Just back from Havana- my 51st trip since 1997 🙂 and I’m still enjoying it as much as ever despite it being a bit of a ‘busman’s holiday’. The weather was a vast improvement from my January trip and I’m hoping it gets even warmer for the Festival in a week’s time ( that will be trip 52 !) Havana is packed with tourists this time of year and I was also surprised to see quite a few of the cigar crowd out and about which made it all the more fun for me.
We started the trip in style with a champagne breakfast at Caviar House in Gatwick airport and a comfortable Virgin flight to Jose Marti. Managed to get out of the airport in record time ( only time for a Partagas short ) and head straight to Partagas LCDH to smoke some custom blend La China’s. Great smokes for ‘freshies’ and most welcomed after the long 10 ½ hour flight with some good 7 year old rum ( thank you Abel !) The receptionist on the exec floor of the Nacional actually greeted me by name when I checked in….that’s when you know you have been to the same hotel too many times! But it’s still my favourite spot for a smoke and old habits die hard.
On Thursday we did the mega cigar crawl of Partagas, Palacio, Melia Habana, Comodoro, Nacional and 5th y 16th. The main smokes of the day were Cohiba BHK’s of all sizes with the odd UK regional Punch Serie D’Oro no. 1 thrown in between. I swear the BHK blend is unlike any other ( no doubt due to the medio tiempo leaf) and the cigars just get better and better.
We had been selling BHK56 faster than the other vitolas but it seems that BHK52’s are now catching up, possibly due to the rating in Cigar Aficionado ( for once I’ll agree with them !)
Looooong herf at 5th y 16th La Casa which seems to be coming back to life after a few quiet years although the humidor didn’t look terribly well stocked. Perhaps they will stock it up before Festival week. See photo below of us having a cigar with Carlos Robaina ( son of the late and legendary Alejandro)
Friday we took a mega day road trip to Varedero, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. I have not visited the two latter and was very surprised how lovely Cienfuegos is. Shops were well stocked, streets were clean and there was a great buzz. We walked all over the place and visited the museum which was very interesting with lots of detail and exhibits about the Revolution.
If Havana is in a time warp then Trinidad is twice as time warped! Cobble stoned streets etc al! of course I had to smoke a Trinidad in Trinidad so I settled on an Ingenios limited edition 🙂
Saturday was a chilled out day and some decent music in the evening with a few more Cohiba Behike and Sunday it was back to Jose Marti airport for the flight back home. I was lucky enough to get an upgrade on the flight and of course the Upper Class lounge has a smoking area 🙂 so….one last custom blend ( this time from Santos) and I was set up for the flight!
Back to the office for a few days in rainy London and then I’m off for trip no.52 for the February ‘Festival del Habano’ – can’t wait 🙂
Have a great week