Partagás is famously among the world’s oldest cigar brands in current production, dating back to 1845 (as you’ll often see on the cigar’s bands) in Havana, Cuba. Like nearly every non-Cuban duplicate brand, the name exists simultaneously to its Cuban counterpart due to its brand owner (Ramón Cifuentes Toriello, in Partagás’ case) emigrating from Cuba and re-establishing the name elsewhere. Cifuentes obtained a U.S. trademark for the new Partagas in 1978, selling rights to General Cigar Company—whom has produced the cigars in Santiago, Dominican Republic since 1979 (although the first non-Cuban Partagas hit the market in 1977, crafted by General in Jamaica).
General’s Partagas has been known for its ultra-premium homages to Partagas’ legacy since 1995, when the brand unveiled the Partagas 150 Signature Series. Partagas 150 featured similar tobacco varietals to the traditional, non-Cuban Partagas blend, only showcasing more select primings/vintages and featuring an ultra-rare, eighteen-year-aged Cameroon wrapper. Ten years later, General introduced the highly-anticipated Partagas 160 Signature Series, a followup blend that utilized the same Cameroon wrapper from the vintage, 1977 crop. These cigars were overseen by Angel Daniel Núñez, whom had trained under Ramón Cifuentes—adding yet another layer to the fitting homage of these special releases. And while both the Partagas 150 and 160 featured packaging resembling Cuba’s Partagás “alphabet series” (Partagás Serie D, E, P, etc.), the highly-anticipated third release in the series—Partagas Aniversario 170—surprisingly did not share this beloved look or blend, being released in 2015. This was a major disappointment, to say the least, for cigar collectors and connoisseurs.
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Surprisingly, this would not be the last homage to the legendary Partagas heritage collection for this decade. In late January of 2017, General Cigar Co. hosted members of the cigar media at their famed General Cigar Dominicana factory in Santiago, DR. On this four-day tour, guests (including Cigar Dojo) would be the first to see two new releases scheduled for 2017: Partagas Heritage and Cohiba Blue (both cigars have since been released).
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Partagas Heritage Robusto Breakdown
- Wrapper: Honduran OSA
- Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Filler: Honduran Jamastran | Dominican Piloto Cubano | Mexican San Andrés
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5½” × 52 Robusto
- Price: $9.59 (MSRP)
As the cigar’s name alludes, Partagas Heritage continues in the vein of General’s famed homages to the historic Partagás brand. The packaging, in fact, more closely resembles the formerly mentioned Partagás “alphabet series” than either of the 150 or 160 cigars—now bearing a near-identical design on the cigar’s bands. But the throwbacks don’t stop there, as Partagas Heritage draws inspiration from the Partagas Spanish Rosado (wrapper) and Signature Series (Dominican and Mexican fillers from the Partagas 160) as well.
The biggest differentiators between the new Heritage and the decade-spaced cigars before it are the cigar’s wrapper and, consequently, its production—which are slated to be a regular release, with the blend not being constrained by the limited availability of its predecessor’s vintage tobaccos.
Heritage has been under development for ten years, with the cigar’s wrapper being its tour de force. General refers to the leaf as “OSA” (Olancho San Agustin), which is a proprietary leaf that was developed in conjunction with the famed Plasencia family.
As Honduras is renowned for growing the best wrappers in Central America, Partagas Heritage is made with a reddish wrapper developed exclusively for this launch. This proprietary leaf was grown in the revered volcanic soils of the Olancho San Agustin (OSA) Valley and burns to a stark white ash and is reminiscent of the wrapper used on Partagas Spanish Rosado. Only viso leaves were selected for Partagas Heritage, to deliver fine veins and beautiful color, while imparting complexity and a touch of sweetness.
The Partagas Heritage is a nice looking cigar. Whether you consider the band a copy or an homage is up to the individual smoker, but I’d imagine that few could deny this is an attractive design. The cigar’s wrapper has an orange tinge, thin veins (being a touch darker than the rest of the leaf), and nicely-placed, tight seams. The bunch feels about medium-firm and carries with it a sturdy, chunky feel from head to toe.
The wrapper has Cubanesque notes of barnyard musk and leather, while the foot verges more towards cedar and citrus. With a double-guillotine cut, Heritage reveals a medium-firm resistance; complete with a fairly complex pre-light draw: clove, citrus, and pine can all be detected.
Heritage begins with classic flavors (as it should) of barnyard hay, rich leather, and a subtle, floral sweetness. The body is on the mild side, though the actual flavor output is more towards medium. On the construction side, the cigar shows a slightly tight draw, producing medium clouds of smoke on each puff (more smoke than expected from the draw). The burn is wavy, carrying the ash to about half an inch before requiring a quick touchup.
Flavors continue to progress within the cigar’s first inch, offering pleasing complexities of cinnamon and dessert-like subtleties—combining for an overall experience reminiscent of honey-drizzled, cinnamon and raison buns. The cigar’s flavor and spice seem to build throughout this inch, though never quite reaching medium—with the flavor and body being slightly ahead of the strength. Additional flavors come in the way of white sage and orange zest (a brilliant combo), as well as a subtle butterscotch sweetness, nutmeg, and a sour, mineral note.
All things considered, that’s a lot of flavor notes to be detected within the first third. This is partially due to the lack of spice you’ll often find at a cigar’s beginning. And while the profile was rife with natural-inspired flavors, the overall body was quite mild; with none of the aforementioned flavors jumping out at your palate. Unfortunately, the impressive stage that had been set in the first act was not indicative of a rollercoaster “plot twist” for the remaining two. This is not to say the performance was bad—just consistant.
The cigar’s draw improves as the embers burn through the bulk of the robusto; however, double puffs are required to keep the cigar lit and the flavors flowing. Mild notes of pine and dark minerals and vegetation are unveiled through the smoke’s dry texture in the Heritage’s later stages. A distant sweetness is the only saving grace nearing the cigar’s band—and when this note passes, the cigar is laid to rest.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I sure would. It’s interesting, despite the cigar’s clear intentions to offer a classic homage to the rich history of one of the world’s oldest brands, I still found myself surprised at the Heritage’s old school profile. Why? I suppose we’ve been trained to think homages need only be in a cigar’s branding, with an onslaught of old-meets-new cigars hitting the market that are amped up for the modern smoker. Partagas Heritage does not fall into this category. It is a mild experience with subtle flavors at the forefront. Heritage could theoretically be smoked any time, though it’d probably be best for afternoon sessions.
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: saison ale, mojito, fruit-infused water (heavy on the oranges), Disaronno
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack
Images without Cigar Dojo watermark were provided by General Cigar Co.
- Good price
- Lots of sweet & subtle complexities in beginning
- Old school profile
- Slightly firm draw
- Around three touchups
- Flavors stop progression after first third