The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea.  Hispaniola lies to the southeast of Cuba and the Dominican Republic encompasses the eastern half of the island.  Like its neighbor Cuba, tobacco is native to the island and has always been a staple of the economy.

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Early in the nation’s history, Dominican tobacco was more often used for cigarettes rather than Dominican cigars.  This is generally attributed to the preeminence of the Cuban product.  However, this all changed with the political unrest in Cuba in the 1950s.  Following the Cuban revolution the tobacco industry was nationalized.  This drove many of the Cuban tobacco families to nearby Dominican Republic.  This combined with the American embargo on Cuban products gave rise to a market for Dominican cigars.

Production of Dominican Cigars

With a perfect climate, Dominican cigar production grew tremendously in the following decades.  Today, more than fifty percent of the American market is held by Dominican cigars.  Dominican cigars have a growing international presence as well.  The Dominican Republic is now the largest producer of cigars in the world.  Many believe the nationalization of the Cuban cigar industry has negatively affected the quality of the Cuban product so many smokers are turning to the Dominican cigars instead.  Dominican cigars have become known for a greater variety flavors, aromas and colors than their Cuban cousins as well.

Santiago is the tobacco capital of the Dominican Republic and in some respects the modern tobacco capital of the world.  Many major producers have factories in Santiago like Davidoff, La Flor Dominicana, La Gloria Cubana, La Aurora, Leon Jimenes, Cojimar, Montecristo and Arturo Fuente.

Arguably the most heralded Dominican cigar in recent memory is the Arturo Fuente Opus X.  It is the first Dominican cigar that is a puro.  A puro is a cigar that is made from one hundred percent Dominican tobacco.  Historically, Dominican tobacco has not been ideal for wrapper leaf, but Arturo Fuente grew a successful crop and began a puro trend with the Opus X.

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