October 26, 2011

General Cigar Company Blogger 2011 Dominican Republic trip

Last week me and fifteen other cigar bloggers were invited down to the Dominican Republic by General Cigar Company to tour all assets of their operation. No stone was left unturned and we were treated to viewing every aspect of their cigar production from farming, aging, fermenting, to rolling and so on. It is no secret to General Cigar Company that most of us "geek" cigar smokers do not rave online about about most of their products on a weekly basis like we do with some of the other smaller boutique brands, yet they still treated us with the utmost respect and hospitality, wanting to share and teach us about what they have going on. If anyone from General Cigar Company is reading this, I commend you for reaching out to us.

Every person I met was extremely friendly and knowledgeable in the cigar business and I learned a lot. I would say that if there was one (unwarranted) opinion that changed for me about General Cigar Company from the last week,  it's that they do NOT cut any corners in their cigar production. Everything they do is carefully planned and executed right down to the last leaf. Just because they sell over a 100 million cigars a year, it does not mean they rush any aspect of the process nor force anything until it is just right to them.

I could write up a day by day break down from the trip, but Bryan at http://cigarobsession.com/ nailed it so, I suggest you check out his site for the details. I would like, however, to share my favorite part of the trip: the intense blending session presented to us. The staff at General Cigar Co. laid out around fifteen different types of tobacco for us to sample and provided us with a expert roller to quickly whip up small cigars for us to try with tobaccos we had chosen. I think I tried around nine blends before I found one that I thought fit my flavor profile. To me it was good, but I don't think I'll be giving up my day job anytime soon.

In closing, I want to thank everyone from General Cigar Company for providing me with this opportunity and teaching me more about my passion for cigars. I especially want to thank Victoria McKee for providing us with anything we asked for and keeping us all in line (most of the time).  I also want to thank all my fellow bloggers, some who I had met before and some for whom it was the first time. You guys feel like family and not just writers on the other side of the Internet. There really isn't very many better ways to spend a week than with 14 other guys who share the interests and drive that I do. The fact that we can talk for hours (and into the early hours of the morning) about cigars and tobacco issues is mind boggling. I hope there are many more of these trips and I hope to see you all again very soon.

Here is a link to my photos.



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