The Dominican Republic is the world’s leading exporter of high quality cigars, acknowledged by the Association of Tobacco Growing Countries.

From October 2001 to October 2002, the country exported 256,300,000 cigars.

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Rum and cigars go hand in hand in the Dominican Republic, where the fertile soil produces some of the world’s best tobacco, and abundant sugar cane. Dominican premium tobacco brands are award winning, including La Aurora, Romeo y Julieta, and La Flor Dominicana. If you’re able, join the annual Pro-Cigar Festival to fully enjoy the breadth of the Dominican cigar, with entertainment along the way. But whether you’re visiting in the summer or winter season, there’s always an opportunity to tour one of the DR’s top cigar factories, in-city or on their plantations, from Punta Cana, La Romana, Santiago, or Puerto Plata, among other hubs. Along your explorations, particularly in Santo Domingo and Santiago, stop in at a cigar lounge, and kick back with your choice of dark or white rum, from Brugal to Barceló, Bermúdez, or Macorís brands.

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For more history on Dominican rum and cigars, visit the Rum and Tobacco Museum in the Colonial City, and hop on a tour of the Brugal Rum Factory in Puerto Plata.

It’s no secret some of the best cigars in the world are made in the Dominican Republic. They vary in terms of flavor and strength, from the mild to the more muscle-bound. Here are 11 of the top-scoring Dominican cigars of 2018, and the three that have been given our highest accolade. They’re smoking beautifully right now.

Cigar lovers everywhere know that the Dominican Republic has replaced Cuba as a prime exporter of cigars. Tobacco is the Dominican Republics oldest crop. It was being cultivated by the Taino Indians before Columbus arrived, and it has long been a stable agricultural export. The second largest city in DR, Santiago, is the main hub for receiving tobacco from the Cibao Valley where the tobacco is grown. It is then shipped to other parts of the country.

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The United States is Dominican Republics number one importer of cigars. They also are also sold to Europe in large quantities. The quality of Dominican cigars has put the DR in the lead in sales of units, volume and value with the country taking the lead in hand-made cigars. Dominican cigar varieties have a superior quality overall with products having a great variety of colors aromas and prices. The darker the color of the cigar wrapper means the sweeter and stronger the flavor of the cigar will be. This is because there is more oil and sugar content.

There are 10 medium and large-sized manufacturers in the country, employing over 15,000 people. When counting the smaller factories and the workers preparing the tobacco and the farms it is estimated that there more than 70,000 Dominicans that make a living from the crop according to the Association of Cigar Producers (Procigar). Some of the most popular Dominican cigar brands include Arturo Fuente, Carbonell, Juan Clemente, La Aurora, León Jimenes, Montecristo, Romeo y Julietas and Thiriet Mercedes.

Dominican Republic produced more than 1.7 billion cigars for the 2012-2013 cigar harvest, as reported in Diario Libre. Dominican Tobacco Institute director Juan Francisco Caraballo says that cigar exports for the period generated US$577.3 million for the country. Caraballo says there is a new demand in the US market for machine-produced cigars made with local tobacco. The US is the lead market for Dominican cigars. Around 5,500 tobacco producers employ 45,000 farm workers on the tobacco plantations, but the total production is responsible for around 108,935 jobs.

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Make sure to stop in and see a cigar being rolled. Even if you do not smoke the smell is wonderful. If you do smoke be sure and buy a good cigar and enjoy it with a good glass of red wine, dark rum, or cup of strong Dominican coffee. If you have never smoked a cigar before remember, DO NOT INHALE. Breathe in through your nose, while gently pulling the smoke into your mouth, hold it there for a second, let the smoke dance around the inside of your mouth, then gently exhaling again. Some say it is bad luck to tap off the ash on the end, so make a game out of it and see how long your ash can get. Sit back and enjoy the Dominican sabor (flavor).

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Cigars from Dominican Republic placed in eight of the top 25 places according to the Cigar Aficionado Magazine’s ( February, 2005 Top 25 cigar list. The DR got eight of the Top 25 spots. Cuba came in second with seven cigars. The #1 rating this year went to Santiago-produced Fuente Opus X Double Corona. Judging is based on consistency, price, tastings, availability and production.

The cigars from Dominican Republic that placed are: Fuente Opus X (#1), Aurora Preferidos Connecticut No. 1 (#6), La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel (#7), Fuente’s Ashton Heritage Puro Sol Corona Gorda (#8), Bolivar Churchill (#11), Arturo Fuente Best-Seller (#12), Zino Platinum Sceptor Series Chubby Tubos (#21) and Macanudo Hyde Park Cafe (#23).

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Fuente cigars are hand-rolled in the Dominican Republic. Only 75 hand-rolled cigars are made a day. “The cigar is the pinnacle of full flavor” (Cigar Aficionado review). This cigar sells for around $14.50 in the States. Since it is rolled in limited numbers only 65,000 cigars were made in 2005. Thus the demand far exceeds the supply of this fine Dominican Republic cigar.

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