Jun 2nd, 2023
Building a cigar is no easy feat. First, the tobacco needs to be harvested, collected, and prepared. This includes an intensive process of curing, aging, fermentation, and de-stemming the tobacco until it comes to fruition in a beautifully rolled cigar. The La Aurora cigar factory has been operating since 1903, and we’ve remained the original masters of Dominican cigars over the course of the past century. The La Aurora factory is located in the Zona Franka Tamboril, on the road from Santiago to Tamboril in Santiago de los Caballeros.
Santiago de los Caballeros has been dubbed the world's cigar capital, and nearly half of the cigars produced in this world are Dominican. The majority of those stogies come right out of La Aurora Cigar Factory. For Dominicans, cigars aren’t just something you enjoy smoking. They represent the culture of this Caribbean nation, going all the way back to colonial times. The DR, previously known as the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, was where Europeans cultivated the world’s first commercial tobacco, and it’s been a staple to the Dominican economy ever since.
The process involves tobacco seeds, a curing barn, and aging rooms, but the pressing and rolling floor is where much of the magic visibly happens. Folks touring the historic La Aurora factory will enjoy a sensory experience, composed of rich and complex tobacco blends amidst the majestic Dominican backdrop. In this space, master rollers use their years of expertise to make cigars. If you take a tour at La Aurora, you can see this impressive room first-hand and even chat with one of the cigar rollers.
What exactly is in cigar tobacco? Without the environment, we wouldn’t have this precious crop. Although we’re going to dive into how these timeless cigars are made, it’s important to appreciate all the features of the tobaccos prior to processing. Without these important factors, there would be no quality cigars.
Land: The land on which the tobacco is grown plays a major role since various locations contain various nutrients and aromas. Nicaraguan, Cuban, and Dominican land all offer different tastes and scents.
Seeds: Tobacco starts out as a tiny seed, and different seeds can provide a range of sensations in the mouth. Some seeds are strong, while others are more aromatic.
Climate: Just like the land, different climates provide different results. Lots of sunlight means thick and flavorful tobacco, but it may not burn well. Lots of rain, on the other hand, makes for thin tobacco. This will combust better but turn out flavorless. For this reason, the right amount of rain and sun is essential.
What is in a cigar and how is the process of making one carried out? Read on to find out. La Aurora utilizes the oldest tobacco-processing method in the Dominican Republic, known as the Andullo. This handcrafted process allows for a stronger and headier cigar. The Andulla process goes as follows:
What helps La Aurora stand out is that they’re handcrafted instead of machine-made. When made in a machine, chopped-up tobacco is used for filler, and tobacco-leaf pulp is used for the wrapper. La Aurora, on the other hand, exclusively hand-rolls and uses unique blends of the highest quality long-filler tobacco for each of our cigars. We also use only the most experienced cigar rollers, otherwise known as torcedores.
First, the filler must be molded into a cylinder so air can still run through it. for a satisfying draw. Afterward, the binder is placed over the filler, and the cigar is molded. This leaf, otherwise known as the Capote, holds the blend.
Next, the torcedor molds the cigar with a cigar knife. After this step, cigars are placed in a mold and pressed. The wrapper leaf then needs to be prepped, cut, and rolled over the cigar, which takes some serious skills. Finally, the cigar cap is created, and the stogie is cut to the right measurement.
La Aurora cigars are always maintained at the perfect humidity level for the tobacco to age the cigars. For some of these smokes, this aging process takes years to complete.
All of this shows that tobacco requires patience, and when it’s provided, the results are stunning. Ultimately, the attention to detail at the La Aurora factory makes for some of the best artisanal cigars in the world.