The Catalan Don Jaime Partagás y Ravelo (Arenys de Mar, 1816 - Vuelta abajo, Cuba, 1868) was the son of Jaume Partagás (tailor) and Teresa Ravelo. He migrated to Cuba in 1831 and worked for Lloret de Mar businessman, Joan Conill in Havana. Establishing his own factory, La Flor de Tabacas de Partagás in 1845, at 1 Cristina St. in Havana. Don Jaime owned many of the best plantations in the Vuelta Abajo tobacco-growing region of Cuba; being able to choose from among the finest tobaccos on the island made the brand incredibly successful. Don Jaime is also believed to have experimented with various methods of fermenting and aging tobacco and is legendarily credited with hiring one of the first lectors to read to and entertain the cigar rollers as they worked.
Don Jaime was murdered on one of his plantations in 1868 and his son José Partagás took over the business. Later the factory and brand were sold to banker José A. Bance, who in turn sold to Cifuentes, Fernández y Cía in 1900. In 1916, Don José Fernández apparently left the firm and Ramón Cifuentes Llano joined with Francisco Pego Pita to form Cifuentes, Pego y Cía. In 1927, it acquired the rights to the Ramón Allones brand; at some unknown point the factory began to produce a brand in its own name, Cifuentes.
Ramon Cifuentes died in 1938 and Pego in 1940, leaving the Cifuentes family solely in control of the increasingly prestigious factory and brand, which renamed the company Cifuentes y Cía. In 1954, the Cifuentes family acquired the Bolívar and La Gloria Cubana brands from José F. Rocha and moved their production to the Cifuentes factory. By 1958 it was second only to the H. Upmann company in exporting Cuban cigars, accounting for over a quarter of all exported tobacco goods.
Before and after the Cuban Revolution, the authentic Cuban-produced Partagás has been one of the most revered and highest-selling cigars in the world. By the middle 1990s it remained the second leading selling Cuban brand, following Montecristo, with annual sales of approximately 10 million cigars.
The old Partagás Factory in Havana, since renamed "Francisco Pérez Germán", was responsible for the production of much of the brand until it was relocated 3km from Havana Vieja. The new factory now continues the tradition. Both locations are popular tourist destinations for cigar smokers vacationing in Cuba. The move to the new factory took place on January 2, 2012.
In 2002, Altadis bought a controlling share in the Cuban government-owned cigar distributor, Habanos SA, and instituted a number of changes in cigar production. Among them was gradually turning the various brands of Cuban cigars to either all-handmade or all-machine-made lines, reducing the number of redundant sizes within a brand, and eliminating many low-selling cigars. Partagás, which has historically produced a variety of handmade and machine-made or machine-finished cigars, had several of its vitolas cut from production, much to the dismay of connoisseurs worldwide.
Since the introduction of the Edición Limitada annual releases, Partagás has produced a special size almost every year: the Pirámide in 2000, the Serie D No. 3 in 2001, the Serie D No. 2 in 2003, the Serie D No. 1 in 2004, a reissue of the Serie D No. 3 in 2006, and the Serie D No. 5 in 2008. In 2005, Partagás introduced a pyramid, the Serie P No. 2, which has proven highly popular with cigar connoisseurs.