20th Habanos Festival: Day 2- Tuesday 27th February 2018
Photo by Gotanero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
After a busy first day networking with fellow Cuban cigar enthusiasts, revelling in the lively atmosphere of the event and enjoying a few too many rums during the welcome evening, our second day was off to a slower start. Although we anticipated a much earlier one and which did not begin with a rum infused headache, we were still very excited about what the second day of the festival would bring.
Our driver Yamel picked us up in his very swanky and very vintage Lada at 10:30 am and drove us directly to the Humidores Habana (the small Cuban Humidor factory we mentioned in our previous blog post: 20th Habanos Festival Day 1- 26th February 2018). Located just thirty minutes out of the city in the district Arroyo Naranje, we admired the vibrant painted buildings and its beautiful and brightly dressed inhabitants as we passed through the borough just 15km from the centre of Havana. We pulled up outside the electric blue building and were warmly welcomed by Jorge, the Jefe de Producción (Unit Production Manager).
The factory was thriving with movement and work was being done in every corner as they were preparing for the next few days at the Festival del Habano. We felt very lucky to be able to observe the artists at work and watched them put the finishing touches on the stunning and spectacular Humidor, which will be auctioned at the Gala dinner on Friday the 2nd of March. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photographs of it, but you will be able to see some in our Friday the 2nd of March post when it is available for all to see.
Photo taken from Humidores Habanos Facebook page.
The factory has an impressive cross generational history and it was fascinating to see workers of all ages engage in various tasks and undertake remarkable responsibilities. Jorge gave us a comprehensive tour of the famous factory and provided us with in-depth details about the company’s production techniques. We felt truly overwhelmed by the amazing levels of craftsmanship that the small group of workers had mastered here. Jorge and his team told us that most of their incredible humidors are made from reclaimed cedar wood, which are sometimes over 200 years old and were once the wood which made the old Havana roofs (unbelievable!).
In the Humidores Habana factory, they specialise in an interesting technique called inlay, where different pieces of coloured wood are skilfully assembled to replicate the intricacies of a specific cigar logo, such as Cohiba Cuban Cigars or Romeo y Julieta Cigars.
Here at José Ernesto Aguilera’s small factory in Arroyo Naranje, we spoke about the concept of EGM branded humidors and discussed initial prices about such a project. In light of this conversation, we are thrilled to announce that we have agreed to an initial order of EGM branded humidors, which will be released around the 1st year anniversary of our launch. This is a project we are very excited about and can not wait to see how it progresses, very exciting indeed (watch this space!).
After thanking Jorge and his team for such an inspiring and thought provoking tour, we made our way to our dear friend, John de Costas party at Espacios- a very atmospheric and ambient tapas restaurant in the centre of Havana. John de Costa is the proprietor of Cigar Sanctum, a bespoke jewellery company which creates and designs jewellery ‘solely with the cigar smoker in mind’. Every year, without fail, he hosts a party during the festival and it is one that everyone wants to attend. With big personalities on the guest list, such as Gordon Mott (last year’s winner of Hombre del Habano), Stuart Fox (managing director of JJ Fox Cigars) and even Roberto Fonseca, world renowned Cuban musician and loved by all Cubans,it's no wonder our taxi driver, Yamel, was begging us to sneak him in.
Roberta Fonseca hypnotised the crowd for just over an hour and we were all mesmerised by his inspiring music up until the last note was played on his piano and he walked off stage to whoops, cheers and the resounding sounds of the whole restaurant clapping.
As the night sky began to glitter with stars and the mojitos were being drunk jovially, we all enjoyed smoking our cigars in the beautiful patio and garden of the restaurant. The event was sponsored by Cuban Rum producers Havana Club and the mojitos were tasting extra delicious paired with our authentic Cuban Cigars.
Just after the set, a giant paella was cooked in front of the guests and it was a very welcome surprise after all the copious drinking and smoking. We enjoyed the delectable combination of the delicious red peppers, chorizo, chicken and spices and felt well fed and very inspired. But with a very long day ahead of us tomorrow, full of seminars at the Palacio de Convenciones and an evening event at the Teatro Marti, we reluctantly went to catch a few winks of sleep and get some very much needed rest.
Keep updated with our goings-on at the festival via our EGM Cigars Instagram or keep checking back here!