September 27, 2023 1:44 pm

GTO 33 Oaks Maduro

“Those who know smoke GTO!”

—Dr. Oscar Rodriguez

What Makes It Special

Yes, fourth generation Dominican cigar maker and physician, Dr. Oscar Rodriguez, actually re-named his family’s cigar company after his favorite American muscle car, The Pontiac GTO. After inheriting the family farm and cigar legacy, Dr. GTO wanted to innovate the brand by applying some new techniques to his family’s traditional way of making Dominican cigars. Currently residing in Atlanta, he became inspired by the thirty three different types of Georgia oak trees and leaves that he enjoys on his daily walks. His goal for a new cigar was to somehow get the flavor of those oak leaves into a cigar blend. 

Sitting on ten year old Cuban seeded house tobaccos, grown at his family’s Santiago farm in the Valle de Cibao, at over 1,800 feet above sea level, Dr. GTO decided to finish aging that tobacco for two years, in used bourbon oak barrels. The result is a very unique, hardy, and complex flavored Dominica Puro cigar, handmade at the Tabacalera GTO Dominicana, which is  located in the Caribbean island of Dominican Republic. 


33 Oaks Maduro

Brand: GTO Cigars 
Vitola: Corona Gorda 6×47
Filler: Dominican  
Wrapper: Dominican Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Age: 12 years
Body: Medium to Full
Price: $10

Visual / Pre-light Draw

There is a dry chalky oiliness to the tough looking and toothy dark brown maduro wrapper. The cigar’s hard construction has a slight softness to it. Its cool band displays GTO over large fonted 33 Oaks, superimposed over Docs favorite orange oak leaf. Dr. GTO did the artwork himself and its simple but elegant gold foot band slides right off. There is dark chocolate over fresh hay on the side sniff, and chocolate covered raspberries over big floral notes on the dry foot odor. There is some saltiness but no spice when prepping the head for my favorite Colibri V-cut, with big bold vanilla raisin bran notes on the dry draw.

First Third

Very sweet chocolate on the foot smoke odor, then bold leathery chocolate notes hit the palate, with lingering macadamia nuts on the finish. The tobacco is packed tightly, so the draw is slightly tighter than I would like it to be, but that is a personal preference. Then a nice transition to sweet and mild campfire roasted walnuts over smoked vanilla oats, and a subtle spicy punch on the retro-hale. This cigar is slightly salty, very slow burning, complex in flavor, and the ash holds perfectly with a nice even burn. This lengthy first third immediately ignites that relaxed feeling of sitting around a summer campfire.


Second Third

That perfect ash is still holding strong, even against the strong Chicago breeze. The draw has opened up perfectly, with bolder notes of both chocolate and vanilla. Then everything mellows together to creamy chocolate turtle notes of caramel and pecan clusters. That perfect ash finally fell off with dignity, all over my shirt, but who cares, I’m in the Dominican Republic’s serenity zone!

Time to introduce this bourbon barrel aged cigar to one of my favorite single malt scotch whiskies, The Glendronach 15 Revival. This is a complex cream bomb pairing that definitely deserves some time and attention. The cigar’s slow burn continues the serene smoking experience, which seems like it will last for “Hours,” which is the perfect instrumental and meditative track for this pairing, by one of my favorite bands, Tycho. 


Final Third

This lengthy and relaxing meditative smoke becomes bolder in flavor, with some bold smokiness that coats the palate. Everything is smoothing out, even on the retro-hale, while notes of deep charred oak and classic well aged bourbon flavors start revealing themselves. The cigar’s final third experience brings the smoker inside that charred oak barrel that helped age its tobacco. Finally, some salted dark chocolate notes start coming in over bold campfire roasted chestnuts on the finish. This is definitely a bolder and complex cigar for seasoned aficionados. An even longer ash fell off as I enjoyed the bold oaky bourbon notes to the nub. For those looking for a bold chocolatey smoke, this GTO 33 Oaks Maduro is the way to go! 

Puffing on the ​cigar to the drink produces a beautiful chocolate orange marmalade that coats the entire palate, over some white chocolate creaminess.

The whiskey really tones down all of the cigar’s bold flavors to a very unique cotton candy-like flavor. This part of the pairing is like putting out a campfire with a bucket of maraschino cherry juice.

The Pairing

I decided to challenge this bourbon barrel aged cigar by pairing it with The Glendronach 15 Revival, a very rich, 46% ABV, full bodied and sweet sherry bomb single malt scotch whisky. It has unique flavors of clove, coffee, dark chocolate, cinnamon, prunes, & dates. It is called revival to honor industry icon Billy Walker, who reinvented the brand as its new independent owner in 2008. In 2016, he sold the brand to Brown-Foreman, who caused controversial dissension over the removal of the phrase “non-chill filtered” on the bottle. However, Brown-Foreman re-assures us that the whisky, first aged in Oloroso Sherry and then Pedro Ximinez Sherry, is still non-chill filtered. 

Live Pairing

Dr. Oscar Rodriguez, @Wonders_Of_ Whisky glassware and industry specialist, Sunil Dyal, along with @Planes_And_ Plates private chef and digital creator, Sabrina Crawford, joined us Chooches on The Great Cigar & Pipe Show, for an epic live pairing of these amazing products. Be sure to check out this hilarious pairing episode here:

Puffing on the ​cigar to the drink produces a beautiful chocolate orange marmalade that coats the entire palate, over some white chocolate creaminess. The whiskey really tones down all of the cigar’s bold flavors to a very unique cotton candy-like flavor. This part of the pairing is like putting out a campfire with a bucket of maraschino cherry juice.

After some water to cleanse the palate, the drink to cigar produces big sherry and cherry notes that are campfire roasted over by the bold flavors of the cigar. The cigar makes everything more complex with its bold smokiness, and everything is ramped up. I get campfire roasted marzipan filling with awesome undertones of campfire roasted banana cream pie. The bourbon barrel char of the cigar and the cinnamon from the whisky really tingle and wake up the palate. Overall, this calming pairing is like blending the perfect bourbon with the perfect sherried scotch, which is very fascinating and of course, “unusually awesome.” 


Thank you Dr. Oscar Rodriguez for continuing your family’s cigar legacy and sharing the very best tobaccos from the Dominican Republic. We applaud your creativity and risky willingness to age such amazing and well aged tobacco in bourbon barrels. With GTO, we’re definitely getting “Great Tobaccos from Oscar!”

Thank you Sunil Dyal, aka Mr. WOW, for elevating our whisky journey with your amazing handcrafted glassware and upscale WOW Tasting Experiences (TWTE). Visit to purchase Sunil’s next level glassware, TWTE tickets, and for details on the upcoming October 15, 2023 WOW Tasting Experience in Long Island, New York.

Thank you Sabrina Crawford for joining us on the podcast. Be sure to check her out @Planes_and_Plates as she takes us on explorative journeys to cool restaurants, bars, and activities, in her hometown city of Chicago and around the world.


Photography by: James Archie

"Whisky is liquid sunshine."

George Bernard Shaw

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”

James Joyce

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