Alonso Menéndez purchased the Particulares factory in July 1935 in Havana, Cuba and also took over the brands that were created there. Shortly after, he introduced the Montecristo brand, named after Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo, which was a popular choice amongst the Torcedores (cigar makers). Now the Montecristo brand is created in the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the Dominican Republic under the watchful eye of cigar master José Seijas. Remaining one of the most popular brands in the world, Montecristo also is believed by many to be the standard by which all other cigars are judged. This splendor is full of exceptional Dominican long-fillers with a Dominican binder, and is wrapped in the finest Ecuadorian Connecticut shade leaf. This combination gives a complex flavor profile of wood and earth, with notes of light tobacco and oak ending with a somewhat spicy finish. With a rating of 91 from Cigar Aficionado, this cigar goes perfect with a nice glass of pinot noir.
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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