Abe Flores of Pinar Del Rio has created a specialty Dominican blend that is a taste of Cuba, and it’s delicious! This handmade has influences of Cuba’s rich history, including a traditional pigtail cap, and packaging that is adorned with Cuba’s first national hero, Hatuey, who led the rebellion against the Conquistadors in 1512. Even though the look of the cigar is Cuban inspired, this handmade hails from a boutique factory in the Dominican Republic. It features a well-aged Criollo ’98 Ecuadorian wrapper, a zesty Dominican Habano binder, and a premium blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers. Full to medium-bodied and slow burning, expect flavors of pepper with notes of cedar, sweetness, earth, and spice on the finish. Try it with a Manhattan.
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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