Maker of some of the finest brand names in the business—including Indian Tabac, Cameroon Legend and Fittipaldi—the Augusto Reyes family has been in the tobacco and cigar world for over 150 years. The Nativo is worthy of the family name and a heritage that harks back to pre-Castro Cuba. Fans of flavorful medium-mild cigars are in for a treat. The Nativo has a wonderful Criollo 98 seed wrapper that’s oily to the touch and an Olor binder. The blend is a rare Dominican puro that includes Piloto Cubano, Olor and Criollo 98, which is a hybrid of Criollo, one of the original Cuban tobaccos going back to the time of Columbus. Cigar Aficionado gives the Nativo an outstanding 91 rating. The review states, “Lovely color and sheen on this cigar, which has a great draw. There is a touch of leather and earth on the palate, with a savory character. It’s balanced and fairly rich.” Nativo has a hearty and complex profile. Notes of cedar, spices, pepper and a semi-sweet fruit-like quality are among the rich and creamy core flavors. The smoke is thick and smooth. As it burns, the flavor increases to medium-bodied and by the final third the taste intensifies. Most panelists detected an enjoyable sweetness on the aftertaste. This cigar is nicely complemented by slightly chilled añejo tequila.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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