zudlay Napoles, champion of the seventh Habano Sommelier International Contest; Miguel Barzaga, Head of the Cigar-rolling Department in Tabacuba Group’s Industry Division; Alexandre Avellar, development manager for Cigar Journal magazine in South America; and Nicola Pileggi, president of Alto Salento Cigar Club, announced that the Cypriot duet was the winner of the three-test demanding challenge.

During the first stage of the competition, the teams answered 25 questions divided into five fields: Habano growing, making, tasting, brands and launchings. They later handpicked one of the subjects and spoke about it in front of the jury, which evaluated the competitors’ communicative skills and the way they structured the content.

A blind pairing put an end to the competition: both teams had 15 minutes to taste a drink or liquor paired with a Habano, so they identified factory and store vitolas, brand, taste territory, type of drink or liquor, defined whether they were aged or not, and determined the origin and trademark. This rigorous test crowned the first edition of the event and underscored the competitors’ passion for the best premium cigar of the world.