During the 35th Havana International Fair that took place at the EXPOCUBA exhibition center from Oct. 30–Nov. 3, 2017, Habanos S.A. formally introduced a new series of cigars packaged in retro-style tins filled with what the company described at the time as being not only “the most popular format in the history of Habanos,” but also a vitola that has long been considered the “standard size” of cigars: the Marevas.

The Línea Retro series—which translates to retro line from Spanish—debuted with two different cigars rolled in the same aforementioned petit corona vitola measuring 5 1/8 (129mm) x 42: the Partagás Capitols and Romeo y Julieta Club Kings. One of the highlights of the series is the five-count metal boxes the cigars are sold in which were inspired by the original pocket cigar holders that became popular in the 1970s. In addition, each of the cases features a technical design developed for Habanos, S.A. that will solely be used for the Línea Retro product launches.

However, although the packaging is new, the vitola chosen has been seen in the Partagás marca twice before: a tubed cigar named Petit Privados that was discontinued in the 1980s and the Partagás Petit Coronas that been introduced prior to the 1960s before being discontinued in 2002.

This is the second version of the Partagás Capitols; the first of which was a machine-made cigar in a slightly different 5 1/8 x 40 vitola. It too was packed in tins, and was available prior to the Cuban Revolution until being officially discontinued in 2001.

While the new Romeo y Julieta Club Kings were finally released earlier this year, fans did not see the Partagás Capitols until August when it was formally made available at La Casa del Habano locations in Switzerland.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Partagás Capitols
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: Not Disclosed
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Length: 5 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Vitola: Petit Corona (Marevas)
  • Est. Price: $14.28 (Tin of 5, $71.40)
  • Release Date: Aug. 12, 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Covered in a rustic milk chocolate brown wrapper that is rough to the touch and reminds me of parchment, the Partagás Capitols also seems to be lacking any noticeable oil. There is an abundance of prominent veins running up and down the length of the cigar and it is nicely firm when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong barnyard, manure, grass, dark chocolate and cedar, while the cold draw brings flavors of distinct cocoa nibs, sweet cedar, amaretto, cinnamon, barnyard, earth and hay along with some fairly significant spice.

Although I am blasted with a surprising amount of spice immediately after toasting the foot of the Partagás Capitols, it calms down enough fairly early on, allowing a distinct sourdough bread note to dominant the profile. Secondary flavors of creamy cedar, dark chocolate, cinnamon, hay, leather tack and a touch of orange citrus flit in and out in various amounts as well. There is a faint floral sweetness that combines with a noticeable white pepper note on the retrohale. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a v-cut, but the burn gives me some issues early on and I am forced to touch it up quickly. In terms of strength, the Capitols starts out fairly light and goes almost nowhere by the end of the first third, ending up about halfway between mild and medium.

The second third of the Partagás has quite a bit in common with the first third, including the same dominant sourdough bread flavor on the palate and spice on my tongue. However, the amount of floral sweetness and white pepper on the retrohale increases noticeably right around the halfway mark, and I am also tasting some new salt on my lips that combines nicely with the secondary flavors that include cinnamon, leather, creamy peanuts, cedar, generic citrus and a slight buttered popcorn flavor. The draw remains excellent and the burn has evened up nicely. While the overall strength has increased, it still fails to pass the medium mark by the time the second third comes to an end.

While the distinct sourdough bread note continues to dominate during the final third of the Partagás Capitols, a stronger cinnamon flavor is not far behind, with notes of hay, leather, gritty earth, creamy cedar, peanut shells and slight citrus fighting for space in the profile as well. The combination of floral sweetness and white pepper also continues to shine on the retrohale, while the amount of spice on my tongue and mineral salt on my lips have remained steady. In terms of construction, the draw continues along its excellent path, and while the burn has started to waver a bit, it is nowhere near bad enough to need correcting. Finally, the overall strength increases a bit right at the end of the cigar, giving enough of a push to barely pass into the medium range right as I put the nub down with less than an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • I love the packaging on these, but it does seem fairly wasteful that if you want these cigars, the only option you have is to purchase them in five-pack tin. As good as they are, I would love to have the option of putting down a box of 25 or a cabinet of 50 sans the tins for the long term.
  • Having said the above, the pricing on these is just short of outrageous, especially when you can get a cigar in the exact same vitola—the Partagás Mille Fleurs—for about $4 each.
  • As you can see from the first photograph above, the sample I photographed—which was, incidentally, the first cigar I smoked for this review—started off with a funky burn that had to be corrected fairly early on. However, that sample burned like a champ after that, and the other two cigars I smoked only needed one touch up each as well.
  • This cigar will get very bitter very quickly if you puff too fast.
  • Although it was fleeting, there were specific times that the smoke emanating from the Capitols smelled distinctly like mustard.
  • One of my favorite Cuban cigars in the Marevas vitola would have to be the Festival del Habanos Marevas, a limited edition released in 2000 to commemorate the second Festival del Habanos which took place that year.
  • I could not find a box code on my tin.
  • Cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel. We paid $65 for the tin of five cigars on the secondary market.
  • Final smoking time averaged one hour and six minutes for all three samples.
91 Overall Score

Although not released very often by non-Cuban manufactures, the Marevas has always been one of my favorite vitolas, and the Partagás Capitols is a  great example of how the size can be utilized to its upmost potential. Rich and complex, the profile is dominated by a distinct sourdough flavor on the palate and a very nice floral sweetness on retrohale, along with a surprising amount of spice that stays at a fairly consistent level until the final puff. Unfortunately, while the packaging is well-done and quite unique, the price will most likely keep quite a few people from trying this cigar, but if you are looking for a great blend in a smaller vitola, you have found it.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.