Smokin' hot cigars at La Casa del Habano

Smokin’ hot cigars at La Casa del Habano

Feb 14, 2012 |  by  |  Spots
About the author
Jerry is the name, online is my game. I'm a digital enthusiast, ranging from old skool gaming and Space Invaders to iPads and social media. The integration of digital elements in everyday life and art have my particular interest, and besides that I'm part time rockaholic.

Last Thursday was a special day for Amsterdam’s cigar connoisseurs. The city’s first, and the country’s second La Casa del Habano opened in the Conservatorium Hotel, a slightly luxurious spot in the Museum Quarter. Not quite the place one accidentally runs into, but then again; all the more reason to pay a visit. Thinking of cigars, the first thing that comes to my mind is middle-aged distinguished men in thick smoke clouds. So, I decided to check out the stereotypes.

Not surprisingly I appeared somewhat underdressed at first, with mostly men in dark suits filling the room. That first impression was proven wrong when we met owner Marjolein Hartman. She’s sure more trendy shops will establish themselves in the hotel in time, thus drawing a younger crowd: “A lot of younger people do smoke the occasional cigar, but we hope to draw them out of their homes and into this place.” The opening was a good start, judging by the crowd.

Drinks are complementary, unless of course you’re after the more expensive bottles of Moët.

Bringing cigars from the elite to the masses, that sounds ambitious. But co-owner Diederik Festen (28), hip hat and ditto shoes, agrees with his partner: “To most people, smoking cigars means taking it easy. Here we have the perfect atmosphere to do so, and we encourage people to get their own coffee.” Indeed, drinks are complementary, unless of course you’re after the more expensive bottle of Moët. Still, risky business with the stingy Dutch.

Cuban quality is in the air

La Casa del Habano is a direct franchise from Cuba, with the largest assortment of Cubans in The Netherlands and the exclusive right to deal in them for the next ten years. The entire shop is in fact one big humidor, a box or closet with the right air humidity to store cigars. Recreational smoker Roderik Groeneweg is already a fan: “Cigars make you take your time and enjoy life, and since you have an hour to fill they tend to lead to good conversations. This place is a lot lighter and fresher than Hajenius, with its velvet drapes and dark timber.” That much is true, it looks great. Displays filled with cutters and lighters, and there’s cigars everywhere. The stuffed piano neatly finishes the place up. All tastes are catered for, with prices ranging from €3,50 to €40. A piece.

Dutch TV cook and ‘aficionado’ Herman den Blijker had the honour to cut the cord, together with the Cuban ambassador. That’s right, Zelmys Co Maria Domiguez Cortina was there to officially represent the motherland. After all, a cigar party ain’t worthy without her.

After a whiskey or two and deprived of fresh air we left, promising ourselves we’d be back with our young friends. It’s the least we can do to help Diederik and Marjolein reach their goals and make La Casa del Habano a frequented place amongst young folks. Needless to say, everyone else who likes quality cigars is more than welcome. Smoke’s up!

La Casa del Habano

Where: Conservatorium Hotel, Van Baerlestraat 27 – Unit 2
Pricing: €3,50 to €40 a piece
Online: General & Amsterdam

Photography by Ernesto Bos.

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