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The new world of new-world cigars: A conversation with Juan Lugo of Don Doroteo



This month, we had the opportunity to talk to Juan Lugo, tobacco farmer, cigar maker, and co-founder of Don Doroteo - making a big splash in the world of cigars whilst maintaining the legacy of his Grandfather and local community.

We caught up with Juan from his beautiful Tobacco farm, in the heart of the Dominican Republic.


Sam & Jacob: Hi Juan, great to meet you again. Thanks for taking the time to have a quick chat with us.

Juan Lugo: No worries at all, great to see you both again.


S&J: Lets jump right in, now what inspired you to start Don Doroteo Cigars?

JL:  The inspiration came from a deep-rooted connection to my family's heritage in the Dominican Republic and a desire to pay tribute to my grandfather, Doroteo Fermin Delgado. Discovering tobacco plants still growing on land my mother inherited from him ignited my spark to create Don Doroteo Cigars.


S&J: Fantastic, now the name is pretty unique. Where did Don Doroteo come from?

JL: The name "Don Doroteo" honours my grandfather, who was a dedicated farmer and a cornerstone of our family. He had a longstanding partnership with La Aurora, the oldest cigar manufacturer in the Dominican Republic. His partnership dating back to 1936, when he was just 16 years old.


S&J: Amazing, so truly keeping his name alive throughout everything you're doing. Your most popular cigar is the "Salt of the Earth" - Could you describe the process of creating one of these signature cigar blends?

JL: Creating a signature blend, or core blend such as our 'Salt of The Earth" line involves meticulous selection of tobaccos, experimentation with different combinations for a period of at least 1 year, and rigorous testing to achieve the perfect balance of flavour, aroma, and complexity. All-in-all this is an 18-month process, and one that we are in right now for the next core line!


Doroteo Fermin Delgado


S&J: Now, from your approach on social media, it seems you're really looking to carve a new world of cigars for DD, what do you think sets Don Doroteo Cigars apart from other cigar brands?

JL: Our cigars are crafted with a blend of tradition and innovation, using aged tobaccos sourced from the same region where my grandfather once cultivated tobacco and from various farms across the globe. Each cigar carries the legacy of generations and a commitment to quality that's unmatched. Moreover, due to my grandfather's legacy I have been granted access to the aging room vault – reserved for friends and family, from which I have acquired the rights to three blends. Each of these blends has been rolled and aged for more than 15 years. 


S&J: Aging for 15 years, that's incredible. So how do you ensure the quality and consistency of your cigars throughout this whole process?

JL: Quality is pushed every facet of Don Doroteo, to maintain strict quality control measures at every stage of production, from selecting the finest tobaccos to overseeing the rolling process. Our commitment to consistency is reflected in the craftsmanship of each Don Doroteo cigar.


S&J: The world of cigars is typically dominated buy a few big players, so its refreshing to see not only a new take on the tradition of cigars, but also an innovative way in which you present the company. What challenges have you faced as a small business owner in the cigar industry?

JL: As a business owner in a competitive industry, navigating regulations, distribution channels, and building brand recognition have been significant challenges. However, our dedication to our craft and the support of our community have helped us overcome these obstacles. 



S&J: Of course - so how do you stay innovative and adapt to the ever changing cigar consumer, whilst ensuring you stay true to those traditions?

JL: We're constantly talking to our customers, to stay attuned to market trends and consumer feedback, continually experimenting with new blends and exploring innovative techniques while staying true to our heritage and tradition. This is a two-part answer, for one you need to be very passionate and determined when creating a brand and a portfolio of cigars. Secondly, you need to do some deep research, not only within the industry, but also within – figure out what you want your legacy to be!


S&J: As any customer, we love to hear you take our feedback on board! Can you tell us about any memorable experiences or interactions with customers since starting Don Doroteo Cigars?

JL: Interacting with customers who share a passion for cigars and hearing their stories has been incredibly rewarding. Each interaction is a reminder of the connections we forge through our shared love of tobacco. I've had some interactions that have left me speechless, to know that our product, brand and the way we conduct business can mean so much to others; its humbling


Don Doroteo El Casa del Tobacco drying house


S&J: Considering its so firmly scattered with tradition, the world of cigars is also always evolving. What do you see as the future of the cigar industry, and how do you envision Don Doroteo's role within it?

JL: We are cigar manufacturers and more importantly, we are bearers of a legacy – we owe it to the next generation of aficionados, to carry the torch in a way that has not seen in this industry thus far.  The future of the cigar industry lies in innovation, sustainability, and preserving tradition. Don Doroteo aims to be at the forefront of these developments, offering unique blends that honour our heritage while embracing the evolving tastes of cigar enthusiasts. 


S&J: Sounds brilliant, so with that in mind - are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you're particularly excited about?

JL: We're constantly exploring new collaborations and projects to expand our offerings and reach new audiences. We are just closing in on two projects, one of which is a 21-year-old blend, meaning it was rolled in 2004, using tobaccos aged 5+ years! The other is our next core line, which we have already been working on for 7 months. Stay tuned for exciting announcements in this!


The passionate Torcedors of Don Doroteo

 

S&J: and finally, for our readers around the world, where can we purchase Don Doroteo cigars?

JL: You can find Don Doroteo cigars available for purchase through select retailers, found on our site store locator.


S&J: Thanks for speaking to us today, Juan - looking forward to see what's coming next for Don Doroteo!

JL: Any time guys, take care!


To find out more about Juan's legacy and the world of Don Doroteo Cigars, head on over to: https://dondoroteo.com/







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