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A Weekend Full of Cigar Pleasure and Friendship

Cigar Smoking World Championship 2017 - Split

The Final of the Cigar Smoking World Championship ... Like every year, it is held in Split, Croatia. This year, the 8th Final is breaking both a participant record and a new world record. But before the final day and the competition, from Thursday to Sunday, it is a wonderfully enjoyable program that is full of cigars and chat. Now is the time to describe the program that I tried to convey to you with live broadcasts and photographs as much as I can.

The program actually begins with a classic introductory smoke each qualifying round. The difference here is that we meet on Thursday, as the program is spread over several days. Almost all participants meet on the terrace of the club called Paradox in the old city of Split and meet and mingle before the official Friday program. Not everyone is stranger to each other, most of the participants have already become friends from the previous years.

Paradox is a place that I can recommend with its rich local wine menu, with its location, food and atmosphere. For those who use it, Trip Advisor has given Paradox 4.5 out of 5. Tables are scattered both in front of the entrance, inside the ground floor and on the terrace floor. There are also multiple bars, which significantly shortens the time to queue for a drink. The newcomers are introduced to the seniors one by one by the inventor of the championship, Marko. After that, the next thing comes naturally, with the conversation created by the blue smoke of the cigar.

There is free time until 16:00 on Friday. As you know, the summer is coming to an end. We also use the opportunity to enjoy the day, enjoy the sea and smoke a few cigars on the beach. Towards the evening, everyone is getting ready for the cocktail that will take place at one of the organization hotels, Radisson Blu Split , and then the Bespoke Cigar Spalato cigars at Park Hotel. The cocktail is mostly for meeting and socializing. Of course, the crowd is more than the night before. In addition to fusion, for the first time, sponsors, especially Havana Clube and Macanudo Cigars, are starting to exhibit their stands. In addition, a Torcedor, also brought by Macanudo, performs a cigar wrapping show for the guests. I can say that Torcedor wrapped a lot of cigars for everyone for 3 days. After a cigar and lots of conversation, we leave the Radisson's terrace for the Park Hotel.

We arrive at the Park Hotel by buses and after the registration, everybody starts to chat with cigars, of course. Cigar Journal Editor-in-Chief Reinhold Widmayer, Cigar Rights of Europe President, Macanudo CAO Chief Thresher Rick Rodriguez were among those I was able to catch up for the chat. Of course, there were different and nice conversation people besides them. After a while, everyone is slowly directed towards their tables and the meal period begins. During the meal, Bespoke Spalato is introduced with the Roman Empire theme, and different cigars from Bespoke are tasted and suggestions for pairing with local wines are offered. During the promotion, Jeremy Casdagli, whom I met three years ago during the Swiss qualifying tour and who we have been increasingly friendship with since then, appears before us as Caesar, taking Roman soldiers around him. The lucky draw of the night wins a box from the limited edition Spalato. The night ends with a deep conversation, again accompanied by cigar smoke.

After the wonderful night on Friday, we come to Saturday, the day when the main activities will take place and the calf's tail will be cut off. Sponsons, Macanudo, Havana Club Rom, ST Dupont, Cuervo y Sobrionos, Cigar Journal have opened their stands, listed their products and exchanged information with those who are interested for all the activities held in the ballroom of Radisson. The day starts quite early, with activities at 9:00. The first event begins with the introduction and tasting of CAO Pilon cigars. The promo is Rick Rodriguez, Head Thresher, and he answers questions. Then there is the Havan Club Rom tasting and matching. We try the Seleccion de Maestros, Club Anejo 15 and Havana Club Union (with the Cohiba logo) rums. What a lie or palatal habit, I like Club Anejo 15 the most. By the way, I recommend you try Club Anejo 15 and Ramon Allones Specially Selected cigar as pairing. Afterwards, we finish the first part of the day with the introduction of the Cuervo y Sobrinos watches, the Cigar Journal and the Cigar Rights of Europe. Among these promotions, the tasting of CAO's Fuma Em Corda series cigars is also carried out. It will be useful to smoke this very spicy cigar on a really full stomach, let me announce to those who are curious.

Around 4 o'clock, everyone gathers in front of the ballroom to get the registration and table numbers. Although it is not mentioned much, everyone can feel a little excitement. Considering that the world record is 3 hours until this competition, it is quite a matter of curiosity what the night will bring. While talking about recording, chatting, etc., at exactly 5 o'clock, the ballroom doors are closing after everyone takes their place at the tables. From this moment on, it is forbidden for the contestants to leave the table until their cigars are extinguished or left voluntarily. With two matches and a cut, the two-minute preparation process is passed, and the room is completely silent. Since the morning, there is only smoke and silence in the hall where dark conversations are heard and according to the rules, the first 5 minutes must pass like this. But even afterwards, there are not many speakers other than those watching in the hall. This year there are over 100 participants and there is one thing everyone focuses on, their cigar.

Unfortunately, as always, there are sporadic fading out soon, and in the first 30-40 minutes that need attention, a considerable group of competitors are out of the race by extinguishing their cigars. In my first two qualifying rounds, since I'm from that caravan, I usually have the first 40 minutes. I am smoking my cigars unnecessarily fast and that is my fault. Stopwatch, 40 minutes. After a few seconds my ash falls off and that few seconds prevent me from getting a penalty. Because, again according to the rules, the first 40 minutes. You must not drop your ash. Time passes and passes, and when the stopwatch shows 1:29:59, I am relieved, because by that second I am breaking my own record. But unfortunately, until then, I had to smoke and shorten the cigar a few times in vain in order to correct the problem of uneven burning of the cigar at different times. Finally, 10min. until after 1:39:39 the cigar goes out and I join the caravan of departures. Comfort, 10 minutes to my own record. it's add up. Mirko Giotto, who was the champion of last year and who was sitting right next to me behind me, loses the fire of his cigar and is out of the race. The competition continues for at least one more time, and when the stopwatch shows 3:06:15, Russian contestant Alexander Shagay is the winner with a new world record. Approximately 30 minutes. To be able to smoke a cigar with a normal duration for 3 hours is truly an incredible feat. After this success, everyone goes to the expected dinner and the night continues and ends with different shows and dances.

It is up to us once again to congratulate Shagay Bey and to prepare better for the next final. I would definitely recommend to those who can attend this organization, final or qualifying rounds, which are really fun, have a high level of cigar, chat and friendship.

Have a pleasant smoke for you all ...

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