Punch Cigars are regarded as one of the finest premium cigar brands. As the name would suggest, Punch has a strong place in the cigar market and has stood the test of time.
The origins of Punch date back to the 1840’s in Cuba. There is a bit of discrepancy to who originally started the brand. Some believe it was a German businessman with the surname Stockmann and ownership changed hands a bit before landing a spot in Juan Valle & Company, owned by Manuel Lopez. The leading theory is Manuel Lopez established the brand; his name was after-all on the original cigar band.
Regardless of which tale you believe, the brand was named after the puppet show character Mr. Punch from “Punch & Judy”. The show consisted of Mr. Punch and one other person, who ordinarily gets clobbered by his club for comical purposes. Mr. Punch is a Pulcinella, a character commonly described as “the voice of the people” who usually manages to win his trials.
Europeans were drawn to the witty “everyman” that Mr. Punch emulated and they associated themselves with his character. Mr. Punch was chosen to represent the brand because it was targeted at a British market. This choice was a success because the brand quickly found a lot of success, especially after gaining praise from Sir Winston Churchill.
Punch is one of the few brands that were not discontinued after the nationalization of the tobacco industry in Cuba. Like other popular pre-revolution brands from Cuba, a separate company under the same name was created to produce cigars to the American market after the embargo.
Punch production in Cuba is under the state-run cigar company, Habanos S.A and the bands no longer feature Manuel Lopez’s name. According to Habanos S.A., it has a relatively small market share in Cuba as a multi-local brand. The medium strength cigars are handcrafted in the La Corona factory using long-filler tobacco from the prestigious Vuelta Abajo region.
Before the revolution Punch had been under the ownership of Fernández, Palicio y Cía for over three decades. Fernando Palicio fled to Florida, where he met Frank Llanzea and Dan Blumenthal. Frank and Dan are considered cigar legends for their revolutionary predictions and successes in the cigar industry and own the illustrious Villazon & Company.
In 1965, Villazon & Co. gained ownership of Punch. Four years later, they brought the production of Punch cigars to Honduras. Punch was one of the first cigars to have been produced in Honduras and this gave it a bolder and stronger body compared to its competitors in its early days.
General Cigar Company bought the rights to Punch in 1997. This acquisition changed almost nothing. The cigars are still handcrafted in the Villazon factory from Cuban-seed tobacco. The target market is still the everyday man, except this time the location is global and not just British.
Aficionado’s love Punch because, much like a physical punch, there is a lot of boldness and strength with each cigar. According to Mr. Punch, if you love football, fishing, and grilling you are like him and you would love a Punch cigar too.