In 1845, Jaime Partagás y Rabell started his own cigar brand. Throughout its 170 years history, the Partagás brand has had numerous owners, perhaps most notably the Cifuentes family who were the last owners of the brand prior to the Cuban Revolution. Like most pre-revolution Cuban brands, the event created two Partagás. One is Cuban, owned by the state-run Habanos S.A. The other is American, owned by General Cigar Co. after the Cifuentes family sold its American trademark to the company.
Both Habanos S.A. and General Cigar Co. have celebrated the 150th, 160th and now 170th anniversaries of the Partagás brand and with quite a bit of fanfare. General’s Partagas 150 remains one of the most sought-after non-Cuban cigars of all-time highlighted by the use of Cameroon wrapper from the 1977 harvest.
For the 170th anniversary, special Cameroon is back, albeit, not 38-year-old wrapper. Instead, General is using Cameroon grown in the Kadey region, which is in the eastern part of the country bordering the Central African Republic. The wrapper, which is grown by the legendary Meerapfel family, is grown without the use of fertilizer.
But that’s not the only special tobacco. General says it’s using a proprietary Nicaraguan tobacco known as “Nicaraguan Guardian.”
The Partagas Aniversario 170 is offered in three sizes: Robusto (5 x 50, $15.99), Salamone (7 1/4 x 54, $17.99) and Toro (6 x 54, $16.99). It was shown off at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July and began shipping earlier this month.
- Cigar Reviewed: Partagas Aniversario 170 Robusto
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
- Wrapper: Cameroon
- Binder: Connecticut Havano
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $15.99 (Boxes of 10, $159.90)
- Release Date: Oct. 1, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
There’s an odd leather aroma off the Partagas Aniversario’s wrapper. It smells almost artificial with a touch of leather joining the leather. The wrapper is fairly typical for Cameroon looks-wise, but it does feel very rough. From the foot, there’s a lot going on: cocoa, cedar, sweet cranberries, orange peel, wet mud, creaminess and Café con leche. From the cold draw, the Partagas has a touch of sourness, black pepper, creaminess, leather and grass.
As for the flavor, it starts with a pleasant mixture of cedar, leather, creaminess, hay and some Ruffles potato chips. The flavors start developed, but midway through their precision is reduced. Instead, there’s a mushy nuttiness, some watered-down lemonade, earthiness and lots of spices. It’s very gritty, The Partagas has a retrohale that is extremely punishing with a blast of harshness before a meaty finish. It’s medium-full in body and flavor and medium in strength.
Construction isn’t perfect leading into the second third, but whatever burn issues that were present seem to correct themselves before the midpoint. The draw remains relatively tight, but it’s not the end of the world. As for the flavor, a nuttiness takes control along with some chalkiness and earthiness. Fortunately, the flavor smooths out thanks to the reduction in grittiness, but the chalkiness doesn’t help make things any cleaner. Most problematic is a growing metallic flavor in the back of the mouth. The retrohales get a lot better with some milder nuttiness breaking through the retrohale.
The draw gets a lot worse right as the final third begins tightening to a level where it’s beyond annoying. Flavor actually gets better with a lot of brisket-like meatiness in the mouth and in the aroma. The nuttiness develops to a peanut, but there’s a ton of harshness on the back end. Strength finally increase to medium-full, but it’s the least of my concerns with the Partagas.
- While it wasn’t universal praise, General Cigar made a splash with the Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150. I think the boxes for this release are great, but I don’t understand the Aniversario bands. They don’t look like Partagas, but they also aren’t anything to write home about. This seems particularly confusing given how popular the Partagas 150 and 160 still are, both of which use nearly identical bands.
- These cigars just started shipping and it appears the catalogs are already pricing it aggressively. Despite a suggested retail price of $15.99-18.99, larger retailers already have it priced between $9.50-10.70. For the consumers, this is great, but retailers who purchased the cigar have to be furious.
- Cigars for this review were given to halfwheel by General Cigar Co. at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 35 minutes.