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Top 3 Cigars with Dominican Cigar Wrappers

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

A recent, unexpected hailstorm pelted several acres of tobacco crops, reserved for precious Fuente Fuente Opus X wrapper, at the Chateau de la Fuente estates in El Caribe, Dominican Republic, according to an article in Cigar Aficionado. Because wrapper leaves must be pristine, the harvest from the 45-acre crop was not salvageable for its intended purpose. The damage the storm caused won’t affect this year’s Opus X production because the Fuentes age their tobacco for long periods before it’s rolled into cigars. They’re sitting on large tobacco reserves dedicated to their current production schedule. But subsequent years will experience a shortage of Fuente’s hottest and most requested cigars, at least temporarily. The event highlights the rarity and coveted nature of Dominican wrapper leaf.

The Wrapper Is King

The wrapper leaf on a cigar is the most important component. It must be attractive, free of blemishes, and applied perfectly over the binder and filler tobaccos that comprise a premium cigar. That’s why the wrapper is the most expensive leaf. Wrapper crops receive the greatest amount of care and attention in the growing and harvesting process. The binder and filler tobaccos are blended for perfect combustion and to show off the wrapper’s maximum potential for taste, aroma, and looks.

You can irreparably damage wrapper leaves by simply walking through a field planted with wrapper crops if you’re not careful. La Flor Dominicana brand founder Litto Gomez trains his workers how to maneuver through rows of filler crops before they can participate in a wrapper harvest. He will illustrate the sharp contrast between the grizzled, veiny, and imperfect leaves that are fine for fillers against the beautiful and perfect complexion of wrapper leaves by presenting them side by side for his workers to examine. When wrapper is grown in a region where the production is limited, like the Dominican Republic, its value increases significantly. Because wrapper crops must be babied from the time the seeds are planted until the plants are primed and harvested, Dominican wrapper is especially precious.

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Prior to Fuente Fuente Opus X, Dominican cigar wrapper could be found on inexpensive Candela cigars but wasn’t otherwise considered to be high enough in quality, appearance, or taste for most premium brands. Carlito Fuente began planting wrapper crops in the Dominican Republic with guidance from John Oliva, a prominent grower of premium tobacco whose Ecuadoran farms produce many of today’s most desirable wrappers. The Oliva family eventually sold their Dominican farms to the Fuentes who mastered the art of growing wrapper crops after much trial and error with different seed varietals.

When Carlito Fuente debuted Opus X cigars in 1995, he was the first cigar-maker to successfully grow wrapper in the Dominican Republic. Scores of cigar-makers had tried before – and failed – and claimed it an impossible feat. They marveled at Fuente’s achievement and some followed suit, including Davidoff’s Hendrik Kelner, General Cigar’s Edgar Cullman Jr., and Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana. None have stood the test of time as Fuente has with Opus X, nor have any other Dominican-wrapped cigars caused the frenzy Fuente’s coveted smokes generate.

For years, other tobacco growers and Cuban connoisseurs spread rumors that Fuente’s wrapper wasn’t really Dominican; some even claimed the wrapper was grown in Cuba. He has proven them all wrong. The jaw-dropping and meticulously groomed Chateau de la Fuente estates he established are designed to rival Cuba’s greatest farms at their zenith before Castro confiscated the country’s tobacco crops for the state. One can argue the most impressive tobacco farm in the world lives up to its moniker: The Birthplace of Dream.

Three Distinctive Cigars with Dominican Wrappers

Three generations of Fuentes – Arturo Fuente, Carlos Fuente Sr., and Carlito Fuente – have survived far worse catastrophes than this year’s hailstorm, including fires and severe hurricanes, and they’ve always persisted. Here are three distinctive Dominican Puros made by the Fuentes that you can buy. You may have to hunt for them, but they’re worth the trouble – and the price.

Fuente Fuente Opus X

Carlito Fuente blends Fuente Fuente Opus X from a wrapper, grown under shade on the Chateau de la Fuente estates, and the most prized Dominican long-fillers in his possession. Opus X is potent and perfectly matured from a predominant blend of Ligero tobaccos – leaves from the upper section of a tobacco plant known for their vigorous taste. Fuente coaxes amazing smoothness from his tobaccos by aging them extensively. An intricate profile of nougat, cedar, and coffee bean weaves a tapestry of signature Dominican spices across the palate in several traditional sizes, like the Perfecxion X, as well as some very rare and unusual shapes, like the Chili Pepper and the BBMF.

Strength: Full
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican

Shop Arturo Fuente Cigars

Ashton ESG

Ashton ESG (Estate Sun Grown) is considered by many the Sun Grown sister to Opus X. Whereas Opus X is zesty and intense, Ashton ESG conveys a velvety profile of graham cracker, cedar, cocoa, molasses, and black pepper in five traditional sizes. An oily, gingerbread-hued Sun Grown Dominican wrapper, harvested at Chateau de la Fuente, embraces ultra-rare reserves of the Fuentes’ finest Dominican long-fillers. Savor an impressive Dominican classic.

Strength: Full
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican

Shop Ashton ESG Cigars

Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Arturo Fuente Don Carlos cigars, Carlito Fuente created Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario from a shimmering Sun Grown Dominican wrapper and a vintage blend of rare Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Notes of coffee bean, fig, and pepper tantalize before a leathery and nutty finish arrives in a collection of classic sizes. This hard-to-find Dominican gem deserves a special occasion if you’re fortunate to discover one on your next expedition for elite cigars.

Strength: Medium
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican

Shop Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario Cigars

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