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After sleeping for a couple hours, I was off into the busy city of Santiago, Dominican Republic. My first stop was at the Gran Almirante Hotel where I ventured up to the poolside bar to order my first ice cold Presidente beer. Lounging beneath a cabana, soaking up the gorgeous Caribbean sun while I smoked a Cohiba...what could be better? It was confirmed that great minds think alike when I was greeted with a quick hello from Cigar Snob's Nicolas Jimenez and Jamilet Calvino as they made their way around the pool!

As mid afternoon rolled around, I headed over to meet my good friend Luis Falto for a VIP tour of La Aurora Factory. Luis is the manufacturer of a premium boutique cigar called Falto, hand rolled at La Aurora Factory. He has been part of their family for many years and shares the passion and dedication that goes into creating a monumental cigar.

Lighting up my first stick, I entered the rolling room where I had the opportunity to meet the infamous master blender Manuel Inoa. Being treated like family right away, helped embrace the magnificent history that accompanies the tradition of La Aurora Cigars. The oldest factory and cigar makers in the Dominican Republic, La Aurora has been around since 1903 when Don Eduardo Leon Jimenes began rolling cigars just outside Santiago. The tradition has since been passed down from brother to brother, grandfather to son, and so forth, resting finally in the heart and hands of third generation Don Guillermo Leon.

Needless to say that being privileged to see this historic beauty was priceless. Learning the process for creating these masterpieces we all enjoy enhances the smoking experience even more. I hope you enjoy the video of my factory tour, created with love, humor and a little Presidente beer...


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