Urs Portmann 2014 Habano Man Gala Dinner

4 Jun

NFC LOGO KLEINAt this year’s Habano Festival the long overdue prize of Habano Man was awarded to Urs Portmann and he celebrated by the shore of Lake Constance with his family and a large group of friends and customers.

In business now for well over 40 years and having stores in Kreuzlingen, St Gallen and Vaduz, the group was large enough to have the dinner take place at the Autohof in Romanshorn, a breathtaking vintage sports car museum.

Still it was an intimate enough affair full of laughter, good spirits and eulogies to Urs, one of Switzerland’s most respected cigar merchants.

Most remarkable to experience were the strong family bonds between Urs and his two sons, Thomas and Marc, that gave the event a highly emotional feeling highlighting Urs career in the retail industry.

The Portmann name is in excellent hands with such an offspring.

I arrived early morning at his main store in order to share a cigar, coffee and a cognac with many of the regular Portmann Cuba group members and get into the latest news.

Then it was a quick lunch in the sun at my favourite Thai dirty spoon across the border in Konstanz before going back to Portmann for more coffee and cigars and friends like Ute and Patricia from my region.

A great pleasure was meeting Urs Stephan Alder ( USA ), a fellow blogger and exceptional collector of cigars and wines from Zürich.

We exchanged cigars and quickly were immersed in good conversations that included Cuba’s Oriente, home of his Cuban girl friend Yanet who shared time and event with us.

A nice post on the Portmann event by Urs Stephan can be read here.

I look forward to more cigar and time sharing with USA both here or in his native Switzerland.

We were then joined by my friend Hannes Weiss and planning ahead with him we look forward to interesting visits from Cuba and cigar tastings for the Portmann group this August.

But, of course, I also had to pick up some boxes of 2002 vintage La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or Nr 3 specially selected by Urs to celebrate his Habano Man award, both for myself and for Andreas and Frank.

Catching up with my good socio Yannick from France was also high on my agenda and we were lucky to share the time to discuss Havana plans and the latest cigar trade gossip.

It was then changing into a suit and meeting Horst “Ocho” who drove us the 20 minutes over to Romanshorn.

The dinner itself was a fantastic affair.

The eulogies to Urs came from the highest level of Intertabak, presented first by Urs Tanner, ex-CEO of the company and himself a Habano Man and the current CEO Mr Silver Gmür.

My personal highlight was presenting Urs with a personal letter from Min Ron Nee thanking him for his contribution to the second edition of “The Book” plus a gift of two numbered books, one signed and dedicated to Urs plus a browsing copy that I had the pleasure of selecting the numbers for and did so according to his birthday.

This generous present plus a personal telephone call from Hong Kong to congratulate Urs were a fantastic surprise to him and all, more so coming from a very private author and collector known for maintaining very strict privacy.

The relation between MRN and Urs dates back many years now and this is the second signed “bible” that Urs receives in appreciation for his well known generosity and dedication to the cigar world, a connection I am very proud of having established and nurtured.

MRN held a short speech warmly congratulating Urs on the award and thanking him for his contributions to The Book.

Later both Urs and Hannes had the opportunity to have a long and interesting private conversation with the author.

The evening was a showcase of Urs’ history in the cigar trade, from his humble early beginnings managing the store to his relation with Zino Davidoff and Dr Schneider of Oettinger to Don Alejandro Robaina and Hector Luis Prieto today.

Very emotional and again very remarkable in the loyalty shown to all both customers and suppliers and the strong family bonds.

All of this complemented by a Cuban band and a Cuban roller from Sancti Spiritus on his first tour outside of Cuba.

Cigars were outstanding with a very delicious RA ER Suiza and a Montecristo plus a Trinidad Fundadores with a second band in honour of Urs.

Needless to say all of us were impressed and happy to have enjoyed this fantastic evening.

The next day it was an early and long breakfast with Yannick, Hannes, Urs St. and Yanet plus Urs and Marlene Portmann, and then a leisurely couple of hours by the Lake Constance at Fischerhaus enjoying the sun and good cigars before thanking Urs and Marlene for all their hospitality and warmth and heading home again full of pleasant impressions of a glorious week-end.



2 Responses to “Urs Portmann 2014 Habano Man Gala Dinner”

  1. Arild 10/06/2014 at 16:17 #

    A most deserving winner!

    Excellent writeup of the party Nino, he deserved to be on the receiving end for once!

    • Nino Munoz 12/06/2014 at 02:05 #

      Yes – spot on Arild, he truly deserved it ….

      Best to you and Ada.