Review: Guillermo León by La Aurora Lancero
I’ll be honest, I’ve tried to write this intro a few times. Nothing really stuck. After a few failed attempts, I’ll stick with what has worked before. Much like I did with the La Aurora 107 Lancero, after the jump I’ll try to tell the story of a rather unique cigar that was graciously created for a few people, once again by La Aurora. — el niño diablo.
- Name: Guillermo León by La Aurora Lancero
- Vitola: Lancero Largo
- Size: 8 1/4 x 40
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Country: Dominican Republic
- Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
- MSRP: n/a
- Source: La Aurora
- Time in Humidor: 1 Month
- Cut: Xikar XV Cutter
- Light: Colibri Boss II
- Beverage: Coke
- Smoking Time: 2 Hours 50 Minutes
Around Christmas of last year, I was talking with La Aurora President Guillermo León. I had joked with Guillermo a few times about the possibility of taking his personal blend, Guillermo León by La Aurora (often referred to as Guillermo León Signature), and putting into my beloved El Laguito No. 1. However, the holiday season seemed to have had some effect, as Guillermo was a bit more serious than his normal response. He asked specifically what size. After some back and forth, he told me that he had a rather interesting mold, 8 1/4 x 40, and he told me that he would have the rollers roll a few. (Picture above, (top) Guillermo León Lancero & (bottom) standard El Laguito No. 1)
Friday March 18th, 2011 a host of bloggers entered the main La Aurora factory. DSLRs in hand, we huddled into Jose Blanco’s office to admire Paco and the massive Stinky ashtray he guards carefully. While most know of one cigar that was created on that “blogger trip,” the Para Japón by La Aurora, few likely know about the other cigar. As we left Jose’s office to enter the rolling floor, Guillermo pulled me aside and handed me a bundle of less than ten cigars. The wrappers were dark, the cigars were long; instantly I put two and two together. These were the cigars that Guillermo had spoke of less than three months before. Guillermo had his typical smile and told me to tell him what I thought. Throughout the day we went through Jose Blanco’s blending seminar, the Cameroon trivia game, a few more cigars and then a few more at Nestor Miranda’s beloved dining establishment, Nino’s. Jose Blanco recommended that I not smoke them until I let my palate recover, which was a good idea. I passed out the remainder of the bundle to the bloggers that night and Ben Lee of NiceTightAsh smoked his that night, the first person outside of La Aurora to my knowledge to smoke one.
The exact details of the blend aren’t known, but this is not a Guillermo León by La Aurora blend. This is comprised of over 60% Nicaraguan tobaccos and when I asked Guillermo what to call it for this review, he told me “Guillermo León Lancero.”
A few weeks after returning from a phenomenal extended weekend in the DR, on a slightly warm North Carolina Spring day, I set aside a few hours and took out the dark cigar that had been described as Lancero Largo. The medium chocolate colored wrapper has a decent amount of veins with quite a bit of sheen. Aroma is medium with earth and a mild oak note, slightly bitter. Packing is average producing a consistent with a bit of resistance. From the foot I get a beautiful sweet nut with bits of veneer and fruits; medium-full and smooth.
It’s a standard cap, but even without the pigtail, it’s still a V-Cut. Aroma from the top of the cigar is significantly stronger with aged woods, smooth fruits, bit of veneer and spices with an underlying molasses sweetness. Cold draw is perfect in terms of tightness with medium-full flavors that are rather fruity, bits of bar-b-q notes and honey rounding out an extremely sweet profile of the La Aurora. As the Colibri touches the bottom a sweet woodsy note (close to an oak) emerges. The Guillermo León Lancero starts with a sweetness and toastiness transforming quickly into barks, dark tobacco and black pepper; medium in flavor and lengthy in finish.
Sweet tobacco with lots of layered woods and smooth vanilla are the medium-full profile in the first third. The Guillermo León Lancero shows off oak, molasses and earth on the finish; medium-plus and a bit longer than average. Draw is good giving off an above average amount of sweet woods. Strength is maybe medium, maybe. The burn is a bit slower than average, which is notable given the length.
After about four inches, it’s cedar, oak, herbal tobaccos, grasses and a smooth sweetness below. I should point out, this is not a whole lot of flavors at once, rather, the flavors change quite a bit throughout the thirds. Finish is however relatively consistent, woods nuts and a bit of cocoa, still medium-plus and a bit above average in length. Draw begins to tighten, but the La Aurora still has the same amount of smoke production as the first third. Strength moves up a bit to the medium range, still relatively light though. The Nicaraguan tobacco builds to about an inch and a half of medium to dark ash and then falls off, much like the first third.
Nuts are the dominating notes with oak, earth, bitter fruits and that familiar hickory sweetness making up the last of the medium-full flavor. For the first time throughout the entirety of the cigar I can pick up some pepper through the nose, but it’s not very consistent. Finish is oak, hickory and an herbal nut; a bit longer than before, but still medium-full. The rest of the La Aurora’s construction remains essentially the same, the draw still continuing to tighten slowly, but a slight increase in smoke production. After almost three hours, I set the Guillermo León Lancero down.
For the Novice
Mild to medium in strength, medium to full in body and strength; probably okay. I will say, while it’s relatively mild, there is still quite a bit of tobacco due to the size. I’m not a huge fan of the format, which might seem odd given my love affair with Lanceros. I know that it is only three-quarters of an inch, but it makes a huge difference, particularly when lighting and smoking. Remember, it’s three quarters of an inch on top of the traditional dimensions, but it’s three quarters of an inch on top of any regular production size. (I really don’t count the “A” to be a regular production size for most manufacturers.)
In the End
Okay, back to the super subjective portion of the review. I cannot express how humbled I am that Guillermo created this cigar, largely at my request, I think? While the flavors I got were not what Guillermo intended (apparently the Lancero is supposed to be quite spicier), I did enjoy them quite a bit. The one glaring problem is the size. Most days I don’t have three hours to smoke one cigar, particularly something that exhibits this flavor profile. For those that are wanting to try the format, chances are you won’t get one of these (less than ten of them were brought into the U.S.), however, you can try the size. MATASA makes their popular Casa Magna line in 8 1/4 x 40, so have at it. (For the record, I like this quite a bit better than the Casa Magna.)
87. It largely depends on the price, let’s assume $10; 90 points.