The Best Dominican Cigars You Might Be Missing: 5 Cigars Por la Chercha

aj-fernandez-san-lotano-dominicanoby Billy Ferriolo
The Best Dominican Cigars You Might Be Missing: 5 Cigars Por la Chercha


About a hundred miles off the southern coast of Florida, you’ll find the cigar island the world has been obsessed with for generations: Cuba. But just to the east of that, you’ll find an island with a similar climate and soil: the Dominican Republic. There, growers are busy raising up fantastically rich and flavorful tobacco leaf that’s used in outstanding blends that have topped Cigar Aficionado’s Cigars of the Year list time and time again. For that reason, we’re all familiar with the best Dominican cigars.

But what about the Dominican cigars that have been outshined by award-winners? What about the 90+ point smokes that are flying a bit more under the radar that you might not be smoking? Are you in danger of missing out on these cigars completely? We would hate for a tragedy like that to occur, so we compiled a short list of some of the best Dominican cigars that didn’t quite get the same amount of attention. These are artfully blended, impeccably made, and flavorful from the first draw to the last.

Without further ado, here are some of the best Dominican cigars you might be missing:

La Flor Dominicana Ligero Oscuro Cabinet L-200

La Flor Dominicana’s double ligero cigar is a sensation, that we all know, but the ligero oscuro natural is not one to sleep on. This cigar pulled in a 90-point rating and has the goods where it counts. It’s a must-try for pepper heads, as the smoke first offers an array of spicy notes that are super satisfying when you’re in the mood for tobacco with a kick. Then the other flavors follow up, bringing a complement of leather, earth, and raisin to round out the blend. It’s a medium-full strength cigar that overdelivers in the petit corona size (4 7/8 x 40), and offers a lush draw that we always appreciate.

The star of the show might seem to be the tobacco leaf that gives the smoke it’s name: the Ecuadorian Sumatra oscuro wrapper. It’s a well-fermented dark leaf that brings potent flavor and body, for sure. But in our opinion, the Dominican filler and binder is carrying this blend to the level of premium smoke. The earthy complexity will grab you and helps these LFD ligero oscuro natural cigars earn a place in the humidor for those times when you need something a bit more interesting than your average smoke.

AJ Fernandez San Lotano Dominicano Torpedo

If you check out the band of these cigars, you might be wondering, “Who’s AJ and Jochy?” Then again, if you’ve been smoking cigars for a while, you already know the answer to that question.

The San Lotano Dominicano cigar is a collaboration between two stars of the cigar world: AJ Fernandez and Jochy Blanco. AJ is based in Nicaragua, known for making cigar blends like New World, Man O’ War, and Diesel. Meanwhile, Jochy owns the Tabacalera Palma factory in the Dominican Republic, and grows tobacco in his fields for brands like La Galera and Aging Room.

Not surprisingly, this cigar is an outstanding blend of what these two do best, featuring a perfect mix of high quality Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos (along with a Brazilian Cuban-seed wrapper for good measure). The smoke comes out toasty and woody, with sweet flavors like caramel, black coffee, and cocoa powder each taking a turn showing themselves. The finish features a complex licorice finish that leads to the overall experience being rich and satisfying. It might be a bit of a stretch to call this one of the best Dominican cigars you’re not smoking given that it earned a 93 rating over at Cigar Aficionado and surely turned many heads. But still, we didn’t see a ton of press on it and wanted to make sure that this one got a mention on this list.

One last thing to note is that the 6 ½ x 52 box-pressed torpedo is the vitola to try. The shape and size are just perfect for truly taking this one in and getting the kind of draws we all live for.

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Porto Real

People find old companies and brands boring sometimes, but the truth is, they’ve got generations of knowledge and time-tested ways of doing things that just work. Case in point: the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real, which is a cigar that’s just too fine to pass up. It’s a 92-point smoke with medium strength, a light colored brown wrapper, and a really enjoyable set of flavors. In the 7x36 porto real panatela size, you’ll get a nice long cigar session out of it, which gives you time to explore the nuttiness, along with the baking spice and molasses finish that makes this one so memorable.

Like the San Lotano Dominicano, this one is a combination of tobaccos. The core of the filler is Dominican blended with Nicaraguan leaf, and the whole cigar is wrapped in tasteful Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade. From the outside, you might think that this is a gentle and mild smoke, but the truth is that there’s nice potency and intriguing aromas within the unassuming Reserva Real cigar. The mixture of tobacco from different soils is what makes things so interesting, and keep the flavor profile complex from start to finish. Naturally, fans of the best Dominican cigars will find plenty to love about this little number.

Some say “boring,” we say “classic.” And we enjoy every draw.

Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut Petit Robusto FT

A Dominican puro can be quite enjoyable. In fact, OpusX has proven that it can be a sublime experience capable of capturing the attention of the entire cigar world. But as the cigars on this list are demonstrating, a blend powered by Dominican tobacco, combined with the right leaf from other nations, is also a fantastic mixture for a premium cigar. In fact, Balmoral brought in a bunch of other leaves for the Añejo XO Connecticut. The filler contains not just Dominican Olor tobacco, but also Pennsylvania broadleaf and a Brazilian stalk-cut mata norte strain of tobacco that brings in a nutty note that can’t be missed. Around that is an Ecuadorian binder and then a second product made in America: a handsome Connecticut shade wrapper.

The ultimate result is a 92-point smoke that really shines in a compact 4 ¼ x 48 robusto format. You get a great draw and a flavor array that includes cedar, coffee bean, vanilla, and earth. It’s an outstanding medium strength cigar from a company that you may not be super familiar with. Balmoral is new-ish in the industry and rolls up handmade cigars from their San Pedro de Macoris factory in where?

You guessed it – the Dominican Republic. Check out the Añejo XO Connecticut and get a preview of one of the DR’s more interesting up and coming brands. (And if you’re hesitant to try out something fresh, just know that the founder represents the fourth generation in the tobacco business for his family.)

Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto

No, that’s not a typo – Alec and Bradley are the sons of Alan Rubin, founder of Alec Bradley cigars – and this is another early release from the sibling team as they begin to dip their toes into the world of high end cigar blends. Clearly, they’re well advised and showing good instincts, based on the results they’ve achieved with this 91-point pleasure smoke.

The Gatekeeper is Ecuadorian Habano outside, and a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers inside. The Dominican tobacco is probably responsible for the potent leather note that helps bring the full strength of this cigar into bloom. You’ll also find a good amount of spice at the front and sweetness on the end to balance things out. In the 5x50 robusto, the Gatekeeper is one of the best small-batch Dominican cigars on the market. We’re loving the combinations that blenders are coming up with, and the Sons of Rubin are right on the money with this cigar.

The cigar industry is steeped in tradition and many have found it quite difficult to break in and find success. But when your dad is Alan Rubin, the way is paved for you, right? The question is, will Alec and Bradley be able to forge a new path for themselves that will keep the interest of the world’s aficionados? Based on this cigar, the gatekeeper is probably stepping aside to let these ambitious young men on their way.

Maybe he’s a fan of intriguing new smokes, too?

CAO Session Bar

The best Dominican cigars really bring out flavors that fans are searching for in smokes from the DR. For CAO’s Session bar, it’s a nice malty Dominican chocolate taste that blends with a red pepper spice note that makes this one so much fun to smoke. It’s a medium strength cigar that performs well in the 6x49 toro size. We also really enjoy the blend choices. As you can see in the above cigars, Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco go together really well. For a change, we’ll highlight another leaf as the tobacco that takes this one to the next level: the Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. We’d know that earthy, fermented goodness anywhere, and it’s most welcome in the Session Bar blend.

The soil of La Republica Dominicana is known for producing excellent tobacco, and the sticks above are some of the best Dominican cigars on the market. They’re not exactly hidden gems, but if you’ve been focused on only the most famous blends around, these should be next on your list.

Happy smoking!