Though thanks to their reputation as an object of luxury and indulgence, there have been some very famous cigars and cigar brands through the ages. And though many were once based in Cuba, the industry has now spread around the world, bringing new flavours and aromas to the masses. So which are the most famous cigars in the world today?
Founded in 1935 in Cuba by Alonso Menéndez, the name Montecristo now refers to two different brands of premium cigars. One produced in Cuba for the state-owned tobacco company Hanbanos SA, and the other produced in the Dominican Republic for a French-Spanish tobacco giant.
Thanks to strong worldwide sales throughout the last century, the popularity of the Montecristo cigar grew and grew, and today it is the most popular Cuban cigar in the world, accounting for around a quarter of Habanos SA’s worldwide sales.
For many years, Cuba has dominated the world of high-end cigars
Like Montecristo cigars, Cohiba cigars are now produced both in Cuba for Habanos SA and in the Dominican Republic for an American-based company.
Originally supplied only to Fidel Castro and high-ranking members of the government, Cohiba cigars developed something of a cult status and were often given as diplomatic gifts.
Unlike other cigars, the tobacco used to make Cuban Cohibas is given a third fermentation in wooden barrels, intended to give the cigars a smoother flavour compared to other brands.
Originally developed in Jamaica by exiled Cuban cigar makers, Macanudo cigars are now manufactured in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic.
Noted for their mild flavour, Macanudo cigars use a distinctive light Connecticut shade wrapper and a unique binder that originates from the Tuxtla Valley of Mexico.
One of the oldest and most famous of the Cuban cigar brands, Partagas cigars date right back to 1845 when the company was established by Spaniard Don Jaime Partagás y Ravelo in Havana.
Before the Cuban revolution of the mid 1950s, Partagas cigars were some of the most famous and most revered in the world, and even in the 1990s it was second in popularity only to the Montecristo cigar, selling around 10 million units per year.
As with many of the most famous Cuban brands, another cigar with the same name is produced in the Dominican Republic to the General Cigar Company in the same factory where Macanudo cigars are also produced.
The best cigars are still hand rolled by specially trained cigar rollers
Founded by Arturo Fuente in Florida in 1912, this brand of cigars grew hugely in popularity following the American embargo on Cuban products in 1960.
This embargo forced local Hispanic people, previously loyal to the cigar brands that they’d grown up with to try something new, and in the process, brought Arturo Fuente cigars to the forefront of the American Cigar trade.
Today the company makes around 30 million cigars every year and like many US cigar companies, are based in the Dominican Republic.
El Rey de Mundo
E Rey de Mundo, or ‘King of the World’ is the name for two brands of cigar, one based in Cuba and the other in Honduras.
At one point, these mild and smooth cigars were the most expensive and prestigious brand in the world, but sales have suffered slightly in recent years as many people lean towards stronger flavoured cigars.
For any cigar connoisseurs, there are a few brands and names that stick out from the rest and fill the imagination with images of Caribbean beaches and tropical cities, so if you’re looking to try the best the world has to offer, these cigars are a good place to start.