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Partagas is one of the oldest surviving Cuban cigar companies in the world right now. It has been a long journey, and that journey began with one man, Don Jaime Partagas Ravelo, who migrated to Cuba in 1831.
Don Jaime started the Partagas factory in 1854, and the company was a major success and still exists today, although not in the same way as it used to.
Still, many Americans and other cigar smokers worldwide will instantly recognize Partagas because it is very well-made. It is one of the best-selling Cuban cigar brands and one of the best-selling brands in the world today.
However, Partagas currently refers to two brands of cigars. Don Jaime Partagas built the original Partagas cigar factory, which is now under the control of the Cuban State, and the factory that was opened in the Dominican Republic by the Cifuentes in 1978.
Don Jaime Partagas was the son of Jaime Partagas, who was a tailor, and Teresa Ravelo. He moved to Cuba in 1931 and got a job working for a businessman named Joan Conill.
After ten years of gaining experience, he established his factory, the Partagas factory “Real Fabrica de Tabaco Partagas” (Translated as The Royal Partagas Tobacco Factory), at 1 Cristina St., Havana in 1845. He also called his cigars the “Flor de Tabacos de Partagás.”
Nothing significant happened for the next 20 years, and record-keeping wasn’t as good as today, so there isn’t that much information from that period. However, Don wanted to make the best cigars in the world, and his company’s success can be seen as a sign that he was going to get there.
In 1868, while still enjoying all his success, Don Jaime Partagas was murdered on one of his plantations. It is believed that the murderer killed Don Jaime Partagas because of suspicions that he was sleeping with his wife.
Before Din died, he introduced new methods for fermentation and was the first man to hire a lector (a person that reads to the Torcedores (Cigar rollers) while they work) to educate them and make the work a little more interesting.
The Royal Partagas Tobacco Factory is still considered a landmark in Havana today. After the incident, his son, Jose Partagas, took control of the factory. Sadly, though, he wasn’t the skilled businessman that his father was known to be.
He decided to sell the factory and Jose Bances, a wealthy banker, bought the factory and the fields from Jose Partagas. Towards the end of the 19th Century, Jose Bances was in financial distress, and in 1900, he sold the Partagas factory to Jose Fernandez and Ramon Cifuentes Llano.
Ramon Cifuentes, the son of Ramon Cifuentes, who the company was sold to, took over in 1938. The Cifuentes family took the business to new heights, and the Partagas was the second-largest exporter of cigars, falling behind H. Upmann in 1959.
However, Fidel Castro nationalized the tobacco industry after coming into power, and his government took control of the Partagas Factory. Ramon Cifuentes refused to take the job offered under the new administration and chose to leave Cuba with his family.
Where Are They Made Now?
Ramon Cifuentes moved to New York with his family.
Years later, in the late 1970s, after courts in the United States finally granted him ownership of the brand name, he started another cigar factory with the same name in Jamaica and finally in the Dominican Republic.
The new Partagas factory is still in existence which makes the story of the Partagas factory one of the most interesting ones out there.
What is Their Most Popular Cigar?
The Partagas Serie P No. 2, made in Cuba, is considered the best smoking available and is made from the best selection of leaves in the Vuelta Abajo tobacco plantations in Cuba.
Don Jaime Partagas had a dream when he moved to Cuba, and that dream when he started the Partagas factory was to create the best cigars in the world. He spent years trying to buy the best tobacco plantations in Cuba.
He owned the best tobacco plantations, and it seemed as though he had an instinct to choose the finest tobacco and blend and ferment. A true innovator in his time and a very talented businessman, he achieved rapid success.
Although his death was untimely and tragic, his legacy lives on, and his name is still proudly written on one of the best cigars in the United States and one of the best-selling brands in the world.
With a rich and exciting history and his name on two companies which are both very successful, we can say that the dream of Don Jaime Partagas Ravelo was fulfilled.