The Dominican Republic is home to some of the most popular cigars in the world. They have a unique flavor profile, and are always in high demand. The popularity of cigars from this region stems from its history. At the onset of the Cuban Embargo, when all tobacco products became state owned, farmers in Cuba migrated to South America. For many, due to the similarities in climate and soil, they settled in the Dominican Republic. Those farmers—who would someday become legends in the industry—came from generations of renowned cigar makers, and had many years of experience working in the fields in Cuba. Once settled in their new home, they began to cultivate the top-quality Cuban seed they had brought with them, and started growing the tobacco that has now become world-renowned.
The best Dominican cigars have a reputation for being well-constructed, flavorful, and running the gamut of strength from very mild to full flavor. Below is a list of my personal ten best, but feel free to judge them in any order you like—this is only an informative guide.
10. La Aurora Barrel Aged Robusto • 5 × 50
The granddaddy of Dominicans, and the first cigar crafted in the Dominican Republic, La Aurora first opened their doors in 1907. Today, this is a landmark operation, and they are the producers of some of the finest smokes on the planet; the La Aurora Barrel Aged Robusto is a perfect example. This solid 5 x 50 smoke features an all-Dominican blend uniquely seasoned in oak barrels that once housed the finest Rum. Talk about flavor, this baby is off the charts! Bold notes of coffee, mocha, charred wood and sugary spice come to life, and the essence from these aromatic barrels adds another dimension of luscious complexity.
9. Don Diego Lonsdale • 6.62 × 42
One of the first premium brands to hit American shores after the Cuban Embargo, the Don Diego Lonsdale has been pleasing smokers for decades. If mild, creamy smooth flavor is what you crave from a cigar, it doesn’t get any better than this! Flawless construction, consistency, and outstanding quality keeps this beauty lining millions of humidors everywhere.
8. AVO Classic No. 5 • 6.88 × 46
AVO Uvezian is a famous composer, songwriter, and above all else, the white goateed cigar maven with the trademark Panama hat. Under the watchful eye of Davidoff’s master blender Hendrik Kelner, and Mr.Uvesian himself, each AVO cigar rolling out of the factory is made to the highest standards possible. The Avo Classic No. 5 is long and thin, with a size and ring that comes closest to a Double Corona, and perfectly displays the blends intricate complexity. Impeccably built, and unbelievably creamy and delicious, this mild to medium-bodied gem is truly one of the finest Dominican cigars on the market.
7. La Gloria Cubana Wavell Maduro · 5 × 50
Discovered by the masses and media alike during the famous cigar boom of the early 90’s, this once local brand abruptly took the stogy world by storm and stayed there! E.P. Carrillo, the face behind the name, created the La Gloria Cubana Wavell Maduro with a delicious blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler leaves rolled inside a black and oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The result is a medium to full flavored masterpiece with uncompromisingly bold Cuban style flavors that continues to earn the brand international acclaim.
6. H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon Toro • 6 × 54
Before 1995, all H. Upmanns came wrapped in African Cameroon leaf, but shortages forced the factory to change the recipe. The cigar remains enormously popular thanks to the skilled Artisans that created an equally impressive blend. This new retro offering is medium bodied with a balance of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian long-filler tobaccos wrapped in that same elusive African Cameroon leaf. The H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon Toro is a rich, nutty tasting stick that evokes fond memories of the past for the seasoned enthusiast, as well as a bold new taste for the modern smoker.
5. Cohiba Dominican Corona • 5.12 × 42
The famous Cuban marque lives on with the Cohiba Dominican. This luxury smoke is rolled with aged, Dominican Piloto Cubano long-fillers, covered in a savory Indonesian binder. To complete the package, a rich, toothy African Cameroon wrapper is applied. This superb combination enchants the palate with a smooth, even smoke that packs a lavish creamy flavor from start to finish. The Cohiba Dominican Corona took years to develop and takes less than an hour to smoke. Truly, time well spent!
4. Romeo y Julieta 1875 Bully • 5 × 50
The most popular size in the Romeo y Julieta 1875 line, this feisty smoke is swathed with an oily brown TBN java wrapper covering a Dominican binder, and choice filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Brazil. A fabulous Robusto that lives up to its Cuban heritage, the Romeo y Julieta 1875 Bully is a timeless classic that offers incomparable construction, and a smooth and creamy medium-bodied taste and aroma.
3. Montecristo White No. 2 Belicoso • 6.12 × 52
Dating back to 1935 Cuba, Montecristo remains one of the most iconic names in the industry. Reminiscent to its famous Cuban counterpart, Montecristo White No. 2 Belicoso is an elegant work of art boasting a lovely, hand-selected Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, paired with a Nicaraguan binder and a blend of the choicest Dominican and Nicaraguan long fillers. The result is a very slow burning cigar with tons of creamy smooth sweetness and flavor, that makes it very hard to put down. The White has quickly become yet another timeless classic in this celebrated line.
2. Macanudo Prince Phillip • 7.5 × 49
Macanudo is the most recognized and best-selling cigar brand in America. It is also the standard by which other mild cigars are judged, and the moment you experience the silky smooth goodness of the Macanudo Prince Phillip, you will know why. To reach this level of prominence, this big cigar, along with the rest of the line, incorporates tobacco from the rich farmlands of the San Andres Tuxtla Valley of Mexico and bound in the most gorgeous Connecticut Shade wrappers. On a personal note, many years ago, the Prince Philip was the very first premium cigar that I smoked. Today this Dominican gem remains a beloved treasure.
1. Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Double Robusto • 5.75 × 52
It took many years deciding which rare, vintage tobaccos would go into a very special commemorative cigar honoring Carlos Fuente Sr., and the final product has become known as the “Pride of the Fuente Family”. The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Double Robusto consists of an absolutely flawless Cameroon wrapper covering choice handpicked Dominican binder and filler leaf grown exclusively on the family farm. These choice tobaccos seasoned to perfection, create an extraordinary smoke with a perfect burn and very smooth draw. Cocoa, chocolate, and nuts resonate as the most dominant flavors, further complimented by cedar and sweet spicy notes that linger in the palate. The Double Robusto delivers layer upon layer of complexity that only grows in richness with every puff. Simply put, Don Carlos Cigars are among the finest rolled by the Fuente family, and that’s saying a heckuva’ lot!