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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Cigar Making in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, the capitol city

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Taking our time exploring Santo Domingo, the capitol city of the Dominican Republic, we discovered this Fabrica De Tabacos. We decided to go in for a look.

Fabrica De Tabacos

Fabrica De Tabacos

Upon entering, the smell of cigar tobacco was a bit jarring and very pervasive so took us a little while to get used to it.

The history and tradition of cigar smoking is long and engaging. If you are a smoker and want to feel the taste of real cigars you have to choose the best ones among them Romeo y Julieta Churchills, hoyo de monterrey epicure no. 2, for instance. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in the Dominican Republic, and history generally credits Christopher Columbus with introducing tobacco to Europe. Natives of then-called Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti today) smoked dried tobacco leaves tied together with string.

Tobacco was widely used throughout the islands of the Caribbean, and Columbus and his men encountered it again in Cuba.

Wooden cigar press

Wooden cigar press

Cigars, rolled with cured and fermented tobacco leaves, are stored here in wooden frames to dry. This helps keep their shape and they are waiting for the outside tobacco leaf to be rolled around them.

The bulk of a cigar is "filler" which is a bound bunch of tobacco leaves. These leaves are folded by hand to allow air passageways down the length of the cigar, through which smoke is drawn after the cigar is lit.

Skilled cigar roller

Skilled cigar roller





On the left in this photo is part of the tobacco press which keeps the cigar shape before he rolls them in an outside tobacco leaf. On the working board, you will see the special, very sharp circular blade called a chaveta, which he uses to cut this outside tobacco leaf. He works both ends of the cigar.

The outer leaf is the most expensive component of a cigar. This wrapper determines much of the cigar's character and flavor and color runs from a greenish yellow all the way to black.

Most cigars today are made by machine, but some -- as a matter of prestige and quality -- are still rolled by hand. This is especially true in Central America and Cuba. These hand-rolled cigars are significantly different from the machine-made cigars sold in packs at drugstores or gas stations.

Here you see the skilled laborer working the cap of the cigar

Here you see the skilled laborer working the cap of the cigar

At the top of his board you will see the ends of the cigars that he has cut off. One end of the cigar is sealed and it is called a cap. This end of the cigar must be cut off for the cigar to be smoked properly. If the cap is cut jaggedly or without care, the end of the cigar will not burn evenly and smokeable tobacco will be lost.

These cigars will bear a label on them which will distinguish them from other cigars and they will be placed in a box that specifies that they were rolled by hand.

A skilled cigar roller can make a cigar in 30 seconds, and can make hundreds of nearly identical cigars in a day.

Nine tubes of Caoba Gold cigars

Nine tubes of Caoba Gold cigars

This box of Caoba Oro cigars proudly displays Hecho a Mano on the side of the box, Made by Hand.

Once finished, the cigar can be "laid down" and aged for decades if the temperature and relative humidity is controlled. Proper storage is accomplished by keeping the cigars in a wooden box called a humidor, where conditions can be carefully controlled for long periods of time.

The "head" of a cigar is the end closest to the band. The opposite end of the cigar is called the "foot." The band of the cigar can be left on and smoked, or taken off. Cigar smoke is usually not inhaled into the lungs.



Prices for these cigarros and torpeditos are from $7USD to $9USD a bundle.

Cigar shapes vary and have names such as Parejo, Torpedo, Pyramid, Perfecto, and Presidente.





Relaxing and enjoying a hand rolled cigar

Relaxing and enjoying a hand rolled cigar

What better way to spend an afternoon than smoking a cigar and surfing the web on his smart phone?

Did you ever wonder where the expression "close but no cigar" comes from? At fairgrounds, games involving good aim often had a prize of a cigar. If your aim was close but did not hit target, then it was "close, but no cigar.

For more stories on the Dominican Republic, Click Here

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

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