In 1495, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and, among other places, arrived at the fertile valley of Cibao, establishing the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. Today the valley is home to the finest Dominican tobaccos. La Aurora's 1495 Series pays tribute to Columbus' touchdown on Dominican soil. The Robusto is a supremely-made, medium to full-bodied blend that may be the factory's finest accomplishment to date. The 1495 series was developed by Jose Blanco, one of La Aurora's master blenders. In creating this cigar, his challenge was to be the first to blend four different tobaccos. He uses a Dominican Corojo binder with a mix of Dominican Piloto Cubano, Nicaraguan, Peruvian and Dominican Ligero filler and then adorns it with a stunning, marbleized Ecuadorian-grown wrapper leaf. No wonder the beautifully constructed Series 1495 was a hit from the start. This little Robusto produces a lot of smoke but the draw is cool and easy. The ash—a nice white color—is firm. The smoke started out with a cocoa and spice blast that settled down by the first inch to the flavor of cocoa with nuances of nuts. By the end of the first third, the taste transitioned into woodsy flavors without losing the light spice. Occasionally, we detected nuances of cinnamon. In the last half, the woody flavors gave way to flavors of light coffee and a long, medium-bodied finish. The 1495 is a complex, vibrant smoke that doesn't overpower. A wonderful cabernet will pair perfectly with this Robusto.
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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