Let’s start with the fact that cigars in the Dominican Republic are one of the gifts that tourists bring home. Although the Dominicans are not a smoking nation, this applies to ordinary cigarettes. But Dominican cigars here are on a par with rum, coffee and cocoa.
Table of contents:
- A Brief History of Dominican Cigars
- How they are made: size and shape of cigars
- Prices, where to buy, popular manufacturers
- Travel Tips
Cigars in the Dominican Republic: a brief history
Tobacco has always grown in the territory of modern Dominican Republic. Even before the first voyage of Columbus, the Indians used tobacco for ritual purposes. The smoldering leaves of this plant repelled insects and even served as a cure for some diseases.
Read about the fruits of the Dominican Republic in a separate article at the link.
Christopher Columbus discovered the Dominican Republic in 1493. And already from the first trip he brought tobacco to the old world. Which almost instantly became popular. Along with this popularity, tobacco plantations are growing in his homeland.
It is important to know:Until the 20th century, Cuba was the leader in growing tobacco and making cigars. The Dominican Republic was of secondary importance. But after the United States imposed all possible sanctions against Cuba, and the export of all goods from this country simply stopped. Then the main cigar manufacturers moved their factories to the neighboring Dominican Republic. And since the middle of the 20th century, the Dominican tobacco industry has received unprecedented growth.
Cigars in the Dominican Republic: sizes, shape, how they are made
Here are a few postulates that you need to know and that apply to almost all Dominican cigars:
- 95% of cigars in the Dominican Republic are hand-spun
- In any cigar, three types of leaf from a tobacco bush are used:
- The filler is the tobacco that is used to make up the bulk of the cigar. It is typically made up of a blend of different tobacco leaves, which are grown in various regions and are fermented and aged differently to create a unique flavor profile. The filler tobacco is bunched together and placed inside the binder.
- The binder is the leaf that is used to hold the filler tobacco in place. It is typically made from a lower-grade tobacco leaf and acts as a glue to keep the filler tobacco in place.
- The wrapper is the leaf that is used to cover the cigar. It is typically made from a higher-grade tobacco leaf and is used to give the cigar its appearance and also contribute to the overall flavor of the cigar. The wrapper leaf is carefully selected for its texture, color, and taste, and it is usually the most expensive part of the cigar.
It is important to know:Dominicans believe that the best cigar is the one wrapped on the hip of a young girl. By the way, girls of different ages actually work at tobacco factories. But they wrap cigars on a special table.
Size and shape: general information
Size and shape are two of the most important characteristics of any cigar. Moreover, both size and shape are always interconnected and are rarely used separately. For us beginners, it seems that the taste of a cigar depends on the tobacco and the manufacturer. It certainly is. But the taste of tobacco also depends on the size and shape. And do not forget that the size, in turn, is divided into two numbers: the length and diameter of the cigar.
Good to know:When you talk to Dominicans about cigars, they will often use the word Vitola. “Vitola” is a Spanish term that is used to describe the size and shape of a cigar. In other words, it refers to the specific measurements and shape of a cigar.
And about the national language in the Dominican Republic, about the language barrier and what phrases will greatly help the tourist – read the article at the link.
The situation with sizes is as follows. Each manufacturer can invent as many types of them as they like. There are state sizes standards in the Dominican Republic. There are only about a hundred of them. And a few hundred more that are not official standards.
Good to know:Each official size has its own name. By this name you can understand the shape, length and diameter of the cigar.
By and large, almost all Dominican cigars come in only two forms:
- Parejos are straight cigars, the shape of a regular cylinder. Like a classic cigarette, only bigger.
- Figurados – intuitively clear, which translates as curly. These are usually torpedo and cone shaped cigars.
When it comes to sizes, there are three categories:
- Small cigars
- The length of such cigars is up to 110mm or 11cm
- Diameter up to 12mm
- For example, the most popular state standard for a small cigar is 106 mm long, 11.51 mm in diameter. Such Dominican cigars are called “Chicos” and are considered ladies’ cigars.
- Medium cigars
- Length from 11cm to 14cm
- Diameter from 12mm to 17mm
- The most important caliber of the country is called the Corona its dimensions: 51/2 X 42. By the way, this is the size in inches, feet and so on. In our units, the Corona cigar is 140mm and the diameter is 16.67mm.
- I also advise you to read an article about general facts about the Dominican Republic. There you will find out that in stores the weight is in pounds, and gasoline is in gallons and much more other useful information.
- Big cigars
- Length from 14cm to 20cm
- Diameter from 17mm to 22mm
- There is a standard called Churchill. Yes, these are the Dominican cigars that Winston Churchill himself smoked, or rather the same size. The length of these cigars is 178mm and the diameter is 18.65mm.
Advice:The size of a cigar should be chosen depending on how you are going to smoke it and with what drink. I understand that this information is for connoisseurs, and not like you and me. The larger the size of the cigar, the more time and rest it requires.
Cigars in the Dominican Republic: prices, where to buy manufacturers
Let’s start with manufacturers. Today there are more than 10 large well-known world manufacturers in the Dominican Republic. Moreover, many of them are Cuban, who are now working in the Dominican Republic due to US sanctions.
Below are the most popular ones, which you should definitely pay attention to and which you can safely take as a gift:
- La Aurora
- Arturo Fuente
- Cusano Dominican
It is important to know:Salesmans walk on the beach and offer cigars to tourists. They often have Arturo Fuente, very nicely packaged, for $5 a box. Know the real Arturo Fuente costs $5 a cigar. And the salesmans on the beach offer you dried banana leaves wrapped and packaged very nicely.
Smoothly moved to prices and where to buy.
Prices for cigars start at $ 2 a piece, some unknown manufacturer. In general, the choice of cigars from $2 to $5 is huge. There are, of course, premium cigars for $30-50 each. I recommend buying these on excursions in the tobacco factory itself, so there is less risk of running into a fake. Especially if you are not an expert like me.
Cigars in the Dominican Republic can be bought almost everywhere:
- Large stores
- Shops at hotels
- Souvenir shops
- Duty free at the airport upon departure
- On the beach
Good to know:I recommend buying from large stores. Disadvantage: you will not be advised competently and the assortment will consist of the most popular cigars. But they don’t sell fakes here, only high-quality cigars from cool manufacturers. Also, not fakes are sold in duty free at the airport, but there the price is 2 times higher.
I won’t give a lot of advice, but a couple is easy.
- Don’t buy Dominican cigars on the beach
- If you doubt the quality, plan to buy in duty free. It might be more expensive, but it’s definitely a quality product.
- Well, the most popular calibers of the country that you need to bring as a gift: Torpedo, Coronas, Churchill, Robusto.
And in this article, by clicking on the link, you will read everything about Dominican coffee.
And about Dominican cocoa, cocoa balls and a recipe for how to cook them. By the way, coffee and cocoa are also an excellent gift along with cigars.
In conclusion: it is not difficult to buy cigars in the Dominican Republic, they are not expensive, sometimes fakes are sold. But it’s a great gift for your smoking friend or colleague. And remember that the limit on the import of cigars into the EU and the USA is 50 pieces per person.
Bright evenings to you by the fireplace with a cigar rolled on the thigh of a young Dominican!