Before we dive into this amazing experience, one must get a better understanding of Davidoff Cigars. This may not be relevant to some, but we want to cover all bases here. I am one in sharing public information when it is given, and with an industry that is known for not always giving a lot of information, when it is provided publicly it must be shared. Davidoff Cigars is a premium brand of Oettinger Davidoff AG and they are headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. Oettinger Davidoff AG is the parent company of Tabadom Holding, Inc., which is responsible for the production of Davidoff Cigars. Based in the town of Villa González, Dominican Republic, Tabadom Holding, Inc. has been the company responsible for the production of Davidoff Cigars since 1989. Tabadom Holding, Inc. is actually responsible for the production of many other brands, and has actually been producing AVO Cigars since before Davidoff. Some years back, Hendrik Kelner, the former President/Owner of Tabadom Holding, Inc. sold the company to Oettinger Davidoff AG and eventually became General Manager before being replaced in 2015 by Hamlet Espinal.
Tabadom Holding, Inc. has four operations and as mentioned earlier, is based in Villa González, Dominican Republic. The first part of the operation is PTP, Procesadora de Tabaco Palmarejo. PTP is located in Jicomé, Dominican Republic and it handles the purchasing of tobacco from farms, processing and sorting the tobacco before it is sent to one of the three other operations. I should make a note that some farms where tobacco is bought from are owned by Tabadom Holding, Inc. and the Kelner Family, but some are privately owned and supported via Tabadom Holding, Inc. Regarding the other three operations, they are the three factories of Tabadom Holding, Inc. Cigars Davidoff (CIDAV), Occidental Cigar Factory and O.K. Cigars.
Developing Palates recently had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and see the operations of Tabadom Holding, Inc. from one of their farms and the PTP facility in Jicomé, to the rolling floors of CIDAV and O.K. Cigars in Villa González. On this trip, we were able to visit a farm in Jicomé, successful planting and harvesting San Vincente tobacco, while witnessing the early stages of curing. We were also able to tour the nearby tobacco processing facilities of PTP. There, we got a better understanding of the steps the company takes in fermentation and processing the tobacco, as well as seeing one of the nine facilities the company has for the storage and security of tobacco. Following that, we visited the town of Villa González where Tabadom Holding, Inc. is located. Here, we toured CIDAV and O.K. Cigars and saw the tobacco, brought from PTP facilities being prepped and rolled into cigars. With that, the application of bands and the packaging of cigars before being shipped worldwide.
During this incredible trip, we were fortunate enough to have a significant amount of time with two key individuals in Tabadom Holding, Inc., Hendrik Kelner and Hamlet Espinal. We were able to sit down with them and spend some quality time talking about tobacco, cigars and what separates Tabadom Holding, Inc. from other companies. We hope you enjoy these interviews and please provide feedback and ask any questions. If we can answer, we will. If not, we will work to get you those answers. To quote Henke Kelner, “I smoke cigars. I love cigars. I love the life.”
You can see our interview with Hamlet Espinal here.
Cigar Editorial: An Interview with Henke Kelner and Klaas Kelner of Davidoff