La Aurora Cien Años

Last month, La Aurora Cigars issued a press release announcing the return of the La Aurora Cien Años.  The Cien Años was a limited edition cigar that was launched in 2003 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of La Aurora Cigars.  There was a limited run of 400,000 cigars that were created.  For the most part inventories of this cigar have been long depleted.  The re-launch of the Cien Años will take place at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show and will also be a limited run.  However, I was recently fortunate enough to smoke a La Aurora Cien Años from one of the original batches.  Overall, I found this to be a very high quality, classic tasting Dominican cigar.

The La Aurora Cien Años was released in batches over a three year period.    It was the belicoso vitola that garnered the most attention as it what named Cigar Aficionado’s #2 Cigar of 2004.  In the press release for the return of the Cien Años Guillermo Leon, owner of La Aurora Cigars says, “In my travels the one question that has been constant is the request for Cien Años. But this time, we wanted to share not only our history, but also a piece of our future and what has yet to come.”  Based on the attention of the Cien Años making its return, I thought it would be good to smoke one a cigar from one of the 400,000 that were originally released.   Without further adieu, let’s break down the Cien Años and see what this cigar brings to the table.  I will disclaim that this cigar assessment was based on a single smoke of this cigar.

Blend Profile

Given that the La Aurora Cigar factory is in the Dominican Republic, it is only fitting that the Cien Años is a Dominican puro.  This cigar is highlighted by its aged Dominican Corojo wrapper.

Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican

As a part of a 2012 re-launch, there will be a Connecticut Broadleaf maduro version  of the Cien Años.  This maduro will be limited to 7000 cigars. This was not part of the original launch of the Cien Años.

Vitolas Available 

The following is the list of vitolas that were released with the original batches of the La Aurora Cien Años.

Belicoso: 6 1/4x 52
Preferido (Figuardo): 6 x 58
Robusto: 5 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 50
Lancero: 6 7/8 x 40
No. 4: 5 3/4 x 43

There also has been a Toro vitola that has been floating around.  Most notably. this was recently included with a Cigar Aficionado Sampler Pack.   With the 2012 return of the Cien Años, this will be limited to the Belicoso, Robusto, and Churchill vitolas.  There will be an allotment of 20,000 of each of these vitolas.

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I went with the Robusto vitola. The La Aurora Cien Años Robusto features a medium brown wrapper that has what I term a “brown bag” look to it.  There are also some subtle dark spots on the wrapper. The wrapper has a slight oily sheen to it.  At the same time the wrapper is bumpy on the surace.  There are some veins and some wrapper seams that are visible as well.  Overall, the cigar looked well aged.

The band features a combination of orange, gold, red, and pale yellow in the color scheme.  In the center of the band is the La Aurora lion.  Above the lion in thin gold font it says “AURORA”.  Below the lion in thin gold font it says “100 ANOS”.  The remainder of the band is adorned with pale yellow, gold, and red.  On the back is a red oval.  There are three lines of text in white font containing one word/number per line.  The text is “AURORA”, “100”, “ANOS”.  There is a small crown above the text.  Going sideways on each side of the oval it says “HECHO A MANO” in small white font.

There is a secondary band sitting under the primary band.  This secondary band is pale yellow.  On that band is a unique serial number for the individual cigar.  My serial number was 040532.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my experience with the Cien Años Robusto, I placed a straight cut into the cap.  Once the cap was removed, I commenced with the pre-light draw.  The dry draw notes evolved nicely as I progressed with the pre-light draw.  The initial flavors were mild cedar notes, but it graduated into a combination of cedar, floral, and citrus notes.  I also detected a natural sweetness on the dry draw as well.  Overall, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw.  At this time, it was time to light my Cien Años and see what the smoking experience would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The start of the La Aurora Cien Años gave me some notes of light red pepper and wood.  In the background, I also picked up some of the cedar/floral/citrus combination that I detected on the pre-light draw.  The wood notes I detected had a nice “smokey” quality to it.

Around five percent point of the cigar experience, the cedar/floral/citrus combination began to separate.  The citrus notes moved into the forefront while the cedar notes dissipated.  These citrus notes provided a nice sweetness to the flavor profile.  The primary notes were the red pepper and citrus in the forefront.  The smokey wood moved to the background joining the floral notes.

In the second third, the smokey wood notes moved back into the forefront joining red pepper notes.  The floral notes remained in the background.  Meanwhile the citrus notes morphed into a caramel sweetness that was also in the forefront.

In the last third of the Cien Años, the sweetness diminished and the spice took over.  The pepper notes took on more of black pepper quality as opposed to the red pepper quality that was present earlier.  The close to the cigar has some spice on it, but is not overwhelmingly spicy.  The resulting nub was warm in temperature and softer to the touch.

Burn and Draw

I would best describe the burn of the Cien Años as good, but not outstanding.  The Cien Años had a more jagged burn as opposed to a razor-sharp burn. It required more touch-ups that I preferred – especially for a cigar that had some age on it.  The touch-ups did keep the burn going straight.  There were no issues with the burn and draw as both were ideal.   The aged wrapper also seemed a little fragile – and I had to take this into account when lighting this cigar as to not damage or burn the wrapper.

The draw to the Cien Años was very good and made for a pleasurable cigar experience.

Strength and Body

From both strength and body, both attributes increase in intensity as the cigar experience progresses.  From a strength perspective, the Cien Años starts out medium and slowly progresses into full strength range.   This cigar’s strength will definitely sneak up on you.   The body of the cigar progresses in a very similar way.  The flavor notes start out medium to full-bodied and they also progress into the full range.   Both attributes stay pretty much balanced throughout the cigar experience with neither one overshadowing the other.

Final Thoughts

The one thing that I will say about this cigar – it is a Dominican Cigar and feels like a Dominican Cigar.  If you are a fan of Dominican tobacco, you are going to love this cigar.  While I’m more of a Nicaraguan tobacco fan, I will say this is a cigar that showcases some of the great things Dominican tobacco has done and will always do.  There is a real nice complexity to this cigar and it has a unique flavor profile.  This is a cigar that I would recommend to a more experienced cigar enthusiast as the strength does sneak up on you.  As for myself, this cigar is good enough to warrant looking forward to the re-launch.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Full (Medium to Start)
Body: Full (Medium to Full to Start)
Finish: Fair
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 90


Source: The cigar for this assessment was gifted to me by a friend.