In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Making in the Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo, the capitol
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
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. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
stories on the Dominican Republic,
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