If this is the first time you’ve heard of Bella Dominicana, that’s because the brand has literally just hit the market. Debuting in August of this year, Bella Dominicana is off to an ambitious intro into the cigar world, entering the Australian, Hong Kong, Chinese, Switzerland, Dominican and other Caribbean Island markets. And while they have yet to launch here in the US, plans are to expand to the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, UAE, and Turkey in the near future.
Of course, when you find a completely unknown brand such as Bella, the first reaction is often bleak. That is, until you learn of its origins, which, in Bella Dominicana’s case, includes a roster I’d like to refer to as “stacked”. Jochy Blanco and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo ring any bells??? These two talented gentlemen are responsible for blending Bella.
According to Bella Dominicana, the brand cam about when Armando Diaz (of Mel Caribbean Corp.) and Jochy Blano (Tabacalera Palma owner) researched and determined the characteristics that 80% of cigar smokers want in a cigar. They then crafted such a smoking experience, which brings us to their first offering, eponymously titled Bella Dominicana.
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Bella Dominicana Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Dominican Cubano-La Canela
- Filler: Dominican Quisqueya (Seco) | Nicaraguan (Viso) | Dominican Criollo 98 (Viso)
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular release
- Vitola: 4 7/8″ x 46 “M” corona
- Price: $7
There are 6 vitolas in the Bella lineup, each size named with a different letter—which, when aligned from the smallest to largest ring gauge, spells out “MELISA”, honoring brand creator Armando Diaz’s wife and their twentieth anniversary. The packaging and presentation are nothing short of eye catching, another reason to dismiss any doubt from a relatively unknown brand. Here you will find a classic dress box-style packaging, with ornate paper dressings surrounding the box’s corners and forming the hinge. A vibrant pink, red, blue, and gold vista adorns the lid, having a very classic, authentic appearance.
The cigars appear equally vintage/Cubanesque, with ornate and bright, gold, embossed bands and a gold, embossed foot band. The cigar’s wrapper is clean, smooth, and without blemish—having a nice Colorado Claro, caramel hue. The roll feels very sturdy, having a hard, papier-mâché-like exterior. And with a large punch cut, the draw feels nearly perfect, maybe slightly on the firm side. There isn’t much available in terms of pre-light aroma, having a very subtle barnyard hay smell, and possibly a hint of cedar.
The cigar lights up with a good dose of flavor, it’s instantly apparent there are complexities to be found. Upfront, there is an oily texture with a buttery creaminess. Classic barnyard hay is at the mid-palate and there is practically zero spice through the retrohale, until the absolute last moment on the finish—which brings a nice zest in the back of the nostrils and throat.
The body is a dead medium, with a decent smoke output that occasionally requires a double puff to produce enough smoke. The profile is very classic, with flavors that smoothly transition from the beginning of each puff to each long finish. This is where the smoke sweetens—at the tail end of the finish—moving from a cedar, hay, and butter quality, to Nilla Wafers, and finishing with pure, sweetened vanilla extract.
Approaching the band, the profile shows off a few more tricks, having a more complex overall smoke. First off, you have a light, milky caramel, which is joined by Graham crackers and homemade, doughy bread (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve baked your own bread, delicious!). Construction-wise, the cigar is a bit delicate, requiring lots of attention to balance between keeping it lit and overheating—lots of small, frequent puffs throughout. Soon there is an added orange-citrus zest, strength and spice in the retro, and a tangy quality I like to think of as Dominican “funk” (comparable to the funkiness of a nice Belgian beer).
Would I smoke this cigar again?
No problem, this has all the makings to be a daily smoke/go-to smoke/box purchase… you get the picture. With price factored into the equation, and the amount of flavor and complexity delivered, I wouldn’t mind smoking this on a regular basis. It’s worth noting, I found this corona size to have a lot more desirable flavor and complexity than the larger robusto vitola (I haven’t tried the other 4 sizes yet).
- Classic profile
- Lots of complexity for price range
- Steady flavor transitions
- Delicate wrapper
- Burn can be finicky, requiring small, frequent puffs