The Partagas brand is one of the most recognizable in all the land, having been a top choice for connoisseurs from its earliest beginnings up to this very day. With the historic Partagas factory in Havana standing as a bridge between the Cuban cigars of the past and the push for global-centric modernity, Partagas is an ever-present force in the cigar industry that offers the cigar aficionado a rare and wonderful journey that has helped clear the way for such illustrious brands as the Cuban Cohiba, Vegas Robaina and Montecristo cigars.
The spirit and dare say the success of the Partagas brand stems from its long and twisting history, one steeped in passion, murder, exile and redemption.
The Partagas story begins in 1845 when Catalan Don Jaime Partagas created a brand bearing his name. Partagas immediately made an impression on the cigar industry of the day, but he did so by eschewing traditional techniques in favor of greater experimentation.
His “outside of the box” thinking brought many new changes to business practices, marketing, farming, fermentation and blending techniques. With this new era of cigar making, Partagas put all of his focus on quality, guaranteeing a quality product that would bring instant gratification to the cigar enthusiast, as well as stand head and shoulders above the rest as one of the absolute best Cuban cigars.
Don Jaime Partagas had one fault that would prove his undoing, however, that would change the course of not only the Partagas brand, but the whole of cigar history.
Partagas was a man of many desires, chief among them: his love of female companionship. The tale is still shrouded in mystery, but it seems that Partagas would use his visits to his tobacco farms in the famously fertile Vuelta Abajo region for clandestine encounters with his conquests.
It is believed that one such encounter sparked a jealous rage within a rival and Don Jaime Partagas was soon after found dead, apparently murdered. Although the details are a bit murky about the early demise of Don Jaime Partagas who was only in his early fifties, it is certain that the Partagas brand hung in the balance and could have very easily faded into the darkness of the past.
Could it survive without the guiding hand of its creator? Miraculously it did. Don Jaime’s son, Jose Partagas took the reins and steered the brand towards the coming dawn of the 20th Century, but Jose Partagas’ tenure would be short-lived.
The Partagas brand eventually was sold and again changed hands before coming into the possession of the partnership of Cifuentes, Fernandez y Cia in 1900. Under their stewardship the Partagas brand grew in popularity and with the leadership of Ramon Cifuentes, Partagas would become one of the most beloved Cuban brands in the entire World.
Utilizing some of the finest tobaccos to be found anywhere on Earth, strict quality control from farm to factory and a commitment to delivering the most satisfying cigar smoking experience possible, Ramon Cifuentes lifted the Partagas brand, as well as his illustrious family name into the realm of legend. Ramon Cifuentes unfortunately passed away in 1938 leaving the Partagas brand in care of his family and the Cifuentes family was indeed up to the task.
Eventually the Ramon Allones, La Gloria Cubana and Bolivar brands all fell under the ownership of the Cifuentes family, expanding their legendary portfolio of the best Cuban cigars and making their holdings some of the largest in all of Cuba. Continuing to grow, the Partagas name truly took on near-mythological importance for cigar lovers around the globe.
But like so many great myths, the best of times can be swept away in an instant. For the Cifuentes family and the Partagas name, the horizon was growing ever darker with the ominous clouds of revolution.
With the rise of Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries, the Cuban cigar industry became a torrent of change that forced many of the greatest Cuban cigar makers to flee. Some would never craft another cigar, while others, such as the Cifuentes family, would reinvent themselves elsewhere.
It was another Ramon Cifuentes who now held the family legacy in his hands. As did his namesake before him, Ramon held firm to a belief that only the Cifuentes family could properly nurture the Partagas brand, yet he would not work under the control of the imposing Cuban government. And so the Cifuentes family left Cuba, leaving their beloved tobacco farms and cigar factories behind.
The Cifuentes family eventually would re-emerge in the 1970s to license the Partagas name, amongst others, to General Cigar Company, makers of one of the World’s best-selling premium cigars, Macanudo.
With a flavor profile, although different, that captured the spirit of the Cuban original, this new Partagas has become a wildly popular brand in its own right, offering a wide-variety of voluptuous smokes throughout its many line extensions.
Meanwhile the original Cuban Partagas continued to flourish. To the Cuban government’s credit, the Partagas brand and other storied labels were given the attention they deserved, becoming once again some of the World’s most respected cigars.
The original Partagas factory still exists today in the center of Havana as a reminder of the toil and passion of those who propelled the Partagas cigar into the hearts and minds of cigar lovers everywhere. The factory still produces a variety of Partagas cigars, along with other brands, and is a must-stop for any traveler to Havana.
The Partagas line itself is a vast line-up of smokes and cigar sizes, with many of the most popular offerings being part of the “Alphabet” series.
The Partagas Serie D No. 4 is the quintessential Cuban Partagas that will prove a fantastic experience for all cigar enthusiasts.
The Serie P No. 2 is a well-crafted Pyramid/Torpedo that will make for a perfect partner to aged Cuban rum on a warm tropical night.
And of course the granddaddy of them all, the Partagas Lusitania is a big and stately cigar that is the epitome of pure cigar smoking joy.
From the passion of Don Jaime Partagas to the expert guidance of Ramon Cifuentes and beyond, the Partagas brand has been and will continue to be a benchmark for all cigar makers.
Partagas cigars have endured the untimely death of their creator, the premature exile of their custodians and the meddling of government, yet have risen above it all, bringing redemption to one and all along the way.
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