The Mysterious History of Trinidad Cigars

In February 2019, at the Festival Del Habano, Trinidad Cigars celebrated their fiftieth anniversary as part of the cigar industry. The celebrations were grand – as to be expected for a 50th – as Trinidad were one of the main featured brands of the Festival del Habano, and announced the release of five new cigars; three regular productions and two exclusive releases, including the 2019 Colección Habanos release. While this may be a fairly standard way to commemorate such an occasion, many cigar fans were a little confused by this, as the brand only became known to the wider public during the 1990s!

A Mysterious Brand

While Trinidad as a brand was established fifty years ago in 1969, the company has been something as a mystery to most, as their cigars only became available for public sale in 1998. Prior to that, Trinidad Cigars are said to have only been made for the purpose of being given as a gift to foreign diplomats by Fidel Castro. For most of the company’s existence, the only cigar produced by Trinidad was 7 ½ inches long with a 38 ring gauge and known as the Diplomatic Trinidad, due to its sole use as a diplomatic gift.

In 1992, Cigar Aficionado ran a piece that mentioned the brand, and for most, it was the first time that they had heard of Trinidad. Not only were general cigar lovers only just hearing about the brand, but even within the cigar industry, including executives within the government-run Cubatabaco, Trinidad was completely unknown. At this time, only 20 boxes of Trinidad cigars were produced each month. Each box was plain, made from cedar, and would contain 100 cigars, although none of these boxes were for sale. By 1996, changes were starting to be made in this process, as the boxes gained golf labels on the lids, and the number of cigars in each box was reduced to 50 or 25.

Contradictory Beginnings

While Habanos claim that Trinidad have been around for only 50 years, the Trinidad family have a different story regarding their origins. By their version of events, the company was actually founded in 1905 by Diego Trinidad, and the company was known as Trinidad y Hermanos. At the time, the company primarily produced panatela-style cigars, as well as cigarettes. However, following the Cuban revolution, the company was taken over, and the family ended up leaving Cuba.

Trinidad Cigars at Auction

While not sold in stores, Trinidad cigars began appearing at auctions during the 1990s, with the first commercial auction taking place in May 1997. Here, a box of only 25 cigars sold for 16,100 Swiss francs, around 10,000 francs more than what was estimated. This works out to roughly £350 per cigar!

Following the success of the auctions, Trinidad cigars went on sale in Cuba in February 1998, with cigars becoming available in Mexico and Canada soon after. While the Diplomatic Trinidad had been the only cigar produced by the brand until this point, production of the Diplomatic ceased, and a new cigar, the Fundadore, was released instead. Measuring 7 ½ inches in length with a 40 ring gauge, the Fundadore cigar was finished with a pigtail cap that has now become an iconic feature of this brands’ collection.

New Additions to the Trinidad Brand

By 2003, the brand was expanding following rave reviews for the Fundadore. Three new sizes were added to the collection; Reyes (4 3/8 inches, 40 ring gauge), Coloniales (5 ¼ inches, 44 ring gauge) and Robusto Extra (6 1/8 inches,  50 ring gauge). In 2009, the Robusto T, a 4 7/8 by 50 cigar was added, and 2014 saw the addition of the Vigía, a 4 3/8 by 54. All of these cigars featured the signature pigtail caps.

The 50th anniversary has seen many new sizes added to the brand; the Media Luna (4 ½ inches, 50 ring gauge), Esmeralda (5 ¾ inches, 53 ring gauge) and Topes (4 7/8 inches, 56 ring gauge). As well as these new brand regulars, the special limited edition Trinidad 50 Aniversario cigar saw something new for the brand. The first figurado shape for the brand, the cigar measures 6 1/8 inches by 59 ring gauge, with a smooth tapered end that does not feature the pigtail cap. This is also the first cigar in the Trinidad range to include a footband at the foot of the cigar. These special anniversary cigars will only be available in humidors, which each contain 50 cigars, with only 100 humidors to be sold.

We think the best way to learn about cigars is to give them a try yourself! If you would like to discover more about Trinidad Cigars, then why not check out the range we have available in stock here at Havana House?!

Image Credit: habanos_oficial

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