La Aurora Escogidos

I got my hands on the first La Aurora Escogidos from a friend who worked for a time as a cigar rep for Miami Cigars, the U.S. distributor of La Aurora cigars. She told me she had something special for me, a cigar that’s exclusively available for people who tour the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic. It goes without saying I was intrigued. With a review in mind, I held onto that stick while I schemed to get another.

Unexpectedly, I didn’t need to scheme at all to get a second cigar. While I was on a trip to Miami last year, I found these cigars for sale in a mall cigar shop! (And for considerably less than the figure listed in the Cigar Stats below.) I grabbed both the remaining sticks and asked guy behind the counter how it was that he had them for sale in his shop. I didn’t get a clear answer, but he did offer to bring in another bundle or two the following day if I was interested in buying them. Having not smoked the cigar yet, I figured I’d stick with the three I had.

As I took a quick look around the internet for information on the cigar, expecting have to do some digging, I find that you can actually buy them online. Not only that, but these cigars have been given out at La Aurora events too. I’m a little disappointed. That means these aren’t nearly as rare as I thought, and I can’t feel all smug smoking them. But on the bright side, this means that this review will actually be useful to the reader who doesn’t feel like flying to the Dominican Republic. If this sounds like a good smoke, you can buy one!

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$10.00

The Pre-Smoke
For a smoke that was created for tourists to enjoy on a tour, these smokes have the look of a cigar destined for wider release. Not only do the sticks have a band (which seems like it might be unnecessary for a freebie) but its a really nice one with some texture and raised features. And aside from a few larger veins in the cigars, the wrapper is smooth, slightly reddish and free of any obvious imperfections. So again, perhaps this is a bundled smoke, but it sure doesn’t look like it.

The cigars were also very firm, bordering rock-hard to the touch. The scent on the wrapper was a funky, slightly tangy compost and I got sweetness and a bit of chocolate in the cold taste.

The Burn
After sitting on the first cigar for so long, I couldn’t resist lighting up one of the three while we were driving around a Miami. And I can tell you one thing about this cigar, it did not burn well in the water that the residents in Miami call air. The cigars I smoked this week for the review burned better. In one case, very well, with just a bit of irregularity in the burn line.

Though both smokes had the benefit of resting in the same spot in the same humidor, the second smoke had issues keeping lit after the half way point. And when it wasn’t going out, it needed touching up.

The Flavor
I smoked the first cigar for this review before I looked up its composition, and I gotta tell you, I should have guessed it was wrapped in Cameroon leaf. (Not that I got it wrong, it never occurred to me to guess.) Because this cigar had the certain fruity sweetness throughout that I associate with a Cameroon wrapper.

The initial puffs off the cigar had a certain earthy woodiness that I didn’t notice anywhere else in the stick. In short order, the cigar took on that Cameroon sweetness with would prove to be a prominent flavor for the rest of the smoke. Often it was just syrupy, other times it was a bit like cherry, vanilla, sweet almond, pear or caramel. So while it was a surprisingly sweet cigar, it was still very varied.

In addition to the prominent sweetness, I noted earthy chocolate in the first third, cinnamon and bitter chocolate in the second third and a little bit of spice and bitter chocolate again in the final third. The sweetness I mentioned started off very syrupy in the beginning and moved toward a less sweet, more pleasant pear-like flavor toward the end.

The Price
The price is a little confusing. Presumably it’s free to tourists in the Dominican Republic (and for those who are tight with a Miami Cigar rep). I paid around $4 for mine in a shop in Miami, but it’s also for sale online at Famous Smoke Shop at about $50 for a fiver. Clearly, I prefer my Miami-connection price.

The Verdict
Though I had no reason to, I expected a completely different cigar. Something earthier, more peppery and no where near as sweet. Man, what a surprise. It was a pleasant surprise, but really not what I was looking for this week. I did enjoy the cigar, but found the it to be just a little too sweet. But it’s definitely the kind of cigar I’d keep on hand when I was looking for a desert that wouldn’t add stress to my belt. While I was smoking it, I was thinking this cigar might be a good step into premium cigars for people who are interested in moving away flavored and “infused” smokes. It really is that sweet.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Undecided. Yes at $4. Less likely at $10.
Recommend It: Fans of Cameroon leaf will probably enjoy this cigar.

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.