The next cigar I am going to try as part of my cigar challenge is from the Partagas cigar brand. I will be smoking the Partagas Lusitanias.
Length: 7 5/8″
Ring Gauge: 49
Country of origin: Cuba
Cost: £31.99 @ CGars
Partagas is one of the oldest cigar brands, established in Havana, Cuba, in 1845 by Don Jaime Partagás y Ravelo.
After his long-term employment in the Cuban tobacco business, Don Jaime was responsible for setting up his own factory, Real Fábricas de Tobaco Partagás. The factory was located at 60 Industria Street, Havana. The name of the Cuban cigar factory translates to ‘Partagás Royal Tobacco Factory’, chosen because Jaime supplied Asian and European nobles with cigars.
Don Jaime had some of the best tobacco at his disposal as he owned a large amount of the greatest tobacco plantations in Vuelta Abajo, Cuba. Owning such valuable plantations meant that he could choose from the finest tobaccos, making the brand very successful. Don Jaime experimented with multiple fermenting and ageing processes for harvested tobacco. He was also the first to hire a lector to read to workers in his factory as they rolled cigars.
Don Jaime was murdered in 1868 on one of his plantations. The killer believed his wife and the cigar-maker were having a romantic affair. That left control of the business to Don Jaime’s son, Jose, who sold shortly after that to Jose Bances. Bances, not knowing the cigar business, brought in a partner, another Spaniard named Ramón Cifuentes Llano.
A year later, Cifuentes took over the business entirely and later bought up tobacco fields.
In addition to the Partagás brand, the company also acquired rights to Ramón Allones, and later, with Cifuentes’ sons running the enterprise, Bolivar and La Gloria Cubana. By 1958, Partagás was second only to H. Upmann in exports of Cuban cigars.
Two years later, everything changed. The revolutionary government of Fidel Castro seized 16 cigar factories, Partagás among them.
“They came inside and said, ‘We’re here to intervene the company,’ Ramón Cifuentes Toriello, the son, told Cigar Aficionado in 1991. “And they didn’t allow me to take anything from there.”
Since 1960, Partagás has been under the control of the Cuban government. And that’s when things got interesting. Like so many other Cuban cigar brands, Partagás found a new life outside of Cuba. Ramón Cifuentes Toriello had been offered the job of running the new state-owned cigar monopoly but left Cuba, moving to the United States and found work in the cigar industry.
You can read more about the Partagas cigar brand and their range of sticks on offer on the Habanos.com website.
What about the Lusitania? According to Havana House’s website, “the Partagas Lusitania has been around long enough to be considered one of Cuba’s iconic and classic cigars. In 2017, it was one of the finest cigars we smoked. But double coronas like the Lusitania require a huge, pristine tobacco leaf to fully cover all seven and a half inches of the cigar. Inconsistent crops and poor weather have created a shortage of large, high-quality wrapper leaf in Cuba’s last few years. This did not stop Cuba from producing fantastic Lusitanias. Lusitanias begin floral and sweet before imparting layers of leather, cedar and almonds.”
I was really looking forward to smoking this particular cigar, I think I jotted it down on my cigar wishlist when I watched a recent YouTube video of Michael Jordan talking about his favourite cigars as part of an interview with Cigar Aficiando.
This cigar is really long, feels tightly packed and looks like your classic Cuban cigar with a red and gold cigar band. Initially upon cutting the cap and lighting I found it quite hard to draw from – which was a bit of a surprise. I got a few flavour notes including a slight cedar aroma, and a bit of earth. There was also a slight bitterness to it.
Overall it’s a pretty consistent smoke and it was decent, but nothing really stood out. I’m a little gutted as the Lusitania appears to be highly rated amongst the cigar community, and I wanted to LOVE this cigar, but it didn’t live up to it’s reputation for me. I will of course definitely try more cigars from Partagas.
My rating: 7 out of 10
Next up… a Por Larranaga cigar!