Partagas cigars are two brands of premium cigars. The first Partagas cigar factory opened in Havana, Cuba in 1845, and is still in operation today under the auspices of Habanos, SA, the Cuban state owned tobacco company. The other Partagas factory opened in 1978 in the Dominican Republic, and manufactures cigars for General Cigar. The history of the famed Partagas cigars is inextricably linked with that of the Cuban revolution.
The Partagas factory in Havana was a major competitor in the international cigar market before the Cuban revolution in 1959, and remains a player today, despite international trade sanctions against Cuba levied by the U.S. and some other countries. In 1958, the factory was the second largest exporter of Cuban cigars, which represented about one quarter of all tobacco exports worldwide.
After the Cuban revolution, the factory that made Partagas cigars was nationalized into Habanos, SA. Fidel Castro’s new government offered Partagas’ owner, Ramon Cifuentes, the opportunity to head the state-run operation, but he declined and fled the country with his family. Habanos, SA, continues to produce cigars bearing the Partagas and other Cuban cigar names.
The original factory in Havana is a popular tourist destination. After a multi-year hiatus, Cifuentes opened a cigar factory under the name Partagas in Jamaica, and then in the Dominican Republic. The Havana factory that produces the Cuban Partagas cigars uses Cuban grown tobacco and artisanal techniques to manufacture Partagas cigars. The Dominican factory uses tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Cameroon.
This colorful history is part of what makes Partagas cigars some of the worlds most renowned and popular cigar brands. Some of the most popular are the Serie D No. Four Lonsdales, which is now discontinued, Lusitanias, and Shorts. It is important to recognize that the Cuban produced Partagas cigars, and the Dominican produced Partagas cigars are different products, although they bear the same name. The Cuban cigars are more highly prized by some aficionados, but illegal for sale in the United States because of the trade embargo against Cuban products. It is also illegal to buy Partagas cigars in other countries, and bring them into the U.S.