Each Year, Habanos among Friends


With its 15th edition round the corner, the Habano Festival shares the opinions and views of some personalities from politics, society and trade who have attended this gathering.

Ricardo Alarcón: “It’s been an excellent expression of culture and good taste.”

“The Habano Festival is a major way of promoting and advertising the most autochthonous product that defines Cuba’s nationality. Christopher Columbus was wrong when he thought he’d arrived in the Asian coasts. But he was right when he was dazzled by an unknown product –tobacco– 

and that was his greatest discovery,” says Cuban intellectual Ricardo Alarcon, one of the personalities who has traditionally attended our events.

“The Festival allows us to know it better, in a comprehensive way, from the plantations to the sale, and that eases communication among people from around the world who each year celebrate this event as one big family.

I’ve been lucky to be with you many times and attend the closing Gala that has always been an excellent expression of culture and good taste. In addition, the auctions have made major contributions to the Public Healthcare System for the benefit of our people,” said the man who over the past two decades served as Speaker of the People’s Power National Assembly, the legislative branch of the Republic of Cuba.

Simon Chase: “It has been my privilege.”

And talking about the auctions, we asked Simon Chase, who has wielded the gavel during most of the events. “The humidor auction at the annual Habanos Festival has proved a remarkable success. It has been my privilege to act as the auctioneer at thirteen of the last fourteen Festivals. Four times we have managed to take more the $1 million on the night and last year the total that I have helped to raise topped $10 million,” he says.

In the same breath, Mr. Chase appreciates the contribution made by many people who each year help make the auction a blockbuster, “starting with Tabacuba’s skilled technicians, who select the tobacco leaves and make the Habanos, often in rare and difficult sizes, to fill the humidors. Then there are the artists and craftsmen, who make the humidors in a variety of precious woods and metals.” However, he adds that “All of this effort would be wasted if it were not for the public relations experts at Habanos, S.A., who make sure that the Festival attracts thousands of cigar lovers as guests from all over the world.”

The fact that the funds raised under the gavel are funneled into Cuba’s public healthcare system is a fundamental drive because it “has a global reputation almost as well known as Habanos and the Festival guests are happy to support it. The final ingredient is the generosity of Habanos smokers and that has been proved without question,” he goes on to say.

It’s widely known that Habanos and their surrounding world are the conjunction for many artworks. “The Habanos Festival provides an excuse for cigar lovers from all corners of the earth to visit Havana and explore the origin of their favorite product. They come to learn and to be entertained, but, above all, to meet and mix with fellow enthusiasts and the leaders of the Cuban cigar industry,” Mr. Chase says.

This turnout of great connoisseurs and lovers of Cuba’s number-one premium product guarantees that “there could be no better forum for Habanos, S.A. to unveil its plans for the future and to reveal the new cigars that will be delivered to the world’s markets during the year. The communication works both ways as the industry has an unmissable opportunity to find out what consumers think and what they would like to see in the future,” Mr. Chase concludes