Launched earlier this year, Bella Dominicana is a new brand that was founded by Armando Diaz of Mel Caribbean Corporation and José “Jochy” Blanco, who owns the Tabacalera Palma factory in the Dominican Republic. While the cigars are available now in various countries around the world, the company is planning a push into the U.S. market in the near future.
Blend-wise, Bella Dominicana features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper covering a Dominican binder as well as filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
The line is available in six different vitolas, each with a one letter name that combine to spell the name MELISA, who is Diaz’s wife:
- Bella Dominicana M (4 7/8 x 46)
- Bella Dominicana E (5 x 52)
- Bella Dominicana L ( 6 1/2 x 54)
- Bella Dominicana I (5 x 56)
- Bella Dominicana S (5 1/4 x 58)
- Bella Dominicana A (6 x 60)
While both the E and M vitolas are sold in 12 and 24-count boxes, the A, I, L, and S sizes are available in both 10 and 20-count boxes. The cigars are rolled at the Tabacalera Palma factory in the Dominican Republic.
- Cigar Reviewed: Bella Dominicana M
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 4 7/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
- Vitola: Petite Corona
- MSRP: $7 (Boxes of 12, $84; Boxes of 24, $168)
- Release Date: 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Covered in a cinnamon brown wrapper, the Bella Dominicana M has a large number of veins running up and down the length of the cigar, along with a touch of oil. The cigar is a bit spongy when squeezed and features a very slight box press. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of creamy almonds, leather, manure, hay and dark chocolate, while the cold draw brings flavors of banana bread, tree bark, barnyard, espresso, leather and a touch of pepper on my tounge.
The Bella Dominicana starts off with the first third with a dominant roasted almond note, along with other flavors of hay, earth, leather, creamy cedar and slight yeast. There is a very nice—albeit not very aggressive—maple syrup sweetness on the finish, which combines nicely with the slight white pepper that is present on the retrohale. Construction-wise, the burn is a bit wavy, but not bad enough to have to touch up yet, while the draw is excellent so far, and smoke production coming from the foot is about average. The overall strength is quite light, and struggles to hit a point halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.
The second third of the Bella Dominicana M switches profiles a bit, with a distinct green pepper flavor becoming noticeable starting around the halfway point, combining with the still dominant almond note. Lesser flavors of creamy cedar, hay, dark chocolate, espresso beans and barnyard flit in and out, while the maple sweetness from the first third continues to be obvious on the finish. There is still some nice white pepper on the retrohale, but it is noticeably reduced from the first third, and does not seem to want to get any stronger. The burn is has become bad enough that i have to touch it up a couple of times, but the draw remains excellent. Strength-wise, the M gets closer to the medium mark by the end of the second third, but still falls short before the final third begins.
Coming into the final third of the Bella Dominicana M, the green pepper note from the first third is long gone, leaving the almond nuttiness as the continuing dominant flavor in the profile. There are other flavors in various strengths, including creamy cedar, grass, licorice, coffee grounds and a touch of citrus, and while the maple syrup sweetness has diminished a bit, it is still strong enough to easily distinguish. The burn has evened up nicely and remains that way until the end of the cigar, while the draw continues to impress. The overall strength increases slightly, barely hitting the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.
- Earlier this month, Matilde Cigar Co. announced that it would be moving some of its production to the same factory where Bella Dominicana cigars are produced, Tabacalera Palma.
- In addition, Tabacalera Palma just announced it will be producing the new The Seven Five Cigars brand.
- The band is obviously high quality, but the art on it reminds me of a more cartoonish version of what is on My Father’s La Antiguedad.
- The wrappers on these cigars are extremely delicate, almost to a fault. In fact, the wrapper on one of the samples I smoked split about halfway through the smoke, but interestingly, it did not affect burn all that much.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just over one hour.
- The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by Bella Dominicana.
I am always intrigued when I smoke a relatively unknown brand for the first time, and I have to say, Bella Dominicana has quite a few positives going for it. While not overly complex, the profile is flavorful and smooth, with some nice balance and good construction overall. Yes, the fragile wrapper can be a problem, but it can be worked around fairly easily, and it did not seem to affect the construction of the cigar that split on me in any negative way. Overall, a good first release, and one that I can recommend trying when they become available, especially considering the price.