Don Fernando Leon Asensio, patriarch of the Leon Family, died yesterday afternoon in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The Leon Family are the makers of La Aurora and Leon Jimenes Cigars as well owners of Presidente Beer and a number of other businesses. But, more importantly they're just wonderful people.
I've had the pleasure of spending time with Don Fernando on several occasions, both in New York and in the Dominican Republic.
I remember the first time I met him. Probably 2002 or 2003...
He walked into the Madison Avenue store wearing his classic green fedora w/ a feather in the band (first time I ever saw him) and he was smoking a Leon Jimenes cigar... corona shaped, but with a Cameroon wrapper. I asked if I could help him, having no idea who he was... and he asked "Do you sell this cigar?" I said "No, I'm sorry we don't". He looked surprised and said, "YOU DONT? I thought you carried Leon Jimenes!?" I said, "We do, but you asked if we sell THAT cigar.. and that one we don't sell." He asked "Why not?" I said, "well it looks like that wrapper is Cameroon, and we only sell Leon Jimenes with Connecticut and Maduro wrappers. I think what you're smoking is called a "Don Fernando" but it's not available for sale, it's only made for the Patriarch of the Leon Family (recalling the story from my sales rep). Out of curiosity, how'd you get it?"He smiled and said "I'm Fernando Leon". And we were friends ever since... and shortly after we began selling the Don Fernando as the La Aurora Choix Supreme in cab's of 50. SO... today, ... all the staff in both stores will be smoking the La Aurora Choix Supreme... in memory of the great Don Fernando.
click here for Dave Savona's article on Don Fernando at http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA_Features/CA_Feature_Basic_Template/0,2344,2743,00.html