There's no better adjective than passion to modify the realm of Habanos. It takes a whole lot more than experience, expertise and art to breathe life into a good Cuban cigar, a product rolled completely by hand that carries a recognized guarantee of origin. Passion stands next to the Pinar del Rio tobacco growers from dawn to dusk. It was that passion the one that for years encouraged the creativeness of those early illustrators that turned bands and stamps into genuine masterpieces. That's the same passion that today inspires the artworks of contemporary craftspeople linked to the world of Habanos. It's all about passion and pampering at the cigar factories, where each and every tobacco leaf is handpicked, its stem removed and eventually rolled into Habanos. That passion urges researchers to delve into history and accompanies salespeople who recommend a particular cigar size to their customers in the intimacy of the Habano Houses. So passionate and enthralling is the linkage of the epicurean smokers from around the globe who pick no other than a good Cuban premium cigar. Over the past ten years, Havana has danced to the beat of the Habano Festival and has sniffed the provocative and unmistakable billowing smoke of cigars wafting around in conference rooms, working sessions, galas and social functions that become part of this international event's schedule. In this effort, Excelencias has also chipped in its own share of passion to give attendants both a magazine and a daily newspaper thoroughly pieced together that can hang out with the Habano in this magnificent concert in which tobacco is the star of the show. It's been a legitimate privilege to be a part of this celebration that huddles planters, businesspeople and celebrities from around the world, a place and moment in time where emotions are galore, from the tasting of a new product, a visit to a tobacco plantation and the chance to meet the roughneck farmers that harvest the leaves to the auction of fancy humidors and the attendance to the grand finale of the Habano Sommelier contest. The gates of the Festival are wide open. Just light up your favorite cigar, enjoy the moment with cup of freshly-brewed coffee and get carried away with the pleasure of a good reading.


José Carlos de Santiago