The Cigar Smoking World Championship organization called it the most anticipated qualification round of the season. Sweden prides itself with a few top names, including former world champion Henrik Kristensson, two time Swedish champion Mikael “Zeke” Zander and of course, the until recently world record holder Igor Kovacic, commonly known as “The Swedish Tiger”.
Out of the three, last year’s qualification round, which was a Swedish/Danish combo held in Copenhagen, only featured Zeke for various reasons. This year, all three of them were going to go head to head for the title, but just like last year Kovacic didn’t turn up. Word on the street, or in the lounge at least, was it was due to a man cold. This we will probably never know.
Anyway, the qualification was held at what is definitely one of the most spectacular cigar lounge location in the world. In the north tower of the steps leading up to the only remaining part of a 14th century castle in Helsingborg, lies the headquarters of the cigar association Garrarna, with a bridge-like terrace overlooking the steps, city, Öresund and even Denmark.
Kristensson and Zeke positioned themselves at a corner table, as far away from the doors and the rest of the participants as possible. It was obvious who took this the most seriously.
And of course, in the end it came down to these two gentlemen. When Bo Petersson’s cigar went out after one hour and 18 minutes the two guys in the corner didn’t flinch. Judge Pierre Gustavsson sat down at the table and followed the whole denouement and at one hour, 58 minutes and 30 seconds he concluded Zeke to be the winner, for the third time in the row.
“The room was a bit too light for those top performances. It makes it hard to see the glow of the cigar properly, but I’m happy I was able to win for a third time, despite the tough competition. Too bad Igor wasn’t here, though. I would have enjoyed beating him too,” he laughs.
1. Mikael “Zeke” Zander 2:12:21
2. Henrik Kristensson 1:58:30
3. Bo Petersson 1:18:50