Back in 1845, one of today’s biggest Cuban cigar brands was born—Partagas. Because of his connections as a business man in Havana, Jaime Partagás y Rabell quickly went to work purchasing the finest tobacco plantations available in Cuba. Through his newly acquired resources, the new cigar company began to grow rapidly in popularity, as it was one of the highest quality cigars you could buy at the time.
Flash forward over 100 years, the company split two different ways: one Partagas still rolling fresh, Cuban Habanos, and the other making cigars in the Dominican Republic—now owned by General Cigar Co. After the new company ‘transition’, General Cigar started a special anniversary series cigar to pay homage to the brand’s Cuban roots. Starting in 1995 with the (now legendary) 150 anniversary, followed by the 160 back in 2005 (also cherished by enthusiasts), to this year—bringing us the 170th year anniversary for Partagas.
Partagas Aniversario Breakdown
- Wrapper: Sun-Grown Cameroon (top priming)
- Binder: Connecticut Havao
- Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan Gurdian (proprietary to General)
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Limited edition
- Vitola: 5″ x 50 Robusto
- Price: $15.99 (SRP) $10.00 (current online price)
Click on the images below to see them in full size
The Partagas Aniversario 170 is a beautiful looking cigar. It boasts an elegant band of red, gold, black, and silver, and is delivered in a stunning cedar box that I could stare at for hours. Although, fans of the brand will most likely be disappointed to see a departure from the classic and familiar bands of the 150 and 160. Aesthetics aside, the sun-grown Cameroon wrapper from the forests of Kadei is equally as gorgeous. A medium coffee-hued wrapper with little oil and even less tooth works nicely with the band, creating a delicious looking cigar.
When I had finished gazing into the eyes of this beauty, it was time to light up. After a clean cut and gentle toasting, I take my first few puffs. Immediately, enormous amounts of smoke rush through the tobacco and fill my mouth with thick, chewy smoke. Through the perfect draw, heavy tobacco notes make a strong presence, as well as smaller tones of a sweet earth and floral notes. The retro-hale reveals some spice and cedar notes that go nicely with the rest of the palate.
After about 25 minutes, I’ve burned roughly an inch down (this is a very slow burn…). The slow burn does not, however, take a toll on smoke output, as it stays heavy and thick. Flavors remain the same for the most part, but the earthiness has lost its sweetness, and hints of coffee also join in. Now, with most cigars I can retro-hale down to at least past the halfway mark, sometimes all the way through—not so with this one. Even barely into the first third, the smoke is hot n’ spicy through the nostrils, and even leaves a touch of harshness on the palate. This one doesn’t play nice.
One hour on the clock, and I begin to reach the halfway mark. The construction continues to be flawless—perfect burn and draw. Also, this is seriously one of the whitest and most tightly packed ashes I have ever seen. On the flavor side of things, however, is where the cigar begins to go downhill. A nice cedar note begins to take the forefront, but that’s as far as the good flavors go. The earth slowly gets harsher as the burn continues, and a bitter cocoa completely dominates the finish. The retro-hale continues to pack a punch, but does lose most of the spice, making it a little more tolerable.
Down to the nub, construction still takes the cake on the Partagas 170. Burning well past 1 ½ hours, all the while maintaining a perfect draw, sharp burn line, and thick chunks of ash. Apart from the construction, the cigar is a bit of a letdown. The first half hour of flavor was great, but still nothing to write home about. After that, it just got worse. With an increasingly harsh earth and bitter coffee and cocoa flavors, the Partagas 170 leaves a very dry mouthfeel with much to be desired.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
If it was free—even then I would put it down halfway. Price tag and prestigious band aside, this just isn’t a ‘great’ cigar. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily a bad cigar, but there’s nothing substantial about it. Even though the construction was absolutely flawless, it still doesn’t make up for the mediocre performance of flavor. If your friend gifts you one of these give it a try, otherwise try and find yourself a Partagas 150.
I must note, however, that despite having a suggested retail price of $16, many online retailers are selling these, at least at the moment, for around $10 per cigar. At this price, it’s certainly worth your while to at least give one a shot and see if it suits your palate. Maybe even buy a couple to complete your Partagas Aniversario collection (if you’re so lucky).
- Chewy smoke
- Perfect construction
- Weak flavors
- Price tag
- Bitter harshness