In January, La Aurora had announced the opening of their La Aurora Cigar World and the Cigar Institute, an institution dedicated to training and teaching about cigars in an educational setting with instructions from recognized industry professionals.
The first course, lasting three days, began on February 29, with the visit of the Executive Director of the Tobacco Institute, Juan Francisco Caraballo, to sign with the President of La Aurora, Guillermo Leon, the document certifying the first agreement between a government agency and a private company.
The first day of class began with Benjamín Menéndez speaking on the history of Tobacco through the centuries. Next, Juan Ventura, industrial engineer and director of operations at La Aurora, described the economic and social importance of tobacco in the Dominican Republic.
The third hour of class began with the former President of General Cigar, Daniel Núñez, who, together with industrial engineer and consultant in Tobacco cultivation and processes Leoncio Cruz, discussed the cultural practices of seed beds, harvest and curing. After lunch, they both spoke for the rest of the day about the processes of fermentation and aging of raw tobacco concluding with a visit by the whole group to a plantation to see in detail the destemming of the filler.
The second day began with a visit to La Aurora. After the instructional portion came the first hour of theory by José Seijas, an industrial engineer who has managed several tobacco companies throughout his career. Seijas went into depth about the functionality and quality of cigars.
After lunch and a short break to taste some cigars in the cigar lounge adjacent to the Cigar Institute classrooms, the afternoon session began with a class on cigar selection and the processes of pressing and rolling.
The third day was for many students a demonstration of the content they had learned, put into practice in a class by Master Blender Manuel Inoa. From the rolling of cigars to their banding and packing, the master blender covered all of this, capped off by observations from Guillermo León regarding cigar selection, cutting and lighting. The course ended with an assessment test and delivery of official diplomas to the students.
Gustavo Velayos, Sales and Marketing Director says “We are very pleased with the development and launch of this first course. The attendants have been able to learn, under the direction of emblematic figures that have worked in various multinational companies of the tobacco industry, the main characteristics of a product like this, which has an essential cultural component reflecting in our case a century of tradition in our native Dominican land.”