Like Port, fine cigars are unique products of their region, agriculture, and processes of selection, curing, fermentation, ageing and blending. The work is intensely manual and requires extraordinary attention to quality every step of the way.
Habanos SA, the world leader in the premium cigar market, sponsors the annual Festival del Habano, the world’s most prestigious Cigar event. Held annually in Cuba, its wide ranging program includes events focussing on premium products to match with their cigars. This year, the focus was on Port. A preliminary event last November narrowed the field to just five port wines in each the Tawny and Vintage categories for pairing with two specific cigars. On 1 March at the 14th Festival del Habano in Cuba, judges were asked to pick the best pairing of the Montecristo Edmundo with a Tawny Port and the Romeo e Julieta Belicoso with a Vintage Port, based on the tastes and sensations experienced. The Ports were tasted blind.
Complex and full-bodied, Graham’s 1994 Vintage Port shows intense fruit aromas and a long finish of dark chocolate and ripe black fruit. This extraordinary port pairs magnificently with the balanced and aromatic Romeo e Julieta Belicoso, a cigar produced from leaves entirely from the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba, widely regarded as producing the finest quality tobacco.
Not only did Graham’s win the Vintage pairing, but sister brand Dow’s 20 Year Old Tawny, known for its remarkable raisiny, dried fruit flavours, exquisite creamy texture and exceptionally long, lingering finish, was the winning Tawny for pairing with the Montecristo Edmundo.