BeirutNightLife.com and VIRTUOZITY Magazine in collaboration with PingDubai.com, had the exclusive opportunity to travel with Davidoff Cigars to the master craft of cigar making in the Dominican Republic. In the second episode of this series we will get to know more about the fermentation process and the tasting of cigars.
During the second day of this spectacular trip and after an early breakfast by the beach, we were lucky enough to get to the Davidoff plantation in Jicome by 10am, which meant leaving the hotel at 8am after the heavy caribbean rains stopped. Mr. Hendrik Kelner, the general manager of Davidoff and the master blender, was waiting in the field, signaling for us to join him in the middle of plants with only the top leaves remaining, and Kelner welcomed us with a warm smile, explaining that Davidoff had postponed picking off the top leaves for two days for us to see.
Kelner’s passion for cigars was too obvious with him running through the story of the plants, “You need to talk to the leaves” Mr. Kelner said.. adding that they let you know when it is time for harvest. The master blender elaborated that when the leaf is standing up, it is still early and not quite mature, but once the leave leans down, you know that “she” is ready to be harvested. The harvest process starts from the bottom-up, and every two days, two leaves are removed from each plant until they reach the top.
The fermentation which is done in a bunker at the side of the field and a technical card is placed on each batch to identify the details, such as the date of planting and harvest, was a very rich experience for us.
Mr. Kelner continued, after collecting the leaves, they are placed in the barns to dry.With each harvest, a small plate is put up to catalogue the date, field, and the time it takes for the tobacco to be fermented. After an average of 40 days stocked in the barns, the magic “fermentation” process starts.A process of 100 days, the seeds are planted in special soil brought in from Canada, giving the seeds the perfect humidity for normal growth. The seeds are planted in small boxes elaborated in the video, and after three weeks, they’re moved to the Dominican fields.
We grabbed a bite at the fields offices, topped the visit with a Hanky Tasting session, where you learn how to judge a cigar if it is sweet, bitter, salty or acid.
Stay tuned for episode 3, where you will be introduced to the rolling packaging process….