Talented hoteliers with a passion for cigars met in Dubai earlier this week for the third annual Habanos Cigar Sommelier regional competition, hosted by Baqer Mohebi Est (BME).
Baqer Mohebi Est business development manager in charge of the Habanos brand Hadi Sleiman explained: “This is a precursor to The World Habanos Sommelier Competition, a worldwide event that takes place each year in the last week of February, during Cuba’s Festival de Habanos.
“This is the 12th edition of that show, but for us in this region, it’s our third year of taking part.
“Three years ago, our regional winner participated and came in second; last year our winner here went to Havana and won — so we have a lot to live up to!”
The event for local cigar aficionados was held at La Casa Del Habano Shop and Lounge at Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Participants from different hotels, carefully chosen based on their skill, knowledge and passion for cigars, vied for the title over the course of the day-long event.
First-time competitor Rajan Rengasamy, from Zuma Dubai, said he had decided take part because the event was “a great opportunity to learn and have a new experience”.
“To progress, you have to show an interest and get involved in competitive events,” he commented.
“And even if I do not win this time, it gives me a good basis for learning and growing ahead of next year’s event.”