Habanos S.A.’s 2023 Humidor Auction Generates Nearly $12 Million
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Habanos S.A.’s 2023 Humidor Auction Generates Nearly $12 Million

Aug 20, 2023

At the conclusion of the Festival del Habano XXIII, Habanos S.A.’s annual humidor auction generated a record €11.22 million, roughly $11.89 million USD at the time of the auction, in combined sales. This shattered the Cuban cigar conglomerate’s previous auction record of €4.27 million ($4.71 million at that time) in 2020.

In addition, a Cohiba humidor was sold for €4.2 million ($4.45)—itself almost equalling the entire 2020 auction—making it the most expensive humidor ever sold at auction.

Tonight, Friday night, concludes the Festival del Habano XXIII, Cuba’s cigar festival. As it does at the end of each festival, Habanos S.A. is ending the 2023 Cuban cigar festival with a black-tie gala dinner, highlighted by an auction. The gala dinner—which routinely takes more than five hours to get through scheduled programming—also sees dozens of musical and dance acts, and has also been a place to see celebrities; Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell showed up in 2015.

This year will have at least one special guest, President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Of Note: This article was written by Charlie Minato. Weird transition. I’m transcribing all of the information from Brooks, who is at the Pabexpo in Havana.

We might even try to live blog this thing.

Habanos S.A. holds the humidor auction each year with proceeds benefitting the Cuban health system. The record amount was in 2020 when seven lots generated €4.27 million ($4.71 million at that time) including a record €2.4 million ($2.65 million) for the Cohiba humidor. Due to the pandemic, the Festival del Habano did not take place in 2021 or 2022, though Cuba held an event for the 55th anniversary of Cohiba last September where a humidor sold for €2.8 million ($2.39 million).

Update: All of those records were shattered.

Approximately $1.91 million USD.

I figured it would be a record-setting night, but lookout. — Charlie Minato.

Once again, Habanos S.A. is leaning into the man who created the cigar brand for H. Upmann’s 2023 humidor. Herman Upmann was a German banker who came to Cuba and, in 1844, established the H. Upmann brand and factory. He is widely credited with being the first to use labels for cigars. Upmann established a bank in Cuba, H. Upmann & Co., whose headquarters is now used by Banco Central de Cuba, the government’s main bank. This humidor leans into the theme of a bank through its various features. Habanos S.A. says the drawers in the humidor are made to mimic safe deposit boxes, the heavy doors and iron used are akin to a safe.

It measures 53.15 inches x 27.17 x 25 (1.35m x .69 x .635).The humidor is made of antique cedar, antique mahogany, bronze, júcaro and okoume. It was produced by José Antonio González Rodríguez, Marlene Silver Segura and Osviel Carrillo Probance.

Inside are 340 cigars:

Approximately $1.04 million USD.

This is actually my favorite humidor of the bunch. — Charlie Minato.

Habanos S.A. says this Hoyo de Monterrey humidor is made to reinterpret the La Casa del Habano stores. Unfortunately, the company does not say how that happens, though I’m not really sure it matters. It does say that the woodgrains are unique or “dissimilar.” When the humidor opens, gold-lined trays, which combined contain a total of 375 cigars, can be opened.

It measures 65.75 inches x 34.25 x 21.65 (1.6m x .87 x .55). Like the H. Upmann, this humidor is made of antique cedar, antique mahogany, bronze, júcaro and okoume. Also, the same team that produced the H. Upmann humidor made this humidor: José Antonio González Rodríguez, Marlene Silver Segura and Osviel Carrillo Probance.

Included are 375 cigars:

Approximately $1.27 million USD.

Halfway through the auction and Habanos S.A. needs to sell the next three lots for an average price of €100,000 to break the record. Also, this is really well done, certainly my favorite humidor from a creative standpoint. — Charlie Minato.

This humidor’s inspiration is rather obvious: the Shakespeare play that the cigar brand is named after.

Habanos S.A. says this humidor is designed to mimic the Gothic architecture from the play’s setting. On opposite sides of the humidor are sculptures, one of Romeo and the other of Juliet. Opening the humidor moves them away from one another, a reference to the tragedy itself. Closing the humidor brings them back together.

It measures 53.14 inches x 40.34 inches x 34.25 (1.35m x 1.05 x .87). It too is made of antique cedar, antique mahogany, bronze, júcaro and okoume. Once again, José Antonio González Rodríguez, Marlene Silver Segura and Osviel Carrillo Probance made this humidor.

Inside are 395 cigars:

Approximately $2.76 million USD.

Between now and the time that Cohiba humidor is sold, this is—to my knowledge—the second-highest amount a humidor has ever sold for at auction. — Charlie Minato.

Update: It’s now the third most expensive humidor ever sold at auction. But for about 15 minutes, it was #2. — Charlie Minato.

Habanos S.A. calls this the “gran paca” of tobacco. A paca is a wrapped bale of tobacco when it is stored, typically tightly packed in a sewn canvas sack.

According to Habanos S.A.:

This humidor is a straight prism in which two of its four lateral edges have been beveled to bring elegance and fluidity to the shape. The lateral grooves are furowed by several vertical lines that wrap around the humidor. The front is decorated by a large ring with red color and gold-plated ironwork charachteristic of the brand.

The auction guide lists this humidor as 1.5m x “0.8cm” x “65cm.”

It is made by Unión Humidores and Jorge Gil Titanium Jewelry. Woods used include 100-year-old mahogany, Cuban cedar and okoume. Metals used include bronze and titanium.

Inside are 400 cigars:

Approximately $465,000.

To put in context how ridiculous this auction has gotten in a very short period of time. At the Festival del XIX—not even five festivals ago—the top lot sold for €380,000. — Charlie Minato.

This humidor is very different from the others because this humidor is going to be a commercial release. S.T.Dupont, the French cigar accessory company, and Habanos S.A. have teamed up for the Montecristo L ‘Esprit collection, inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Montecristo, which also gives its name to the brand. It consists of three humidors—Le Crepuscule, La Nuit and L’Aurore—named after the different stages of the night. There’s a new cigar called the Montecristo L’Esprit, a 5 7/10 inches (145mm) long by 50 ring gauge parejo. The collection also includes branded S.T.Dupont accessories.

The three humidors are filled with 50 of those Montecristo L’Espirit cigars—so 150 in total—and placed inside of a larger cabinet. While the smaller humidors have been featured at events and appear destined for sale, the cabinet is likely unique to this auction. Also included are three S.T.Dupont Ligne 2 lighters and three cutters.

For the three regular humidors—pricing, production numbers and availability have not yet been announced, but there’s already been a launch party in Basel, Switzerland.

The humidor measures 70.87 inches x 39.37 x 19.69 (180cm x 100 x 50). The smaller humidors are made in Spain while the accessories are made by S.T.Dupont in France.

Approximately $4.45 million.

It’s actually $4.452 million. This is the world’s most expensive humidor ever sold at auction. Per Brooks, it took just six minutes to sell. — Charlie Minato.

“This humidor is intended to pay tribute to the stately character of luxury intrinsic to Cohiba, showing this exclusive piece that reaffirms through its majesty the cosmopolitan and elegant positioning of the brand.” That’s what the auction guide says.

Its listing seems to suggest it’s 64.96 inches (165cm) in height and 39.37 inches (1m) in diameter, though “depth” and “width” are listed instead of diameter. It was designed by Nous group and made by Humidores Habana—both familiar names in previous Festival del Habano auctions. Antique cedar, antique mahogany, bronze and titanium were used for this humidor.

Inside are 500 cigars:

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

March 3, 2023 Brooks Whittington Events & Festivals