Discover the Oldest Cigar Brands in the World

Discover the Oldest Cigar Brands in the World

Posted by Ana Cuenca on Jun 15, 2023

From the Caribbean and Central American origins to the legendary brands admired by cigar lovers worldwide, the world of cigars encompasses a rich history filled with tradition, craftsmanship, and a pursuit of perfection. Journey with us as we explore the oldest cigar brands in the world, delving into their fascinating stories and the impact they have left on the cigar industry.

Short Summary

  • Cigar making has been practiced since the late 15th century, with Cuban cigars being renowned for their superior quality.
  • Non-Cuban cigars such as the Dominican Republic Arturo Fuente, H. Upmann, Punch Cigars, Partagas and Romeo y Julieta have achieved legendary status due to their complexity of flavor and superior craftsmanship.
  • Cigar fans worldwide favor iconic brands such as Cohiba and Arturo Fuente for their superb quality and flavors.

The Origins of Cigar Making

A Cuban cigar maker rolling a cigar in a traditional way

Cigars can trace their roots back to the Caribbean and Central America, where the indigenous Taino people introduced tobacco to Christopher Columbus and his crew during their voyages in the late 15th century. The art of cigar brand making is one of the few traditional Old World crafts that has stood the test of time, maintaining its allure and mystique for centuries. As the popularity of cigars grew in Spain and throughout the Old World, the cigar industry began to flourish.

In the 17th century, tobacco became a highly sought-after commodity on the international market. Fast forward to the present day, the cigar industry is experiencing a period of revival, with the quality and selection of cigars being superior to any time in history. Cigar enthusiasts from around the world continue to appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into creating these hand-rolled masterpieces, making them a timeless symbol of luxury and indulgence.

Cuban Beginnings

The oldest oldest cuban brand cuban in Cuba was Cabañas, a cigar company which was established by Francisco Cabañas in 1797 and first sold by 1810. However, the cigar brand was discontinued in 1962 after being nationalized by Fidel Castro's revolutionary government. Zino Davidoff's "The Book of the Cigar Connoisseur" notes that Cabañas by Francisco Cabañas was the second brand to be officially registered, following Bernardino Rencurrel. The brand initially produced both cigars and cigarettes, and was sold under the name "Hija de Cabañas y Carbajal y Cía," reflecting the partnership between the Cabañas and González Carbajal families. These details were recorded by the Cuban Trade Register in 1873. After Fidel Castro nationalized it, Francisco Cabañas as a brand no longer existed in the way we knew it, even though it had survived many challenges before that.

The history of Cuban cigar-making is believed to have begun in the 16th century when Spanish colonies in South America initiated the cultivation of tobacco crops in Cuba. The combination of fertile soil, skilled makers, and a favorable climate created the perfect conditions for producing the finest cigars in the world. Over time, several well-established Cuban cigar brand names, such as Por Larranaga, Punch, and H. Upmann, emerged and gained recognition among cigar enthusiasts.

One of the most widely recognized names among the world's oldest cigar brands is Romeo y Julieta. Founded by Inocencio Alvarez and Manin García towards the end of the 19th century, even people who have never smoked a cigar are familiar with the brand, along with Montecristo.

However, the Cuban Revolution and the ensuing Cuban embargo in the mid-20th century led to a dramatic shift in the industry. Numerous Cuban's cigar brand makers emigrated from the island, establishing businesses in other countries and contributing to the rise of non-Cuban cigars. This marked the beginning of a new era in the world of cigars, expanding the horizons of cigar lovers and introducing them to a diverse range of flavors and blends. 

The Rise of Non-Cuban Cigars

The Cuban Revolution in 1959 and the subsequent US trade embargo on Cuba had a profound effect on the non-Cuban industry. The departure of Cuban makers resulted in the expansion of Cuban-seed tobacco throughout the world and necessitated cigar makers to blend foreign tobaccos. This led to an evolution in the non-Cuban industry, including the emergence of new makers, brands, and blends, as well as a rise in the popularity of non-Cuban cigars among cigar fans. Some of the beginners on cultivating tobaccos outside Cuba include: Honduras, The Dominican Republic and later, Nicaragua.

Today, some of the most popular non-Cuban brands include cigars manufactured in the Dominican Republic as Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, and Arturo Fuente. These brands have not only captured the hearts of cigar enthusiasts but have also contributed to the rich tapestry of the industry, offering an array of unique experiences that cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences.

Time-Honored Cuban Cigar Brands

Oldest Cuban Cigar Brands

Let us now delve into the stories of the oldest Cuban brands that have stood the test of time: Por Larranaga, Punch, and H. Upmann. These esteemed brands have maintained their prestige and allure throughout the years, continuing to captivate the senses of cigar smokers with their exceptional craftsmanship and distinctive flavors.

Por Larrañaga

Established in 1834 by Ignacio Larranaga, Por Larrañaga is the oldest Cuban brand still in production, boasting a rich history that spans nearly two centuries. The brand is known for its traditional Cuban-style cigars, crafted entirely by hand, although certain vitolas incorporate short filler. Por Larranaga by Ignacio Larrañaga has remained a commendable and respected brand in the world of cigars, staying true to its roots and continuing to deliver an unparalleled smoking experience to its loyal patrons.

Today, the rights to the Por Larrañaga name in the United States are held by Altadis U.S.A. Despite the challenges and changes that the cigar business has faced over the years, Por Larrañaga remains a symbol of tradition and excellence, serving as a testament to the enduring appeal of Cuban cigars.


Another oldest cigar, Punch trace their origins back to 1840, when the brand was established by a German businessman named Stockmann. The name "Punch" was inspired by the medieval Punch and Judy puppet shows, reflecting the brand's playful spirit and commitment to entertainment. Throughout its history, Punch has faced various challenges, including financial difficulties during the global economic depression in 1929. Despite these setbacks, the cigar brand has continued to thrive and adapt, remaining a prominent and well-respected name in the world of cigars.

The Punch brand of cigars has always been a favorite among aficionados, especially in Great Britain, and continues to be a top-seller. Interestingly, they have even named one of their new cigar sizes after the renowned former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

Currently, the Punch brand is owned by General Cigar, and the Cuban Punch is produced at the La Corona factory. Among the Honduran-made Punch cigars, the Punch Clasico line is the most popular, offering a range of sizes and blends that cater to a wide variety of tastes and preferences.

H. Upmann

Founded in 1844 by the Upmann brothers, the H. Upmann brand has a storied history marked by innovation and sophistication. The brothers are credited with introducing the cedar box as a favored cigar storage medium, revolutionizing the way cigars were packaged and preserved. Today, H. Upmann cigars are highly regarded for their intricate yet balanced flavor, finesse, and intricacy. They are now handmade in cigar factories located in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua.

One of the most famous H. Upmann cigars is a well-known brand. Their celebrated cigar Demi Tasse was famously smoked by President John F. Kennedy's favorite cigar. The night before signing the Cuban Embargo, Kennedy requested his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, to purchase all 1,200 examples of the H. Upmann Demi Tasse in order to build up his personal collection.

This legend further solidifies the H. Upmann brand as a prestigious and revered name in the cigar world.

Legendary Non-Cuban Cigar Brands

Savoring no-Cuban cigar brands can be rewarding. Sti

While Cuban cigars have long been celebrated for their unparalleled quality and flavor, non-Cuban cigars from the Dominican Republic such as Partagas and Romeo y Julieta have also carved their place in the pantheon of legendary cigars. These brands, established in the 19th century, have continued to captivate the palates of cigar enthusiasts around the globe, offering unique and memorable smoking experiences.

The cigars produced by these brands are renowned for their complexity and depth of flavor, with many connoisseurs claiming that they are some of the best cigars in the world. From the classic Partagas Serie D No. 4 to the Romeo y Julieta Churchill, these cigars offer a truly unique experience.


Founded in 1845 by Don Jaime Partagas, the Partagas brand has become synonymous with outstanding craftsmanship and exceptional cigars. As a result of the Cuban Revolution and the subsequent embargo, the Partagas brand's operations were moved to the Dominican Republic, where it continues to produce high-quality cigars that cater to discerning cigar followers worldwide.

The Partagas brand has not only maintained its esteemed reputation but has also evolved to meet the ever-changing tastes and preferences of cigar enthusiasts. With a rich history spanning over 175 years, Partagas is a testament to the enduring appeal and prestige of well-crafted cigars.

Romeo y Julieta

Established in 1875 by Don Jose "Pepin" Rodriguez, the Romeo y Julieta brand has become one of the most sought-after cigar brands globally, offering an array of exquisite cigars that cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences. The brand's name, inspired by Shakespeare's iconic romantic tragedy, reflects its commitment to creating cigars that evoke passion and emotion in the hearts of its patrons. These cigars are handmade at the Dominican Republic and some new blends are Nicaraguan made.

One of the most recommended cigars from the Romeo y Julieta brand is the Reserve Churchill, a bold and flavorful cigar brands that is sure to delight even the most discerning of cigar enthusiasts. The brand's enduring success and popularity serve as a testament to the exceptional quality and craftsmanship that goes into every Romeo y Julieta cigar.

The Evolution of the Cigar Industry

Arturo Fuente Cigar Factory in the Dominicam Republic, an ourtanding cigar factory following traditions

The industry has undergone significant changes throughout its history, particularly due to the Cuban Revolution and the subsequent embargo. These events marked a turning point in the cigar world, leading to the rise of new-world cigars and the emergence of a vibrant and diverse landscape of cigar brands and blends. Some of the most important key players in this evolution are Arturo Fuente Cigars, Davidoff of Geneva, and Altadis USA, all of them handmade in the Dominican Republic.

Let us explore the key events that shaped the evolution of the industry and the impact they have had on the cigars we know and love today.

The Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Revolution had a significant impact on the industry, as the new socialist government seized all private cigar production, and numerous cigar companies were forced to dispose of their supplies of Cuban tobacco. This led to heightened demand for non-Cuban cigars, as they were the only cigars available in the USA. In turn, this resulted in the emergence of several non-Cuban brands, including the Dominican Republic blends from Arturo Fuente, Ashton, Partagas, and Romeo y Julieta, which have since become legendary names in the world of cigars.

The Cuban Revolution not only changed the landscape of the industry but also sparked a new era of creativity and innovation. As cigar makers around the world were forced to blend foreign tobaccos and adapt to new challenges, the cigar industry evolved, giving rise to a multitude of new flavors, blends, and experiences for cigar lovers to enjoy.

The Cuban Embargo

The Cuban Embargo, imposed by the United States in 1960, further complicated matters for the industry, as it prohibited the importation of Cuban goods into the US. Consequently, Cuban cigars were no longer available for sale in the United States, one of the most significant markets for premium cigars.

This embargo created opportunities for other countries to produce high-quality cigars, thus fostering competition and innovation in the industry. Over time, the Cuban Embargo has generated heightened competition for Cuban cigar manufacturers, as other countries have been able to manufacture high-quality cigars.

This competition has not only spurred innovation and creativity in the industry but has also introduced cigar fans to a wide array of new and exciting cigar brands and blends from around the world. The key player's countries on these endeavors are Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.

Cigar fans' Favorites

An image of the H. Upmann cigars factory, one of the oldest cigar brands favored by cigar aficionados.

In addition to the legendary and time-honored cigar brands that have shaped the industry's history, there are also several contemporary favorites that have captured the hearts of cigar followers worldwide. Among these Dominican Republic handmade are popular brands are Cohiba and Arturo Fuente, both of which have garnered a loyal following for their exceptional quality and captivating flavors.


The history of Cohiba cigars is deeply intertwined with the Cuban Revolution and its most iconic figure, Fidel Castro. The brand was first created in the mid-1960s when a local torcedor was providing hand-rolled cigars to Castro's bodyguard. Impressed by the quality of these cigars, Castro decided to establish the renowned El Laguito factory to produce Cohiba cigars exclusively for his personal use and for diplomatic gifts. The brand was officially launched in 1969 and became available for purchase in 1982.

Today, Cohiba cigars are considered among the most prestigious and sought-after cigars in the world, revered for their exceptional quality and unparalleled flavor. From the tobacco fields of Cuba to the humidors of connoisseurs worldwide, Cohiba cigars continue to captivate the senses and inspire passion in the hearts of cigar fans.

There are two Cohiba brands sold in the market now: the Dominican Cohiba and the Cuban Cohiba. There is been over 20th years of litigations between the Cuban Government and the USA Courts representing General Cigars.

Arturo Fuente

Established in 1912 by a young Cuban named Arturo Fuente, A. Fuente & Co. began as a modest three-story wooden cigar factory in West Tampa, Florida. Over the years, the Arturo Fuente brand has grown to become a symbol of excellence and innovation in the world of cigars, attracting a dedicated following of cigar enthusiasts who appreciate the brand's commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

Among the most popular cigars from Arturo Fuente are the Chateau series and the Fuente Fuente Opus X, both of which have garnered acclaim for their exceptional flavor and exquisite construction.

With four generations of the Fuente family guiding the brand to the apex of new-world cigar making, Arturo Fuente cigars continue to delight and captivate cigar lovers across the globe.


As we have journeyed through the rich history of the world's oldest cigar brands, we have discovered the captivating stories, innovations, and traditions that have shaped the industry as we know it today. From the time-honored Cuban brands of Por Larrañaga, Punch, and H. Upmann to the legendary non-Cuban brands of Partagas and Romeo y Julieta, these cigars continue to enchant and inspire the senses of cigar enthusiasts worldwide. As you explore the world of cigars, may you find inspiration in this storied history and discover the exceptional flavors and experiences that await within each hand-rolled masterpiece.

What is the oldest cigar brand?

With an origin story dating back to 1797, Cabañas is the oldest Cuban cigar brand in existence. Founded by Francisco Cabañas in Cuba, the oldest cigar has become a globally respected symbol of excellence in cigars.

Cabanas cigars are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship, with each cigar being hand-rolled and aged for a minimum of two years. The brand has a long history of producing some great products.

What are the oldest American cigar brands?

J.C. Newman Cigar Co., founded in 1895, is one of the oldest American cigar brands still produced today. The oldest cigar company was founded by Julius Caeser Newman, a Hungarian immigrant, and is still operated by members of the founding family.

The most popular brands it produces are Diamond Crown, Brick House, and Cuesta-Rey.

What is the oldest Cuban cigar company?

The oldest Cuban cigar company is Cabañas, founded by Francisco Cabañas in 1797. It was discontinued after the Cuban revolution of 1962, making Por Larranaga, founded in 1834 by Ignacio Larranaga, the second oldest Cuban company.

What cigars were popular in the 1800s?

In the 1800s, the oldest cigar shape was the Figurado. They were quite popular due to their distinct irregular shape and the sophisticated flavor profile they deliver. These cigars have become increasingly rare as they are costly to produce and purchase. The Dominican Republic handmade sold in cedar boxes are the Arturo Fuente Hemingway cigars were created to honor that legacy.