The Cyprus qualifying round for HWC was recently wonderfully completed in high competitive spirits for a claim to represent the country in the Grand Finals during the upcoming 20thHabanos Festival in 2018.
Fourteen teams arrived early and were tested through a series of stages; knowledge, blind tasting and pairing challenge, but only one team was finally declared victorious.
The 14 teams who participated were:
Anzith: Mr. Andreas Constantinou – Mr. Zinwnos
PaphosPirates: Mr. Wilson Edward – Mr. Alexey Zakharov
The AR Cigar Team: Mr. Raffi Der Garapetian – Mr. Alexis Tsielepis
Siglo Team: Mr. Paraskevas Paraskeva – Mr. Linos Demetriou
Fumo: Mr. Andreas Nikolaides – Mr. Alexandros Agathocleous
Big Smoke: Mr. Nikolas Lamprianides – Mr. Theodoros Fwtiou
Captain: Mr. Melios Odissews – Mr. Panayiotis Mavroudes
Edmundo Team: Mr. Giorgos Iosifides – Mr. Christodoulos Sofocleous
Team Exclusivo: Mr. Demetres Georgiou – Mr. Miltos Papadopoulos
Real EstateGuru: Mr. Mitlos Kouzis – Mr. Nic Zen
Supremos: Mr. Savvas Kadis – Mr. Charis Gewrgiou
GA: Mr. Andreas Mitas – Mr. Giannakis Gewrgiou
Habanos Duo: Mr. Elias Sofokleous – Mr. Christos Filotheou
El Laguito: Mr. Alexis Hrodotou – Mr. Nearchos Filita
- The event started at 9:00 am on Sunday 10thof December at Lighthouse Restaurant in Limassol, Cyprus
- Participants had the opportunity to enjoy together a copious breakfast buffet with their first offered cigar, a Montecristo Petit Edmundo.
- At the strike of 10:00 am the challenge began. Each team sat together and was granted access through their smart device (mobile or tablet), to register on the Habanos World Challenge webpage – https://www.habanosworldchallenge.com
First Challenge: Knowledge Quiz
- The teams started the first challenge of the competition, Knowledge Quiz. Through a time-limit of 30 minutes, they were called to answer 30 multiple choice questions. Each correct answer received 1 point, up to a maximum of 30 points for this challenge.
Second Challenge: Cutting and Lighting
- At the completion of the Knowledge Quiz, each team was invited by the Jury for the second leg of the competition, Cutting and Lighting Demonstration with 2 different cigars:
- The Jury provided to each team member one cigar that had to be stripped off from all rings and brand bands.
- Each team member was then requested to demonstrate to the Jury the correct way of cutting and lighting a cigar.
- The team had to complete this task within 5 minutes.
- Each team member was assessed on the task with a possible maximum score of 5 points and an overall team score 10.
- The overall team score was then added to the total score of the team.
- The highest ranked team for this challenge (Fumo) was requested to demonstrate once again the proper way of cutting and lighting a cigar in the afternoon at the end of the event.
Third Challenge: Blind Tasting
Once a team completed the second stage of the competition, the team returned to their station for the third leg of the competition, the Blind Tasting.
For this challenge the team was called identify the characteristics of the cigars they were provided during the Cutting and Lighting Challenge.
The team had to provide for each cigar the following details:
- Factory Vitola
- Commercial Vitola
- Ring Gauge
The total maximum score of this challenge was 30 points.
The teams had to enter their answers into the Habanos World Challenge webpage under the section of the Quiz Blind Tasting.
The cigars were later revealed to be the Vitola No 1 – Juan Lopez Selection No.2 and Vitola No 2 – Ramon Allones Specially Selected.
Last Challenge: Pairing – #MyUniqueHabanosMoment
For the last leg of the competition, Perfect Pairing of the cigar already chosen by participants prior to the event, each team was invited by the jury to verbally present within 5 minutes for the preselected cigar of their choice the following:
- Details regarding the brand and specifically the year of formation, the founder and the strength of the brand
- Details regarding the vitola and specifically the launching year, format details (factory vitola, length, ring gauge), smoking time and tasting notes.
- The team had to explain their Perfect Habanos Moment by specifying the location, the occasion and time of a day for enjoying the cigar of their choice.
- Pairing of the cigar depending on their Habanos Moment with a drink and a food from the list provided before as well. The team had to provide tasting notes for the drink and food towards explaining their pairing selection.
- Creativity in demonstrating/explaining the team’s pairing choice was awarded with extra points
The maximum score from the pairing challenge was 30 points. The points granted to the team for the pairing challenge were added to the overall team’s score.
The winning team of HWC Cyprus was The AR Team, comprising of Mr. Raffi Der Garapetian and Mr. Alexis Tselepis, who will be representing Cyprus in the Final Rounds in Havana.
Fumo, the runner team comprising of Mr. Andreas Nikolaides and Mr. Alexandros Agathocleous, also did excellent, winning the second place and a box of cigars.
The event closed around 15:30 in the afternoon with the presentation of an assorted HWC themed cake for all participants to enjoy and celebrate together this first of a kind aficionado gathering.