These days, it is hard to tell the true difference between Dominican cigars and Cuban cigars. If you didn’t read the label, you might not even be able to tell them apart. But for those with an extra detailed eye, there are characteristics you can look for.
Cuban vs Dominican cigars is the age-old discussion among cigar aficionados. Which is better, which is the original or is there even a difference? All fair questions but no simple answers.
If you want to be able to boast your knowledge about cigars on the next whisky night with your buddies, memorize this article. These are the basics that you need to know about Cuban vs Dominican Republic cigars.
Cuban Cigars vs Dominican Cigars: A definition.
What makes a Cuban cigar Cuban and a cigar from the Dominican Republic truly Dominican? The Oxford Dictionary would not be happy with our definition.
If only it were as simple as the country where they cigars are rolled. Officially, that is the defining categorization but we are not convinced by this and need to add a few buts…
A cigar rolled in a factory in Cuba is considered a Cuban cigar but that doesn’t mean everything you feel and taste is Cuban-grown. Some Cuban cigars may use tobacco grown in Nicaragua and a wrapper from Indonesia, for example. Similarly, a cigar rolled in the Dominican Republic may be made with traditional Cuban methods and Cuban tobacco (more on that below).
So, factory location doesn’t tell you everything. What tells you more? The method, the tobacco, the tasting notes?
Here at Cigar Hombre we are reluctant to put cigars in precise little boxes – unless it’s a humidor, of course. You’ll just have to try all different varieties and let us know whether you can tell the difference.
Are Dominican Republic Cigars Cuban?
Some experts argue that Dominican cigars are just as good or even better than Cuban cigars because of their quality control and history. Here is why.
Cuban cigar factory owners set up shop in the Dominican Republic after the Cuban Revolution which is why Dominican cigars are of excellent quality.
Cuba is the king of cigars. We won’t deny that. It’s not quite the birthplace of cigars but the island nation is synonymous with the gentleman’s smokes – much like whiskey from Scotland and Maple syrup from Canada.
Before the 1950s, cigars we’re their most popular export. Arguably, they still are today but for decades they were difficult to come by.
Following the Cuban Revolution, there was a trade embargo on the country’s products. Any cigar smoker remembers this time with sadness.
But it’s not all bad news. Many Cubans made their home elsewhere, including in the United States, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Those last two countries are now in the top 3 cigar producing countries in the world.
Using traditional Cuban methods and raw materials sourced from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Indonesia or Nepal, the cigar industry began to develop in the DR. It took some time to perfect the technique with different ingredients but today Dominican cigars are strong competition.
When you consider the method as the defining characteristic then yes, some Dominican cigars are Cuban cigars.
But Cubans are not the only ones that started producing cigars in the Dominican Republic. There are also great American brands with their factories on the island. They chose the DR for their reputation of consistent quality and you can taste it in the smoke.
Differences in Flavor
When comparing Cuban and Dominican cigars, some will say that you can tell the difference by taste. Perhaps you can.
Cigar aficionados say that Dominican cigars are sweeter and milder than Cuban cigars which are bolder and earthier.
There is some truth to this. Just as terra matters in wine production, so does the soil where the tobacco filler is grown. Although Cuba and the Dominican Republic are both tropical islands, there is a difference in their soil composition. That is why the raw materials matter so much in cigars.
But as we said earlier, not all Cuban cigars are made with ingredients only grown in Cuba. At least not anymore. So there is some fault in this general rule, too.
Our advice: carefully read the cigar description. A good cigar seller will tell you exactly where the cigar is made, what the filler is and the wrapper. It’s still not a foolproof way to determine the flavor profile but the more you smoke, the more familiar you get with the subtle differences.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are Cigars Cheap in the Dominican Republic?
On average, Dominican cigars are cheaper than Cuban cigars and Nicaraguan cigars are even more affordable. However, price doesn’t always tell all in cigars and there are also plenty of Dominican cigars in a higher price range.
Is Cohiba Cuban or Dominican?
There are two types of Cohibas. Cohiba Habanos are Cuban and Cohiba by the General Cigar Company is a US brand with cigars made in the Dominican Republic.
Are Dominican Cohibas Good?
Dominican Cohibas are great. You can tell them apart from the Cuban original cigar by the red dot on its seal. In comparison, Dominican Cohibas are a milder cigar.
Conclusion 1: Are Dominican Cigars Good?
Yes, definitely. If you haven’t tried a Dominican cigar yet, go do it now.
Think of it this way. There is a certain prestige to Scotch whiskey but Japanese whiskeys are a fine work of art, too. And we would never turn down a good bourbon, either.
Dominican cigars are more than good; they are excellent.
Conclusion 2: Which Country Makes the Best Cigars?
We don’t want to start a ruckus so we’ll leave this one up to you. In the fight of Dominican vs Cuban cigars there is no clear winner.
Purists will stand by the Cuban cigar while almost everybody else enjoys Dominican cigars, too. Secretly, so do the purists but we won’t judge them for it.
Alright, maybe we do want to start a bit of a debate. While we’re on the topic, Nicaraguan cigars are pretty damn good, too!