Sporting a beautifully-made triple cap, the mild-bodied Fonseca Arana is a looker. No surprise—it’s blended by cigar legend Manuel Quesada, the man behind the 93-rated Casa Magna. For the Arana, he uses a toothy, chestnut brown Habano wrapper. Under the toothy Habana wrapper, Arana uses a ’98 Criollo leaf binder of wrapper quality—so it’s like having two wrappers on the cigar! The blend consists of Cuban-seed Dominican long-fillers, also aged to perfection. The result is a full-flavored, medium-bodied smoke. Each savory cigar is smooth, mellow and extremely well-made. Look for notes of pepper, earth, and cinnamon mixed with a hearty tobacco core, and dense smoke full of cedar and sweet tobacco flavors. You can smoke this one right down to the nub! This is a satisfying stogie that will go well with your favorite single malt, or try it with a black coffee.
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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