Well, we can officially put this one in the books. After a 2 year wait due to the pesky pandemic, Dominican Big Leaguer (DBL) Cigars finally got to host their best retailers and friends in the Dominican Republic for the grand opening of the company’s new Tamboril cigar and box factory. To say it was a blast would be a gross understatement. Francisco and his DBL family pulled out all the stops for this one. I am sorry I only got to experience just 2 of the 4 days of the this amazing adventure.
To start with, here is a video collage of the fun I had over two action packed days.
DAY 1 – The Factory Tour
The new factory is a gordo upgrade from the company’s much smaller factory. It has a combined 16,000 square feet of floor space that includes additional pairs of buncheros and rollers more leaf sorters and even a future cigar lounge.
The event started for me with a tour of the factory which is located in Tamboril, Dominican Republic, the cigar capital of the country. We were greeted with a red carpet treatment entering the factory and as noted this is the 7th year that the company hosted a tour.
DBL Cigars owner – Francisco Almonte was the host and gave everyone some amazing cigar education as he always does. Not mention we all received a gift pack of cigars and other goodies that lasted for the day and that was replenished on the next day, so we always had DBL cigars to enjoy.
We got to see the whole cigar making process from sorting leaf, deveining the leaf, bunching and rolling cigars and final packaging. This education never really gets old, and every cigar enthusiast should find a way to take a tour of a factory to truly appreciate the hand craft that goes into the making of the cigar.
After the cigar factory tour, we walked net door to the box factory. If you recall, years ago I did a whole article on Artesania Estralla, back then it was a small but complete box factory in Tamboril. Now the owners Kedwin Estrella and Miguel A Martinez have partnered with DBL and built a larger factory on the same property so it is really a one stop shop for DBL, but the box factory also continues to produce boxes for a number of name brands throughout the Dominican Republic.
Day 1 – Post Tour Meal and Gathering
After the factory tour, we headed up the mountain to a small retreat overlooking the city of Tamboril where we were treated to a meal, drinks, and friendly discussions. There were also dominos being played. This was a very relaxing moment that ended with a magnificent sunset over the city. Francisco truly does this first class all the way.
Later in the day we were treated to the arrival of members of numerous Motorcycle Clubs in the Dominican Republic. These fine folks are lawyers, doctors, engineers and professionals that raise money to support numerous charities in the country and are friends and supporters of Francisco and DBL Cigars. It was my honor to spend time with them discussing their charitable work as we smoked cigars and shared in libations.
Of course a full day in Santiago and Tamboril would not be complete without an awesome sunset to start the evening.
Day 2 – The Tobacco Fields
After a fun filled day 1, it was an early wakeup for a long ride up to the tobacco fields where we were learned about growing, harvesting, and curing. Fransisco has now 3 farms in the area and we were able to visit two of them. Most of the priming had been completed but here was still plenty to see and experience.
We even got to meet the farm workers and passed a hat around to raise money to help them with clothes, food, and other needs. We probably raised over a $1,000. The cigar community is truly a giving community. It is folks like these that work to keep your cigar enjoyment at its peak.
After the farm tours, we headed out for a late lunch at restaurant along the road back to Santiago and were treated to a fabulous buffet of Dominican cuisine.
Day 2 – The Evening Gala and Official Opening of the New Factory
Once we got back to our hotels, we showered changed into our evening atie and were driven back to the factory for a gala event where there was a blessing of the factory, a traditional dance troupe that performed and even a carnival performance that was, believe or not, put on by the factory workers complete with costumes and whips. Francisco thanked the Mayor of Tamboril for her support, each and every retailer, praised his partners in the box factory and gave an amazing tribute and award to Litto Gomez – Owner of La Flor Dominicana – who Francisca notes is like his own father and owes a debt of gratitude to for all the education and experience he got from him during his tenure at LFD.
Of course such an occasion for DBL cigars would not be complete with out a visit from MAFU the man who kept the original factory clean and tidy just to have cigars and eventually would have a DBL cigar named after him – The MAFU.
I personally want to thank Ms. Diony Alexa Paz, for her undying efforts to assemble a most memorable cigar weekend. You did an awesome job!!