Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's in a name? Partagas

Old Cuban Partagás Band

Jaime Partagás worked for a number of years in the Cuban cigar business before he ventured out on his own to establish a factory to make his own brand.  Partagás cigars were born in 1845 Cuba.  After  Jaime became the unfortunate victim of murder, presumably out of retaliation from an affair, his son, José assumed control of the brand.

Sometime later José Partagás sold the brand to José A. Bance, who was a banker.   As bankers often do, he in turn sold Partagás to Cifuentes, Fernández y Cía.  The year was 1900 and marked the first time that the Cifuentes family name was in control of the brand and eventually ended up on the cigar band.

New Cuban Partagás Band
To this day the Dominican Partagás band still bears the Cifuentes name.  The original Cuban brand also bore the Cifuentes name up until just a few years ago.  Habanos SA then, acting out of vengeance or guilt, systematically removed the family names from the cigar bands.  Even though the world knows how the Castro regime nationalized private enterprise, and wrested ownership and control away from the businessmen who owned these brands and none will soon forget, they stripped the surnames from the bands to smooth away this truth and alleviate the guilt.

Current Cuban Partagás cigars no longer bear these traditional nods to their pedigree.  Now they are merely a brand, owned by the state, and distanced from the rich history that crafted an iconic brand.  All the more reason to go smoke a Dominican made Partagás because they haven’t been forced to forget their roots.

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