• May 21, 2024

Cuba Marks Cohiba Anniversary

 Cuba Marks Cohiba Anniversary
Leopoldo Cintra Gonzalez (Right) -Photo: Timothy Donahue

Although a year late, Habanos is celebrating its most iconic brand’s 55th birthday.

By Timothy S. Donahue

Cuba is trying to get back to a sense of normalcy. Covid served a crushing blow to the reclusive island’s tourism industry. It also caused chaos in its cigar production chain from the farms to the factory floor. However, after a year’s delay, Habanos, the government-owned distributor of Cuban cigars, is welcoming cigar connoisseurs to celebrate the 55th anniversary of its most iconic brand, Cohiba.

While officially the event began on Wednesday with a cocktail reception at the El Laguito event center nearby where Cohibas are produced, media were given an opportunity Tuesday to mingle with representatives of Habanos. During the media event, Leopoldo Cintra Gonzalez, commercial vice president for Habanos, told Tobacco Reporter that the Cohiba brand has shown strength throughout its history and remains one of the most exclusive cigars on the global market.

He mentioned Cuba’s “always present” former leader Fidel Castro who first launched the Cohiba brand in 1966 and passed away in 2016. “It has not been an easy 55 years. We have had to be very innovative, which is normal for Habanos,” Cintra Gonzalez said through a translator. “But for this [exquisite] brand, because of the love everyone puts into the brand … especially the hands of the torcedors in El Laguito who put in so much effort … remains a favorite of consumers around the world.”

Typically, brand anniversaries for Habanos happen during the company’s annual cigar festival held in February. However, that event has been cancelled the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Next year, the festival will return, and the 2023 Festival del Habano XXIII will take place from Feb. 27 to March 3.

Thursday, attendees will attend a tour of the El Laguito factory during operating hours and have an opportunity to see how the Cohiba cigars are produced followed by a gala dinner Friday evening that will include an auction of two exclusive humidors, the proceeds from which will help support the Cuban healthcare system.

The Cohiba 55 Aniversario, which measures 5 9/10 inches (150 mm) long with a 57 ring gauge, is a new vitola called Victoria. The cigar also wears a foot band, the first time an Edicion Limitada release from Habanos has done so. All of the tobacco blend comes from the Pinar del Rio province of Cuba and includes seco and ligero filler leaves, undergoing an additional fermentation in barrels to give the brand a distinctive aroma and flavor.

According to media reports, Phoenicia Trading Co. stated in May that the retail price of the Cohiba 55 Aniversario at its duty-free location in the Beirut airport would be $300 per cigar.