During our visit to the 2013 Habanos festival, I had the pleasure of spending two days with Andy Ryan and Jose Antonio Candia, in Hector Luis Prieto’s tobacco farm in San Juan y Martinez. Hector Luis Prieto is regarded as one of the most successful vegueros (tobacco farmers) in Pinar del Rio and grows high quality wrapper and filler in his 4 hectare farm.
Whilst staying in the farm we had a chance to learn about tobacco cultivation right from the source, by spending most of our time working with the farm hands. Hector was also kind enough to share his wealth of knowledge and answer all our questions on camera, especially on what makes Cuban tobacco so special and so different to tobacco cultivated anywhere else in the world!
Following on from last year’s success, the James Fox and cigars.ie cigar smokers headed west for a Rum and Cigar tasting. As we arrived in town, dressed in army fatigues, it was clear that a storm was brewing out in the Atlantic – with Surf smashing over the headland protecting Kilkee harbour. Ominous.
After last year’s festival being a big success, Kilkee will be hosting the second Ché Do Bheatha festival between September 28th and 30th 2012. This year, Che do Bheatha Latin-American Cultural Festival will celebrate the Latin American culture, along with the 51st anniversary of Che’s visit in Kilkee in September 1961.
On the last day of our cigar weekend and after a beautiful Sunday morning in the vineyards, 20 of us gathered up for a brunch, which finished up with a tasting of some very rare cigars Nino shared with us; the Sol Amorosos Imperiales, which dated back to the 1930′s. Although most of us have had the chance to sample vintage cigars throughout the years, an 80 year old cigar is not something you would come across often and it’s enough to raise the levels of excitement in the party!
Readers of Nino Munoz’s Flying Cigar blog will be vaguely aware that on occasion he ends up in a pharmacy, and this has something to do with Cigars. I never really understood this. Personally, I thought perhaps ‘the pharmacy’ was a lost in German translation name for a local watering-hole with a nice smoking terrace. Or perhaps ‘the pharmacy’ was just a pharmacy, the same type of pharmacy that I go to the day after a cigar session; and the cigar smoking and pharmacy visits were so interdependent that they have became one. Or something.
Well those Guys and Gals in Hunters know how to throw a cigar party.
Thursday morning started off with an early trip to the airport, with a quick stop off at the election centre to cast our votes in the European Election, but it wasn’t long before we were rummaging through the vintage cigar wall in the walk in humidor at our shop in St James’s Street. From there it was a skip up the stairs to the sampling room, 1997 Hoyo de Monterrey Churchills in hand, Andy had brought a bottle of Yellow Spot with him, Pete and Paul, our UK cigar forum counterparts had brought a bottle of Glenfiddich 12yo, so we spent the rest of the morning arguing which was better, with both sides claiming victory as we broke for lunch.
7pm. 20 degrees centigrade. Glass of chilled Cava in my left hand. Romeo Wide Churchill fired up in my right. Relaxing on a smoking deck. Tapas offered by friendly waiting staff. Is this Havana, or am I really in the Porthouse Ibericos in Dundrum?
I am in the Porthouse. Where our Pot Still Whiskey and Romeo Wide Churchill tasting was a huge success.
Following the success of the Fox Upmann Sir Winston Centenary Selection & Greenspot 10yo tasting conducted in Havana during the Partagas Festival in November 2011, the directors and managers of Fox Cigar Merchants were delighted to host a Partagas Fox Seleccion No 1 & Knapogue Castle 16yo tasting at the Habanos Festival in February 2012.
The venue for the tasting was La Moraleja Restaurant in Vedado, just up the road from the Habana Libre Hotel. This is a beautiful, privately run restaurant which offers an excellent menu of top class dishes. Olga Lidia is the proprietor, and as an avid cigar aficionado she has an open door policy for cigars smokers.