A Guide to buying Dominican Cigars
History of Dominican Cigars
Every cigar aficionado will tell you that there is something special about the tobacco that comes from the Dominican Republic. While a number of Latin American countries including Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico are important players in the cigar industry, it’s the island of Hispaniola where the industry traces its roots. It was on these very shores where Christopher Columbus first encountered cigars in 1492, as the Taino people had been using tobacco in religious and ceremonial settings for centuries.
The Dominican Republic is presently considered the world’s largest cigar producer – an industry that was boosted in the 1960s, when the U.S. embargo on Cuba created a mass exile of Cuban cigar manufacturers to the fields of the Cibao Valley and the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. When buying cigars, one thing to keep in mind is the actual size of the cigar. At 7” to 7 ½” in length, Double Coronas and Churchills (the latter named after the cigar-smoking British prime minister) are the largest types of cigars and will take longest to smoke. Other popular sizes include Corona, Corona Gorda, Lonsdale and Robusto, ranging from 6 ½” to 5 inches in length. Figurado refers to the cigars that don’t have a straight cylindrical and come in different sizes.
Those looking for a bold, medium-full flavor cigar can look to Romeo y Julieta Media Noche. Made with naturally fermented San Andres Maduro wrapper, these cigars are filled with a rich blend of vintage Dominican long-fillers, resulting in a spicy, robust smoke. Those willing to spend a bit more money should try the famous Monte Cristo brand, which offers a Media Noche made with a thick Connecticut broadleaf wrapper drenched in natural oils and filled with a mixture of long-fillers from Nicaragua, Peru and Dominican Republic. These cigars offer an array of flavors throughout including a cedar taste complimented with hints of leather and a sweet, but spicy aftertaste.
Even if you prefer not to smoke, the art of cigar making is a tradition worth discovering. Tabacalera de Garcia (the largest hand-made cigar factory in the world) is the place to do just that. Located just a short drive from Punta Cana, you can learn how cigars are hand rolled, enjoy an informative tour and take your pick of cigars the well-stocked gift shop. The world-renowned cigars of the Dominican Republic play a large role in the history and culture of this country, and it’s a must experience for anyone visiting!