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.