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The original Don Fernando was modeled after Don Fernando León. It was the cigar the late head of La Aurora smoked, 5 9/16 x 42. differentiated from the rest of the León Jimenes line only by a few words on the boxes.

At the 2012 IPCPR convention and trade show, La Aurora showed off a new Don Fernando. This time, it featured its own branding, a different blend and was branded as part of the Family Reserve line, alongside the Guillermo León Family Reserve, the eponymous cigar for Fernando’s son and current head of La Aurora.

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La Aurora Miami Cigar IPCPR 2014-08

At this year’s IPCPR convention and trade show, La Aurora showed off a new size in both lines of the Family Reserve series: the iconic 6 x 58 Preferidos size, a unique perfecto shape rolled by La Aurora. Both of these cigars started shipping today.

With the addition of the Preferidos, there are now seven vitolas in the Fernando León Family Reserva line.

  • Fernando León Family Reserve Corona (5 1/2 x 42) 
  • Fernando León Family Reserve Robusto (5 x 50)
  • Fernando León Family Reserve Corona Gorda (6 x 47)
  • Fernando León Family Reserve Belicoso (6 1/4 x 52)
  • Fernando León Family Reserve Gran Toro (6 x 58)
  • Fernando León Box-Pressed (6 x 54)
  • Fernando León Family Reserve Preferidos (6 x 58)

Fernando Leon Family Reserve Preferidos 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Fernando León Family Reserve Preferidos
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
  • Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic & Peru
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 58
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • MSRP: $11 (Boxes of 20, $222)
  • Date Released: September 23, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3  

The Fernando León Family Reserve Preferidos is quite interesting when you first see it, with a perfecto foot that is cut off at the bottom and a cap that comes to a sharp point. The band sits squarely in the middle of the cigar and it is covered in a dark mocha brown wrapper that is extremely rough to the touch, almost rustic when you run your fingers up and down it. There is no oil visible at all and the cigar is a bit more spongy when squeezed than I would like. Aroma coming from the wrapper is a combination of simple sweet cedar, leather and nuts, while the cold draw brings flavors of cedar, leather, dark cocoa and a slight sweetness.

The first third of the Fernando León Family Reserve Preferidos starts out with some distinct and creamy oak, earth and leather notes dominant, along with some lesser flavors of dark chocolate, black pepper and grass. There is some significant spice on the tongue and the retrohale for the first 10 puffs or so, but it dies down considerably after that. I am picking up some very slight sweetness through the nose, but it is just not that strong yet, and smoke production is about average so far. Construction-wise, the burn is excellent through the first third, but the draw is a bit loose for my tastes, while the ash is well formed. The strength starts at a light medium and it gets close to the middle point of medium by the end of the first third.

Fernando Leon Family Reserve Preferidos 2

Coming into the second third, I am tasting some interesting combination of a floral note and popcorn on the retrohale, along with some great white pepper—while the creamy oak note is still dominant. Other flavors of earth, leather, hay and coffee flit in and out, but the spice from the first third is long gone by the halfway point. There is still some indeterminate sweetness in the profile, but it is still not strong enough to really discern specifics. The burn has started to become a bit wavy, although not bad enough to worry about yet, and the draw has thankfully tightened up nicely. Strength-wise, the Preferidos does make into the medium by the end of the second third, but does not seem to be getting much stronger from there.

Fernando Leon Family Reserve Preferidos 3

The final third of the Fernando León Family Reserve Preferidos is almost at carbon copy of the first, with the same creamy oak and leather flavors taking the top spot, along with secondary notes of earth, grass, anise and bitter espresso. The sweetness has increased a bit from the second third and reminds me a little of honey, but it is still not strong enough to make much of a difference in the profile overall. The burn has evened up again, and the draw is quite nice, while the smoke production actually seems to have increased slightly. The strength has not increased, and the cigar ends at a solid medium with me putting down the nub with a little more than an inch left.

Fernando Leon Family Reserve Preferidos 4

Final Notes

  • Fernando León was the head of La Aurora Cigars from the 1950s until he died in 2009.
  • The Don Fernando blend and the Fernando León are quite different both on paper and when smoking.
  • One of the big parts of the La Aurora makeover was making sure that all of its products are price-protected, including the La Aurora 1495, which is a catalog-only cigar.
  • The smoke that billows from this cigar smells strongly of both nutmeg and cinnamon, a very nice combination of scents.
  • Make no mistake, this is a slow burning cigar, and each one took a little more than two hours to smoke to the nub.
  • La Aurora is distributed in the U.S. by Miami Cigar & Co.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by La Aurora at the 2014 IPCPR show.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar is a Fernando León retailer.
86 Overall Score

While not the most complex of blends, I enjoyed the Fernando León Family Reserve Preferidos for what it is: a unique vitola in a medium-bodied profile that gave some interesting flavors along the way. The second third was easily the best, with a great combination of floral and popcorn that faded all too quickly. Honestly, I prefer the corona vitola in this blend out of the three sizes I have tried as I find the flavors to be noticeably more distinct in that size, but if you are looking for a longer smoke in an interesting vitola, the Preferidos will suffice.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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