The UK Cuban Cigar Portfolio

The UK Cuban Cigar Portfolio is made up of 24 cigar houses. It’s said that every hand-rolled Havana goes through at least 222 different stages before it is ready to smoke. Each one is made by hand with meticulous care creating what are recognised as the finest cigars in the world. We invite you to try our cigars which are all handmade and carry the famous and trusted EMS mark certification.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but there can be times when the spoken word is worth a thousand explanations! Why not find out the correct pronunciation of your favourite Cuban  cigars or visit our Simply Cigars?


MONTECRISTO: Distributed widely throughout the world and sold originally by Dunhill New York, the Montecristo cigar currently accounts for almost 50% of all Cuban cigars exported each year, making the Montecristo the most popular Havana cigar in the world. The Montecristo was originally branded in 1935 under the name ‘the H. Upmann Montecristo Selection’. When appointed the British distribution agent, the John Hunter firm shortened the brand’s name to Montecristo. The John Hunter firm also redesigned the brand’s logo to its distinctive red and yellow box with the triangular crossed swords. These delicious, full-flavoured cigars are highly recognisable to the palate due to their unique tobacco blend, and their highly distinctive flavour. The Montecristo brand is also highly popular as the result of it’s exceptionally consistent quality.


BOLIVAR: In 1901, the Rocha Cuban Cigar Company began producing this outstanding brand ‘the Bolivar’. Named after the famous General, the Bolivar cigar is often compared to the character of the great General himself strong, powerful and robust in every way. Today, Bolivar cigars are thought to be amongst the strongest, most full-bodied cigars produced in Cuba. The Bolivar cigar is not for the beginner; it’s distinctively strong flavour and robust nature draw mostly seasoned Havana aficionados. Oddly, at one time the Rocha Bolivar was famous for offering the world’s smallest Cuban cigar, the Delgado, measuring only 1 7/8ths inches by 20 ring gauge. It is said that the royal nursery at Windsor Castle once housed a spectacular dollhouse complete with a miniature box of Bolivar Delgado cigars in residence.


COHIBA: In 1492, during Columbus’ first voyage to the ‘new world’, he visited the island of Cuba. His sailors were introduced to ‘Cohiba‘ by the island natives, a bunch of dried leaves that were smoked in a pipe called a ‘Tobacco’. When Columbus returned to Spain with a sampling of the dried leaves, it is said that he mistakenly called the leafy smoke Tobacco. And so it goes Cohiba, true to its brand, is Tobacco, literally. If there is one Cuban cigar that is truly worthy of it’s name, it is definitely the Cohiba. The brand, first introduced in 1968, was originally reserved for diplomatic use only. In 1982, three types of Cohiba Cuban cigars were introduced to non-diplomats: the Lanceros, the Coronas Especiales and the Panatelas. Three more vitoles were added to the brand in 1989: the Esplendidos, the Robustos and the Exquisitos, completing what is known as ‘La Linea Clasica’. Five more vitoles were added in 1992 creating the ‘Linea 1492’: the Siglo I, II, III, IV, V and VI. Cohiba remains the King of the Cubans. Only the finest tobacco leaves are used to create the various types of Cohiba cigars.


CUABA: First introduced in London in 1996, the Cuaba brand was the first new Cuban cigar brand to be introduced into commercial production since 1968. Historically, Cuaba is the Taino Indian word for the special cuban bush used to light the ‘Cohiba’ or ‘Tobacco’ on the Island. All four of the Cuaba vitoles are in the figurado (perfecto) shape: the Exclusivos, the Generosos, the Tradicionales and the Divinos. This shape was popular until the beginning of the 20th century. Habanos S.A. decided to revive the British tradition of smoking figurados; hence the fitting unveiling of the brand in London, England. Habanos, S.A. has since reintroduced other historic brands and shapes.


DIPLOMATICOS: Introduced in 1966, the Diplomaticos Cuban cigar brand is often compared to the popular Montecristo vitoles; the brand was originally introduced as a less expensive Montecristo. However, the Diplomaticos brand of Cuban cigar soon broke away from this limiting comparison due to its special blending fine tobacco. Cigar connoisseurs worldwide savour it’s unique, rich and flavourful taste and now covet this fine brand. The Diplomaticos brand is another of the great Cuban brands introduced during the 1960’s.


EL REY DEL MUNDO: Introduced in 1842 by the Antonio Allones factory, the El Rey del Mundo brand was launched under the name ‘The King of the World’. An extremely high quality cigar, ‘The King of the World’ cigar enjoyed great success during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Soon, the company and the brand were renamed ‘El Rey del Mundo’. One of the classic Cuban cigars, El Rey cigars boast a mixture of fine tobaccos and a rich aroma. In the mid 20th century, the El Rey brand was one of the most expensive Havana cigars on the market. The brand’s medium-bodied flavour (true even in the larger sizes) and a distinctively exquisite aroma make this a great cigar for smokers of all levels of experience, and for any time day or night.


FONSECA: The image of Francisco Fonseca, who developed this brand in 1906, still adorns the box today. The brand features five, hand rolled sizes. Only in limited distribution, these cigars are always available in Spain. Fonseca brand is considered to exhibit a rich but mild flavour. Highly recommend for beginners, Fonseca No 1 probably is the softest habanos Lonsdales. A white paper covers each cigar, according its delicate taste.


H.UPMANN: These light to medium bodied cigars have a very smooth and subtle flavour that has been its hallmark since its introduction in 1844. A great favourite among aficionados, the history of this brand began around 1840, when Herman Upmann, a City of London banker and almost fanatical cigar enthusiast, offered to open a branch of his family owned bank in Havana Cuba. In 1844, he (not surprisingly) invested in a cigar factory, and from then until 1922, the company traded as both a bank and a cigar business. In that year, both companies failed, and a British firm, J. Frankau & Co., saved the brand and ran the cigar factory until 1935. It was then sold to the newly founded Menendez y Garcia Company. And so it was that a legend was reborn. Characteristically, Upmanns offer a smooth, subtle, mild to medium smoke. These cigars are great for beginners, but appeal to the daytime tastes of seasoned connoisseurs. Their larger sizes are among the most rare and sought-after cigars in the world.


HOYO DE MONTEREY: Jose Gener, originally a leaf grower and eventually the founder of one of the greatest Cuban cigars factories on the Island of Cuba, began producing the great Hoyo de Monterrey brand in 1960. The ‘Le Hoyo’ series was added to the commercial cigar market in the mid-seventies. The name translates roughly as ‘the valley of Monterrey’, which is a particularly fertile area of land in the Vuelta Abajo area of South west Cuba. Gener farmed in this valley for many years during the late 1800’s. Known to all cigar connoisseurs due to its distinctive flavour, silky richness and complexity of taste, the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona is perhaps the most sought after and coveted Cuban cigar made. Some believe gold really does grow from the ground! Produced in seven factories, Hoyo vitoles and the magnificent Hoyo Double Corona are made with only the finest Cuban tobacco.


JOSE L.PIEDRA: Vicente and Jose Lamadrid Piedra created the Jose L. Piedra as a commercial brand in 1880. Their cigar factory was at Calle Maximo Gomez No. 5 in Remedios, in the tobacco-growing area of Vuelta Arriba, in what is now Sancti Spiritus Province. After the Cuban Revolution, the brand was launched very successfully as a product popular among demanding Cuban smokers. This brand is known for its simple packaging-in cardboard boxes and cellophane-wrapped bunches. It comes in a medium size, with a pleasant aroma and slightly strong and typically Cuban taste.


JUAN LOPEZ: In 1876, Juan Lopez Sena created Juan Lopez cigars; in 1908, the brand was transferred to his heirs, and was then sold to the Sociedad C. Del Peso y Ca. In 1918. Juan Lopez is one of the few Cuban cigars that is still only made by hand (hecho a mano). Although the brand is offered in a limited number of styles, it is said to be one of the best handmade Havana cigars produced. Medium in flavour, this cigar is attractive to all Cuban cigar smokers.


PARTAGES: Partages cigars branded in 1845 by Don Jaime Partagas, is one of the oldest and most well-known of all Cuban cigar brands. The brand is produced in huge quantities in many varieties; being one of the truly great, old Havana brands, the demand for Partagas cigars continues to outweigh the supply of the cigars. All of the Partagas vitoles are full, rich, with earthy flavours. The Partagas brand is also strong, making it a cigar of choice for more serious smokers. There is nothing quite as relaxing as lighting up a famous Partagas Lusitania after a heavy meal. As the Partagas brand is consistently outstanding, most Partagas cigars are relatively expensive, particularly the most well-known and sought after Partagas cigar, the Lusitania. Partagas cigars won gold medals in at least three international expositions held in Paris in the years 1867, 1878 and 1898. Also keep your eye and cutter on the 8-9-8 varnish, another outstanding Partagas creation. In 1998 Partagas cigars were being produced in eleven different Cuban cigar factories.


POR LARRANAGAPor Larrañaga was registered in 1834 by Ignacio Larrañaga. By the end of the 19th century, Por Larrañaga had become a well-known premium cigar brand producing both expensive and inexpensive cigars. In 1925, Por Larrañaga became the first factory to make machine-made cigars which soon resulted in a boycott by factory workers.At the time of the revolution, Por Larrañaga was the sixth largest producing Cuban brand.Up until the 1970’s, Por Larrañaga remained a respectable and popular premium cigar brand. In the 1980’s production fell dramatically and due to trademark litigation in the 1990s, export of the brand was reduced to only a few countries. For some time the brand was reduced to almost entirely machine-made or hand-finished and was mainly sold in Canada and the Middle East. Now the brand has made a bit of a comeback, with two of it’s four vitolas being totally hand-made. In 2006, Habanos produced a few thousand boxes of Por Larrañaga Lonsdales (a discontinued vitola much mourned by aficionados of the brand) for release in Germany. The cigars were packaged in 25-count dress boxes and marked with a special second band that read “Exclusivo Alemania” (Germany Exclusive). Cigar Aficionado’s December 2006 issue reviewed its first Por Larrañaga outside of its “Connoisseur’s Corner”. The petit corona selected scored an impressive 91.


PUNCH: Established in 1840 and intended for the British market – where a comic book featuring a character named ‘Mr. Punch’ was in fashion – Don Manuel Lopez, owner of the J. Valle y Ca, established the Punch cigar brand. The comedian Mr. Punch, who wore an unmistakably sly smile and who always had a cigar in his hand, still adorns the box decoration of these outstanding Cuban cigars. The Punch cigar soon became a Habano of indisputable quality in the marketplace. The tremendous popularity of Punch cigars amongst the British also trapped Sir Winston Churchill who gave into the temptation to visit the Monte y Zulueta factory during his stay in Havana. The British statesman ended up giving his name to a size of this brand.


QUAINTERO: Quintero and his brothers got their start in tobacco industry in a little factory (chinchal) of Cienfuegos, in the former Las Villas province of Cuba in the 1920’s. In 1940, their reputation moves them to La Havana, where they introduce this line manufactured exclusively with Vuelta Abajo leaf tobacco. They created this full-flavored brand that continues today, primarily in machine-bunched/hand-finished and all machine-made sizes. Quintero Breva cigar concentrates strong flavours, and it is not recommended for beginners.


RAFAEL GONZALEZ: When one examines the Flor de Rafael Gonzalez box, the following statement can still be found: “These cigars have been manufactured from a secret blend of pure Vuelta Abajo tobaccos selected by the Marquez Rafael Gonzalez, Grande of Spain.” This ‘secret blend’ has been pleasing cigar smokers world-wide for over 20 years. To truly appreciate this brand’s exquisite fragrance and outstanding smoke, it is recommended that the cigars be smoked within one month of their shipping date, or smoked only after being aged for about at year. Made in the famous Romeo y Julieta factory, these moderately priced cigars are among the best cigars available regardless of the price.’secret blend’ has been pleasing cigar smokers world-wide for over 20 years.To truly appreciate this brand’s exquisite fragrance and outstanding smoke, it is recommended that the cigars be smoked within one month of their shipping date, or smoked only after being aged for about at year. Made in the famous Romeo y Julieta factory, these moderately priced cigars are among the best cigars available regardless of the price.


RAMON ALLONES: These may not be the best known of the Havana brands, but they are among the most respected by connoisseurs, consistently ranking at the top of the medium priced Cuban cigar range. Rolled in the Partagas factory, which specialises in full-bodied cigars, these cigars will not disappoint those looking for complex, deep flavours. Characteristics of the brand include lovely dark wrappers, excellent construction, perfect burning qualities, a rich flavour and wonderful aroma. For these reasons Ramon Allones vitoles are a firm after-dinner favourite, and for those with a good humidor, these cigars age beautifully.


ROMEO Y JULIETA: Founded in 1873, the Romeo Y Julieta brand once printed over 2,000 cigar bands! The ‘Romeos’ are one of the most well-known and popular of all of the Havana brands. Over 40 shapes and sizes are produced under this brand, some of which are considered the very best in their size. Romeo y Julieta cigars have won gold medals world-wide for both taste and quality. With so many different sizes and so much pressure on production due to world-wide demand, it is especially impressive that the entire brand continues to be appreciated as one of absolutely top quality. Of particular repute are the Churchill sizes. As always, a large box (25 or 50) of untubed cigars (there are many tubed versions) is an excellent choice, although Romeo Y Julieta tubed cigars are also among the best available.The brand is also credited with introducing the ‘Churchill’ shaped cigar, in honour of the famed British Prime Minister. British lore claims that when Churchill would meet with foreign heads of state, he would insert a straightened paper-clip through the length of his cigar. As his cigar ash would grow longer and longer but not fall, it is said that Churchill would unnerve his often-hostile guests, allowing him to gain an upper hand during delicate negotiations.


SAINT LUIS REY: Created in the mid 1950s by two British importers, these outstanding cigars enjoy a loyal following which included some famous names like Frank Sinatra and James Coburn. Only 60,000 cigars are produced each year, and they are among the very best Havanas available on the market. Special characteristics of the brand include their oily, dark, smooth wrappers, a full bodied, highly refined flavour, and superb aroma. They represent an excellent value as they tend to be somewhat less expensive than cigars of comparable quality and prestige. Make special note of the Saint Luis Rey label which is red with white and gold. These must never be confused with the black-labelled San Luis Rey, which is a Cuban-made brand for the German market. Some Saint Luis Reys are actually machine-made in Germany for the mass market. Their black labels bear an emblem not dissimilar to the superior Saint Luis Reys.


SAN CRISTOBAL: San Cristobal de la Habana was launched in November 2000, a small range of four cigars produced in the La Corona factory, each named after a fort that defended the old city of Havana. Boasting two entirely new and unique sizes these cigars offer a rich, full flavour. The large Robusto (La Fuerza) and El Principe come recommended.


SANCHO PANZA: Not as well-known, perhaps, as some of its rivals but nevertheless a top quality brand with a considerable history of cigar making behind it. Sancho Panza cigars have something to offer connoisseurs and beginners alike. Generally mild flavours and elegant aromas make these easy cigars to get along with, even the Belicosos, which is completetly lacking in ferocity. These are ideal daytime cigars.


TRINIDAD: Until very recent years the Trinidad cigar was unobtainable in any retail outlet. Indeed, the only way one could savour this magnificent cigar was by enjoying very close access to the Cuban Government. In that light it was once described as Havana’s “Mystery Brand” and as such has already acquired a legend of mythic proportions. Originally made exclusively as gifts to be presented to dignitaries on behalf of the Cuban Government, the brand has only very recently been made available to the public and comes in only one size. Naturally, as befitting such a reputation, the cigar is superb with rich, full flavours and a wonderful wrapper.


VEGAS ROBAINA: These cigars are made in the H. Upmann factory using wrappers grown exclusively on Robaina properties. Given that the Robaina family have been growing tobacco on their Vuelta Abajo vegas for more than 150 years, it is right to assume that they have become rather good at it. A recent arrival, introduced in 1997, this brand is somewhat younger, but already it is clear that this is a classic cigar in the making. Medium to fullish flavours typify the small range, making these cigars well worth getting to know.


GUANTANAMERA: This recently announced product from Cuba has now been released. Guantanamera’s are very mild cigars originating from the Vuelta Arriba region, and are very competitively priced. This is the ultimate Cuban cigar for a beginner or for any cigar smoker who likes a very mild and light bodied cigar.

To find out more about Cuban cigar brands we would recommend reading The World of the Habano which can be purchased online or previewed by clicking here.