by Nick Hendry
The name Trinidad has a special place in the Cuban Cigars portfolio. Like Cohiba, this brand was originally created to provide exclusive gifts for visiting diplomats, produced at the same El Laguito factory as the flagship brand but reputedly for offer only to a lesser tier of dignitary. While not as well-known as some other marcas, and without the breadth of vitolas in its range, Trinidad still has captured the hearts of smokers everywhere.
The Town of Trinidad on the island on Cuba, now a UNESCO site. Image from Travel Dudes.
Nestled on the south coast of the island of Cuba, around 4 hours drive from Havana, lies the city of Trinidad. This is a town born of prosperity and profits, the 18th century sugar and tobacco trades bringing fortunes to the founders and allowing for the construction of a city so beautiful it is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was to honour this jewel in Cuba’s tourist crown that the brand was originally named, a nod to past glories used to greet guests of the new regime. 1969 saw the first Fundadores cigars leave the factory, created in the same elegant Laguito No 1 vitola as the more celebrated Cohiba Lancero but never given out by Castro himself. For almost 30 years this was the sole representation of the delightful medium-bodied blend Trinidad is now known for. In 1998 the size increased slightly to a 40 ring gauge, known as Laguito Especial, and the Fundadores we enjoy today was born.
A selection of Limited Edition Cuban Cigars featuring the legendary Trinidad Topes from 2016.
It was in London, on a November night in 2003, that the next chapter in the history of Trinidad began. 3 vitolas, the Reyes, the Coloniales and the Robusto Extra, were released at a fabulous black-tie evening in the Park Lane Hilton. Each came dressed in new, modern livery and represented the arrival of Trinidad on the global stage as a fully-fledged brand. The shorter lengths allowed fans of the blend to enjoy their favourite smoke when time was against them, the expanded offering established the name in the world of cigars and the increased production, which by now had outgrown El Laguito and moved to Pinar del Rio City, made the delights of the range more accessible to the wider cigar community. A new player on the world stage of cigars had arrived.
The Three most recognisable vitolas in the brand portfolio
In 2007, Trinidad was welcomed into the prestigious canon of Edicion Limitada cigars for the first time. This was a sign the brand was truly becoming a major player on the international scene and showed that Habanos were committed to developing its reputation. The Ingenios was presented in the historic Cervantes vitola used for the Montecristo No 1, capped with the signature pigtail, and maintained the prevalence for slender cigars in the Trinidad line, bucking the trend of the time for larger and larger ring gauges. 2010 saw the next Limitada released, this time a shorter, thicker smoke known as the Short Robusto T. By now, Trinidad was a truly established name.
Of course, Cuban Cigar histories would not be complete without a touch of mystery and controversy. There are reports of an older origin for the name; Diego Trinidad beginning cigar production in 1905 and passing the reigns to his son, Diego Jr, in 1920. When the revolution forced the family, as it did with so many cigar barons, to leave the island in 1958, production was ceased. Legend holds that a deal was struck in the late 1960s with the celebrated Fuente family to begin once again producing cigars bearing the Trinidad name, produced in the USA until the late 1970s. The truth of this is somewhat lost to the mists of time, but the quality of the existing Cuban brand is something of which we can be certain.
The Gift Box containing the 3 cigars released in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Trinidad.
2016 saw the release of the now legendary Topes LE. This was a return to large ring gauge for the brand, after the demise of the Robusto Extra in 2012, and has become one of the most sought-after from the series. Packed with the signature flavours of coffee and vanilla, it delighted aficionados like no Trinidad before. It was swiftly followed in 2017 by the La Trova, a fantastic double robusto crafted for the La Casa del Habano specialist line. These 2 cigars played a huge part in elevating Trinidad to the upper echelons of the Cuban portfolio.
A stunning humidor, created by Italian artisans DeART, was commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary. Image from Cigar Journal.
Just over 50 years have now passed since the first diplomatic Fundadores were handed out in Havana, a milestone that was properly celebrated in 2019. Three new cigars were added to the range, including the graduation to regular production of the popular Topes. The Esmerelda and Media Luna have already established themselves as popular among the brand’s followers. The crowning glory of the commemorations, however, was the commission of 100 exquisite humidors by renowned Italian artisans DeART. Each holds 50 specially-produced Glorioso cigars, dressed in a second gold band at the foot and presented in a pyramid shape that moves away from the traditional pigtail cap for the first time. These humidors are magnificent, their beauty truly befitting a brand named for one of the most beautiful old towns in the world. They are a perfect commemoration of the first 50 years of Trinidad, and a marvellous launchpad for 50 more to come.