The Dominican Republic is one of the largest producers of high-quality cigars in the world, and has been for a while. Through time and a tremendous effort, the growers and blenders created some of the best products in the industry. According to industry experts, the Dominican Republic produces around 44% of the world’s cigars.
The core to cigar culture in the Dominican Republic is quality. In fact, it takes a mind-bending level of effort, attention and quality control when creating each cigar. This same attention to quality also is sewn into the wider Dominican Republic lifestyle and perspective. It represents their award-winning and world-renown tobacco.
Dominican Republic Cigars and Tobacco
Growing conditions vary from one part of the Dominican Republic to another. Thus, a variety of tobacco grows here. Perfect conditions and generational expertise enable the Dominican Republic to cultivate many of today’s top cigar companies and brands.
Piloto Cubano, Olor and San Vicente are the main tobacco types grown. Some Dominican Republic cigars also use other types of tobacco from other regions throughout the world. Yet, some brands are only rolled in the Dominican Republic and still considered Dominican Republic cigars.
Piloto Cubano is bold and rich in flavor and aroma. It contains hints of cinnamon. Olor can be dry and salty with a neutral flavor. Finally, San Vicente grows widely, and it’s used for binder and filler. It’s lighter than Piloto Cubano and slightly more acidic.
Quality control and effort don’t vary depending on which tobacco forms the filler. Company owners, tobacco blenders, cigar rollers, farmers and processors all place excruciating emphasis on quality daily. It’s part of what makes Dominican Republic cigars so special.
The Dominican Republic Makes a Name for Itself
The roots to Dominican Republic tobacco growing and cigar culture trace back to the early 1900s. Several generations of farms and brands existed throughout that era. Exporting the country’s cigars to the rest of the world came later.
Fuente Fuente Opus X was the first fully Dominican ultra-premium cigar. Before the Fuente release in ’95, the cigar’s ability to produce quality mainly went unnoticed. Since the Opus X breakthrough, it’s been an upward trajectory for cigar making in the country.
The Dominican Republic also is home to Arturo Fuente, Cohiba, Macanudo, Partagas, and Montecristo — all high-quality cigar brands known for their excellence. The high scrutiny and quality control embedded in the industry never fails to astound.
Quality of Dominican Republic tobacco easily matches and exceeds its Cuban rival. It’s hard to ignore that nearly half of the world’s cigars are from the Dominican Republic, but it’s easy to understand why.
A large part of the country’s cigar history is linked to the Cuban situation with the US and the ensuing embargo. Tobacconists and farmers migrated to the supple regions of the Dominican Republic that were comparable to those in Cuba. Santiago is one of the largest tobacco growing regions in the world.
The magnitude of the tobacco farming and processing efforts in the country supplies a percentage of its economy. It’s easy to understand why cigars became part of the overall lifestyle and culture of the country. The extreme detail in every facet of cigar making is magical and inspiring.
Cigar Culture and Commitment to Quality
One Dominican Republic cigar goes through about 170 individual steps in its creation. This takes place over a five-year period. Meticulous and painstaking attention to detail exists at every step and turn of the process.
Within this world of incredible passion and quality, there’s also the connection between an aficionado and their cigar. Dominican Republic cigar makers successfully capture the quality of relaxation and gratitude in each premium smoke they create. It might be the rich history or maybe it’s part of ancient tobacco history that expert tobacconists tap into. Either way, it makes for one of the best cigars any cigar enthusiast can appreciate.
Modern farming and production techniques have changed little over the last hundred years. Cigar rollers sometimes favor traditional cutters and equipment even if it slows production. Many consider the rollers, like the blenders as the best, so no one argues with them.
It takes about ten years to become a cigar roller for premium quality cigars in the Dominican Republic. This dedication and loyalty to the craft is present across the country’s entire cigar industry. In fact, loyalty plays a large role in the mentality of the larger cigar industry and community here.
There’s No Secret to Dominican Republic Cigars
Enthusiasts and experts already know about the rich flavor profile and depth that comes with a fine Dominican Republic cigar. Many claim that the tobacco is smooth and mild compared to that of other global tobacco producers. Yet, some Dominican Republican cigar companies compete with their own Cuban brands.
If you take a tour, you’ll notice that most of the employees are women. This is because of the extreme attention to detail and gentle pressure and touch required for processing the leaves. Cigar factories employ thousands of women to handle multiple stages of the cigar creation process.
The shade-grown, hand-wrapped 100% Dominican Republic stick released by the A. Fuente Company in the ’90s grew in popularity. In fact, it helped spread commitment and loyalty to quality that’s core to the country’s way of life today.
A Final Word
The Dominican Republic tobacco rose from its humble beginnings as filler tobacco. From there, it has taken the entire world and cigar industry by storm. It’s takes the perfect combination of heritage, climate, experience, passion, dedication, loyalty and knowledge to produce some of the finest cigars in the world.
Tobacconists have perfected their farming and processing techniques over the past 100 years. In fact, entire generations of families have engaged in perfecting the cigar making process. Dedication to the process has paved a path to one of the best smokes available today.
The city of Santiago is the second largest city in the Dominican Republic and the cigar capital of the world. Subsidiary businesses flourish in Santiago to support the tobacco industry. Here, cigars are bigger than the moments taken to share and enjoy. They carry cultural significance and they represent pride.
Here are a few brands to look for:
- Avo and La Gloria Cubana
- Romeo y Julieta
You may have already had a Dominican Republican cigar, but if not, they’re easy to come by. Next time you’re at the cigar shop talk to the owner. Ask them to recommend some Dominican Republican cigars to try. When you sit down to light up and enjoy, remember all the time, work and effort that went into creating such magical quality.
If we’ve learned anything, it’s that taking a minute to enjoy life is part of the cigar experience. The Dominican Republic cigars reflect this within the lifecycle of their creation. Don’t rush the slow, pleasant ride of enjoying a premium cigar. It’s also stopping to enjoy moments as they pass.
Photo credit: Cigar Life Guy