La Aurora 107 Lancero

La Aurora hit an out-of-the-park home run with its last anniversary cigar, Cien Años, to celebrate an amazing 100 years in the business. Any business (or human being, for that matter) still going strong after a hundred years is worth celebrating with a Centennial bash. Seven years later, Willard Scott is proud to congratulate La Aurora one more time.

107 is an odd number though. Not only is it odd, it’s prime. (And of course I’m late:  this blend was released last year.)

La Aurora has been known over the years for milder cigars like its eponymous La Aurora,  a nice nutty Dominican-style cigar with a tasty Cameroon wrapper.  But in recent years they have turned with the times to heavier, more complex cigars like the 1495 and Preferidos lines. While not the spice bombs that many full-bodied cigar enthusiasts crave, the more recent releases certainly bring more flavor to the table.

That trend is continued with the 107, which employs a sun grown Ecuadorian wrapper, a Dominican binder, and filler from Nicaragua and the DR.  Originally released in just three sizes, a fourth — the lancero — was added after a successful drive by fans of the blend, mostly via Twitter.

  • Robusto – 4 1/2 x 50
  • Toro – 5 1/2 x 54
  • Belicoso – 6 1/4 x 52
  • Lancero – 6 7/8 x 40

Construction Notes

The Aurora 107 has a dark pecan-colored wrapper with some lighter veins that are prominent by contrast. It’s a striking leaf, similar in appearance to the 5 Vegas Limitada 2005,  also made by La Aurora. The roll is mostly solid, with a few soft spots that will escape notice unless you’re palpating the cigar for a review.

True to its lancero roots, the head is finished with a discreet pig tail and the draw is a bit tight for the first inch or two. It burns evenly and produces a solid light gray ash.

Overall good construction.

Tasting Notes

The 107 is not a shy cigar, but it’s not exactly boisterous either. The flavor on the palate is mild and woody to begin with, but this is overshadowed by the brown sugar and caramel on the nose. The aroma is sweet and gradually picks up woodier scents as the ash grows. There is a touch of pepper on the tongue and the aftertaste is noticeably salty.

The mid-section turns spicier — a little more pepper, and the woody flavors char a bit. It gets richer and picks up some leather at the 50-yard line.

The 107 lancero finishes a bit charred and burnt on the palate, but the aroma continues to impress with its sweetness and complexity. Like many thin-gauged cigars, this one should be smoked patiently for maximum enjoyment.

Conclusion

La Aurora’s 107 lancero is a medium-bodied cigar that verges on full body and offers plenty of sophistication in a finely crafted package. It reminds me a little bit of their Barrel-Aged cigar, which is also medium in body with a lot of complexity on the nose. I just finished off a box of Barrel-Aged No. 4, and it seems to me that the 107 is quite a bit more sophisticated and not as sweet.

While I enjoyed this cigar quite a bit, I think I will have to acknowledge my impatience with lanceros and try the 107 in a slightly larger incarnation the next time around.  The lanceros run around 6 USD per stick — not bad for an “Anniversary” blend, even in an odd year.

Final Score: 89

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Cigar Wrappers and the Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Selection

How much influence does the outer wrapper leaf of a cigar have on its taste overall?  The wrapper comprises only about 10 percent of the tobacco in a cigar, give or take, but it seems to have a disproportionate effect on the blend. The question is how much of an effect, and the debate is perennial.

Some seasoned aficionados say that the wrapper accounts for 60 percent of a cigar’s flavor. Others say less, some say more. But almost everyone agrees that the wrapper is a cigar’s most valuable player. The reason that wrapper leaf makes such a disproportionate impact isn’t exactly clear, but the fact that it does so is easy to prove.

In 2007, Jose Blanco of Aurora cigars presented the Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Selection, a series of four cigars with exactly the same filler and binder, but each with a different wrapper. The standard 1495 cigar has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, but for the Connoisseur Selection the usual wrapper was replaced by four other familiar varieties: Corojo, Connecticut, Brazilian, and Cameroon.

That these five robustos are not all the same is obvious from looking at them. The Connecticut and Corojo are claro in complexion, while the Cameroon and Ecuadorian are swarthier. And the rough dark hue of the Brazil stands completely apart.

But under the hood they are all the same: a Dominican corojo binder which holds in place a blend of Dominican piloto cubano, Nicaraguan and Peruvian filler leaves.  The core flavors of the binder and filler shine through in the Connoisseur Selection, but the wrapper lends each cigar a singular distinction; in effect, changing the wrapper makes each cigar an entirely different blend.

Here are my brief impressions of each cigar in the Connoisseur Selection:

Corojo

  • Tart, somewhat papery with black pepper. Dry.
  • Sweet and nutty aroma, caramel and vanilla overtones.
  • Creamy texture
  • Acidic/Citric. Gets a bit sharp after the mid-point.
  • Becomes more leathery in the second half, but marked by black pepper.

Connecticut

  • A little tannic and dry, but soft and creamy.
  • Mild at first; smooth and simple with a touch of pepper on the tongue
  • Bready aroma with floral notes.
  • Mild, dry aftertaste.
  • Citric in the mid-section, then sharper with more pepper.

Cameroon

  • Soft spice with some tannins, dry but not as dry as the others.
  • A touch of pepper, but by comparison much more mellow.
  • Minty note on the tip of the tongue.
  • The mid-section is woody with toasty overtones.
  • The last third is tart/dry with pleasant soft spices typical of Cameroon.

Brazil

  • Full-bodied maduro style — sweet and chocolatey.
  • Some pepper on the the palate and gums.
  • Woody flavors with some dryness after an inch or so.
  • It doesn’t burn as evenly as the other blends — thick wrapper.
  • The spice dies away in the mid-section, but returns in the last third.
  • Fairly mellow and sweet, with a note of leather or musk.

Ecuadorian Sun Grown Sumatra (Standard 1495 Blend)

  • Earthy start, tart on the tongue. Dry.
  • Sweet cedary aroma, becoming leathery.
  • Black pepper in the sinuses, salty on the tongue.
  • Becomes woodier in the mid-section. Complex with lots of changes.
  • Muskier in the mid-section.
  • Potent with a lengthy finish and peppery/tannic aftertaste.

Aurora 1495 Brazil

The common denominators here are a tannic, woody dryness and black pepper. But considering that the only difference between each of these five cigars is the wrapper, the differences are staggering. The Connecticut is smooth and creamy, as you would expect, while the Corojo is spicier. The Brazil is sweet with chocolate and coffee-like notes, and the Cameroon has the run of the spice cabinet. It’s just what I would expect from these types of wrappers, but when combined with the rest of the 1495 blends, they create completely different cigars.

I reviewed the 1495 corona a few years back, and since then I’ve found that I like the larger ring gauges in this line better — they’re a little bit smoother and not quite as concentrated as the corona.  But of all the cigars in this collection I am most impressed by the standard 1495, the one with the Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. I can’t say it’s the finest wrapper of the bunch, but in combination with the rest of the 1495 blend, I believe it makes the finest, most complex smoke.

Conclusion

The 1495 Connoisseur Selection is a brilliant hands-on way of seeing for yourself the role that a wrapper leaf plays in the flavor of a blend. I don’t know if it’s 60 percent, but it’s damn important. This is a crucial experiment to perform if you really want to understand the art of cigar blending, or if you just want to sharpen your cigar acumen. It doesn’t have to be done with this particular cigar, but why not? The 1495 is a great smoke in its own right.

And to further your education even more, don’t miss the Stogie Review’s blind tasting of the Cameroon and Connecticut 1495, and a blending seminar with Jose Blanco.

Aurora Barrel Aged Belicoso

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First things first. This is not a flavored cigar, despite the fact that “barrel aged” brings to mind rum, which conjures up those treacly sweet gas station cigars. (Or maybe that’s just my mind, under the influence of the season and an eggnog or two.)

José Blanco and the folks at La Aurora decided to seal the tobacco for this cigar in old oak casks (that once did in fact contain Dominican rum) not to “infuse” the tobacco, but to age it in a completely sealed environment. The result is a beautiful dark oscuro leaf. La Aurora is not new to barrel aging — much of the tobacco for its Preferidos, 1495, and vaunted 100 Años cigar is aged in barrels — but this is the first time wrappers have received this process.

The Barrel Aged utilizes a Dominican corojo wrapper viva la capa dominicana!) as well as a Dominican binder, and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Four sizes are widely available:

  • No. 4 — 43 x 5.75
  • Robusto — 50 x 5
  • Churchill — 50 x 7.5
  • Belicoso — 52 x 6.25

The wrapper on this belicoso is an attractive and uniform shade of dark brown — it could easily be mistaken for maduro, but the leaf seems to be thinner, a little less oily, and much more attractive than maduro — broadleaf maduro, anyway. On the other hand, it isn’t pitch black, like some cigars that are marketed as “oscuro.”  (True maduro requires a thick leaf like broadleaf that can withstand the intense fermentation process, whereas oscuro leaves have undergone a normal fermentation and are usually dark because of the priming and maturation process, not intense fermentation.)

The scent of the pre-light cigar is sweet and woody; despite the fact that these tobaccos have been aged several years, the cigar still has a fresh smell to it. The roll is solid and feels balanced in the hand. My only criticism of this stick so far is the slightly garish band, but that is easily ignored and even more easily removed.

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The draw is perfect on this belicoso and it lights up quickly. After a quarter inch or so my first impression is that this is a very smooth smoking, mild to medium bodied cigar.

The initial flavors are sweet and earthy, complemented by a pleasantly woody aroma. There is just a touch of tannin at the back of the tongue, otherwise there is no bite whatsoever and a very mild aftertaste of earth and wood. The aroma carries a little sweetness, but it’s not the cocoa-caramel sweetness that I associate with corojo. In fact, I don’t think I would have guessed this was corojo at all — I might have guessed Ecuador Sumatra, even though it doesn’t look like it.

Into the middle section of the cigar the finish lengthens and the aftertaste becomes woodier and a little dry. The tannic element intensifies a little and the flavor gets a little spicier, just a little pepper in there somewhere. The cigar burns mostly even (one touchup required) and builds a solid ash with a bright white exterior.

The last third brings a little more strength, but not much, and it closes with some earthy bean flavors — coffee or chocolate, I couldn’t decide which. The sweet woody aroma from the wrapper contributes to the mix, making me think chocolate, but there’s some roastiness to it that makes me think coffee.  Either way there’s a lot of complexity to this cigar — from its mild earthy beginning to a roasty medium-bodied conclusion, this is a smooth sailing smoke. Very nice.

MSRP is around 7 to 8 USD per stick (box price) which seems fair. I was prepared to say that was a little too much, but after smoking a couple of these I think the price is warranted. But I have to say that they really do deserve a better looking band.

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Other choice reviews of the Aurora Barrel Aged:

Walt reviews the No. 4 for Stogie Review

Doc smokes a pre-released version with José Blanco in Santiago for Stogie Fresh

La Aurora Preferidos Corojo

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“Preferidos” are what they were called in 1903, when Eduardo Leon Jimenes first produced these little perfectos for the locals. Today there is a modern preferido, a tribute to the original, produced in two sizes with five different wrappers.

Preferidos are produced by a limited number of rollers who work under the curious gaze of visitors to the Centro Leon — a complex established by the Leon Jimenes Foundation as a museum and center for the promotion of Dominican and Caribbean art and culture. Recently cigar production for La Aurora moved to the town of Guazumal, quite close to where the original factory was established in 1903, but Preferidos production will remain in Santiago at the Centro Leon.

The filler and binder are the same for all the cigars in the Preferidos line: filler from Brazil, Cameroon, and the Dominican, with a Dominican binder. (The Cameroon-wrapped Platinum is an exception– it uses all Dominican filler.) The binder and filler leaves are aged for six months in rum barrels before they are bunched for Preferidos. The Gold version uses a Dominican corojo wrapper from Navarette.

The tubo versions of this cigar are the same size as the No. 2 – 5 x 54. The tube is solid aluminum and executive gift quality… for the guy who has everything, that sort of thing. (Of limited use, but attractive.) I was unable to find these cigars in their unarmored state, so I bid on a couple singles at non-tubo price and won. Now I’m trying to figure out how to turn the empty tubes into Christmas tree ornaments; whether my wife will let me hang them is another matter. They do make rather lurid ornaments.

The size of the tubo Preferido is magnified by the packaging — once the tube is set aside and the head is clipped it’s actually a fairly small cigar. The wrapper is a smooth and leathery colorado maduro. The foot is cut down to about a 36 ring gauge and the head is a perfectly finished point. The prelight scent is pleasant but unremarkable, offering some mild tobacco and a little hay.

The draw provides the perfect amount of resistance and the foot fires up without a second thought. The base flavor here is earthy, most strongly pronounced in the first half inch and then again at the conclusion of the smoke. In between lies a perfect balance of earth with a little dry wood and a dash of black pepper.

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This cigar most definitely has a “sweet spot” at the center where the smoke is at its creamiest and most interesting — the caramel and spice in the aroma is delicious, reminding me a little of small Cubans like the Trinidad Reyes. The last stage is intensely earthy but still relatively smooth. Smoking slowly is recommended.

The only negative here, aside from its small stature, is an uneven burn. Oh, and let’s not forget the price — Preferidos Gold tubos run in the 12 to 14 dollar range. (Retail box of 24 for $408. Ouch.) But all told, this is a little gem of a cigar. It’s about medium until the last inch or so when it ramps up to a full body, but at this point you should be sipping slowly anyway. I’m recommending this one to all my rich friends as worthy gifts — to themselves, or to their less fortunate herf-mates… like me!

-cigarfan

La Aurora Preferidos Robusto

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La Aurora Preferidos were first released in 1998 as a tribute to the first cigars produced by Eduardo Leon Jimenes at the beginning of the twentieth century. They were perfectos called “preferidos,” and indeed almost all of the cigars in the current Preferidos line are perfectos as well. This Cameroon robusto is the one exception. In late 2005 La Aurora saw that there might be a call for a parejo size using the preferidos blend, so they released this robusto in a limited edition of 1200 boxes for the holiday season.

Many of these cigars come in perfecto-shaped aluminum tubes to highlight the premium quality of the Preferidos line. The Cameroon line is the platinum colored one, though they are available nude as well. (I suppose the tube is nice for traveling or if you’re giving the cigar as a gift. Otherwise, it’s an expense I can live without.) There are four other versions available: the Corojo (gold) ; Connecticut Shade (sapphire) ; Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro (ruby) ; and Ecuadorian Sumatra (green.)

The wrapper here is Cameroon, of course; the filler and binder are Dominican, with the binder being piloto cubano. The tobacco for Preferidos is properly aged for two to three years, then aged for several months more in rum barrels. Each cigar is then rolled by a single roller and the finished cigars rest for six months in aging rooms. Finally, the cigars are ready for market.

This is a well rolled cigar with a slightly oily wrapper. The prelight scent is cedar all the way. After clipping the cap I found the draw to be very loose, but after smoking for a few minutes I learned that this did not affect the burn, which was slow and cool. Cameroon is a delicate wrapper and in my climate here in the desert Southwest I find that it almost always cracks as soon as I light up the cigar. This was the case here as well, but it didn’t really affect the performance of the cigar. There was no unraveling, just some unsightly wrapper peels that I was able to ignore by turning the cigar around.

It starts up with the sweet and spicy aroma typical of authentic African Cameroon. Getting a good whiff of this stuff is a sinus surprise, and it kept my nose tingling from start to finish. A very nice Cameroon that is a bit sharper than most, with a little pepper mixed in with the expected baking spices. The initial flavor is woody, somewhat dry, and the smoke texture is creamy smooth.

After an inch or two the sharpness of the Cameroon is blended in with the rest of the cigar and the result is a pleasantly complex smoke. By the mid-point it becomes a little salty and there’s a tartness that vies with the Cameroon sweetness, creating an interesting balance. It reminds me of a really good glass of India Pale Ale — the hoppiness is aromatic, like the wrapper here, while the body of the beer is lip-smackingly astringent. If the proper balance can be achieved, as it is here, this is a killer combination.

The down side to this cigar is the price: about ten bucks a stick or $175 by the box. This is a nice cigar, but my trusty Torano 1916 is comparable in terms of flavor and balance and costs about a hundred bucks less. If a C note is no big deal for you, go for it. The Preferidos robusto is a great cigar, but not for those on a budget.

Leon Jimenes Rothschilds

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I thought this would be a fitting choice to end this series of reviews because Leon Jimenes, along with the La Aurora flagship brand, make up the bulk of cigar production in the La Aurora factory. Leon Jimenes has a solid reputation as a smooth mild cigar. I used to smoke this cigar frequently when I was younger and hadn’t yet developed a taste for stronger cigars.

This very short rothschilds cigar is even shorter than the standard roth at only four inches long. It looks a little funny, but it’s still a handsome short cigar.

The golden brown Connecticut shade wrapper is the highlight here, both in terms of appearance and flavor, which is quintessentially Dominican. Of course there are some quite powerful Dominican cigars, but if I had to generalize, I would hold up the Leon Jimenes line as a paragon of the Dominican taste: mild, somewhat nutty, and very aromatic.

This little roth burns quickly and runs fairly hot. This stick doesn’t feel mushy at all to the touch, but the draw is very easy, and a loose fill may contribute to the hot burn. The burn is quite even, nevertheless, and leaves a uniformly light gray ash.

It’s been a while since I smoked something this light, but even so I was surprised to taste almost no flavor here — this cigar is extremely mild, with the only flavor being a slightly nutty touch until the last third when it picks up a little straighforward tobacco flavor and a short earthy finish. The aroma is the focus here — classic Connecticut shade, floral with some citrus notes. Often fans of heavy cigars miss out on the fine nuances of Connecticut shade — and as someone who generally smokes heavier cigars, I highly recommend slowing down once in a while and taking the time to smell the floral and lightly spicy notes of this great wrapper leaf.

These little rothschilds last only twenty to twenty-five minutes, but aside from the hot burn it’s a good twenty minutes. Next time I will definitely opt for a larger size. It requires no drink, but could easily go with tea.

Overall the Leon Jimenes is a very easy smoke and could serve well as a short breakfast cigar. Keep a few of these around to hand out to new smokers who are genuinely curious about cigars. It’s a gentle way to push a newbie over the cliff. Give em a few years and they’ll be repaying you with double ligeros.

Aurora 100 Años Corona

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To celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of La Aurora, Jose Blanco and company created the Cien Años (One Hundred Years) limited edition cigar. First released in 2004, Cien Años is a Dominican puro with a corojo wrapper that has been aged for four years. The binder and filler have been quietly aging since 1996.

La Aurora was founded in 1903, so why was this celebratory line not released until 2004, a year past the anniversary? Well, it’s that pesky Dominican wrapper leaf. For whatever reason, growing wrapper in the DR is and always has been a real challenge. The corojo wrapper used on this line has lived up to its finicky reputation with a low yield: only a third of the harvest is usable for wrapper. So the anniversary release was consequently delayed.

On the bright side, this has resulted in slower distribution as well, making the Cien Años available over a longer period of time. Obviously this is still a very limited edition, with some sources reporting a total of 300,000 and others 400,000 sticks produced. It is still available at this time, though not widely, at a “super-premium” price.

This corona measures 5 3/4 inches by43, but if you prefer a larger cigar there are three other sizes available: churchill, belicoso, and robusto. The wrapper is smooth with very little grain, apart from a couple of knotty veins. The head is finished with a triple cap. The wrapper smells rich and slightly spicy — no barnyard scents here. The draw is firm and the prelight flavor is grassy with a touch of pepper.

I had a little trouble with the light on this one, and more burn issues were to follow. This corojo wrapper has an exquisite aroma of leather and spice — it’s actually quite similar to the aroma of many Cuban cigars. But this aroma apparently comes with a price, and that is constant attention to the burn. I had to retouch this little cigar several times to get it to burn straight.

It starts out smooth and mellow with a fairly mild body. After an inch or two it picks up strength and a leathery flavor. The finish grows from negligible at the beginning to quite lengthy as the stick burns, leaving a solid white ash behind. By the midpoint the flavor is somewhat similar to the 1495, but a little more sophisticated and not as aggressive. By the time the ash hits the band there’s a little more pepper, but the smoke is still smooth as glass. All the while I’m really diggin’ the aroma, a nice leathery smell with hints of caramel and cinnamon.

The 100 Años corona is a tasty medium to full bodied cigar with a lot of complexity and a top notch aroma. I’ve only tried one of these, and at 10 to 15 dollars a pop I won’t be sampling many more, but if you’ve got the budget you should stock up now. Construction issues aside, this is a really nice cigar.

Pueblo Dominicano Series I

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It’s Election Day in the U.S., which gives us the opportunity to celebrate two great things: democracy, and an end to the most obnoxious campaign commercials I think we’ve ever seen. Baritone voiceovers saying stuff like “Senator X eats small children for breakfast…” (Cue grainy black and white picture of Senator X at a lunch counter.) “And Senator X is hungry…” But despite the political division that exists in this country, there is something we can all agree on: we’re glad the electioneering is OVER!

Surviving the midterm elections calls for a honkin’ big stogie, so I hauled out a Pueblo Dominicano. Like the last four or five cigars reviewed here, this also is a La Aurora production. Available in two sizes: a large torpedo, and a giant double corona. I happen to have both on hand, although the torpedoes have several more months humidor time and I think are a little bit better. Whether it’s the size or the aging that gives them the edge, I’m not sure.

A new series of Pueblo Dominicano has just been introduced with an entirely new blend, so it’s important to note that these are from the first series. There isn’t too much information available about these. They are distributed by Cigars International, and perhaps a few other outlets. They don’t appear to be exclusive to CI, as is the 5 Vegas Limitada, but they do have this in common with the Limitada: a very nice but somewhat rough Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper. Aside from this, the only information forthcoming from CI is that it employs a “six country blend.” Which countries? Ireland maybe? New Guinea? Luxembourg? Take your pick, because no one’s telling.

The PD Series I is a pretty mild but flavorful smoke. The wrapper is very similar to the 5 Vegas Limitada, which isn’t too surprising since it’s the same type of leaf. (It actually wouldn’t surprise me if this were the same blend as the 2005 Limitada as well. There are more than a few similarities.) It’s not a tremendously attractive wrapper, but the tale is in the tasting, and it tastes pretty good. There’s some sweetness here with just a touch of spice. The draw is good, and the burn is not perfect, but acceptable.

The base flavor is leathery, and there are some overtones of cedar. As time goes by this stick picks up a little more strength, but it’s basically mild and perhaps at its peak a medium in body. The smoke texture is smooth, approaching creamy. Overall this is a very relaxing and easygoing cigar.

The band on the Pueblo Dominicano has a faux watermark pattern reminiscent of the secondary authenticity band on the Padron Anniversary line, complete with a “serial number,” here called a batch number. It’s a funny thing though that the batch number on the torpedoes I bought last April is the same as the same batch number on the double coronas I bought in October. That’s either a very large batch, or it’s a mystery worth pondering before the fire with a glass of cognac and the latest issue of Advertising Age.

With 95% of precincts reporting, we are prepared to announce Pueblo Dominicano a winner in today’s race. But don’t pay the $8.00 retail price for this guy. These can be found for half this or less on Cigarbid. Good luck bidding and God Bless America!

La Aurora 1495 Corona

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La Aurora’s 1495 line was created to celebrate the founding of the city of Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic, and it is the first cigar from La Aurora that has been an instant hit.

Sales Director and master blender Jose Blanco brought together five types of leaf from four different countries to create a complex cigar. “I’m a great believer in blending,” Blanco said in an interview with Cigar Aficionado, “I don’t care how good a cigar is, if it’s good and it’s one-dimensional, it’s just a good boring smoke. I like cigars that are complex and that change a lot.”

Starting with the skin and moving to the core, we have an Ecuadorian Sumatra sun-grown wrapper, underneath which is a Dominican corojo binder. The filler is a blend of Dominican piloto cubano and Nicaraguan and Peruvian ligero leaves. These are all powerful choices, but Blanco believes that the elements that stand out are the wrapper and the Peruvian filler leaf.

The Corona measures 5 1/4 inches with a 43 ring gauge. It seems a little small for a corona, but on the other hand it’s a tad too large to be called a petite corona. The scent of the silky smooth wrapper is earthy with plenty of barnyard. The cap clips easily and the prelight draw is good. It lights up and starts an even and carefree burn. The ash is a dirty gray.

Sun grown Ecuadorian leaf has a leathery, somewhat spicy aroma, and this cigar has it in spades. This little stick introduces itself with lots of black pepper and a lengthy finish. At first I am not terribly impressed with the flavor — it’s not harsh, but with so much pepper it comes off as very sharp. After a few more draws the aroma of the wrapper adds a complementary note that evens things out and calms down the spice.

By the middle of the cigar the complexity becomes more evident. There is a definite transition from the peppery introduction to a more balanced flavor at this point. This balance does not, however, lessen the strength of the smoke pouring from this little feller. The ligero and the piloto cubano keep the flavor strong and the finish long.

With about two inches left I’m quite satisfied with this corona and ready to call it a day. A strong drink is a welcome companion to the Aurora 1495 — an Imperial stout went well for me, though scotch or bourbon would do the trick just as well. While not overpowering, this is definitely an after dinner cigar due to its aggressive flavor and finish. The way the ESG wrapper blends in with the richness of the other tobaccos is really worth the five or six clams you’ll have to shell out for this cigar. It’s a little too heavy on the pepper for my taste, but if you enjoy the Joya de Nicaragua Antano or the Partagas Serie D, you should definitely check this one out.

La Aurora Bristol Especiales

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I’m feeling much better now thanks to the fine folks at Proctor & Gamble (who distill that nectar of the gods called Nyquil.) But I thought I’d get back into the swing of things with something mild, so I bring you La Aurora, the label that started it all for Eduardo Leon.

The original La Aurora cigar was a true perfecto, tapered at both ends, similar to the Preferidos produced by La Aurora today for what I would guess is now about a hundred times the original price. Today’s standard La Aurora cigar is an economical everyday good smoke retailing at around 3 or 4 USD. The Bristol Especiales are what seem to be a non-standard size. They have a 48 ring gauge so they’re a little emaciated for a toro, but with a length of 6 3/8 inches you could also call it a truncated churchill.

This stick isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but its fine construction makes up for any aesthetic flaws. The Cameroon wrapper is dark and dry but is nicely toothed. There are a couple of prominent veins and the wrapper is easily chipped, but that’s typical for Cameroon. It burns smoothly and evenly from the first touch of the torch and it never requires touch-ups. The ash is a uniform gray that needs tapping only occasionally.

The binder and filler are both Dominican, as is only fitting for the DR’s longest lived cigar company. The body of this smoke can only be described as mild. The foundation flavor is woody, but the aroma of the cameroon wrapper adds an elegant spice that pretty much takes over the spotlight. There is a slightly earthy twang that makes an appearance at the half-way point and by smoke’s end gets a tad bitter, but I have to admit this may have been a result of my oversmoking. I tend to hotbox mild cigars because I get a little impatient. The best way for someone like me to smoke a cigar like this is with something else to do while I’m smoking — watching a game on the tube or reading something.

There really isn’t much depth or complexity here, but that’s not unusual for mild cigars so I can’t criticize it too much in that regard. The finish on this cigar is fairly short, and there is only a hint of aftertaste. The woodsy spicy aroma lingers pleasantly on my moustache. That is the point of having a moustache, is it not?

Smokers who favor medium to full bodied cigars will most likely find the traditional La Aurora to be on the boring side, but it’s a quality mild cigar with a fine wrapper that is eminently affordable. It was also a great way to break in my palate after a week on the wagon.