|La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004|
The La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 is the second of the Puro Vintage limited release series from La Aurora cigars. This has been a long awaited follow-up release to the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003. In addition to being a salomon vitola, the distinguishing factor with the Puro Vintage line is that the tobaccos are all harvested from the same year. At the time of this assessment, the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 series has just made it into many retailer shops. In general I find salomon vitolas to a bit of an enigma. They are stunning to look at and take a lot of effort to roll, however in the end many fail to deliver a great smoking experience. With the case of the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004, it has very good
flavor, but falls into several of the pitfalls that often plague the salomon vitola.
As mentioned, the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 is a limited release cigar. There have only been about 8000 cigars rolled – 1000 boxes of eight cigars. This is a lower number than what was available for the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 which had 12000 cigars rolled – or 1500 boxes of 8.
In fairness, my issues with salomon vitolas typically around around uneven burns and loose draws. As far as the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004, it does have these issues, but when compared to most salomons on the market, it isn’t nearly as problematic as many I’ve seen on the market.
Let’s take a closer look at the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004:
Blend Profile and Vitolas Available
Normally these are separate components to the assessments done on this
web-site, but in this case they will be combined as it will be easier to
contrast the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 with the 2003. The big difference is not just in the wrapper, but that the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 is a smaller and thinner cigar than its 2003 predecessor. In the end, I think it helped minimize the burn and draw issues that typically plague the salomon.
As mentioned the tobaccos for the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 were harvested in 2004, and have had a chance to cedar age for five years prior to being rolled.
La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Vitola: 6 1/4 x 52
Production: Approximately 8,000 cigars
For historical purposes, here is the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003
La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun-grown
Vitola: 7 1/2 x 58
Production: Approximately 12,000 cigars
The La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 is a work of cigar art. As I mentioned when it comes to a salomon, it is a beautiful vitola to look at, and in my opinion the Puro Vintage 2004 is as beautiful as they come. The wrapper features a nice dark caramel color. It is somewhat oily and toothy in appearance.
The band features the La Aurora lion on over a bright yellow background adorned with gold coinage around it. The bright yellow component sits on top of a pale yellow component. In maroon font, the words “La Aurora” and “Puro Vintage” sit above and below the bright yellow component respectively. The remainder of the band has a maroon background with some gold highlights – most notably, “2004 Limited Edition” appears on the lower part of the front of the band.
For a salomon, the Puro Vintage 2004 had a decent pack. It was a little soft toward the cap/tip area. The cigar itself has an open foot. It has a feint cocoa aroma to it from the foot.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
By default, I placed a straight cut into the tip of the salomon of the Puro Vintage 2004. When I started the pre-light draw, I started slowly and carefully as not to soften the tip to much. The pre-light draw was a little tough to make out in terms of a distinguishing flavor. It didn’t have a lot of body to the flavors, but it seemed to me I got several flavors on the dry draw: wood, butter, cedar, and cocoa. This had me intrigued and ready to fire up my Puro Vintage 2004.
On the initial draw of the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004, I got a quick shot of pepper. The pepper quickly dissipated and became a part of the after-draw. This spice on the after-draw would be a part of the smoking experience of the Puro Vintage for the duration of the smoking experience.
Shortly afterwards, I picked up some notes of cedar, bread, and a little raw caramel. These notes would hold throughout the first half. Around the midway point of the smoking experience, I picked up some notes of chicory. As the cigar progressed into the last third, some coffee flavors joined the chicory. The coffee and chicory notes became primary in the last third. The cigar actually got smoother and better as the smoke progressed. In fact, the finish to be pretty smooth. The resulting nub was soft (I expected that from the cap being a little loosely packed), and a little lukewarm in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Lately, with salomon cigars, I’ve made a decision to clip the foot as well as the tip. Part of the reason why I do that is to help with some of the burn issues In the case of the Puro Vintage 2004, I did not clip the foot. The Puro Vintage 2004 did require many touch-ups to keep it burning straight. The touch-ups did the trick to keep the burn on-track, but my complaint was the amount of touch-ups required. The burn rate was ideal, but there were times (particularly) in the second half where the burn temperature was less than ideal. I would categorize the burn temperature as lukewarm in the second half. The resulting ash stayed pretty tight throughout the smoke.
|Burn of La Aurora Puro Vintage|
The draw was looser than I prefer. This could be traced to some of the looser packing in the cap. I had to make some adjustments to slow down on my draw at times, and I think that prevented this cigar from burning too hot.
Strength and Body
From a nicotine profile, I thought the strength of the Puro Vintage 2004 snuck up on me a bit. The strength comes in at the upper level of medium to full. As for the body, I felt the flavor notes had some depth and were robust. I assessed the Puro Vintage 2004 medium to full in body. There is good balance between the strength and body of this cigar.
As I was smoking the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004, I kept thinking that I wish this blend would have been rolled in a classic parejo vitola as opposed to the salomon. In my book, I think it was this shape that ended up costing this cigar some points. In general, I usually do not recommend salomon vitolas to the novice cigar enthusiast. As for experienced cigar enthusiasts, I would encourage those who like this vitola to give it a try. On a side note, this was an assessment done right off the shelf of a new cigar. While I don’t think this cigar required much more aging, I am curious to see what this cigar tastes like six months from now. Overall, given the limited availability, you still might want to give this a try.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigar for this assessment was purchased at Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.