Cigar aficionados from around the world descend on Havana for the annual Cigar Festival. Among them, some of the world’s leading experts on Cuban cigars. Many come to compete in the international cigar sommelier competition.
CCTV’s Michael Voss has the story.
In a smoke filled room in Havana, the search is on for the world’s best Cigar Sommelier. When it comes to wine, a sommelier must know what best to serve with which food. Here it is what cigar to smoke and which drink to pair it with, once a meal is over.
“Oh Cigars, we already have more than 27 brands from Cuba, more than 250 different sizes and different intensities. They can be from the soft body to the full bodied cigar,” said Luis Garcia a Dubai based Sommelier.
Many of the competitors paired rum with their cigars but one Cuban offered American bourbon, perhaps anticipating the day Cuban cigars can finally go on sale in the United States. Eight competitors from five countries came to show off their skills in-front of an international jury that included an American.
“The great Habanos sommelier for me is the one that romances the story. Yes they have to know the facts, they have to know the background of the alcohol, they have to know the region of the tobacco. They have to know the sizes and exactly the blends that are in them. But the ones to me that I grade highest on are the ones that have a story to romance you,” said Gary Heathcote a U.S. cigar journalist.
The best Cuban cigars don’t come cheap, even in Havana, and it’s mainly the world’s wealthy who enjoy them. But socialist Cuba has shown this is one decadent vice that it is more than happy to serve.