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. There he continued to produce Partagas and contribute greatly to this nation’s reputation as a producer of fine cigars. The Dominican versions of his famous Cuban brands feature spicy Cameroon wrappers and use a blend of Dominican and Mexican tobaccos as filler. The binder leaves are grown in the San Andres Valley in Mexico. As you may know, Mexican tobaccos are known for being bold and spicy. Dominican varieties, on the other hand, tend to be a bit smoother. The brilliant combination of soft and spicy gives this cigar a unique split personality. Look for your Partagas to burn nice and easy, long and slow, down to the nub. It begins quite mild, but you’ll notice that the flavor suddenly picks up and then finishes like a different cigar entirely. It starts with a mild beginning but its robust spicy nature comes alive about two inches into the smoke. Look for more spiciness, notes of honey that peek in and out and a trace of burnt cedar in the aftertaste. Precisely rolled and chock full of tobacco, this well-aged cigar is a real pleasure to smoke. The draw is perfect, free and easy, producing a good amount of cool flavorful smoke. We were impressed with its strength and complex flavor. Try it with Earl Grey Tea.
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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