La Aurora Trip 2011 Edition, Day 2

As was with my last trip to Santiago in the Dominican Republic I made sure to get up early each morning and be the first one on the deck. The views were just so incredibly scenic, that it was easy to get lost in the moment and bask in the serenity of the mountaintop resort that we would call home for the next couple of days. I sipped my coffee and looked out into the valley before me, for I feel at home in the Dominican Republic.Despite various levels of wealth and poverty everyone has a smile on their face and it is contagious.

camp david

Some fog rises from the valley below as I enjoy the morning view after the rain from the night before.

A rainbow is seen in the distance after the rainstorm from the night before. For me the entire nation, is a pot o' gold.

As the rest of the cast and crew made it down from the late night before we all enjoyed the view together before boarding the bus that would take us to the La Aurora factory. The one thing that really stands out for me in the tours is how many people are employed and involved in the process of getting the tobacco into a cigar, to us the consumer.

La Aurora Factory, Fabrica De Cigarros Desade 1903

Jose Blanco of La Aurora refuses to empty his personal ashtray, but he is running out of room.

Paco stands guard of the big stinky ashtray.

A roller at La Aurora prepars to put a wrapper on and finalize the rolling of the cigar.

Binder and Filler are placed in molds and then held in a press so the shape takes form before the wrapper is applied.

A worker begins to sort through cigars and separate them by wrapper color.

A lovely senorita at the factory places a tobacco leaf in a machine that will strip the center vein.

I Spy, La Aurora Imperiales which are currently only available in the European market.

As we toured the factory we saw the process of aging tobacco, aging sticks, hand made and machine made cigars. We saw the sorting of  tobacco, and the factory was in over-drive. The amount of cigars being produced was amazing. The amount of people that are employed and the economy that is driven by it is incredible.

After the tour we began our tasting which was a bit different for me then the ones in the past. Instead of 4 different Puro cigars, we smoked one cigar with 4 different wrappers in a vertical tasting. It was amazing to see how after every 1/2″ the profile would change based upon the change of wrapper. It really proves the point the most important part of  a cigar is the wrapper.

After the tasting we became guinea pigs for La Aurora as we tasted 4 different cigars with the same Cameroon wrapper. It was funny to see us all trying to figure out what the wrapper was but each and every time it was Cameroon. We answered questions about the cigar, and while #4 was my personal favorite we were left in the dark about what we were tasting.

 

The cigar used in the veritical tasting. I'd love to tell you what each wrapper was, but if I did I'd have to kill you :)

No trip to the La Aurora Factory would be complete without Presidente..

After the tasting and blend sampling was over, we were treated to a feast fit for kings.

Our reward for completing the seminar was a Don Fernando with an extra dark corojo wrapper, that was simply one of the best cigars I ever smoked.

On the way back to  the hotel we stopped at one of the tobacco fields that La Aurora owns, which was a treat. Seeing all that tobacco brought a smile to my face. The stop almost was postponed as some heavy storms rolled through about an hour prior but thankfully we had the chance to stop. After some recovery time at the hotel we headed out to the Nanno’s which is Nestor Miranda’s favorite restaurant in the Dominican Republic where I dined on some churrasco and tostones.

 

A group shop to preserve the moment for eternity, taken by Mario of CigarExplorer.com... From Left to Right: Mario (cigarexplorer, Brian & Jerry (stogiereview), David (tikibaronline), Gary, Charlie (thecigarfeed), Ben (nicetightash), Tom (tampabaycigarexaminer), Doc (stogiefresh), Barry (me), Jose Manuel, Anthony, Jason Wood.

 

 

At the base of the mountain we begin our climb to Camp David.

The group dines together at Nanno's

As the day came to a close some of us decided to talk about some issues at hand, while some went to enjoy the nightlife. At this point of the game, no one knew what was about to unfold the following day…

Yesterday: Day 1, The Journey Begins
Tomorrow: Day 3, All Hell Breaks Loose