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What Makes Dominican Cigars Special?

Nov 17th, 2023


Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is an island nation that boasts a cigar-making heritage that spans generations. Dominican cigars have earned a distinguished reputation for their exceptional quality, complex flavors, and impeccable craftsmanship, derived from a diverse range of tobacco varieties, including Piloto Cubano, Olor Dominicano, and San Vicente.

A product of centuries of tradition, innovation, and expertise, Dominican cigars are a cultural icon and a global symbol of excellence. In this article, we delve into the unique characteristics that set Dominican cigars apart.

A Brief History Of Dominican Cigars

Tobacco has been used for thousands of years, with the most recent discovery dating back 12,300 years ago. About 6,000 years ago the islands of the Caribbean were first settled by humans, and when Christopher Columbus arrived on Hispaniola (modern day Haiti / Dominican Republic), he was first introduced to tobacco through the Taino peoples. The indigenous Taino had already highly regarded tobacco for its medicinal and ceremonial significance, but Columbus's arrival heralded a new era for the plant by introducing it to the European marketplace. As the centuries unfolded, tobacco cultivation in the Dominican Republic underwent a profound evolution, ultimately becoming a pivotal pillar of the country's economy by the 19th century.

In the mid-20th century, the Dominican Republic witnessed a remarkable resurgence in cigar production, owing much to the exodus of Cuban experts in the wake of the Cuban Revolution. These seasoned tobacco growers and cigar artisans sought refuge in the Dominican Republic, bringing knowledge and cherished traditions. This infusion of talent, synergizing with the region's fertile soil and favorable climate, culminated in establishing some of the world's most distinguished cigar brands, one of which we are proud to say is La Aurora.

The Dominican Soil: Nurturing Excellence

At the heart of Dominican cigars lies the exceptional soil. The Dominican Republic's fertile soil, coupled with a benevolent climate, creates an optimal environment for growing tobacco. The island's tropical climate provides warm temperatures, high humidity, and ample sunshine, while the fertile soil offers a good balance of nutrients and drainage. This unique soil composition significantly influences the flavor profile of Dominican cigars, bestowing upon them a distinctive and unparalleled taste with tobacco leaves that are full-bodied and flavorful.

Tobacco Varieties in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is home to a diverse range of tobacco varieties, each with its own unique flavor profile and characteristics. Three of the most generally popular varieties are Piloto Cubano, Olor Dominicano, and San Vicente; and most popular in the Dominican Republic is Corojo.

  • Piloto Cubano is a Cuban-seed tobacco that is known for its rich, full-bodied flavor and excellent burning characteristics. It is a popular choice for both filler and binder tobacco in Dominican cigars.
  • Olor Dominicano is a native Dominican tobacco variety with a medium-bodied, slightly spicy profile. It is often used as a filler tobacco in Dominican cigars, but it can also be used as a binder.
  • San Vicente is a milder tobacco with a smooth, creamy flavor. It is often used as a binder or filler tobacco in Dominican cigars. San Vicente is also a popular choice for blending with other tobacco varieties to create a more complex flavor profile.
  • Corojo refers to a type of palm tree in Cuba, and received its name from the farm’s name (Santa Ines del Corojo) in Cuba where it was originally cultivated. This is the wrapper most think of when they think of a “Cuban” cigar as it was predominantly used throughout the 20th century and known for its spicy sweetness. This is the variety that La Aurora mostly plants because it has the highest consumption locally.

Why La Aurora Is One Of The Leading Brand Of Dominican Cigars

La Aurora has stood as one of the oldest and most respected cigar brands in the Dominican Republic since its founding in 1903. Our cigars are known for their rich flavor, smooth draw, and consistent quality.

Although we leverage tobaccos from all over the world, a few which feature all or almost all Dominican tobacco include:

  1. 120 Anniversary Limited Edition / La Aurora 120th Anniversary
  2. 100 AÑOS (
  3. La Aurora Family Reserve Fernando Leon Legacy

Crafted over 120 years, this Dominican Puro offers an unforgettable smoking experience in limited quantities. Handmade in small batches by Torcedores with over 20 years of expertise, only 2,500 boxes were produced for the U.S. market. A tribute to the 1903 Preferidos, this unique cigar replicates the original tubes with a meticulously crafted blend. La Aurora 120 LE boasts a Habano 92-seed leaf wrapper, Dominican binder, and Dominican filler, creating a super-premium, full-bodied Dominican Puro rich in legacy, craftsmanship, and flavor.

Infused with the distinctive aroma of cedar, the first draw unravels a symphony of smoky peppered cinnamon and anise. The introduction of cocoa and creamy coffee bean notes adds a layer of sweetness, evolving into a velvety vanilla. As the journey unfolds, flavors transition to rich tropical notes, with subtle hints of wild honey and earth, culminating in a truly unique flavor experience from inception to conclusion. La Aurora 120 Limited Edition exemplifies the exceptional nature of Dominican cigars, where tradition, expertise, and distinctiveness converge.

Honored as The Best Dominican Cigar in the World by Cigar Aficionado in 2004, the 100 Años cigar commemorates a century of exceptional tobacco production and cigar craftsmanship. Meticulously handcrafted from 100% Dominican tobacco, this blend is an homage to our rich heritage, delivering a luxurious smoking experience that reflects the dedication to excellence ingrained in our soil and legacy.

The tasting experience unfolds with the interplay of wood, leather, and almond notes, accompanied by a subtle sweetness from honey and florals. The balanced elegance of bitter cocoa further contributes to the overall allure of this exceptional cigar, encapsulating the essence of La Aurora's dedication to creating a remarkable and unforgettable smoking experience.

The LA AURORA® FAMILY RESERVE FERNANDO LEON LEGACY Lancero stands as a testament to the tobacco legacy of Don Fernando León, our former president, and a true icon in the Dominican Republic's tobacco industry. This exclusive cigar is meticulously crafted with an extra-aged Corojo wrapper from a special 2008 harvest, marking Don Fernando's final project at his experimental tobacco farm in Sabana del Puerto (Bonao, Dominican Republic). The Lancero format, revered by cigar enthusiasts worldwide for its length and ring gauge, symbolizes the excellence and skill of a master tobacconist.

In honor of Don Fernando, whose 100th birthday would have been in 2022, this cigar pays tribute to his enduring influence on the Dominican Republic, its people, and the legendary tobacco tradition passed down through generations. The vitola and wrapper chosen for this special release reflect the extensive legacy of Don Fernando and the virtues that enriched the tobacco culture of the Dominican Republic. The blend is a harmonious combination of Dominican, Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Peruvian leaves, resulting in delicate woody notes complemented by hints of cinnamon and nuts.

For over a century, La Aurora has embodied the rich and distinct flavors that define the cigar experience. We take pride in producing cigars that stand as a testament to the deep knowledge and expertise passed down through the years. Each La Aurora cigar carries the weight of our heritage and dedication to quality.

The Art Of Cigar Making

The art of tobacco farming, along with cigar rolling, is a tradition that has been passed down through families throughout generations. Skilled artisans, often trained by their families, meticulously craft each cigar, paying close attention to every detail, from the selection of tobacco leaves to the rolling and aging process. This accumulated expertise is palpable in the final product.

Although the cigar making process does not dramatically differ from others in the Dominican Republic, it’s the passion and culture within the Dominican Republic that differentiates this final artisanal product:

  • Tobacco cultivation: Tobacco leaves are grown in the fertile soil and ideal climate of the Dominican Republic.
  • Harvesting and curing: The tobacco leaves are harvested and cured to develop their flavor and aroma.
  • Sorting and grading: The tobacco leaves are sorted and graded according to their quality.
  • Aging and fermentation: The tobacco leaves are aged and fermented to further develop their flavor and aroma.
  • Blending: Master blenders create a harmonious blend of different tobacco varieties, considering factors such as flavor, strength, and burning characteristics.
  • Rolling: Skilled torcedores (Spanish for cigar makers) handcraft each cigar with precision and care.
  • Aging and packaging: The cigars are aged in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms to allow their flavors to meld and mature.

One of the things that makes Dominican cigars so special is the attention to detail that goes into every step of the cigar-making process. From the careful selection of tobacco leaves to the meticulous rolling of each cigar, Dominican cigar makers are committed to creating the highest quality products possible.

Which is why President, Guillermo León, states that, “For us, our number one asset is the people.” La Aurora goes to great lengths such as having created its own school to train rollers, and take care of them, so that La Aurora can help share what makes Domincan cigars so special with the rest of the world.