There are certain people in the cigar industry that bring a smile to my face whenever I hear their names. Hostos Fernández Quesada is one of them.

Fernández has been in the cigar business a very long time and has worked in very different parts of the business, including factory operations for Quesada Cigars until 2018 and then as the general manager at Cigar Rings—a multi-national company that produces the paper bands found on cigars.

Both of those former positions prepared him for his biggest change yet, owning his own Tabacalera La Isla factory that opened in late 2020. Located inside the Gurabo Zona Franca—a free zone—in Santiago, Dominican Republic, the new factory currently has 10 pairs creating cigars, but the complex has space for quite a few more in the future.

Currently, Tabacalera La Isla is producing cigars for a number of brands that you have probably heard of—a list that includes La Sirena, Matilde Cigar Co. and Warped—in addition to making various private label cigars.

For those of you that want to know more technical details, this portrait was taken in the rolling room at Tabacalera La Isla with a Sony a7RIV and a Sony 24mm ƒ/1.4 lens set to ƒ/1.6 and 1/1000 of a second. The ISO was set at 640 and there were four sources of light: incandescent light from the ceiling of the factory, light from the tubes spelling out the logo and name of the factory behind Hostos, a video light held by Charlie to the left of the camera and the light emanating from the lighter/foot of the cigar. The photograph was converted from RAW in Photoshop 2022 and adjustments were made using custom actions.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.