“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.
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!