Worlds Oldest Cigar Brands

by Juan Panesso
Oldest Cigar Brands


Cigars have long been celebrated as a symbol of luxury, sophistication, and tradition. For centuries, they have captivated aficionados around the globe with their rich flavors, intricate craftsmanship, and distinct cultural significance. Among the myriad cigar brands that have emerged over the years, some stand out not only for their exceptional quality but also for their historical significance. In this article, we delve into the captivating world of the oldest cigar brands that have withstood the test of time.

The Rich History of Cigars

The saga of cigars spans centuries, ignited by Christopher Columbus's voyage in 1492. A crew member's encounter with indigenous people smoking rolled tobacco leaves birthed the term "cigars." Despite early challenges, cigars gained global allure in the 17th century, becoming symbols of prestige by the opulent Gilded Age.

Advancements in the 1800s propelled cigar production, ushering in an era of accessibility and luxury. Cuban cigars emerged as the pinnacle of quality by the 1950s. The rise of Fidel Castro's regime posed threats, dispersing Cuba's top cigar experts, yet some iconic brands endured.

Meanwhile, those who left Cuba pioneered "new world" brands. This rich heritage celebrates resilience, innovation, and the timeless pleasure of cigars, connecting history with the present in a story of enduring indulgence.

Let's take a look at some of the oldest cigar brands in the world

Discovering the Pioneers


Cuba, the heart of cigar craftsmanship, boasts the honor of hosting the first independent cigar brand: Cabañas. Established in 1797 by Francisco Cabañas, this pioneering venture thrived until 1962, when the winds of revolution swept it into the fold of nationalization under Fidel Castro's regime. 

Hoyo de Monterrey

Originating from the renowned Vuelta Abajo region in Cuba, Hoyo de Monterrey holds a venerable position as one of the oldest and most esteemed cigar brands in the world. Founded in 1865 by José Gener, the brand quickly gained a reputation for producing cigars of unparalleled excellence. The fertile soil and ideal climate of Vuelta Abajo contribute to the brand's signature blend of rich and flavorful tobacco. With a history spanning over a century and a half, Hoyo de Monterrey continues to create masterpieces that pay homage to its Cuban heritage.

Romeo y Julieta

Founded in 1875 by Inocencio Alvarez and Mannin Garcia, Romeo y Julieta captures the essence of a timeless love story. Named after Shakespeare's classic tragedy, the brand's commitment to quality and excellence led to its rapid rise to fame. The iconic logo, adorned with gold medals, signifies the brand's numerous accolades and contributions to the world of cigars. With over 40 shapes and sizes, Romeo y Julieta continues to captivate aficionados, creating an unforgettable smoking experience that spans generations. 

Por Larrañaga

Founded by Ignacio Larrañaga in 1834, Por Larrañaga’s journey spanned continents and centuries. Hailing from Spain, Larrañaga's voyage to Havana infused the brand with a fusion of cultures. By the late 19th century, Por Larrañaga had garnered international acclaim, becoming a symbol of premium cigars. The brand's ownership transitioned through various hands, from a British concern to the Cuban revolutionary government. While the brand's popularity fluctuated, Por Larrañaga's commitment to quality endured. From machine-made experiments to a return to artisanal craftsmanship, the brand's evolution mirrors the ebb and flow of history.


In 1840, a German named Stockmann founded Punch, a brand that continues to thrive today. Using the popularity of the Punch character in the United Kingdom, the brand gained widespread acclaim. A change in ownership in 1874 catalyzed Punch's ascent to stardom. However, economic upheavals in the late 1920s led to the brand's acquisition by Fernandez, Palicio y Cia. Despite challenges, Punch's legacy persisted through its acquisition by General Cigar, ensuring its place as a beloved brand.


The year 1844 saw the birth of H. Upmann, shaped by the vision of German banker Hermann Dietrich Upmann. As a banker and tobacco enthusiast, Upmann crafted a brand that would transcend time. Innovative packaging, including cigars in cedar boxes, showcased Upmann's ingenuity. A family legacy carried the brand through tumultuous times, from global conflicts to Castro's revolution. The brand's journey extended from Havana to the Canary Islands and the Dominican Republic, mirroring its enduring legacy and global impact.

Modern-Day Reflections

Today, these legendary brands continue to captivate cigar enthusiasts around the world. Por Larrañaga's revival as an artisanal treasure, Punch's resilience through changing hands, and H. Upmann's transcontinental journey talk about the indomitable spirit of cigar craftsmanship.

As we indulge in the rich flavors of a finely crafted cigar, let us also savor the tales of these oldest cigar brands.