Visiting Jochy and José Manuel Blanco from Tabacalera Palma
For the way from Santo Domingo to Santigo, Luis José picks me up and after jamming through the afternoon traffic of Santo Domingo, we head through an incredibly beautiful green sprawling hilly landscape towards Santiago.
My Spanish is very rusty, but Luis is patient. We tell each other, what we like to drink and eat and when I confess to him how much I like Presidente beer, he stops immediately and we get this Dominican super beer in the car.
In Santiago, I stay at Camp David Ranch for the next three days. It is not only magically located, but you also eat very very well there.
With the twinkling lights below me, I still enjoy ceviche and a Zaccagnini Pinot Griogio, and fall into bed - I have not quite put away the time difference.
After three espressos on the terrace of the ranch and with a lot of wind (una brisa, they say here actually!) around the nose, it's off to Tamboril to the Tabacalera Palma.
There Jochy and his son José Manuel welcome me warmly. I may - it's like Christmas - immediately choose a cigar from the La Galera portfolio and we immediately lose ourselves in conversation about everything possible, before I even begin with the interview.
Both father and son are bursting with energy and are eager to show me the Tabacalera Palma factory.
Because there will be a cover story about it and there will be an extra film about it in our digital versions, I'll only tell you this much now: it was one big pleasure...
Very relaxed and happy people there, the finest tobacco and a family team that wants to bring out the best and actively debates with each other to make the best of everything.
But I will tell you one thing in advance: : in two weeks a new La Galera will be launched, it is called Chiquito, a Perfecto with Cameroon wrapper. It's named after Chiquito, the employee and roller who makes it specifically and has worked for the family for many years.
I get a freshly rolled Chiquito away from the table and I think in the photo you can see how happy this cigar made me. And: because Jochy's tobaccos have all had a long long long long time to mature, you can really smoke this cigar away from the roller table and it tastes!
Outside we visit Jochy's cows - he is an outdoorsman and passion number two after tobacco is cattle.
Anyway, it was a wonderful day with the two of them, they took a lot of time and were so open and candid. Thank you!