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 aficionados 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.

Due to their complexity of flavor, non-Cuban cigar brands such as Tatuaje Cigars and Rocky Patel Cigars have achieved legendary status.

Cigar aficionados worldwide favor iconic brands such as Cohiba and Arturo Fuente for their superb quality and flavors.

Cigar smokers globally appreciate the quality and flavors of the brands listed, underscoring the global appeal and recognition of these cigars.

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 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. The rivalry between Cuban and non-Cuban cigars has long been a prominent feature in the cigar industry, with each camp vying for the favor of cigar enthusiasts worldwide. The outcome has led to improved practices, superior blending techniques, and enhanced construction quality. The increase in prices of Cuban Cigars has provided non-Cuban brands with a golden chance to thrive.

Cigar aficionados worldwide continue to appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication that go into creating these hand-rolled masterpieces, which make them a timeless symbol of luxury and indulgence.

Cuban Beginnings

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 cigar makers, and a favorable climate created the perfect conditions for producing the finest cigars in the world. Over time, several well-established Cuban cigar brands, such as Por Larranaga, Punch, and H. Upmann, emerged and gained recognition among cigar enthusiasts. These brands, with their long-standing history, are often considered when discussing the oldest cigar company in the industry, highlighting their significance in the Cuban cigar industry.

However, the Cuban Revolution and the ensuing Cuban embargo in the mid-20th century led to a dramatic shift in the cigar industry. Numerous Cuban cigar 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 aficionados 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 cigar industry. The departure of Cuban cigar 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 cigar industry, including the emergence of new cigar makers, brands, and blends, as well as a rise in the popularity of non-Cuban cigars among cigar aficionados.

Today, some of the most popular non-Cuban cigar brands include 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 cigar 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

The concept of an 'independent cigar brand established' is epitomized by the founding dates and historical significance of brands like Por Larranaga in 1834, Punch in 1840, and H. Upmann in 1844. These brands have not only marked the beginning of a rich heritage in cigar making but have also maintained their independence and prestige through centuries. Let us now delve into the stories of the oldest Cuban cigar 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 aficionados with their exceptional craftsmanship and distinctive flavors.

Por Larrañaga

Established in 1834 by Ignacio Larranaga, Por Larranaga is the oldest Cuban cigar 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 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 Larraaga name in the United States are held by Altadis U.S.A. Despite the challenges and changes that the cigar industry has faced over the years, Por Larranaga remains a symbol of tradition and excellence, serving as a testament to the enduring appeal of Cuban cigars.


Punch cigars 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 brand has continued to thrive and adapt, remaining a prominent and well-respected name in the world of cigars.

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.

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 cigar brands 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.

These brands' cigars are renowned for their complexity and depth of flavor, and many connoisseurs claim 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 aficionados 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.

One of the most recommended cigars from the Romeo y Julieta brand is the Reserve Churchill, a bold and flavorful cigar that is sure to delight even the most discerning of cigar aficionados. 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 cigar 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 with their non-Cuban versions of Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and H Upmann, just to name a few.

Let us explore the key events that shaped the evolution of the cigar 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 cigar 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 United States. In turn, this resulted in the emergence of several non-Cuban cigar brands, including 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 cigar 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 aficionados to enjoy.

The Cuban Embargo

The Cuban Embargo, imposed by the United States in 1960, further complicated matters for the cigar 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 spurred innovation and creativity in the cigar industry and introduced cigar aficionados to a wide array of new and exciting cigar brands and blends from around the world. The key players in these endeavors are Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.

Cigar Aficionados' 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 cigar industry's history, there are also several contemporary favorites that have captured the hearts of cigar aficionados worldwide. Among these 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 aficionados.

There are two Cohiba brands sold in the market now: the Dominican Cohiba and the Cuban Cohiba. Over twenty years of litigation for the Cohiba Trademark have occurred 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.

Four generations of the Fuente family have guided the brand to the apex of new-world cigar making, and Arturo Fuente cigars continue to delight and captivate cigar aficionados worldwide.


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 cigar industry as we know it today. From the time-honored Cuban cigar brands of Por Larranaga, 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 aficionados 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.

Cabañas cigars are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship, with each cigar being hand-rolled and aged for a minimum of two years. This commitment to tradition and quality has cemented Cabañas' status as a company with a rich legacy, producing some of the greatest products in the history of cigars.

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, Figurado cigars were quite popular due to their distinct irregular shape. These cigars have become increasingly rare as they are costly to produce and purchase. Arturo Fuente Hemingway cigars were created to honor that legacy.