Today we continue coverage of Procigar 2023, the Dominican Cigar Festival. This event took place in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. Procigar 2023 was split between two cities: La Romana (February 19-21, 2023) and Santiago (February 21-25, 2023). Today we take a look at Day Two of Procigar in Santiago. For further details on the festival, see our pre-game report.
Day Two (February 22d) in Santiago saw the beginnings of the factory/farm tours followed by some seminars and an evening gala.
On each of the factory/farm tour days, participants can pick one tour to go on. For day one, I was on the Quesada Tour which was held at their TABADEX (Tabacos de Exportación) factory in Licey (in the Santiago metropolitan area). It is always difficult to decide what tour to go on due to the fact we can only do one tour per day. Because TABADEX was our Small/Medium Factory of the year, this was a factory that I really wanted to visit. This was the third Procigar Festival I have attended, but this year, it seemed like several companies were focusing less on going deep into cigar making, and more on developing an experience component. The visit to TABADEX was not a traditional factory tour, but rather a blending seminar. As a result, it fell into this “experience” category The seminar was hosted by the one and only Manuel “Manolo” Quesada.
Before I get into the details of the TABADEX visit, I want to recap what takes place the morning of each tour. What normally happens is buses arrive at the hotel to take people on their tours. The morning the buses arrive is one of my favorite things to watch. Many of the cigar makers are in the parking lot in front of the hotel. In many cases, they are actually working to get people loaded on the bus.
Our bus took our group to TABADEX where the blending seminar was held. We were each given four pairs of puritos (a single leaf that is rolled up). We would smoke each purito and make flavor notes. From that point, we would vote on which purito in each pair we liked better.
For each purito in the pair that won the consensus vote of the group, the same tobacco that made up that purito was used in a final blend. This allowed us to select four tobaccos for the final blend. The cigars for the final blend were rolled by someone at the factory. Each participant received one of the final blends.
While there wasn’t a formal factory tour, I did get to see parts of the TABADEX operation in action.
While day one featured a welcome reception, day two featured the first welcome gala. The gala was held at Parque Central in Santiago. This included a buffet dinner, music, and a dance competition. In addition to the cigars received upon check-in, another box of cigars was presented to attendees of this evening gala.
As the evening opened, each of the member companies of Procigar were acknowledged.
One thing I really have to compliment Procigar on is they have improved the seating for the international guests (which media would be grouped under). In the past seating was limited, but in this case, my perception is additional seating was provided.
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on February 25, 2023 @ 7:17 am