Two prominent cigar personalities have joined ProCigar, the Dominican association of premium cigarmakers.
Litto Gomez, the maker of La Flor Dominicana cigars, and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, the man behind the E.P. Carrillo brand and the former maker of La Gloria Cubana cigars, are now part of the cigar industry's most prominent manufacturer's association. The addition of the two companies became official last week.
This addition now means that every major cigar personality in the Dominican Republic is a member of La Asociación de Fabricantes de Cigarros de la República Dominicana, the association created in 1992 that is better known as ProCigar.
Cigar Aficionado reached out to Perez-Carrillo and Gomez today; both were in the Dominican Republic making cigars. Each man said that joining ProCigar felt like coming home. Gomez has been making cigars in the Dominican Republic for 19 years, and Perez-Carrillo has been in the cigar industry for more than 40 years, so each man is extremely familiar with the rest of the membership.
"I just felt like I was part of the group," said Perez-Carrillo. "This is where my career really took off. It's like family." When Perez-Carrillo's El Credito Cigars was acquired by General Cigar Co. he was technically a part of ProCigar, as General is a member company, but this is the first time that he has been an official member in the 21-year-old organization.
"It was the proper time-all the cigars aligned," said Gomez. "It's time for unity, for being together as a cigar-producing country."
The news comes only weeks before the annual ProCigar Festival in the Dominican Republic, which immerses consumers in the Dominican cigar experience, taking them to factories and tobacco fields. The weeklong event begins on February 17 and concludes with a gala dinner on February 22.
Gomez and Perez-Carrillo will both be at the Festival, and their cigars will be among the cigars served during the festivities.
In November 2011, Cigar Aficionado broke the news that Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. was returning to ProCigar after leaving the organization in 1995.
ProCigar consists of Tabacalera de Garcia Ltd. (the company behind Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and a host of other smokes); General Cigar Dominicana (the makers of Macanudo, La Gloria Cubana and other cigars); MATASA (which makes Fonseca and Quesada); La Aurora S.A. (producers of the Aurora and Guillermo León brands); Tabadom Holding (Davidoff, Avo); Tabaquisa S.A. (Juan Clemente) and Corporacion Cigar Export (Augusto Reyes, Fittipaldi), plus Fuente, La Flor Dominicana and EPC Cigar Co.