The Dominican Republic produces the majority of the world’s premium cigars, far outpacing Nicaragua, Honduras, and Cuba. In fact, a great many Dominican cigars are made with tobaccos that were originally grown from Cuban seeds smuggled out of that island nation after Castro nationalized the cigar industry. But Dominican tobacco—even if grown from Cuban seeds—has a unique taste all its own, thanks to the rich makeup of Dominican soil.
There are two primary fertile valleys for Dominican tobaccos: the Real (which was named by Columbus and means “Royal” in Spanish) and the Cibao. These valleys possess a variety of soil textures, yielding some of the most luxurious, long-leaf filler tobaccos ever rolled into a cigar—specifically, Olor Dominicano (a native Dominican seed), and Piloto Cubano (grown from Cuban seed). Other sub-areas have since opened up as well, including farms in Villa Gonzáles and Mao, for example. It’s important to note, however, that even if a cigar is said to be Dominican, that only refers to the country in which it was rolled. It may contain tobaccos from other countries, such as Nicaragua and Mexico. Here are five to try.