Fernando León Family Reserve

The Fernando León Family Reserve was one of four releases by La Aurora Cigars at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. The cigar is named for the late Don Fernando León, who was the father of La Aurora Cigars president Guillermo León. Fernando León also served as the head of La Aurora Cigars. The story behind the Fernando León Family Reserve is that Fernando León had a cigar that was his own personal blend.  The cigar was originally a corona vitola and he would share this with the people that were closest to him.   With son, Guillermo at the helm, La Aurora has decided to release the cigar as a new line.  I’ve had an opportunity to sample several of these since the 2012 Trade Show.  This is not a cigar that should be overlooked.  This is a cigar that seems to get better over time, and might be one of the hidden gems to come out in 2012.

The timing for this write-up is meant to coincide with the Fernando León Family Reserve’s national launch at Cigar Inn in Manhattan, NY.   According to a recent press release announcing the event, Fernando León traveled to the U.S. for his first cigar event in 1997.  That event took place at Cigar Inn.   Therefore, it was logical to do the launch of the the cigar bearing his name to be at Cigar Inn.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve sampled four cigars of the Fernando León Family Reserve.  As I mentioned, this cigar has really gelled with age.   This assessment will be mostly based on the most recent smoke.  Since all were pre-release IPCPR samples, we will default to a pre-review to share some thoughts and perspectives.   At a later point, we will provide a rating and score based on a cigar purchased from a retailer.

Blend Profile 

The Fernando León Family Reserve is primarily a Dominican blend, however it also has Peruvian and Brazilian tobacco in the filler.  Peruvian and Brazilian tobacco is a part of the Guillermo Leon Signature Series, so there is some linkage between the cigars named after father and son.

Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler: Peruvian, Brazilian, and Dominican

Vitolas Available

Another linkage between father and son is that the Fernando León Family Reserve is available in the same vitolas as the Guillermo León Signature Series.

Corona: 5 1/2 x 42
Corona Gorda: 6 x 47
Belicoso: 6 1/4 x 52
Gran Toro: 6 x 58
Robusto: 5 x 50

Appearance

In each of the Fernando León Family Reserves I have smoked, it was the robusto vitola.  The most striking thing about the Fernando León Family Reserve is its red-dish wrapper.  This corojo definitely has a strong red tint to it.   The wrapper has some oil to its complexion, but it also has a rugged feel to it.  There are several visible veins and visible wrapper seams.  

The band has a also has a strong amount of red in the color scheme.  Along with the red, there is gold and white colors on the band.  The band can best be described in three segments.  The top segment features a gold La Aurora lion on a red background.  The remainder of the segment has gold and red pinstripes.  The middle segment has a white background with the text “Fernando León” in gold cursive font.  In the bottom segment, there is a red background with “Family Reserve” in gold.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

I opted to go with a straight cut into the cap of the Fernando León Family Reserve.  I found that the cap of the cigar was very easy to remove making for a perfect cut.   It was now time to begin the pre-light draw.  Cedar was the primary dry draw flavor I was able to detect.  The cedar notes had both a sweet and spicy quality.  I also detected some plain woody notes.  All of these notes would be a sign of more things to follow.   It was now time to toast the foot of the Fernando León Family Reserve and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile 

The start to the Fernando León Family Reserve continued the cedar sweet-spice that I had detected on the pre-light draw, but in a bolder fashion.    The cedar sweet-spice soon evolved into an interesting pattern:  Cedar sweetness on the draw, and black pepper on the retro-hale.  This pattern continued throughout the first half with the sweetness having the edge over the black pepper.

At around the 1/3 point, there were a few changes that could be detected in the flavor profile.  First up, the spice was now folded into the full draw.  The spice took on more of a background role at this time.  Secondly, there were some woody notes that also could be detected in the background.  Finally, the cedary sweetness had changed to more of a citrus grapefruit flavor.   The grapefruit flavor kept the sweetness in the forefront.


As the smoking experience moved into the second half, the woody notes soon became the primary notes.  The grapefruit notes joined the pepper in the background.  Toward the end of the smoke, the pepper did increase, but did not become overwhelming.  There was a slight bit of harshness toward the very end.   The resulting nub was soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

On each of the Fernando León Family Reserve I smoked, the burn did require multiple touch-ups in the first half to keep the burn line straight   In each of the samples, the burn of the second half was a lot better than the first half as the burn line straightened itself out.   The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color.  The ash was tight with only some occasional flaking.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.   It is important to remember that these were pre-release samples – and anything can happen when you don’t have the benefit of sitting in a retailer humidor for a period of time.

No issues on the draw.   The Fernando León Family Reserve proved to be a low maintenance cigar to get an excellent draw.

Strength and Body

I found the Fernando León Family Reserve to have what I term the right amount of strength from a nicotine perspective..   Overall, I think it was strong enough to fall into medium range.   From a depth of flavors perspective, I found the flavors to have some nice depth to them.  I assessed this cigar to be a medium to full-bodied cigar.   The depth of the flavors does give the body an edge over the strength of this cigar.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of potential with the Fernando León Family Reserve.   I found this to be a unique and complex flavor profile – and one that has gotten better over time.  I found this the kind of cigar to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flavors of what it brings to the table.  The Fernando León is different than the Guillermo  León Signature Series and I would not categorize it as an amp’d down version of that cigar.  This is the kind of cigar I’d recommend to the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast.  Fans of Dominican puros will like the addition edge and complexity this cigar brings to the table. As for myself, I would definitely smoke this cigar again.

Summary
  
Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Good


Source: This cigars for this write-up was provided by Miami Cigar Company. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no
way does this influence this review.