Founded in 1998, VegaFina is a brand produced out of the famed Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic. It is primarily distributed in Europe by Tabacalera S.L.U. group, which is a sister operation to Tabacalera USA, the group that owns the brands under Altadis U.S.A.. Even though some VegaFina releases have been sold in the US under Altadis U.S.A, VegaFina has been a brand that has been more popular in the European market. Last year the company did something it never did before – it would introduce its first Dominican puro cigar. That cigar would be called the VegaFina Classic Tributo, and it would release one size – a Rothschild offering called Dominicus. Today we take a closer look at the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus.
Ironically, while VegaFina has been produced in the Dominican Republic, the company had not released an all-Dominican cigar until just now. The company has produced Nicaraguan puros out of Tabacalera de Garcia under its VegaFina Nicaragua line for several years. The company gave this line the name “Tributo” as a way to pay homage to the Dominican Republic. The name “Dominicus” comes from the religious order from which the country derived its name.
Without further ado, let’s break down the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Other than the fact that the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus uses all Dominican tobacco, there isn’t much known about the varietals used in this cigar. As with all VegaFina cigars, the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus comes from Tabacalera de Garcia.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
The VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus is a 48 x 120mm Rothschild. That translates to 48 x 4 3/4?. The cigars are presented in ten-count boxes.
The Dominican wrapper of the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus had a cinnamon color to it. There was some subtle mottling and some oils on the surface of the wrapper. Upon closer examination, some toothiness could be seen on the wrapper. In addition, the surface of the wrapper had some visible veins. Any visible wrapper seams were on the minimal side.
Prior to lighting up the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered notes of wood, earth, and a slightly astringent note. It wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw. Since the pre-light draw is not assessed, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band of the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus, toast up the cigar, and move on to the smoking phase.
The VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus opened up with notes of earth, bread, citrus, and natural tobacco. These notes were then joined by some notes of mixed pepper. As the cigar moved through the first half, the earth and bread notes moved into the forefront. The citrus, natural tobacco, and mixed pepper settled in the background. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of black pepper on the retro-hale.
As the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus moved into the second thrd, the earth and bread notes remained primary. There was an increase in the intensity of the citrus notes and in the early stages of the second third, the citrus notes joined the earth and bread in the forefront. The natural tobacco remained a secondary note. The mixed pepper also remained in the background, but it slowly increased in intensity.
The final third saw the earth, bread, and citrus notes remain primary. There was an additional increase in intensity in the pepper notes, but they didn’t quite make it to the forefront. There still were notes of natural tobacco present in the background. This is the way the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus started out low maintenance for each of the samples. As the cigar experience progressed on each of the samples, more in the way of touch-ups were needed to keep the burn line straight and the burn path on track. There were more touch-ups than I like. The ash was firm with a classic salt and pepper complexion. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature both maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus performed excellently. It had a touch of resistance to it – making it an ideal draw in my book. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The VegaFina brand has built a reputation for its milder smokes, and the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus is no exception. This is a cigar that started out with mild strength and mild to medium-bodied flavors. Both attributes had an increase in intensity in the first half, and by the midway point, the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus was delivering a mild to medium strength and medium-bodied smoking experience. The intensity levels didn’t go much further in the second half.
As for strength versus body, the body maintained an edge throughout the whole smoking experience.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
While the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus is banded with the traditional red, white, and silver VegaFina “VF” ring, there are some things that are unique to the packaging of this cigar. The secondary band and box contain elements from the Dominican Republic including sun, sea, palm trees, the country’s national bird, and other elements that represent the Dominican tobacco culture.
While the VegaFina Classic Tributo Dominicus isn’t going to be a cigar that delivers a lot of wow factor, it certainly is a cigar that performs quite well for one that retails for under $6.00. With a potential shortage of Ecuadorian tobacco coming, this could lead to a surge in more cigars utilizing Dominican wrappers. If one is able to find these, you are getting pretty good value for the price. I’ve certainly had more expensive cigars deliver a lot less in terms of flavor and overall performance. In the end, I can recommend this cigar to any cigar enthusiast. If you can find these, it’s worth picking one up for sure.
Key Flavors: Earth, Bread Citrus, Natural Tobacco, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Mild (1st Half), Mild to Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted