A square-pressed black stallion of a stogie, the Onyx Reserve line is as flavorful as it is dark. Rated a stunning ‘94’ by Cigar Aficionado, this is a rich, full-bodied cigar wrapped with a blackened Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper encasing a combination of Dominican, Nicaraguan and exotic Peruvian long-leaf fillers, all tethered together by a Nicaraguan binder. Produced by Altadis USA, owner of many an enviable cigar line, this cigar is another one to add to your “must have” list. This industry giant’s production facilities form a global network and can be found in Honduras, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil and Holland. Leaf supplies are obtained from growers in every part of the world. The company also grows some of its own tobacco in Honduras and Connecticut. Yet, unlike some of the corporate giants we’ve grown to dislike in the gourmet trade industry, Altadis continues to deliver hand-crafted super premium cigars. Case-in-point: Onyx. Look for earthy notes, mild spiciness and a moderate pepperiness at the back of the throat. Undeniably aged in cedar, woodsy flavors are unmistakable. Try it with a Frangelico.
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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