This cigar review is going to be a bit different from other, more formal, reviews. Usually, I take a cigar and grade / evaluate the key components of the cigar. For these reviews I smoke the cigar and take copious notes during the experience to then refer to when writing the review. Ultimately, these notes all lead to a final score that indicates whether you should buy the cigar; pretty straight forward. This review is going to be more of a case study. Instead of grading the cigar we are going to explore the importance of aging cigars with a cigar brand close to my heart; La Aurora. One of the first cigars that had a real impact on me was a La Aurora 107 Robusto. So, smoking a La Aurora so many years later was a heart warming experience. The Basics:
- Wrapper: Cameroon
- Binder: Dominican
- Wrapper: Dominican and Nicaraguan
- Double Corona – 7 1/2″ x 50 RG
- A mild – medium cigar known for wood, coffee, sweetness and tobacco flavors
- I smoked this at Baranows Cigar Lounge in Melbourne, Australia with a friend of mine. It took about 70 – 80 minutes of smoking and great talk about cigars.
Instead of breaking down the different components of the cigar and grading them, I am going to talk about how this cigar illustrates the importance of aging cigars. I purchased this cigar, because some of my early cigar experiences with cigars was with La Aurora cigars; especially the La Aurora 107. For years I believed that La Aurora cigars were just not available in Australia. Then I went to Baranows and saw the La Aurora Double Corona in their humidor. I had a sudden rush of excitement and immediately connected with the cigar. i felt like seeing an old friend and could not wait to experience a La Aurora cigar again.
From my research, La Aurora cigars have not been available in Australia for a few years. I even emailed La Aurora to beg them to sell their cigars here in Australia and they told me that they no longer sold here; therefore, there had to be a few years of age on this cigar. The wrapper appeared a bit dry and the cigar itself was stored next to a wide selection of Habanos, which indicates that ti was probably aged at a low humidity. Even though it felt a bit dry, the draw and burn were fantastic. Moreover, the construction did not let me down and the cigar stayed in pretty good shape for the entire smoke.
However, the importance of aging a cigar lies in the cigar’s flavor and texture. Generally speaking, aging a cigar will bring down the nicotine levels, while intensifying the flavors of the cigar as the tobacco oils come to the surface and marry with each other. In fact, some cigar makers recommend aging their cigars a number of years before you smoke them. Gordon Mott from Cigar Aficionado said in an interview with me that he ages his cigars from between 5 – 10 years. Unfortunately, in order to have cigars to review for the podcast and the blog I age my cigars between 5 – 10 weeks. So, the opportunity to have a well aged La Aurora Double Corona was truly a unique opportunity.
The flavors on this cigar were rich and deep. A rich earth and tobacco foundation laid the groundwork for a subtle sweetness on the top of the finish. There was no strength kick at all on this cigar and the rich texture of the finish was great on the palate. These cigars are meant to be savored. Not drawing too frequently insures that it does not burn hot and allows for the flavors to really come through. The entire 70 minutes was a luxurious flavor experience that never had a harshness or large strength kick to it. The again process allowed the flavors to mingle together and create a perfectly balanced, long, deep and rich finish. This is a finish I have not experienced in any other cigar and highlights what well managed aging can do to improve a cigar.
The flavors and textures in this cigar taught me a lesson on why aging is so important. Paul Stulac told me in an interview that he blends cigars not for the present, but for how those cigars will taste in 6 months to 1 year after release. Cigar brands like Padron really take this on board and age their tobaccos for years before rolling the cigars, so the customer can get that aged cigar experience right out of the box. Drew Estate also ages its tobacco for the Liga Privada and Undercrown lines. In these cases the customer has the unique opportunity to experience an aged cigar without having to practice patience. Other cigars, like the Montecristo No. 2, are famously aged for 15 – 20 years before they are smoked.
Now it is your turn to experience the difference of a well aged cigar. Doc from Stogie Fresh often reviews a single cigar and then revisits the same brand a year or more later to compare notes. In some cases there is not much change, while in other cases it is like smoking a different cigar. I challenge you to pick a cigar that has not been previously aged, so stay away from Pardon, and buy 2 or 3 of them. Smoke one out of the box and let the others rest in your humidor. Maybe try one at 6 months and the other at 12 or 18 months after you smoke the first one out of the box. Take notes and see for yourself how aging can effect cigars. If your experience is anything like my experience with the La Aurora Double Corona, you will find yourself going for aged cigars more and more.