06 March 2009

Mystery Smokes

26 November 2007


Jose Blanco, marketing director for La Aurora, popped in to see me recently. I love this guy, I really do. He’s balls to the wall cigars. We smoked some La Aurora Excepcionales and drank espresso as we caught up on what was new. La Aurora recently moved their facility from Santiago to a much larger one in Guazumal, Dominican Republic. Just before he left, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two cigars and said, “smoke these when you have a minute.”

Well, it just so happened that I had a minute (and nothing to smoke), so I cut the beautiful little corona shaped cigar and dry smoked it for a bit. The draw was effortless. The earthy undertones and the wrapper’s spiciness were apparent without the use of flame. It lit easily and the flavorful smoke filled my mouth with each puff. A small blister began to form around the base of the ash. This is typically an indication of youth- and although common to see among many of today’s popular strong cigars, it’s rare to see it in something from La Aurora leading me to believe that this was a new project of some sort. The smoke felt almost velvety in my mouth and rich and complex flavors were beginning to develop. Though some seemed familiar, this was for sure a cigar I’d never smoked before.

I emailed Jose Blanco immediately to find out A) just what the hell was that, and B) how can I get more. In typical fashion he said A) oh just a little project, and B) you can’t. Pressing him for more information, he would only share that the filler and binder was in fact a cigar I had had the pleasure of smoking on several occaisions- the “Don Fernando” a Cameroon-wrapped corona only made for Don Fernando Leon, the patriarch of the Leon Family. The wrapper he was keeping secret.

Despite the mystery, it reminded me that just when you think all the bases are covered and you ask yourself over and over, how can we create new flavors in cigars- here was just one of an infinite number of examples of just that. There are a lot of cigars that I enjoy smoking on a regular basis, but there’s nothing like smoking something new and different. It’s like smoking your first cigar all over again… new, exciting, and inspirational to try more new and exciting things. Gracias, Jose!