La Flor Dominicana is a unique and unconventional manufacturer for a variety of reasons. The company started up in Santiago, Dominican Republic back in 1996. The mastermind behind the company is a man named Litto Gomez, an individual whose background is in the jewelry business. He operated a high-end store in Miami for a number of years, until one day he found himself facing the wrong end of a gun barrel. His store was robbed for somewhere in the ballpark of half a million dollars in jewels. While one can only imagine the thought process of someone who endures such an event, one seems fairly straightforward – Litto figured it was time to transition to a different industry (preferably one that is less likely to see him facing the end of a gun again, I would imagine). Litto and his wife Ines packed up and moved to the Dominican Republic, and thus, La Flor Dominicana was born. Shortly thereafter, LFD was fully established and acquired its own farms and factory; now known as Tabacalera La Flor S.A.. The company grew to the top of the ’boutique’ scene quite quickly. Nowadays, the brand sits in a well-carved niche, firmly planted as a big player in the industry, while still retaining the feel, flexibility, and creativity of a boutique manufacturer; or as Litto puts it – “boutique-styled”.
Much of this can be attributed to a single aspect. Similar to Padron, Davidoff, Arturo Fuente, or Liga Privada, all of La Flor Dominicana’s cigars bare the distinct and immediately recognizable La Flor flavor. This distinct sense of individuality is a characteristic that all great manufactures have, and is absolutely critical in making a cigar that will be both memorable and iconic. I am of the belief that all works of art – or acts of creation, for that matter – bare an intangible essence of their creator. Masters of an art form are those who can consistently repeat the process of creation in a manner that is both sophisticated and refined, as well as something distinctively all their own. La Flor Dominicana, more specifically Litto Gomez, is as true a representation of this as any.
Enough background and romanticism, let’s discuss the cigar being reviewed today – the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger. This cigar is a unique size of the classic Double Ligero blend. The Double Ligero is arguably La Flor Dominicana’s most famous blend, and I would venture to say is a large part of the reason La Flor Dominicana has garnered so much respect. The Double Ligero blend is one of the few true Dominican powerhouses. The vast majority of Dominican tobacco tends to fall on the milder side of the spectrum, and fuller bodied Dominican tobacco often pales in comparison to the strength of strong Nicaraguan, Cuban, or Honduran tobacco. The Double Ligero is one of the very few exceptions to this, offering the praised Dominican characteristics of black-white pepper, damp/slightly musky earthy barnyard flavors, and sweetness that is generally known for being similar to dried fruit with a high degree of vibrancy. Additionally, the blend also achieves some of the nicer characteristics of Nicaraguan tobacco – namely heavy leather, dark soil and coffee notes, as well as softer hints of chocolate. While not a Dominican puro, the Double Ligero is no doubt iconic for being the go-to powerhouse that boasts its Dominican characteristics.
The Digger is simply a specific size in the DL line, albeit with an interesting inception. As the story goes, there was an individual who went by the nickname of “Digger” who told Litto that he absolutely loved the DL700, and thought it would be absolutely perfect if it was just two inches longer. Much to Digger’s delight, Litto Gomez shipped the store Digger frequented a box of cigars just for him, a DL700 that was two inches longer, and called it the “Digger”. As we all know, the cigar industry is large, but ultimately a tight-knit group. Word of this mythical beast of a cigar spread like wildfire. One thing led to another, and today the Digger is a full production cigar, being offered in both a natural and a maduro wrapper. The LFD DL Digger is actually La Flor Dominican’s 2nd best-selling cigar, only outsold by the slightly more traditional DL700, and both stand well above the rest of LFD’s offerings in terms of volume.
Cigar: La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger Natural
Size: 8 1/2 x 60
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sungrown
Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
There are eight million things that leap to the forefront of your mind when faced with the opportunity of describing the visuals of this cigar, with approximately 7,950,000 of those being in some way related to a phallus. Despite the LFD Digger’s propensity to spike the juvenile sense of humor in all of us, this big burly SOB is no laughing matter. The wrapper is a dense and robust Ecuadorian leaf that is a dark brown with a burgundy hue, containing quite a bit of depth visually, revealing some lighter shades when you really look ‘into’ it. The LFD Digger is surprisingly smooth; while you can visually spot some smaller veins, they’re virtually non-existent to the touch. Heavy tooth runs all along the cigar.
A light powdered milk chocolate-esque note is the first thing that is noticed, similar to the aroma when opening a fresh container of Nestle Cocoa Powder. Aside from that there are some fairly straightforward aromas of fresh earthy soil, and a rounded woodsy note. The real beast lays layered in deep beneath all of that; sniff hard enough and you’ll find a not-so-subtle indication of the amount of strength and spice that the Double Ligero blend is known for. It’s not too big of a stretch to describe it as being somewhat similar to the aroma of a mild hot sauce.
The first third of this behemoth fires up quickly and with ease, and spares no time in making it clear that this is a full-bodied cigar (in case the blend being called ‘Double Ligero’ was too confusing). Allow me to take a moment to reflect; I think it’s a fair statement to make that regardless of your liking or feelings for La Flor Dominicana’s cigars, one thing is undeniable – nothing tastes like an LFD other than an LFD. Firing up the LFD Digger immediately invigorates the palate in La Flor’s signature fashion. Roaring full-bore with flavor right out of the gate, with an artillery strike of direct and powerful spice hitting the palate front and center. Heavy doses of tangy cedar and dry leather round out the rest of the profile, with a bit of an acidic mineral flavor that seems to be fairly common with Ecuadorian Sungrowns.
The second third of the titan that is the La Flor Dominicana Digger sees both a bit of balancing and refinement occur. The spicier characteristics, while ever-present, have relaxed slightly in their intensity. There’s a bit less ‘sizzle’ on the palate, if that makes any sense. Undertones of chocolate have slowly arisen, providing a nice sweet and spicy contrast in the finish. Plenty of leather and cedar remain, while the more ‘acidic’ aspects of the aforementioned mineral flavors have smoothed over. The mineral flavors leave a damp finish similar to that of mineral water. Strength, body, flavor, and aroma still plow forward firmly in the full-bodied category, with the smoke being neither creamy nor dry, but rather somewhere in between. Towards the end of the second third, the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger starts to see a notable rise in cedar and woodsy notes. I’d advise you to avoid being overzealous putting the Digger through the nose; with this much power and intensity, it’s easy to wind up getting a fierce pepper blast to the nostrils. With moderation, however, you’ll get some lively pepper and spice, as well as a bit of caramelized cedar.
The profile has seen quite a bit of evolution into the final third. Still thoroughly full in all respects, the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger has a much stronger presence of earth, dry wood, and leather than earlier on, with some dry dark roast coffee being picked up in the finish. Plenty of pepper and spice still remains, as well as cocoa undertones, but they’re no longer in the spotlight. There is still a strong bite on the front end that will grip the attention of your palate with every puff, but it’s no longer from strong pepper or spice, but rather what seems to be pure nicotine strength. The cigar has been pretty damn balanced start to finish, but it seems to be at its most reserved in the final third, and therefore at its most balanced. Through the nose you’ll get heavy doses of damp earth, as well as leather, but it wouldn’t be a La Flor party without black pepper, which is most certainly still present.
Burn and Construction:
The construction is fantastic on this cigar. As mentioned earlier, the wrapper leaf is beautiful, and I imagine it takes a substantial amount of time and effort to find leaves that are large and sturdy enough to be used for the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger. The cigar is rolled brilliantly, with near seamless roll lines. It’s also fairly durable, and isn’t prone to splitting or flaking. Baby-ing cigars, while necessary for the right cigar, is an annoyance. It’s nice to be able to carry this thing around freely without worrying about it falling apart. I swear, some cigars are so fragile that I’d feel more comfortable carrying dynamite.
I was fairly skeptical as to how this cigar would burn. I’ve had a fair share of LFD’s, particularly out of the DL line, that have burned a bit funky. Ligero tobacco has its notorious difficulties with combustion, so having a temperamental burn on a cigar that calls itself “Double Ligero” is an experience so banal that it bores even me. That all being said, the Digger performed well, and seemed to actually burn a bit better in the larger size (I typically smoke the Chisel, Chiselito, and Chisel Gorda). The wrapper definitely needed a bit of help here and there, but that wasn’t unexpected.
Well, let’s start with the obvious. Well, two obvious statements, actually. Reviews are highly subjective, and I am a big La Flor fan. That being said, I do my best to try to perceive more objective qualities in a cigar, as well as identify how my preferences coincide with them. What I can safely tell you is this: the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero line is a fantastic cigar, and is a staple in most full-bodied smokers rotation. It’s full-bodied (that much is certain), booming with all sorts of flavors, and visceral in the way in which it delivers pepper and spice to the palate. The line ranges from $8.00-10.50ish depending on size, and you’ll be genuinely hard pressed to find a cigar that offers pure power, complexity, sophistication, and balance to such a degree anywhere, and particularly at that price point. Based on flavor alone, I’d gladly grab any DL off the shelf over a lot of cigars in the $12.00-15.00 range. Bang for the buck, it simply can’t be beat.
As for the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger specifically; it’s easy to write this cigar off as a bit gimmicky at first glance. It probably is, at least to some extent. Most cigars this size are bought for value or novelty, although quite a few people do genuinely enjoy a larger ring gauge. What the Digger does is somewhat unique; it’s the only cigar of its size, at least that I can think of, that offers the strength, complexity, balance, flavor, and all around quality of a top-tier blend on such a large scale. Individuals with less experienced palates will enjoy it at face value, and those with a seasoned and refined palate can find all the nuance and complexity they desire on a large-scale. For me, the ability to grab a single cigar that will keep me satisfied and enthused for the better part of three hours is really nice. While it’s not a cigar I would take on all the time, I like the fact that it is an option when the need arises. How this cigar retails for under $11.oo is beyond me.
4.25 out of 5
*Editors note: the Digger is a brand new addition to our humidor. At the time this review was written, I didn’t realize that it hasn’t been added to our website. This will be fixed ASAP. I apologize for the inconvenience.