For many years, Washington D.C.’s W. Curtis Draper has commissioned special limited editions in honor of its anniversaries. Last year, the company celebrated a century and a quarter with cigars from four different manufacturers, including La Aurora, a company that has been behind many of the recent W. Curtis Draper anniversary cigars.
Because the anniversary cigars have been going on for a few years, it was no surprise when earlier this year a 126th anniversary cigar showed up from My Father, but then something a bit unexpected happen, there was an announcement about another 126th anniversary project, this time from La Aurora.
It is a cigar that many had asked for, the Guillermo León by La Aurora blend in a Lancero format. It was released last month at events attended by Guillermo León. The boxes of the cigars look like this:
The two 126th anniversary releases for W. Curtis Draper look like this:
- My Father W. Curtis Draper 126 (6 x 52) — June 1, 2013 — 400 Boxes of 10 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Guillermo León by La Aurora W. Curtis Draper 126th Aniversario Lancero (7 x 40) — September 6, 2013 — 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
This is actually the tenth vitola for the Guillermo León by La Aurora line. The cigars are:
- Guillermo León by La Aurora Corona (5 1/2 x 42) — 2010 — Regular Production
- Guillermo León by La Aurora Corona Gorda (6 x 47) — 2010 — Regular Production
- Guillermo León by La Aurora Belicoso (6 1/4 x 52) — 2010 — Regular Production
- Guillermo León by La Aurora Gran Toro (6 x 58) — 2010 — Regular Production
- Guillermo León by La Aurora Robusto (5 x 50) — 2011 — Regular Production
- Guillermo León by La Aurora A — 2012 — Event Exclusive (200 Total Cigars)
- Guillermo León by La Aurora 15 Minute Break (3 1/2 x 42) — 2013 — Regular Production
- Guillermo León by La Aurora Ambassador (4 1/2 x 38/60) — 2013 — Regular Production
- Guillermo León by La Aurora Box-Pressed (6 x 54) — 2013 — 1,000 Boxes of 8 Cigars (8,000 Total Cigars)
- Guillermo León by La Aurora W. Curtis Draper 126th Aniversario Lancero (7 x 40) — 2013 — 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: Guillermo León by La Aurora W. Curtis Draper 126th Aniversario Lancero
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Cameroon & Dominican Corojo
- Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Peru & Nicaragua
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 40
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $9 (Boxes of 10, $90)
- Date Released: Sept. 6, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The first thing you have to notice when you pick up the Guillermo León is how incredibly silky smooth the wrapper is. It actually still feels fairly pliable, almost like an extremely thin piece of soft leather. There are a number of veins in the wrapper, though none of them are overly distracting. The Lancero has a pigtail cap, which finishes off the look nicely. There are a few soft spots throughout the cigar, but I’m hoping none are serious enough to affect the burn too much. Unfortunately the WCD band around the foot is kind of distracting and poor quality, looking like it was printed on a home inkjet printer. Comparatively the Guillermo León band higher up is the normal, higher quality band with the deeper colors and gloss finish and clashes with the band around the foot. Moving on to the wrapper’s aroma I pick up faint notes of leather and sweet tobacco. Cutting off the pigtail and taking a cold draw I get an avalanche of flavor, mostly dominated by a chocolate note, but with leather, tobacco and the slightest barnyard note thrown in as well.
Diving into the first third I immediately get an interesting profile consisting of cinnamon, leather, cocoa and spice. There is the slightest bitterness to the whole profile, but it seems to die down after a few draws. Starting off the cigar had an even light and was burning pretty straight, but only an inch into it the burn is starting to angle significantly enough that I need to touch it up. With the bitterness from earlier virtually gone, an amazing profile hits with a sweet spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Detracting from the enjoyable profile a bit is the cigar’s slightly tight draw. While it is within acceptable limits, it’s causing me to have to draw harder than I would prefer. That, combined with a slight difficulty keeping the cigar lit, I’m having to draw harder and more often than I usually would prefer to do on a Lancero.
The second third continues much as the first, albeit with flavors that are a little more subdued that previously. Unfortunately the negative issues have continued from before as well. Every 15 to 20 minutes I’m having to do a little touch up to keep the cigar burning straight. Only halfway through the cigar I’m already feeling the strength of it and I would put it at a medium to strong.
The final third continues with more of the enjoyable spice bouquet from earlier, though with some new additions. Toffee notes are sprinkled in among the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice while the slightest touch of black pepper is lingering in the background. The burn issues are persisting and with a relight the overall profile is becoming somewhat bitter. With the bitterness starting to overwhelm the enjoyable notes, I put the cigar down with about an inch left.
- You might notice a review of a cigar already on the site that seems like it’s a Guillermo León by La Aurora, it is in fact not.
- Lanceros need to be smoked slow. Unfortunately this cigar needed more frequent draws to stay lit. This gave me a very small window of time where I could keep the balance between the cigar staying lit and smoking it too fast and it becoming bitter.
- Both cigars I smoked had the exact same burn issues. Between their difficulty staying lit and a slight sponginess I’m wondering if the cigars were a little wet and could have used some dry boxing.
- Guillermo León is of course the current head of La Aurora.
- Again, the level of polish on the cigar’s presentation as a whole was somewhat tarnished by the band on the foot. I’m not sure if this was a last minute decision to add a band on the foot or an issue with being able to get bands made, but in my opinion it would have been better to just leave it off.
- As a side note, most of the WCD Anniversary cigars made don’t have bands distinguishing them as Anniversary editions. Their only markings that differentiate them are on the boxes.
- Because of when the WCD 125 Padrón came out, this is actually the second year in a row the store has had three anniversary releases.
- In addition, Civil Cigar Lounge, who shares the same ownership with W. Curtis Draper, received a special Tatuaje upon its opening earlier this year.
- As we’ve noted in other WCD Anniversary reviews, because of tax differences between the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, the price for this cigar is different at W. Curtis Draper’s two stores. Washington, D.C.’s cigar tax is 12% of gross receipts, while Maryland’s is 15 percent of the wholesale price.
- As of the posting of this review W. Curtis Draper still has these in stock and they accept phone orders. They can be reached at 800.572-2382.
- Final smoking time averaged just under two hours.
The Bottom Line: There were great things about this cigar and there were bad things about this cigar. When the flavors were clean and bright, they were nothing short of amazing. The problem is with the frequent burn issues and the constant struggle between smoking too fast and the cigar going out, it caused those flavors to either get muddled or overpowered by harshness. Averaging out the pros and cons though, I can definitely say I enjoyed the cigar more than not. I think these need some time to settle down and maybe dry out a bit, but I’m very much looking forward to doing a redux. As for now, I can definitely suggest buying a few and trying them out for yourself.