Habanos Can Be Smoked with Eyes Closed


Tasters Mercedes Gonzalez, from the El Laguito cigar factory; Yudith Sobrino, from Partagas, and Agustin San Yee, from La Corona, together with sommeliers Leticia Cabrera of La Casa del Habano at the El Aljibe Restaurant; Orlando Blanco, maître of the Vedado Hotel, and Osiris Oramas, from the El Templete Restaurant, pitted against one another for the grand prize of the second Blindfolded Habano Tasting Session, one of the ongoing Festival’s most interesting events.

It was a nip-and-tuck contest in which competitors went the extra mile in using their senses of touch, smell and taste. It couldn’t be any other way as they tried first to pinpoint the ring gauge and length of three different habanos with their eyes covered.

But they were supposed to move on even further. Now based on their inner guts and with the habanos exposed before their eyes, they had to guess what vitola and brand the belonged to –something extremely hard if we bear in mind the countless formats contained in the 27 different habano brands.

At the end of the mystery –shared among those who attended this show of virtuosos, was revealed when all the answers were on the table and there was nothing left to do but announce the winner tonight at the Grand Gala Dinner.

The habanos that entered the contest were real gems: Siglo I from Cohiba, Short Churchill from Romeo y Julieta, and the amazing Sir Winston from H. Upmann.