Cigar Aficionado

La Flor Dominicana Releases Cigar for Museum Benefit

La Flor Dominicana creator Litto Gomez has teamed up with artist Ruben Toledo and his wife, fashion designer Isabel Toledo, to make limited-edition cigars and boxes that will be sold to benefit El Museo del Barrio, New York City's only Latin American museum.

The La Flor Dominicana El Museo Limited Edition is a Churchill-sized cigar measuring 6 3/4 inches by 52 ring gauge. The filler and binder were grown on the La Flor de Palma farm in the Dominican Republic, and the wrapper was grown elsewhere in the country. Gomez describes the cigar as a rich, smooth, full-bodied smoke that has sweetness as well as complexity.

Each off-white lacquer box has designs drawn by Ruben Toledo on both sides of the lid. The exterior displays a silhouetted design of a smoking mambo dancer standing in a seductive pose. Imagery of butterfly wings and lush vegetation give the scene an element of Latin American exoticism. "It's an homage to the woman I love, an homage to the perfume of the woman and the magical web of charm they spin, much like the curl of cigar smoke itself," Ruben Toledo said. The cigar band, which he also designed, uses palm trees and leaves to form the features of a woman's face.

Ruben Toledo's work has been featured in Vogue, The New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar; and he has collaborated with Tiffany & Co., Burberry and Louis Vuitton. Isabel Toledo, who works with her husband to research and gen-erate the concepts for their projects, received mainstream attention for designing the matching lemongrass overcoat and dress that Michelle Obama wore to President Obama's inauguration ceremony.

Just like the cigar, El Museo del Barrio represents the art and culture of the Caribbean and Latin America. The museum, located in the Harlem neighborhood known as El Barrio, is undergoing a nearly $30 million renovation. With 2,000 cigar boxes each selling for $600, Gomez and the Toledos will help with a significant portion of the funding for the project.

Boxes of the La Flor Dominicana El Museo Limited Edition cigar will be available in select tobacco shops and fine retail stores in May.

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