Bolivar Petit Coronas, Partagas Factory, November 2002

The following is a discussion of Cuban Box Codes as compiled by members of the CW community. Discussion regarding this is ongoing in this topic on the CW Forums. Special thanks to ak2000, Lizzard, Sancho Panza, stogiesmoker00, Skeeter, dartplayer1, Mad Dawg, cigartexan, Benecio and others for putting this information together.

Please submit suggestions for this page to webmaster@cigarweekly.com

1. Introduction

The process of bringing cigars to market is a gray area to most outside of Havana. Tobacco is distributed in parcel based on vitola/vitolas to be rolled. This process is strictly controlled, based on region, vega, class, sub class, etc, required to achieve the desired profile.

A number of a certain vitola may be rolled by numerous factories or not; they are brought to market as needed and the entire supply may or may not be exhausted

The same parcel/batch of tobacco used to roll a vitola can have varying date codes depending upon when they leave the factory. If a new order of the same vitola is rolled with a different batch of tobacco the issue then becomes the obvious: storage, rollers, etc.

Some factories produce better cigars based on skills, management, etc as this is an artisan form of production. It is also possible to have two boxes of cigars with the same codes, some being pulled from existing inventory and others from a more current batch, depending upon whether or not more need to be rolled to fill an order.

The following information is just that: information. Nothing can replace the knowledge gained by experience applied to your own tastes. Use this page to help draw your own conclusions and as a reference for your collection.

2. Historical Factoids

  • pre-revolutionary boxes were stamped: "MADE IN HAVANA-CUBA"
  • 1961 this stamp was changed to: "HECHO EN CUBA"
  • 1985 Cubatabaco started using date codes
  • 1985-1995 a tobacco leaf (iron) is above Cubatobacco
  • 1989 Cubatabaco introduced the stamp: "Totalmente a Mano"
  • 1994 Cubatabaco changed to the Habanos S.A. logo
  • Factory codes may be encased in a rectangle (stamp) seen predominantly until 1999
  • Typically varnished boxes that come with a carboard outer box have the warranty seal and code on the cardboard. It can also be on the actual box itself as well

3. Definitions

Box Code: A code stamped in ink of varying colour on the bottom of the box that identifies the date and factory of production

Irons: The standard marks on the bottom of a box of Habanos. E.g. the words "Habanos SA" over an oval containing the words "Hecho en Cuba" over the scrpit "Totalmente a mano." All of these are "branded" into the bottom of the box by pressing a heated iron against the wood. Hence the term "irons" is used to describe these marks. As with all things related to Cuban cigars you should expect variation. Some folks have reported seeing irons that looked as if they were simply stamped in ink, but close examination revealed some indentation of the wood. Some were clearly colored (i.e., inked), not just burned, but which also showed at least a slight indentation. YMMV

4. Original Cuban Box Codes

Starting in 1985, Cubatabaco started using box codes as a way of identifying where and when any given box of cigars was produced. These codes are typically found stamped on the bottom of the box. They were never intended to be known by the consumer.

The original box codes identified the date using the NIVELACUSO scheme. Each number is signified by a letter, as follows:

N I V E L A C U S O
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

The code signifies the month and year of manufacture. For example, the code NNSU would translate to 1198, which translates to November 1998. Similarly, OESC would translate as 0497, or April 1997. Under the NIVELACUSO scheme, the month is not always signified by two numbers. Hence, a code of CSC would translate to 797, or July 1997.

Original Factory Codes

Havana Factories
BM Briones Montoto (Belascoain 852, Havana) - Romeo y Julieta
CB Carlos Balino (San Carlos 816, Havana) - El Rey del Mundo
EH El Habanero
EL El Laguito (2302 Calle 146, Marianao, Havana) - Cohiba
FL/PL/PO Por Larranaga (Carlos III no. 713, Havana)
FPG Francisco Perez German (Industria 520, Havana) - Partagas
FR Miguel Fernandez Roig (Zulueta 106, Havana) - La Corona
HM Heroes de Moncada (13402 Ave. 57, Marianao, Havana) - Jose Peidra
JCS Juan Cano Sainz - Por Larranaga
JM Jose Marti (Amistad 407, Havana) - H. Upmann
LM Las Mambisas (sub contractor only)
Provincial Factories
CFG Cienfuegos
CFGS Cienfuegos (regional facility in Cienfuegos) - Quintero y Hno
FD/PR Francisco Donantien (regional facility in Pinar del Rio)
LV Las Villas
MAM ??? Las Mambisas ???
PR Francisco Donatien (regional facility in Pinar del Rio)
RD Ricardo Donatien (regional facility in Pinar del Rio)
SLR ??? Las Mambisas ???
SS Sancti Spiritus (regional facility in Sancti Spiritus)
TLP Lazaro Pena (group of factories in San Antonio)
TTB Granma (regional facility in Bayamo)
TTH Holguin (regional facility in Holguin) - not a good factory to buy from, bodhank)
VC Villa Clara
VSC Villa Santa Clara (regional facility in Santa Clara)

In 1994 the Habanos Seal (sticker across the box corner) was added. It is not uncommon to see stamps in red, blue, green or black ink across the years.

5. 1999 Cuban box codes

The original NIVELACUSO code was broken in 1997, thus rendering obsolete the objective of the code to prevent buyers from selectively purchasing cigars by factory. The penchant for seeking out Havana factory codes stemmed from the idea that some factories got the better raw materials. This is difficult to argue with those that have actual experience; Habanos S.A. would never admit as much. Allocations to factories is closely monitored now, hence less perceived discrepancy between factories.

Thus in 1999 the box codes were reworked to a different scheme. The date code was changed to the NETAGIDOCU scheme and the factory codes were redefined to all use 3 letter codes. The NETAGIDOCU scheme specifies the date that cigars were boxed, and is translated into numbers in the same manner as the earlier (NIVELACUSO) scheme. Together with the 3-letter factory code, the 4-digit NETAGIDOCU scheme designates the specific date and factory of origin for each box of Cuban cigars. For example, a box of Partagas Serie D No. 4 cigars boxed at the Partagas factory in March 1999 would have a box code EAT CCUT. (CCUT = 9903)

1999 Date Codes

First 1999 date code
N E T A G I D O C U
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
Date Codes starting 5/99
?GOO 05/99
EPOO 05/99
ESOO 06/99
EUOO 07/99
EAOO 08/99
EOOO 09/99
LEOO 10/99
LLOO 11/99
LROO 12/99

1999 Factory Codes

Ciudad de La Habana - Havana
EGD Carlos Baliño - El Rey del Mundo
EDC Briones Montoto - Romeo y Julieta
EUN El Laguito
EAT Francisco Pérez Germán - Partagás
EOG Miguel Fernández Roig - La Corona
ENI Héroes de Moncada
ECA José Martí - H. Upmann
EEO Juan Cano Sainz - Por Larrañaga
Cienfuegos Province
OTC Cienfuegos I
OAI Cienfuegos II
OOG Cruces
OET Cumanayagua
OIN Lajas
Granma Province
NAT Bayamo
NOO Jiguaní
Holguín Province
UNG Antilla
UDI Gibara
UAN Holguín I
UCE Holguín II
UET San Andrés
La Habana Province
TEN Artemisa I
TEC Artemisa II
TND Bejucal
TOU Güines
TAE Güira I
TDC Güira II
TIO Quivicán
TCI San Antonio I
TNG San Antonio II
TGT San Antonio de las Vegas
TUD San Nicolás de Bari
TTA Santa Cruz del Norte
Pinar del Rio Province
GDI Candelaria
GAO Consolación del Sur
GCN Piloto
GNU Pinar del Río
GOC San Juan (Rio Seco)
Sancti-Spíritus Province
CEG Arroyo Blanco
COT Cabaiguán
CGI Fomento
CNE Guayos
CTO Jatibonico
CUN Perea
CID Sancti-Spíritus
CDU Taguasco
CAC Trinidad
CCA Zaza del Medio
Santiago de Cuba Province
AGE Santiago de Cuba
Villa Clara Province
DNU Báez
DDE Camajuaní
DIT Esperanza
DEC Manicaragua
DGC Placetas
DAI Quemado de Güines
DOD Ranchuelo
DCO Remedios
DTA Santa Clara I
DAT Santa Clara II
DNC Santo Domingo
DUN Vueltas

6. Code since 2000

In 2000 Habanos SA changed the code yet again. The new code uses a 5 digit alphanumeric sequence to define the date. The first 3 digits are alpha and indicate the month. The last two digits are numeric and correspond to the last two digits of the year made. Thus, December 2000 will be DIC00, January 2001 will be ENE01.

2000 Date Code

ENE January
FEB February
MAR March
ABR April
MAY May
JUN June
JUL July
AGO August
SET September
OCT October
NOV November
DIC December

2000 Factory Code

Factories Code
EOG, EAR La Corona
ECA H.Upmann
RPO H. Del Moncada
OSU Partazas
PEL Briones ( Romeo Juliet)
CLE EL Laguito ( Cohiba )
ARA J. Cano
LRL, SLA Pinar Del Rio
PUL, URE, UPA, IESC Holguin
URL, LES, SUA,CPV, RSE, PUC Villa Clara
VCR, DUO, REC, PAS, USP, APE, LUL, CLO, SRA,OVU S. Espiritus
CAV,ALV,SSU,VEL,SOL, PAR, SCO, LPE La Habana
EOP, LAC, SEL, PUV Cienfuergos
ACS, PLO Granma
OLA S de Cuba
LOC Carlos Balino(Rey Del Mundo)

 

2000-2003 Box codes with a little more detail
LOC Carlos Balino ( Rey Del Mundo)
EOG, EAR La Corona (note that SUA was used in 2000 according to one source)
ECA H.Upmann
RPO H. Del Moncada
OSU Partagas
PEL Briones ( Romeo Juliet)
2000 - LOME, LQME 2001 - CLE EL Laguito ( Cohiba )
ARA J. Cano
LRL, SLA Pinar Del Rio
PUL, URE, UPA, IESC Holguin
URL, LES, SUA, CPV, RSE, PUC Villa Clara
VCR, DUO, REC, PAS, USP, APE, LUL, CLO, SRA, OVU S. Espiritus
CAV, ALV, SSU, VEL, SOL, PAR, SCO, LPE La Habana
EOP, LAC, SEL, PUV Cienfuergos
ACS, PLO Granma
OLA S de Cuba

7. New factory codes in 2003

Once again Habanos S.A. has changed factory codes. Starting in May 2003 several new codes have appeared. While we are still seeing quite a few codes from the 2000 list above, so far we have been able to decipher a few of the new ones.

Known 2003 Box codes
GKI Francisco Pérez Germán (Partagás)
LLN José Martí (H. Upmann)
KMM Briones Montoto (Romeo y Julieta)
MKO El Laguito (Cohiba)
FRH Miguel Fernandez Roig (La Corona)

8. Factory Addresses and Known Brands

The following is a list of some factories with their addresses and the brands they are known to produce. This list should not, however, be considered inclusive nor exhaustive.

Factory Address Known Brands
Romeo & Julieta Belascoain 852, Havana El Rey del Mundo, Romeo & Julieta, Quai d'Orsay,Cuaba, Saint Luis Rey
El Rey del Mundo San Carlos 816, Havana  
Partagas Industria 520, Havana Ramone Allones, Bolivar, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas
La Corona Zuleta 106, Havana San Cristobal, Hoyo, Por Larranga, Flor de Cano, Punch
H. Upmann Amistad 407, Havana (closed/moved) Diplomatico, Monte Cristo, H. Upmann, Robaina
Por Larranga Carlos 111, Havana  
El Laguito 2302 Calle 146, Havana Cohiba,Trinidad
Heroes de Moncada 13402 Ave 57, Mariano, Havana  
La Habana   Sancho Panza,Juan Lopez,Fonseca
Pinar del Rio   Vegueros

9. Examples

Romeo y Julieta Robusto EL, Partagas factory, December 2002
Romeo y Julieta Robusto EL, Partagas factory, December 2002

PSD#4 : Cienfuegos factory, January 2002
PSD#4 : Cienfuegos factory, January 2002

PSD#3 EL : Partagas factory, July 2002
PSD#3 EL : Partagas factory, July 2002

PSD#3 EL : H. Upmann factory, July 2002. The box codes aren't always distinct!
PSD#3 EL : H. Upmann factory, July 2002.
The box codes aren't always distinct!

La Flor de Cano Coronas : La Corona factory, July 2002. Note green ink in irons!
La Flor de Cano Coronas : La Corona factory, July 2002.
Note green ink in irons!

Ramon Allones Small Club Coronas : Partagas factory, February 2003. Note the doubled warranty seals!
Ramon Allones Small Club Coronas : Partagas factory, February 2003.
Note the doubled warranty seals!

1987 Raphael Gonzales Lonsdales
1987 Raphael Gonzales Lonsdales
Note the tobacco leaf above Cubatobacco iron

1985 Jose Gener (La Escepion)
1985 Jose Gener (La Escepion)
Note only have HECHO EN CUBA stamp

Romeo y Julietta Celestiales Finos
Romeo y Julietta Celestiales Finos
Note only have HECHO EN CUBA stamp