Habanos S.A. has released more details for the 19th annual Festival del Habano, one of the world's largest cigar celebrations, scheduled to take place in a few weeks in Havana.
The event, which attracts cigar retailers, distributors and consumers from around the world, will feature three cigar brands—H. Upmann, Quai d'Orsay and Montecristo. Habanos says that people from more than 50 nations will attend the event.
The opening night party will take place at Club Habana, an oceanfront former resort at the western end of the city. The featured cigar for the Festival's kick-off will be the Sir Winston Churchill Gran Reserva Cosecha 2011, the first Gran Reserva cigar for the H. Upmann brand.
During the week, daytime activities will include visits to two of Havana's cigar factories—H. Upmann and La Corona—and a field trip to the cigar-tobacco producing region in the Vuelta Abajo. There is also a full listing of events scheduled for the main venue, the Palacio de Convenciones, including tastings of cigars and spirits, seminars about cigars and a week-long contest to pick the Habanos sommelier of the year. The convention center also hosts a trade fair with booths showcasing cigar accessories, humidors, antiques, spirits and other products related to the world of cigars.
On Wednesday night, the event shifts to the El Laguito reception hall. Attention will be focused on the Quai d'Orsay brand, which traditionally has had limited distribution, mostly in France. (Indications are that it will be launched as one of Cuba's global brands.) According to the Habanos press release, the evening will include musical and dance performances.
The Festival ends on Friday, March 3 with a gala dinner that usually attracts more than 1,200 people. According to Habanos, the evening will include the launch of a new line extension for the Montecristo brand; it has been reported that it will be called Montecristo 1935, in recognition of the year the brand was founded.
Habanos says the new line will be positioned as a high-end brand in Cuba's international cigar portfolio, suggesting it will end up alongside the Cohiba Behike. But Habanos has been close-mouthed about any of the 1935s details, refusing to discuss the sizes or anything else about the new line. A live auction of custom-made humidors will also be held to raise money for Cuba's public health system.
To read Cigar Aficionado's coverage of last year's Habanos Festival, click here.