Established on October 3rd, 1903 by Eduardo León Jimenez, La Aurora claims the title of being the very first cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. Today, over over 115 years later La Aurora is sold in over 60 countries within 5 continents and produces more than 1 billion cigars each year.

Producing recognizable brands such as La Aurora (of course), León Jimenez, Principes, Family Reserve and Imperiales, the family company is now run by Eduardo’s grandson, Guillermo León Herbert. Its headquarters, located in the city of Santiago within the Tamboril region of the Dominican Republic employs over 1000 people.

The facade of the La Aurora factory

The La Aurora headquarters facade in Santiago, DM

La Aurora and Santiago

Santiago De Los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic is often referred to as ‘Cigar City’. It’s nestled within a very lush region called Cibao Valley; home to some of the world’s most fertile tobacco growing fields.

A view of tobacco plants within the Cibao Valley, Dominican Republic

A view within the lush growing region of the Cibao Valley

To many who have grown up here, tobacco growing and cultivating is a way of life. The Dominican Republic is world’s largest producer of cigars, and the second biggest importer to the United States. Tobacco is deeply intertwined within the Dominican culture. It has forged an industry that is a major contributing factor to the Dominican economy and employs a substantial portion of its population.

La Aurora: The Dominican and Beyond

Joanna Liriano was born in Santiago and is a former employee of La Aurora who now lives and works in Toronto, Canada for House Of Horvath Cigars. Today, Joanna works closely with several Dominican-based companies like La Aurora to bring premium Dominican cigars into Canada to be distributed by House Of Horvath.

House Of Horvath have been successfully distributing la Aurora across Canada for the past 27 years and counting.

CIGAR PROFILE: La Aurora 1903 Cameroon

With a large portfolio of different vitolas and rings that have a range from 30 to 58 thickness, La Aurora Cameroon gets its name from the country Cameroon, Africa, where its red and shiny wrapper was formerly harvested (nowadays is Cameroon seed grown in Ecuador).

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“Santiago De Los Caballeros is often referred to as ‘Cigar City’.”

To delve a little deeper, we’ve asked Joanna a few questions about La Aurora, Santiago and the Dominican Republic:

La Aurora is located in Santiago. Tell us a little bit about life in Santiago…

JL: Santiago is also known as ‘The Heart City’. It is a small but beautiful city located in the northern region of the Dominican Republic. Santiago is filled with art and culture everywhere; it’s impossible not to find something great to do day or night. Not to mention how great it is to be so close to friends and family – another perk of living in a small city.

What was your job at La Aurora and what did it involve?  

JL: At La Aurora I was a Commercial Analyst. My main duty was to analyze sales data and prepare different reports that provide the head staff with information about the business in terms of prices and margin of contribution. I also was regularly involved with the elaboration of marketing plans and the price assignation process for our new products.

There are over 1000 employees at La Aurora. Is it difficult to meet any of the León family or any of the other ‘big names’ within the company?

JL: Definitely not. One of the best things about working at La Aurora is that the organizational structure feels very horizontal, and everyone – no matter the position – is very accessible. You can feel free to knock on any door if you need to, even Don Guillermo’s office or even to learn something from the great blender Manuel Inoa.

From L to R: Master Blender Manuel Inoa, Juan ‘Tito’ Ventura (Director Of Operations) and Joanna Liriano

How do you feel cigars are associated with the culture of Santiago and the Dominican Republic?

JL: The tradition behind the Dominican tobacco industry runs deep and is impossible to describe within a mere sentence or two. We could start talking about the humble farmer that grows the tobacco to roll his own cigar or to make his Andullos, or the cigar roller who learned all about the job from his or her father or grandfather and works for a big company or maybe for one of the numerous small factories in Tamboril, Santiago. The fact that Dominican cigars have obtained such huge acclaim in the last decades makes me really proud, and even more so when I think of the fact that I come from the little town that made it all happen.

How has your work at La Aurora assisted in your current position at House Of Horvath?

So much of what I know about cigars and the cigar market I learned at La Aurora. It also afforded me the opportunity to get to know many people within the industry and allowed me to contribute in many ways to the ongoing development of La Aurora. This experience has proved invaluable for my present position at House Of Horvath, as I continue to work with La Aurora and many other companies, and not only the Dominican Republic – but also Nicaragua and Honduras as well. Speaking Spanish and knowing the cigar industry certainly has it’s advantages!

Thank you for playing an ongoing role in making La Aurora available in Canada Joanna! 

It’s my pleasure. I’m very proud to help import this iconic cigar brand from my home country.

CIGAR PROFILE: La Aurora 1962 Corojo

An elegant and creamy cigar due to the roasted coffee notes that mix with reminiscent floral and leather notes on a background of woody and dried fruits base. Notes of honey standout all along the entire smoke with a strength ranging from medium to full.

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Summary

La Aurora continues to be one of the biggest and most recognizable brands within Dominican tobacco industry, and has contributed greatly to the nation’s global presence through being sold and revered around the world. Despite this, La Aurora operates as a tight-knit family-run business that continues to wow cigar enthusiasts with their latest blends and garner acclaim in reviews. Their standards of high quality tobacco, coupled with their time-honored traditions and their tie to the people of Santiago are among the major driving forces behind their continued success.

Thanks to House Of Horvath and people like Joanna, La Aurora will continue to be a favorite among Canadian cigar lovers.

-Kurt Bradley