Dunhill cigars were produced in Cuba by Cubatabaco for Alfred Dunhill of London from 1982 to 1991, in various countries afterwards, and are now owned by British American Tobacco.
In 1907, Alfred Dunhill opened his first tobacco shop on Duke Street, London. Before the Cuban Revolution, Dunhill had numerous distribution and marketing agreements with several Cuban cigar manufacturers, selling exclusive and hard to find brands such as Don Cándido and Dunhill's own Selección Suprema line, with various sizes from many famous cigar makers such as Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. Dunhill became famous as the tobacconist of choice for George VI and the prodigious cigar smoker Sir Winston Churchill. A popular legend tells that when the Dunhill store on Jermyn Street was destroyed in the London Blitz, Dunhill employees called Sir Winston at four o' clock in the morning to assure him his private collection of cigars (which he kept in the store's humidor) had been moved to safety.
After the Revolution, Dunhill's unique relationship with Cuban cigars would continue with the communist government's tobacco monopoly, Cubatabaco. Dunhill was given the exclusive rights to three different brands: Don Cándido, its own Don Alfredo, and La Flor del Punto, plus the numerous Selección Suprema sizes produced by the marques that had survived nationalization.
In 1967 the tobacco branch of Alfred Dunhill Ltd was sold off and became its own separate entity. In 1981 tobacco blending (of the Dunhill pipe tobaccos, at least) was transferred to Murrays, of Belfast. In 2005 it was transferred to Orlik of Denmark, renewing debate about blending/flavor changes in Dunhill's pipe tobaccos.
Beginning in 1977, Dunhill and Cubatabaco began discussing the possibility of producing a cigar brand bearing the name of Dunhill. An agreement was finally reached in 1982 and Dunhill cigars hit stores in 1984, starting with the Dunhill stores of ten countries and eventually expanding to thirty. The ultimate downfall of the Dunhill brand was that it was out to compete with the other high-end private label, Davidoff. Seeing as how both brands were being produced by Cubatabaco, the Cuban tobacco monopoly wanted to make profits from both and had no wish to participate in the market competition between the two tobacconists. Unhappy with Cubatabaco's unwillingness, when the original contract expired in 1991 Dunhill chose not to renew, having already begun scoping possible new locations in the Canary Islands, Dominican Republic, and Honduras for cigar production. Eventually, Dunhill would give up making cigars altogether and sold the rights to put its name on tobacco products to British American Tobacco.
Today, the original Dunhill Cuban cigars have become prized items for connoisseurs and collectors and demand high prices at auctions and from vintage merchants.
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