La Aurora holds the distinction of being the oldest cigar brand produced in the Dominican Republic. Grown in the same fields of the Cibao Valley for more than three generations, it is the bestselling brand within the country, and has been almost since its release back in the early 1900s. Making use of the same growing fields throughout its history has been one of the keys to the brand’s legendary consistency. Preferidos was the name of the cigar that first established the cigar-making tradition of the Dominican Republic back in 1903. It has survived largely unchanged through today, under the keen ownership of the Leon family, who began farming in the Cibao Valley in the 1880s. It is a time-tested cigar that is these days only produced in limited quantities.
Recently named to Cigar Aficionado’s Top 50 Cigars, La Aurora Preferidos is a sure show stopper. Handmade in the Dominican Republic, the Preferidos comes in seven different varieties, each with a different wrapper type; the Ruby in you have in your shipment today comes dressed in a dark, rich, and oily Brazilian Maduro that looks as good as it tastes. This gorgeous wrapper hugs a Dominican binder and a bevy of well-aged Dominican long-fillers. Medium to full bodied, light ‘er up and enjoy complex yet smooth notes of sweet wood, cream, cedar, and spice. As mentioned before, these cigars are very limited; in fact, the perfecto shape is very difficult to roll, so a master roller can only produce 100 cigars per day. Enhance your smoke by pairing it with a rye whiskey.
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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