Partagas‘ founder, Don Jaime Partagas began manufacturing cigars in 1827, but only put his own name to the brand in 1845. This brand has won numerous gold medals during its colourful history; one of the most well known Cuban brands, the Partagas is a firm favourite for many due to its flavourful balance of strength and complexity. Among the most well known vitolas of the brand, the Lusitania is perhaps the most imposing — a cigar with a great presence, just over 7 inches long with an ample 49 ring gauge. According to many, the marque double corona (prominente) vitola.

Over the past weeks i’ve been smoking the larger vitolas almost exclusively — churchills, double coronas — and i’ve found myself gravitating to them very strongly. Robusto, corona gordas and the rest — i’ve noticed that in terms of sheer complexity of the smoking experience, they cannot match the larger double coronas and churchills. As i go through the 2-3 hours required for cigars like the SLR DC and the Lusitania, i find myself absolutely stunned by the command this cigar demands from me; i’m almost completely absorbed by its flavours.

As a longer stick, the cigar changes much more in character as the cigar is smoked — the demarcations between the 1st third, 2nd third and last third are much clearer, more pronounced. In comparison, by the time a smaller stick even begin to show some character, its almost time to put it out; or the changes are much more subtle due to the smaller size and it tends to get lost unless i really pay attention. Not so with the larger cigars, and definitely, the Lusitania is a great, great example of this ideal.

(Image lost) A beautiful sight to behold — LAC FEB 03

Its been speculated that the Lusitania was named after a famous ship that was sunk during World War I as it tried to cross the Atlantic. However, there is no official Cubatobacco confirmation of this rumour.

(Image lost) Excellent clear wrapper, superb construction

The cigar itself is a remarkable achievement of cigar engineering. There was a time, circa 1994-95, when the larger wrapper leaves needed for double coronas were in shortage; this is testimony to the rarity of the leaf that goes into these cigars. Veining was minor, and the light natural wrapper was covered with significant amounts of fragrant tobacco oils. The cigar itself wasn’t as firm as i expected it would be, a little bit spongy but i don’t think to the point of being underfilled. Perhaps a bit moist?

(Image lost) Lovely grey ash

Running this tube of premium tobacco underneath my nose rewarded me with some of the most striking tobacco scents i’ve experienced in a long time: it wasn’t exactly pungent-strong, more like sharp-tickle-strong. A second later i sneezed; the musky, woody notes were quite striking. Top class leaf went into this cigar, my nose was telling me.

(Image lost) 2nd third — where the classic Partagas flavours kick in!

A quick cut and touch of the torch later, and this cigar was away. There is only one thing that can be said about the Lusitania’s introduction to my palatte: WOW. Immediately, there was a large dose of spiciness that just seemed to pleasantly sear my tongue and lips. In the first third, there were very prominent toasted caramel bits, laced with rich premium butter mixed with Mexican chilli peppers. Outstanding.

The second third announced that arrival of the classic Partagas flavour — this was what i was waiting for. Nutty, woody flavours; to be more specific, it was almost like dark roasted chick peas. Strange i know, but i had a large helping of ground chick peas with curry recently, and almost immediately i identified the Partagas flavour with the peas. The complexity of this cigar was amazing; the spiciness had toned down a few notches by this point.

(Image lost) Final third — still goooooodddd!!!

The last third was proof positive of what i wrote about earlier: larger vitolas have the ability to go that extra mile of flavour that smaller vitolas simply can’t reach. The spiciness came back with a vengeance, lovingly wrapped with bitter-sweet tobacco flavours. It stayed this way right to the nub.

I puffed on this cigar quite heavily (it just tasted so good, i couldn’t resist!), but it burned really slow without heating up and still took about 150 minutes to finish; watched a full soccer match with no problems. Perhaps my heavy handed approach to this cigar made it burn slightly unevenly, a few minor touch-ups were needed along the way; perhaps the tobacco was a bit moist too.

(Image lost) If i could smoke it any further… i would!

Verdict: This is quite simply an outstanding cigar, the King of the Prominentes Hill. The nicotine buzz is detailed, yet not overwhelming, the flavours are perfectly balanced between strength and pleasure, and its complexity has made me fall in love with the vitola. Granted, you need a free block of up to 3 hours to smoke this cigar comfortably, but, its my personal guarantee that if you do, it will be time well spent. My Cigar Blog’s Highest Possible Recommendation.