Cuban cigars are not only loved and revered but much sought-after. In Cuba, tobacco is so important that the country’s history is entwined with this product. This is the reason why the famed Cuban cigars are so highly respected internationally.
Havana is known as the premium cigars’ original birthplace, and this historic city is dotted with numerous cigar factories of all sizes and shapes. Although most tourists believe that only the Partágas Factory is actually open to visitors, there is more to see in Cuba. Come along as Michael W. Asimos, Cigar Connoisseur and Reviewer gives you a grand tour of these iconic cigar factories in Cuba.
Partagás Cigar Factory
Located in Old Havana’s Industrial street No. 520, Partagás Cigar Factory has always maintained that beautiful old colonial building as its venue. The historic building is a classic example of the stunning architecture of the Caribbean.
During your visit to this historic factory, among the notable features you will meet are some of Cuba’s most famous cigars: Churchills and Lusitanias. The factory maintains a sale hall where you can sample a variety of cigar offers. Having been built way back in 1845, Michael Asimos observes that Partagás is certainly showing its age, creaky floors, with crumbling steps, and many aspects that need some fixing.
The tour of the factory allows you to witness first-hand, the process of the cigar making. Tours will walk you through the entire process from when the tobacco is being taken off the trucks, the leaves sorting, rolling into the cigars, wrapping, and finally the labeling of each individual cigar.
Romeo y Julieta (or the H. Upmann) Factory
For now, notes Michael W. Asimos, all visitors to the original Upmann factory are being directed to the Romeo y Julieta. Until slightly earlier this year, Romeo y Julieta served as the factory’s cigar-rolling school. Previously, it was a full-production facility famed for its namesake brand of cigars, Romeo y Julieta. The factory is very efficient and also very clean.
As you enter, there is (to the left) a stunning old marble staircase and a huge banner (black and gold in color) that reads, “H. Upmann Havana”. The gallery is among the largest in Havana, with big windows on either side to supply the workers with enough light. The gallery is quite colorful as several of the cigar molds have been painted crisp yellow or bright blue, together with the standard black or plain wood. The place buzzes like a beehive. The Romeo y Julieta (or the H. Upmann) factory is very popular with disembarking tourists from cruise ships.
La Corona Cigar Factory
Your tour of the best cigar factories in Cuba would not be complete without a visit to La Corona. This is one of the largest Cuban cigar factories, daily producing upwards of 30,000 cigars. The factory certainly is devoid of the charm of Partagás or the style of the Romeo, and comes with an Eastern Bloc feel. However, as Mike Asimos notes, this factory still makes some awesome smokes. It creates at least 25 cigar brands. La Corona is located close to Cuba’s busiest baseball stadium. Certainly, it cannot be described to be among the most attractive cigar factories.
The La Corona Factory has been organized into distinct sections, each responsible for a specific yet critical undertaking. These include tobacco leaves sorting, cutting, rolling, and leaves pressing to make the cigars as well the quality control sector. The tour takes visitors through all these sections, populated by over six hundred workers. Tours take about 30-minutes, and Mike advises you to buy your ticket well in advance.
El Laguito Cigar Factory
The El Laguito Cigar Factory comes with a rich history and is famous for producing some of the finest cigars in the world. It was founded in 1967 with the objective of becoming the birthplace of the premier cigar during the post-revolution era. It is famous for the Cohiba brand, rumored to be one of the best cigar brands.
An El Laguito Cigar Factory tour gives you a glimpse into the Cuban cigar rolling tradition handed down over the years from generation to generation. However, the globe trotter, Mike Asimos, cautions that visits to El Laguito are reserved for specially invited guests and dignitaries. If you get lucky to secure this special tour, ensure you savor every moment of the experience.
The Cuban cigar is an internationally renowned and a highly coveted souvenir. This is largely because it has always been rolled by hand from tobacco leaves. If the Caribbean getaway of Cuba is in your itinerary, a tour of the best cigar factories is a must. According to Michael W. Asimos, the respected Cigar Connoisseur, the best way of understanding the Cuban cigar phenomenon is partaking in one or two of the available cigar factory tours.