Production of Davidoff’s cigars takes roughly five years from seeding and harvesting to the point when the cigar is actually crafted and rolled. Depending on the result the company is aiming for, the aging process can take up to 20 years, requiring dedication and patience from the company. Dominican tobacco is just one of Davidoff’s areas of expertise, as its agronomists and master blenders have strived to study and become experts in tobaccos from around the world in order to offer cigar smokers new and exciting smoking and taste experiences.
Gurkha: The Art of Blending
Gurkha Cigars doesn’t have its own factory in the Dominican Republic, but it partners with Tabacalera Las Lavas, Bluestar, PDR and Tabacalera LYC to produce some of its most popular cigar lines, including Cellar Reserve, Grand Reserve, Ghost and 125th Anniversary. The Dominican Republic is ideal for Gurkha due to the quality of the country’s tobacco and its infrastructure, making it better suited for its cigar production than Nicaragua and Honduras.
“We depend a lot on the local factory’s master blenders because they know their product best,” explains Christine Martinez de Castro, Gurkha’s director of marketing and public relations. “We have several in-house guys that also work with them in the blending process, and it becomes a true collaboration.”
Flavor is crucial for Gurkha when developing blends. Over the years, the company has come to understand that the U.S. cigar enthusiast is among the largest consumer markets in the world and that the typical cigar smoker prefers strong, bold blends. Gurkha Cigars’ blends strive for complexity and unique flavor profiles. Gurkha curates tobaccos from all over the world that pair well with the Dominican Republic’s typically mild tobaccos. The company often encourages retailers and consumers to visit the factories in the Dominican Republic in order to understand that the making of a cigar is both a personal and artistic process and far from a cookie-cutter process. Cigars like Gurkha’s are made with Dominican tobacco that has been carefully taken care of, watered and grown, dried, aged, cured and crafted, making the finished cigar a piece of artwork rather than just a mass-produced product.
This story first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.
– Story by Antoine Reid, an editor and digital content director for Tobacco Business Magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @editor.reid.