Arganese Trip: Dominican Republic in Pictures

It’s been a while hasn’t it? You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been. Well, the quick answer is the Dominican Republic. I spent four days in the D.R. touring tobacco fields and a cigar factory as a guest of Gene Arganese (of Arganese cigars). As a crazed cigar enthusiast, the trip was the experience of a lifetime. One not to be missed, no matter what the circumstances. When Gene generously offered to cover all expenses except airfare, it was a no-brainer. For full a full discussion the things learned about cigars during the tour, be sure to check out the post I wrote for Stogie Review.

In the week or so since I’ve been back, I’ve been spending the time I usually use to write for this blog processing all the pictures I took on my trip. Without further ado, here’s some of my favorites. (To see all 184 pictures, head over to my Dominican Republic gallery.) Click on any of the following to see a larger, higher quality image in the gallery.

Deck Chairs at Casa Arganese
Deck Chairs on the deck at Casa Arganese

Field Worker
Worker in a recently seeded tobacco field

Arganese Greenhouse
The Arganese greenhouse- Home to thousands of seedlings

La Flor de Tobacco Arganese
La Flor de Tobacco Arganese

Worker hanging tobacco leaves
Hanging the tobacco leaves for drying

El Hombre Muy Guapo
El Hombre muy guapo: The field boss (who will pose when flattered)

Monument to the Heros of the Revolution
The Monument to the Heroes of the Revolution in Santiago

Arganese tobacco barn
The field and the barn

Arganese Cigars
The finished product

Bulls on parade
Santiago traffic: Bulls on parade

Arganese Double Wrap Chairmans
A bundle of the Chairman Double Wrap

A Stinkie Ashtray in the moonlight
A Stinkie Ashtray in the moonlight. How romantic!

Again, these pictures are just the tip of the iceburg! I encourage you to check out the full gallery and take advantage of the slide show capabilities Smugmug offers. (Look for the little button in the upper right corner of the page.) Enjoy!

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10 Comments

  1. Joe Drinker said,

    February 6, 2008 at 11:26 am

    That’s cool Brian. Neat photos, too.

    So how does smoking a freshly-rolled cigar differ from one off the shelf?

  2. Brian said,

    February 6, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks Joe,

    One of the big differences between smoking one off the shelf and one right of the rolling table is the draw. Because the filler tobacco is so dry, the draw be looser. As a result that can make the flavor seem a little milder. Also time spent on the shelf allows the tobacco to continue to age, which in many cases will have a positive impact on the flavor. (However, the goal of the shop keeper is to move product, so the cigars generally don’t sit there long enough to make much of a difference.)

    So it might seem that it’s better off the shelf, but the funny thing is that a freshly rolled-cigar is often slightly better than one off the shelf. That could be partly due to novelty, or it could be due to smokes on the shelf having to recover from less than idea conditions during travel.

  3. Brian said,

    February 6, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    You know, I like that question. I’m going to add it to the next episode of the You Questions, My Answers video segment we do over at the Stogie Review. If you never seen it, check it out! (It’s worth it just for the confirmation that I have a face for radio and voice for blogging.) And heck, you might just win something!

  4. Tom said,

    February 6, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    One day I’d like to have a vaction like this. yes, I’m still jealous, but I can’t hold that against you anymore ;-)

    As for fresh cigars… I’ve had a couple seemingly fresh smokes that had a slight ammonia taste. After a rest, the taste went away with the other sticks from the same box. A friend of mine (Ed) said tobacco will emit this when it is very fresh, and sometimes can be tasted when smoked. I wonder if you (or Walt) have ever had this experience.

    I can only assume the freshly rolled smokes you had consisted of well aged tobacco. Good times!

    -Tom

  5. Brian said,

    February 6, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Yeah, after that episode the other night out the window… Nope, still to painful to discuss.

    I think I’ve been pretty fortunate. I’ve only had a handful of freshly rolled smokes. I had a graycliff that was rolled at last years RTDA (ironically, even though I saw the guy rolling these, I actually got it at a local smoke shop during an event), a couple blue label Pepins and the Arganese. In all cases, the tobacco had been pretty well aged by the time it hit the rolling table.

    From the overpowering scent of ammonia in the post-rolling aging room, even the Arganese had a good amount of the stuff left. Actually, come to think of it, I haven’t smoked that fresh rolled Arganese yet. But I did smoke a very small part of an impromptu, all ligero cigar in one of the factories. But not enough to get a good read on the ammonia levels. (It wasn’t obviously there in the little I smoked.)

    If you haven’t yet, join the CigarLive forum, and keep an eye out. Gene just might do this again sometime down the road. And make sure to get your passport asap!

  6. Tom said,

    February 6, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    The only smoke I’ve had that was literally just rolled was here: http://www.ramirezcigars.com . Upon entering the place, I clearly creeped them out (as you know, I’m a creepy bastard). Luckily the people with me put them at ease. I smoked a couple of their smokes, and didn’t detect the dreaded ammonia. I’ve had a Canimao or two with the slight ammonia taste towards the end. Ed had to point it out, as I couldn’t pin point the taste at first. Yea, I’m not that good at picking apart a lot of flavors.

    I am indeed on Cigar Live (name: Loser1). I have a couple posts whoring our video reviews that made it on Stogie Review ;-) I’ll definately keep an eye out for future trips. I’m set on the passport after visiting my homeland (Japan) in 2005, where I creeped out customs and was almost literally deported. Long story.

  7. Joe Drinker said,

    February 7, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Cool…I read about your trip over at StogieReview, but will watch for your video about it too.

  8. Brian said,

    February 7, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Tom,
    I don’t know why, but your creepy tale of fresh-rolled cigar tasting reminds me of a run in I had with some border guards on my way back from Canada. It seems I had the right amount of College long-haired creepiness going on, because I got a special tour of the back room! *SHUDDER*

    Joe,
    Ah, jeez, now I gotta do a video too? Actually, the video episodes I was taking about are more of a cigar Q&A. We pretend to know all there is to know about fine cigars and answer readers’ questions, mixing in just the right amount of B.S. to be entertaining for the folks that know we’re full of it. It’s good stuff. (I could be biased.)

  9. Tom said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I can appreciate your story, but trust me, it’s not the hair. When it was short I still ‘had it’. What can I say, some people got it, some don’t. I too had to go to the room in the back, where Japanese officers said things to me like “Ahh… Very suspicious.”

    Joe – don’t be fooled. These guys know their stuff over at SR. When they don’t, they admit it on camera. Speaking of videos… I’m off to shoot another cigar review with Ed, the local cigar expert (he counter balances my ignorance). The people have spoken, they want videos of an expert sitting with an idiot, and I fit the bill perfectly.

  10. February 11, 2008 at 10:32 am

    [...] Random Thoughts: Brian posts his photos from his Arganese Cigars trip while visiting the Dominican [...]


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