Review: La Aurora 100 Años W. Curtis Draper 125th Robusto
On April 13, 2012, La Aurora Cigars’ Guillermo León appeared for an event at W. Curtis Draper in Washington D.C. to celebrate Draper’s 125th year in business. To commemorate the occasion, La Aurara released a special cigar, a 5 x 50 Robusto in the 100 Años blend.
Charlie covered the details of the 100 Años W. Curtis Draper 125th Robusto a few weeks ago:
Miami Cigar & Company’s Facebook page showed off pictures of the second of the four scheduled 125th anniversary cigars for W. Curtis Draper scheduled to launch later this week. 2012 marks the fifth year in a row La Aurora has created a limited edition for W. Curtis Draper’s anniversary, this time a 5 x 50 Robusto in the Cien Años blend. There is no official word on what vintage the blend is from, other than the tobaccos are quite aged.
Like the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX, the first of the anniversary releases for 2012, the La Aurora 100 Años will be limited to 250 boxes, although this time boxes of 10 as opposed to 12.
The cigar will launch on Friday (April 13, 2012) at W. Curtis Draper in Washington D.C. with Guillermo León, head of La Aurora on hand. On Saturday (April 14, 2012), the cigars will debut at W. Curtis Draper’s other location in Bethesda, MD. Both days will include free lunches for box customers.
While pricing is not finalized, it is expected to run $11-$12 per cigar with a slightly increased priced at Bethesda because of the higher tobacco tax.
Here is the description of the 100 Años blend from Guillermo Leon of La Aurora Cigars:
The 100 Años was launched in 2003 to commemorate the centennial of the La Aurora factory. It is a cigar made of 100% Dominican tobacco for experienced smokers.
There have been six vitolas in the La Aurora 100 Años line. They are:
- Robusto — 5 x 50
- No. 4 — 5 1/4 x 42
- Belicoso — 6 1/4 x 52
- Churchill —7 x 50
- Lancero — 6 7/8 x 40
- Preferido — 6 x 58
Here is a photo of the two W. Curtis Draper 125th releases:
The boxes of the La Aurora 100 Años Robusto look like this:
But enough about that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
Cigar Reviewed: La Aurora 100 Años W. Curtis Draper 125th Robusto
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Corojo & Dominican Piloto Cubano
Size: 5 Inches
Ring Gauge: 50
Est. Price: $11.00 (Boxes of 10, $110.00)
Release Date: April 13, 2012
Number of Cigars Released: 250 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The 100 Años Robusto is an excellent looking specimen with a nearly flawless milk chocolate brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch. It has quite a bit of give when squeezed, but not so much that I think there is going to be a problem. The Dominican wrapper smells strongly of chocolate, cedar and hay with a little sweetness thrown in for good measure.
The 100 Años starts off the first third with a creamy profile, and immediate flavors of hay, chocolate, earth and a nice maple sweetness that really brings the profile together. There is some spice on the tongue and there is a small amount of black pepper noticeable, especially on the retrohale. Immediately, it begins to calm down almost immediately and by the end of the first third is nothing more than an afterthought. Construction is excellent with a near perfect draw and burn line. Strength is almost non-existent by the end of the first third, but does seem to be getting stronger.
Coming into the second third of the 100 Años and the creamy profile is sticking around, as is the maple sweetness. The spice is almost totally gone by the halfway point, but there are also some different flavors compared to the first third including some leather and tart nuttiness that gains in strength as the second third comes to an end. Other notes of chocolate and coffee are noticeable, but not overly strong at any given point. Strength bumps up to a medium and the construction remains almost perfect.
The final third sees the creaminess and sweetness that have been major players in the first two thirds recede a bit, although they are still definitely background notes. Other flavors get stronger, most notably coffee and leather, but I can still taste earth, hay and chocolate. The strength ends where I thought it would, a solid medium. Construction remains great till the end and I was easily able to nub the Cien Años without it getting hot.
- The name of the cigar, while spelled out 100 Años, is actually pronounced cien años which is 100 years in Spanish.
- The Dominican Corojo wrapper is from 2000 and the filler and binder are made of tobacco from 1996.
- The La Aurora 100 Años line was released in 2004 to celebrate 100 years of business for La Aurora, which owns the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. This despite the fact that the company was actually founded in 1903, which if you are counting at home, means that the “100 Year” anniversary cigar was actually released on the 101th anniversary. The delay was caused by issues surrounding the wrapper.
- La Aurora released the Cien Años in four formats in 2004 (Belicoso, Churchill, Corona and Robusto) and two other vitolas (Preferido and Lancero) in 2009.
- The Monday after the events at W. Curtis Draper, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced its purchase of Presidente beer from Grupo León. Last year, Guillermo León purchased the controlling interest in La Aurora from Grupo León.
- As mentioned above, these specific Robustos were rolled at exactly the same time as the original release in 2004 and have been aging at La Aurora since then.
- While both the Lancero and Preferido used the same tobacco, they did not carry the identification number on the bands that the four original vitolas had, which is the easiest way to tell the difference between the original and latter releases.
- The La Aurora Excepionales, released in 2003 in one size and only in fifty count cabinets exclusively for Manhattan retailers, used the exact same wrapper as the Cien Años.
- La Aurora released a cigar in 2003 called the La Aurora Excepionales that was a precursor to the 100 Años, here’s a brief description from Charlie:
However, La Aurora did make a cigar with Dominican Corojo on it in 2003, the La Aurora Excepionales. Released in one size in fifty count cabinets for Manhattan retailers only, the Excepionales used the exact same wrapper as the Cien Años. Michael Herklots, now of Nat Sherman, was noted for having helped in the blend while he was at Davidoff. While the wrapper was the same, the cigar was not a Dominican puro, as a little Nicaraguan filler was used.
- 2012 marks the fifth year in a row La Aurora has created a limited edition for W. Curtis Draper’s anniversary.
- Draper’s website says there were only 200 boxes produced, Miami Cigar & Co. claims 250 boxes, which would be the same as the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX. However, the La Aurora is offered in boxes of 10n as opposed to 12, so the total number of cigars released is 2,500 instead of 3,250.
- With the addition of the W. Curtis Draper secondary band, both bands on this vitola take up about a third of the total length of the cigar.
- Although this release is billed as a full strength release, I found it to be nowhere near that. In fact, I would call it a solid medium in strength, and that might be a bit generous.
- The construction was fabulous on both samples that I smoked, honestly, the draw just could not get any better.
- Much like the Pete Johnson interview back in February, Stogie Review put together a video featuring some great info and back and forth conversation in an interview with George Brightman of W.Curtis Draper (Bethesda) and Guillermo Leon here and here.
- The final smoking time for both samples was right at one hour and ten minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the La Aurora 100 Años W. Curtis Draper 125th Robusto, the only place to get them is W. Curtis Draper in Washington D.C. There is no website to buy from, but you can call them at either the D.C. location (202.638.2555) or in Bethesda (301.907.7990) and tell them halfwheel sent you.
The Bottom Line: I was not in the least surprised to find out these specific cigars were from the original release back in 2004. These taste like a well-aged cigar with all of the characteristics that you expect to find therein: a smooth profile with a wonderful balance of strength and flavors. And while it does not come close to the complexity of the first W. Curtis Draper 125th release, the WCD 120 Redux, it is a very good cigar in its own right and definitely worth a box purchase. Having said that, there are two problems. First, the price is borderline outrageous for a Robusto. In addition, I honestly don’t know how much longer they can age before losing too much more of it’s profile considering that at this point, the wrapper is 12 years-old and the filler and binder are 16 years-old. Buy these to smoke, not to age.
Final Score: 89