The Don Rafael, sometimes referred to as “Everyman’s everyday premium,” is rolled by Jose Dominguez in the same Dominican Republic boutique cigar factory that makes Victor Sinclair. This mild to medium-bodied smoke is well-constructed, using all-Dominican long filler leaves. The binder is Dominican and the wrapper is a Connecticut-seed grown in Ecuador. According to Smoke magazine: "…panelists agree: this is a cigar for everyone. Its mildness and subtle tones of spice and wood, which they attribute to the Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, make the Don Rafael an excellent all-day smoke for the novice and an excellent morning smoke.” Our panelists were impressed by its excellent construction, easy draw and nice burn. They also felt these puppies were improved by resting them in the humidor a couple of weeks. In brief, Don Rafael is a very consistent smoke sure to appeal to novice cigar smokers. Smoke magazine also suggests these pairings: “This is a perfect accompaniment to a glass of dry champagne or a mimosa, after you’ve finished off a heaping plate of huevos rancheros!" We think it’s the perfect stogie to take on your next nine holes. Enjoy!
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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