Armenpress exclusive interview with HABANOS WORLD CHALLENGE- 2018 prestigious tournament winner, businessman Raffi Der Garabedian


15:15, 14 May, 2019

Dubai in 14 May/Armenpress: Raffi Der Garabedian is a prominent businessman from Cyprus, he is the founder and principal of a merchant company for gold, diamonds and watches, which has different bracnhes and shops with his family members. Raffi has a special interest towards Cigars along side of his many preferences.
He has participated in various competitions and tournaments related to Cigars and Cigars testing, last year he participated in the largest and most respected international tasting international HABANOS WORLD CHALLENGE-2018 which takes place in Cuppa and is considered one of the world’s best-known competitions and could ranked as world cup in its category. Der Garabedian and his teammate, Alexis Tslipepis, both representing Cyprus, won the tittle.
Our correspondent met Raffi in Dubai, where he talked about his remarkable victory at the love of Cigars world, along side his thoughts and projects regarding Armenia.


-What information you could give us about HABANOS WORLD CHALLENGE and how did you participate?
– Raffi Der-Karapetian: This tournament is quite famous and well-known and always hosts a lot of competitions from all over the world. Me and my colleague, who is also a good expert in Cigars world, and his name is Alexis Tsipepis, applied for participation. Participation had stages, first there were qualifications run in Cyprus, after which we reached the finals in Havana, Cuppa. We have putted lot effort, dedicated long time and study to be fully prepared for this  tournament. And beside our experience and knowledge, we also needed good research and diligence, with a large amount of new and old cigars assortment we planned our our programms and experimentation, and at the other hand we have really enjoyed Cuba and took part in the tournament and became winners.

– What were your feelings for winning this proud award?
– It was very proud to be champion in world class cigar tasting tournament and to to represent Cyprus, here I would also like to say that the support and encouragement  showed from our friend and relatives was huge and it gave us lot of motovation. After the victory, the broad reactions and congratulations were very influential and when it was announced that we are “the world champoins”, we have had an inexplicable feelings which were just a healing.

– How difficult was the competition, especially since there were many female practitioners from Cubai.
– We knew that it would be a very difficult competition to the end, and that gave us more commitment and determitation. We believed in our passion and dedication to cigar world and it gave us the boostm meanwhile we have noticed that in participants attitudes, and even after the victory announcement the general atmosphere was warm and the two prominent  opponents (Taylor and Miley) agreed that there are no winners and loosers as we gathered and surrounded by the unique atmosphere called element of cigars` story, which itself is a culture and an art for us, and for our followers and for the lovers of cigars.

– How did the passion of cigars began with you?
– My uncle had a great influence on me, he was a big smoker of cigars and was owning considerable knowledge in that world. I started smoking at the age of 24 with Romeo and Juliet- Chirchel cigars, after which I began to loved the tasting very much, and for me it was transformed into a personal arrangement and pleasure toward cigars. In tasting, smell and the usage, the cigars world pushed me to slowly improve my preferences.

– The news of the tournament has been found in the international press, what is your impression?
– It was a very pleasant and at the same time we experienced such a deep new feeling. Yes, it was a great deal to be there and win the trophy of the tournament. There were lot of interviews with us and we were already celebrated in Cuba and in cigars world in genral. But the most important and the main thing for us, as I remembered, was the general atmosphere and I think it waw so interesting for the audience to attend such a high standerd trounament.

-What level of knowledge and experience should someone has in order to participate in such a high quality tournament?
– I think that this person must have serious professional skills, for example, he needs a lot of knowledge about the cigars, as well as about so called the science of cigars, the process of cultivation, the leaf sorting and selection, preparation, aging and production (packing and the composition), familiarity with the history of 27 brands, their history, factories, lines of productions, variety, types, specific products … etc. The “blind taste” is a very competitive one and I have a curtian spiritual affiliation and joy with it cermony too.

  • Do you visit Armenia ofen and what plans you have regarding Armenia?
    – Two years ago I visited Armenia and I wish to visit it again and always. I saw the change and progress and I am very glad and enthusiastic about that.
    I believe in the future of Armenia and we must work together to develop our country and give strength to the new generation. I have always advised my neighbors and friends to visit Armenia and here were suggestions for opening of the cigars center in Armenia, and I am content to take action toward fulfilling this plan.