Cigar Aficionado

Back in the Dominican Republic

I just landed in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where more premium cigars are made than any other place on earth. I’m here for the annual ProCigar Festival, a gathering of some of the country’s biggest names in cigars, for a week of immersion in cigar country.

What a difference from New York. I left the icy cold and was greeted by tropical warmth. This is the heart of tobacco-growing season, and it’s warm and perfect for growing fine tobacco.

The festival actually started yesterday, Valentine’s Day (not quite sure who planned that—bad enough I'm working on President's Day!) and it began in La Romana, out to the east and south of Santiago. I’m skipping the tour out there, as well as the golf tournament—as much as I’d like to have fun I’m here to work, and Santiago is full of cigar companies I need to see.

My first meeting is in two hours, with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and his son, Ernie III. You know Ernesto—he used to make La Gloria Cubanas in Miami, and then here in the Dominican Republic. Now he’s doing a new thing, working with his son and daughter, making a cigar bearing his own name. Later today I’ll see his factory for the first time.

I have a lot of cigars in my immediate future, and plenty of meetings. I’ll keep you all informed with these blogs. Follow along, and smoke a Dominican cigar as you read.

"Dave, to be honest Gordon dances very well for a man that never danced Merengue, guess he liked it because Friday night like in the movie " he dance all night" it was great to see that all the people from C/A had a great time." —February 22, 2010 08:12 AM
"Dave,This is going to be a great festival. Looking forward to reading your blog for each day and having a drink together.Jonathan" —February 16, 2010 01:56 AM
"Dave, glad that you are back in cigar country, most of all out of the cold for a week, as always you will have a good time, great cigars and cerveza Presidente, also time to dance Merengue again just a joke, have a great time and enjoy." —February 15, 2010 13:54 PM
"Jose, great seeing you. I did, indeed, have cold Presidente. And thanks for grabbing Gordon for the merengue instead of me." —February 21, 2010 17:56 PM
"David, check out the small factory in Santo Domingo; Jose Alfredo Diaz makes his Galiano and Vueltabajo cigars here from tobacco grown in Santiago on his farm. I was very surprised and pleased by these cigars, and plan on visiting Jose again in a few weeks to pick up another box. " —February 17, 2010 23:01 PM