Full-bodied cigars are still on the uptick and Habano wrapper is currently leading the pack. It’s true. Look at the best-selling (and best-tasting) cigars right now and you’ll find many of them utilize Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. However, the Dominican Republic still leads the world as the number one exporter of tobacco. If you dig a bit deeper you’ll find a plethora of amazing concoctions from the Dominican Republic, including full-bodied — all using Dominican-grown wrapper leaf.
Many Dominican cigars are thought of as lackluster, mellow to medium blends with hints of earth; maybe a semi-sweet finish...that’s about it. In fact, the Dominican Republic’s soil was once deemed unsuitable for growing wrapper leaf, one reason why mellow-bodied stigma surrounds Dominican blends since manufacturers couldn’t grow quality wrapper leaf in Dominican soil, well, until the Fuente family migrated from Cuba. The Fuentes brought some of the most limited, premium Cuban seeds to the Dominican Republic and settled on an area of land which is home to a natural volcano. The soil in this area is nutrient and mineral rich as it mostly consists of volcanic dirt. This fertile soil, in combination with the Fuente family’s massive knowledge of tobacco cultivation, allowed for such brands as the famed OpusX, which is one of the most prized Dominican cigars ever created and one that features a true, super premium Dominican-grown wrapper.
Growing conditions in the Dominican Republic yield incredibly small amounts of tobacco leaves, which makes it a difficult country to grow wrapper. In other words, you need to be a connoisseur and have a full understanding of growing and harvesting knowledge in order to be successful. Those who succeeded include Fuente, Avo, Davidoff and La Aurora, to name a few. Due to the small yield, premium Dominican wrapper is not only expensive but limited and thus usually only found on higher end cigars. Over the years, more cigar makers from Honduras, Costa Rica and other countries have settled in the Dominican Republic and with them they brought their own tobacco seeds. There are currently a massive variety of wrapper seeds planted and grown in the Dominican, especially compared to years prior. Dominican wrapper tobacco is being implemented and used on a greater variety of blends, creating a wider selection for all of us connoisseurs.
Those working in the Dominican began adapting their techniques and blending abilities to compete with those stronger, heartier blends spanning Honduras and Nicaragua. As Dominican manufacturers continue to work with wrapper seed types, we are seeing an influx in full-bodied Dominican cigars with releases such as 5 Vegas Relic, Augusto Reyes Grand Cru and Cohiba Puro Dominicana. During this full-bodied revolution, don’t ever forget about the Dominican Republic, as that country is now producing some of the best wrapper leaf ever grown.