The History of Partagas
Today, most American cigar smokers are familiar with the Partagas brand. To them, it is a well-made, well-priced Dominican cigar, usually with a Cameroon wrapper. The Partagas Black series is still considered one of the strongest regular production cigars you can buy, and the Partagas 150 has become world renowned for its age and rarity. However, what many people fail to remember, or simply do not know in the first place, is that Partagas is one of the oldest cigar brands in existence, and its origins were not in the green fields of the Dominican Republic. It began 16 years before the American Civil War, on a small Caribbean nation just south of Florida.
In 1845, Spanish immigrant Don Jaime Partagas y Ravelo, built the Partagas factory in the city of Havana, Cuba. He strived to create the best cigar in the world, and had spent years buying all of the best tobacco plantations on the island, including in the lush region of Vuelta Abajo. His brand was an instant success and he became an innovator in aging and fermentation of cigar tobacco. After his tragic death in 1868, the company passed to his son and was then bought out by Cifuentes, Fernandez y Cia in 1900. In 1927, the same company also bought the rights to the Ramon Allones brand, and production on both was run out of the same factory.
Following the death of one of the partners of the company, the Cifuentes family became sole owners of the Partagas line and kept buying up smaller, yet popular brands such as Bolivar and La Gloria Cubana. By the late 1950s, Partagas was the 2nd best selling Cuban cigar in the world. However, there was severe unrest in the nation. The Cuban revolution would forever alter the political landscape of the world, and in particular the cigar industry. Following the take over of Fidel Castro, the Cuban tobacco industry was nationalized, with the government taking control of manufacturing and distribution. Although Ramon Cifuentes was offered a job in the new company, he chose instead to leave. Not only did he wish to avoid government interference with his brand, but he knew that they were now missing out on the lucrative American cigar market.
In the late 1970s, Ramon licensed the names of his two most famous cigars, Partagas and Bolivar, to the General Cigar company. They wished to create cigars with the same name brand and style, but crafted outside of Cuba. This would enable the brand to be sold in the United States. While production began, like many post revolutionary cigar, in Jamaica, the company finally settled on the island of Hispaniola, in the nation known as the Dominican Republic. From there, the Partagas brand was reborn and to this day is still one of the best selling cigars in the United States.
The original Cuban brand, however, is still crafted and distributed out of Cuba by the company known as Habanos S.A. It is still one of the top selling Cuban cigars in the world, being lead only by the ever-popular Montecristo brand. Its Serie D line has been called one of the best cigars in the world, and is coveted by true aficionados. The big question is really what will happen if Cubans are brought back into this country? Which Partagas will eventually win control over the much sought after American market? While there is no answer to this yet, for now sit back, relax, and enjoy either of these truly outstanding cigars