Habanosommelier World Champion 2017: A Conversation with Felipe Rojas Bruna
At this year's Encuentro Amigos de Partagas Festival we sat down with the Habanosommelier World Champion of 2017, Felipe Rojas Bruna. As his title commends, Felipe is an expert in Cuban cigars. Felipe currently lives and works in Dubai, as manager and cigar sommelier at the FIVE Palm hotel, successfully putting the skills he has gained over the course of his career into his personal and professional life.
Felipe Rojas Bruna was a delight to be around over the course of the festival and showed us his expertise in what he does, both by demonstrating how to cut and light a cigar, but also through his kindness and hospitality. It’s obvious to us why he was chosen as Habanosommelier of the year in 2017 and we look forward to seeing him at many future events.
Are you enjoying the festival so far?
Yes, it’s my first time here so it’s all new to me and I am very much enjoying it.
What cigars have you been smoking during your time here?
Have you been to the Festival in Havana?
Yes, I’ve been there for the last three, four years. And in 2017, I won the contest to be Habanosommelier of that year.
Congratulations! We recently interviewed this year’s winner, Darius Namdar for our Cuban cigar blog, do you know him well?
Yes, I know Darius well, he’s a very good guy and much deserving of the award this year!
Are you looking forward to the Gala dinner tonight?
Yes, it’s a beautiful venue so I’m really looking forward to it and as you know it’s my first time here, but I’ve seen photos from previous years so I know what to expect. In general, the festival and the location is spectacular. I am living in Dubai, so the scenery here is very different to what I’m used to there. All this green is just beautiful.
So you’re from Chile originally, where do you recommend smoking cigars there? Is there a cigar culture there?
Yes, I am and yes there is a cigar community, but quite a small one. There is only one Casa del Habano and only one cigar shop, but it’s beautiful, it’s very good and we have a very good selection of cigars.
What do you recommend we drink with our cigars this afternoon? Because last night we overdid it a little with the rum.
Ah yes, last night I only drank a little. The first night should be taken slowly and you have to save yourself for the gala dinner. Tonight, I’ll be drinking some very good wine with my Cuban cigars, because you can find some fantastic wines here. Tonight will be full of good food, good wine and good cigars.
Thanks Felipe! We’re sure we’ll be seeing you around, maybe for a cigar at the FIVE Palm Hotel, in Dubai ;).
See our dear friend demonstrate how to cut and light a cigar like a boss in our video below: