The Partagas line was first developed in 1845 in Cuba, a history that suggests any Partagas cigar is going to be a great smoke. Long before Fidel Castro came into power in Cuba, Partagas cigars were hand-crafted in Havana under the supervision of Ramon Cifuentes and his father. Ramon Cifuentes was one of the last of the legendary cigar-makers to leave Cuba. He did so in the early 1960s when he discovered Santiago, Dominican Republic and deemed it the ideal place to manufacture the line. Over the next several decades, Partagas streamlined its production, with General Cigar taking over production of the line in 1978 and bringing the non-Cuban tobacco to the American market.
In 1995, General Cigar released an extremely limited-edition cigar to commemorate the 150 years of Partagas, aptly names Partagas 150. This smoke was very special and featured a rare vintage Cameroon wrapper that was featured back in 1977. Ten years later, Partagas re-released the cigar and renamed it Partagas 160 Signature Series. Blended by cigar master Daniel Núñez in tribute to his mentor, Ramón Cifuentes, this rare beauty is expertly crafted using Dominican Piloto Cubano and Mexican San Andrés filler tobaccos and a Mexican binder, and that extremely rare 1977 Cameroon wrapper mentioned earlier. Medium in body, expect to enjoy a creamy, rich, and balanced smoke. Pair this limited smoke with a sweet rum on a warm afternoon. And remember, once this smoke is gone, it’s gone forever.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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