Don Jaime Partagás migrated to Cuba in 1831. In 1845, he opened his famous factory, La Flor de Tabacas de Partagás in Havana. From the start, Partagás Cigars were destined for greatness. Don Partagás was a visionary; he employed creative, innovative techniques in aging and fermenting. He is also credited as being the first to use lectors to read to cigar rollers as they worked. This robust foundation was necessary for the brand to weather the turmoil to come.
Ramón Cifuentes Sr. took the helm in 1900 after a gap period when the company suffered under José Bances, who took over after Partagás’s death in 1861. This began the chapter of the Cifuentes family’s leadership. The senior Cifuentes employed astounding business savvy to get the company back to its former glory, but also importantly setting the stage for son Ramón Cifeuentes Jr. to take things even further with his expertise for the tobacco itself.
A meticulous ace of cigars, Cifuentes Jr. would not settle on his high expectations. The Cifuentes patriarchs' arrivals serendipitously bolstered the company to great heights. From the foundations built on skillful business acumen to then the passionate attention to the product—the dynastic alley-oop changed tobacco forever. Unfortunately, timing is a two way street, and just as fate can seem to be in one’s favor, so too can it come crashing down. Despite his dedication to building Partagás, it was all swept from under him with the nationalization of Cuban cigar factories in the Cuban Revolution.
After seizing the factory, the Cuban government decided to keep operations running under the new regime, nationalized and controlled by Cubatobaco first, then Habanos SA.
At the time of the takeover, Cifuentes Jr. was running the factory. The Cuban government offered him the position leading the state-owned tobacco operation, but he turned them down and left the country, having not only his factory, but all his wealth seized.
Arriving with nothing in New York, Cifuentes found work with General Cigar Company. For some time, Cifuentes assumed Castro’s regime wouldn’t last and that he would return to his beloved country, but when reality dawned, he set to picking up the pieces and reviving Partagás under General Cigar Co.
After a brief production stint in Jamaica, the operation settled in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Finally in 1977, Partagás cigars were back on the shelves (although the Havana factory continued production under the state owned tobacco industry).
To caveat the aforementioned unlucky timing for Cifuentes and Partagás Cigars, it must be said that, although the seizing of the factory dealt a great blow to the company, it’s hard to see anyone but Cifuentes having the prowess to bring it back.
Given the daunting task of recreating a great blend without Cuban tobacco, the successful reestablishment couldn’t be manifested through business savvy alone, it required a leader that intimately understood cigars as well, if not better than the industry; someone who lived and breathed tobacco.
Partagás has kept the same passion and high standards through the years, no matter the conditions. This is the legacy they live today—the legacy they exhibit with each cigar of the highest quality Mexican and Dominican filler and Mexican binders, masterfully hand rolled in west African wraps. Order a box and know for yourself the full bodied flavor that has defined Partagás for over 170 years.