- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Very smooth, well balanced, complex, full flavored, well constructed.
Cons:Pricey - but worth it.
The Bottom Line: This is one of the finest cigars I have smoked to date and certainly lived up to the hype. Get one while you can because there will be no more.
Anyone who truly enjoys cigars and smokes them on any kind of a regular basis probably has a favorite tobacconist. A cigar professional who remembers what wrappers and brands you like and always seems to come up with something new and interesting for you to try. Im lucky to have just such a tobacconist not far from my home and I visit his store maybe once or twice a month just to see whats new. When I visited a couple of months ago he asked if I had tried the limited addition by La Aurora. I told him I hadnt and that my one experience with La Aurora left me feeling their cigars were good but overpriced. He suggested I try their 100th anniversary limited addition stick of which there are not too many left on the market. Im glad I did.
The La Aurora 100 Años Belicoso is a 6.25 x 52 Figurado with a Dominican Corojo wrapper and binder as well as mostly Dominican Corojo in the filler. This cigar was originally released in 2004 and in 2005 was rated the number two cigar in the world by Cigar Aficionado. The last batch of 100 Años was shipped on April 15th of this year and when those cigars are gone, its over. Besides the fact that this cigar is a Dominican puro, meaning it contains 100% Dominican tobaccos, it is also almost 100% Corojo. Corojo tobacco is the stuff of which legends are made and the primary wrapper tobacco for the best Cuban cigars during the boom years. Unfortunately it is very susceptible to mold and disease and the Corojo crops of Cuba are close to becoming a thing of the past. A small handful of growers have been able to successfully grow this tobacco outside of Cuba and this will hopefully mean the continuation of this fine tobacco strain.
If being made with Corojo tobacco wasnt good enough the 100 Años tobacco has been well aged with the wrapper tobacco being aged for at least four years and some of the filler even longer. This aging produces a very mellow yet full flavored smoke reminiscent of the best Cubans. Only 400,000 of these cigars were produced and each cigar band is individually numbered according to La Aurora. La Aurora released the cigars in reverse order starting at number 400,000 and are now working down to all but the last box, which will be displayed in their museum. (Ive scanned the band of mine and could find no such number.) The most recent Cigar Aficionado rating gave the Belicoso a 90. The 100 Años line is considered to be full bodied. The Belicoso should have a burn time of around one hour, and since these are the last you might want to make yours last as long as possible.
La Aurora is a line from La Aurora S.A. which has the oldest cigar factory in continuous operation in the Dominican Republic. La Aurora was the original cigar that Eduardo Leon Jimenes would create when he first started producing cigars in 1903. The parent company, Empresas León Jimenes, has grown to be the largest corporation in the Dominican Republic with sales of over $600 million and has such diverse business lines as brewing Presidente beer and their own bank, Banco Leon. Not bad for a family that started out rolling cigars. Even though the family business has grown into a huge conglomerate of which the cigar business is a small part, because it is the part on which all the rest was built it is still the most important piece of their business. Recently La Aurora has received numerous accolades as being along with Fuentes Opus X one of the true super premium cigars. (Copied from my La Aurora Preferidos Platinum review)
I should start by saying Im not really a Corojo fan. Corojos in my experience have always been dominated by spiciness and often have been somewhat harsh if not well balanced or well aged. Im much more of a maduro fan and even though one is a tobacco strain and the other describes a tobacco treatment it seems to me to be a fitting way to distinguish the flavor profile I most enjoy. It is not dissimilar to preferences in beer. Some people prefer the sharp spiciness of hops, while others prefer the richness of malt. Im a malt fiend.
Approaching the 100 Años I put my feelings for Corojos aside and let the cigar speak for itself. Looking at the stick it is obvious, right of the bat, that it is very well made. The oily, moderately dark wrapper is nearly flawless, rivaling any of the super premiums I have previously smoked. The aroma of the unlit cigar is a little different than I might have expected giving off a fair amount of leather with the wood and hint of spice. After cutting the cap with a double guillotine cutter and toasting the foot I took my first draw which was very easy. The smoke was very mellow without the slightest bit of harshness. The flavor was complex and very well balanced with the predominant flavors being leather, wood, and spice. Unlike many of the other Corojos Ive smoked the spice was a perfect component rather than an in your face dominant flavor. This was the first Corojo I really have thoroughly enjoyed without any reservations. The flavor remained well balanced and delicious from start to finish and I really hated to see this smoke finish. The aging and quality of the Corojo wrapper lent a creaminess to the cigar that made it very luxurious to smoke. Often Ive had smooth cigars that were creamy yet with no real complexity and I was bored with the cigar after smoking it a third of the way down. The 100 Años kept my attention to the end. Throughout the smoking of this cigar the fine construction was evident as it burned evenly and the draw never faltered from the ease with which it began. This was pure pleasure.
These cigars are not cheap, but given that you have a super premium, limited edition, and the cigars are going to become scarce soon, I think they are worth every penny. I paid about $16.00 for my stick, which seems to be about the going rate. Boxes of 25 are being advertised for between $320 to over $400 if you can find a retailer with a full box. As the supplies dwindle you might expect to see the prices increase.
With the complexity of the 100 Años there are a lot of pairing possibilities. I would suggest pairing it with something very good. It has been suggested to me by one of our esteemed Eps members that a cigar dulls the palate for a food and beverages and I do not disagree. I will say though that a beverage can enhance the flavor of a cigar and the proper pairing can lead to a better overall experience. Having said that if you are likely to have but one chance to sample Louis XIII cognac, you probably dont want to smoke a cigar no matter how fine while doing so. If on the other hand you wish to celebrate the pinnacle of the cigar makers art with an equally inspired spirit, this is a fine cigar to pair with a fine spirit. My suggestion would be to break out the Johnny Walker blue, El Diamante del Cielo Añejo tequila, or other equally grand beverage and enjoy.
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Cigar Name: La Aurora 100 Anos Belicoso
Cigar Rating: A must - sensational
Price per cigar ($US): 16.00