What’s Happened To Cuba’s Partagás Factory?

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If you plan on visiting Cuba, rolling your own Cuban cigar and touring a traditional cigar-making facility is a must! However, you may have quickly searched for the ‘Partagás Factory’ online, only to feel incredibly disappointed when you discover it’s no longer open. 

Fear not, though; it’s re-opened in a new location. The spirit of the famous Cuban cigar brand certainly lives on here. While it may not be the experience it once was, it’s still something you should add to your to-do list while in Cuba. 

The brand: Partagás

Before we tell you more about visiting the Partagás Factory, let’s first tell you about the brand itself. Partagás is the brand name of two lines of cigars made by two competing, independent businesses. 

  1. Partagás manufacture one line of cigars on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, which is a tobacco company owned by the state. 
  1. Partagás manufactures its other line of cigars in the Dominican Republic and doesn’t contain any Cuban tobacco. These cigars are for the General Cigar Company, which is a division of Denmark’s Scandinavian Tobacco Group. 

The Cuban version is the original. It is one of the oldest extant cigar brands, having been established back in 1845 in Havana. 

The original Partagás Factory

The original Partagás Factory, Partagás Real Fabrica de Tabacos, is one of the most iconic buildings in Havana. It’s what the Taj Mahal is to India or the Eiffel Tower to Paris. 

Sadly, though, it’s now closed its doors. You’ll find the building on the border between Centro and Old Havana, behind the Capitol building. It opened back in the mid-19th century.

Although this factory no longer manufactures Cuban cigars, you can still visit the building. Also, there is a small shop where you can purchase a limited range of cigars. While we’re still waiting on confirmation, most people seem to believe that this building will end up becoming a luxury hotel. 

The new, more modern Partagás Factory

While you cannot experience the traditional Partagás Factory, it’s still possible to tour the new location. Partagás cigar production has moved to a more modern factory. This is in the Centro neighborhood on Calle San Carlos. It’s situated around 10 minutes away from the original factory by car. 

According to local history, the new factory has been home to other cigar brands over the years. Before it was ceded to Partagás, it was known as the El Rey del Mundo Factory. 

José Ramon de Perez manages the factory, which employs 400 people. While this factory is the home factory for the Partagás brand, they do roll other cigar brands here. This includes Bolivar, Quai d’Orsay, Ramon Allones, and La Gloria Cubana cigars. 

Enjoying a guided tour at the Partagás Factory

The new factory has quickly become one of the main cigar factory tour stops in Havana. Every day, hundreds of people visit this attraction. They walk through the entry foyer, upstairs to the balconies, and along the outer aisles of the rolling room.

Aside from the rolling floor, you won’t be able to access other factory areas. A factory rep has stated that visitors cannot enter the packing rooms and leaf sorting room because they’re humidity and temperature controlled. Naturally, constant traffic in and out of these rooms would disrupt that and have a negative impact on the cigars. 

Of course, we cannot claim that the new factory has the same traditional feel and ambiance that the original Partagás Factory had. However, the large photographs of Partagás cigars on the wall and the many red Partagás workshirts create an authentic feel and nod to the history of the brand in Cuba. 

Embracing Cuba’s traditional cigar manufacturing scene 

So while you sadly cannot roll your own cigar or experience the traditional Partagás Factory in full anymore,  there still is the opportunity to go on a tour of the new factory, and you can also purchase cigars from the original factory. Both offer a great experience.