ABOUT HABANOS CUBAN CIGARS BRANDS
Brand histories It is over 200 years since the first cigar trademark was registered in Cuba. In that time countless brands have come and gone, reflecting the rich and colourful history of Havana cigars that is unrivalled anywhere else in the world. Many of the current 27 brands have been in production for well over a century and each has a story to tell.
Brands are divided into four different categories, depending on their availability around the world, from global brands that are available everywhere to the smallest brands that are only found in a few countries.
Havana’s flagship brand was created for the late President Fidel Castro. Production began in 1966, but the cigars were not released to the public until sixteen years later. Cohiba is an ancient Taino Indian word for the bunches of tobacco leaves that Columbus first saw being smoked by Cuba’s original inhabitants. So it was the first name for a cigar – in Cuba at any rate.
The best selling hand-made cigar brand in the world. Named after the Alexander Dumas’ novel “The Count of Montecristo”, which was a firm favourite when read to the cigar rollers at the factory where it was founded. The brand was launched almost exactly 100 years after the book was first published.
ROMEO Y JULIETA (1875)
Named after Shakespeare’s play that had proved popular when read to the rollers. At one point Romeo y Julieta produced up to 20,000 different bands for its cigars. It is also the brand that made the first cigar named after Sir Winston Churchill.
Don Jaime Partagás is the man widely credited with starting the tradition in 1865 of having rollers read to while they worked. Sadly Don Jaime was fatally wounded on one of his tobacco fields several years later. Today the Partagás Serie D No.4 is the best selling Cuban cigar in the world.
HOYO DE MONTERREY (1865)
Established by a Spaniard named Jose Gener, Hoyo de Monterrey takes its name from the world famous plantation in Pinar del Rio. “Hoyo” means “hole” and refers to the low lying position of the field next to the San Juan y Martinez river, while “Monterrey” is the name of the first farmer to cultivate tobacco there.
H. UPMANN (1844)
Herman Upmann was a German banker who so loved Cuban cigars that he moved to Havana to set up as both a banker and a cigar producer. Although his bank closed in the early 1920’s his cigars live on. Buy Cuban Cigars
Although comparatively new, Cuaba produces all of its vitolas in the traditional double figurado format, tapered at each end. Most Cuban cigars were made in this shape throughout the 19th century and up to 1930, but today they are quite rare.
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA HABANA (1999)
This brand draws its inspiration from the original name for Havana when it was founded in 1519. San Cristobal (St. Cristopher) after Columbus, and La Habana after the name given to the site by the island’s indigenous people.
Named after the 16th Century city on Cuba’s south coast, La Santisima Trinidad, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Launched publicly in 1998 but privately presented to visiting dignitaries and diplomats since 1969.
BRANDS FOUND IN MOST COUNTRIES
Named after the Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolivar, the 19th century liberator of much of South America and still a hero to many in that part of the world.
Founded by Don Francisco Fonseca, a handsome man who cared deeply for appearances, he passed his sartorial precision onto his cigars, which he dressed in silky tissue paper – a tradition that continues to this day.
Created by a German named Stockman, Punch was originally aimed firmly at the booming British market. Mr Punch still adorns most boxes of its cigars.
JOSE L. PIEDRA (1880s)
Uniquely among export Havana cigars, Jose L. Piedra uses tobacco from Remedios. It also uses short-filler tobaccos, making it a noteworthy yet affordable addition to the portfolio. Buy Jose L. Piedra Online
Established by Agustin Quintero and his four brothers in Cienfuegos, a city known as the “Pearl of the South”, the tobacco used in this brand is short-filler and comes from the Vuelta Abajo and Semi Vuelta zones.
VEGAS ROBAINA (1997)
Named after one of Cuba’s most respected farming families that has been growing tobacco on the same farm since 1845. The Cuchillas de Barbacoa plantation is world famous for the quality of its wrapper leaves. Buy Vegas Robaina Cigars
BRANDS FOUND IN MOST COUNTRIES
Originally launched with a series of cigar sizes and names identical to Montecristo.
EL REY DEL MUNDO (1882)
Immodestly named “King of the World”, at one time this brand offered the world’s most expensive cigars.
POR LARRAÑAGA (1834)
The oldest Cuban cigar brand still in production.
QUAI D’ORSAY (1973)
Originally made for the French market. Quai d’Orsay is the name of the avenue in Paris where the headquarters of SEITA, the former French tobacco monopoly, was located.
RAFAEL GONZALEZ (1930s)
A favourite of the 20th century British sporting figure, the Earl of Lonsdale, whose name became synonymous with his favourite Cervantes size.
RAMON ALLONES (1837)
Ramon Allones is credited with developing the use of colour lithography on cigar box labels.
SAINT LUIS REY (1940s)
Founded just before the Second World War, only one size still remains in production for this full-flavoured brand – the regally titled ‘Regios’.
SANCHO PANZA (1848)
Named after Don Quixote’s faithful squire in Miguel de Cervantes’ famous 17th century novel.
Vegueros translates as ‘Farmers’ and this brand was introduced as a tribute to the countless generations that have cultivated tobacco in Pinar del Rio.
Related Cuban Cigars Information:
- THE NEW GENERATION OF CUBAN CIGARS ROLLERS
- VIRGINIA TOBACCO IN PINAR DEL RIO
- CUBAN CIGARS FOR BEGINNERS