On November 30, 1895, Winston Churchill was fired upon by Cuban insurgents as he traveled with the Spanish Army as a military observer. It was his 21st birthday and his first experience under fire.
As a recent graduate of the Sandhurst Military Academy, Churchill’s eagerness for active service drew him to Cuba. But he left with a taste for something else — the Havana cigars he would treasure and continue to enjoy for the rest of his life. At this time he was loyal to two brands in particular: the famous Romeo y Julieta, and a lesser known label called La Aroma de Cuba.
Romeo y Julieta has been in continual production since that time, but at some point La Aroma de Cuba fell by the wayside. In the late 1990’s, Robert Levin of Ashton Cigars read an article in Cigar Aficionado about Churchill’s exploits in Cuba and after doing a little research he discovered the brand name “La Aroma de Cuba” had been abandoned. He registered the name for future use.
In 2002 Ashton introduced La Aroma de Cuba with a Honduran wrapper (grown by Nestor Plasencia), a Honduran binder, and filler from Honduras and Nicaragua. The cigar is manufactured in the small colonial town of Santa Rosa de Copan in Honduras, most probably in the Flor de Copan factory. The artwork on the band and box is based on the original lithography. It certainly has that old timey look about it.
I read a review of this cigar somewhere that compared it the Cuban Bolivar petite corona. A far fetched claim, I thought. I had sampled La Aroma de Cuba a few years ago and wasn’t too impressed, but the review insisted that it was this particular size in the line that was the jewel in La Aroma’s crown. So I thought I’d give it a go.
The wrapper has a rough but robust appearance, slightly toothy with lighter colored veins. The cap is applied well and the roll is solid. The prelight draw is clear and we’re ready for takeoff.
The basic flavor of this little stick is leather and its highlight is spice. It produces a nice volume of medium bodied smoke which has a slightly sweet tinge to it. It’s not sweet like a habano though; it’s more of a sun-grown sweetness than the caramel and bread of a Bolivar. The smoke has a nice smooth texture, and while the finish is spicy it’s not biting. As a point of comparison, I’m thinking Camacho, but a sensitive Camacho, which I realize is an oxymoron. La Aroma de Cuba seems to me a more nuanced but still full bodied Honduran cigar.
This Corona Minor is a fine 20 to 30 minute smoke, but when I want this flavor profile I will probably reach for a Camacho instead. When you want to take a bull by the horns, you want some horns to hang on to.