There was a time when I was under the impression that there would be no new cigars from Ashton over the summer. Then—after I had closed out a to-do of asking Ashton if it planned any new products for the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show in July—Ashton’s Instagram account began teasing a new La Aroma de Cuba.

As it turned out, there would be a new Ashton cigar at the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show; specifically there would be nine of them on hand. Nine is the number of samples of the cigars Ashton brought to the trade show, enough to hand out to its employees at the show so they could smoke the cigars before selling them, but not enough to display the product. It was perhaps the epitome of the supply chain issues that have faced the cigar industry, particularly as most of the industry tried introducing new cigars in the summer.

The new line is the La Aroma de Cuba Pasión. It’s offered in six-box pressed sizes, with a blend that is made entirely of Nicaraguan tobaccos grown by the García family of My Father fame. While it uses a shade-grown wrapper, it’s not the light tan hue that most people think of when they hear the words “shade” and “wrapper.” Like many other wrappers that aren’t Connecticut-seed, it’s grown under shade but still results in color that is a bit darker. The company says it comes from the García’s farms in Namanji, east of Estelí.

  • La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) — $10 (Box of 25, $250)
  • La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — $9.50 (Box of 25, $237.50)
  • La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Marveloso (6 x 52) — $10.75 (Box of 25, $268.75)
  • La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Encanto (6 x 60) — $11.50 (Box of 25, $287.50)
  • La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Box-Pressed Torpedo (6 1/8 x 54) — $10.95 (Box of 25, $273.75)
  • La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Churchill (7 x 49) — $10.85 (Box of 25, $271.25)

  • Cigar Reviewed: La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Box-Pressed Torpedo
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $10.95 (Box of 25, $273.75)
  • Release Date: Sept. 14, 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Like just about every cigar from Ashton I’ve ever smoked, the band on this the La Aroma de Cuba Pasión is one of the more intricate and well-executed creations that you’ll see adorning a cigar. The wrapper has a dark red color and is quite oily. While it doesn’t have very many veins, there are a lot of bumps that come through on the wrapper. As someone that’s photographed all of the vitolas of this line—on two different occasions thanks to a screw-up on my end—the box-press is pretty aggressive, though the torpedo size makes it seem much more aggressive than the other sizes. The aroma from the wrapper is medium-full with a combination of barnyard, leather and acidity. While the wrapper may not have the most appetizing of smells, the foot’s aroma is quite nice. It too is medium-full, though with sweet chocolate over leather and some generic fruit flavors. The cold draw is medium-full with flavors of cocoa, a very sweet cherry flavor and some orange peel.

Different woody sensations are the first things to hit my palate once the cigar is lit, but there’s also some sugar sweetness, burnt flavors and a faint hint of pepper. After about five minutes, those woody flavors wear off and the La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Box-Pressed Torpedo shifts to a balanced mixture of earthiness, nuttiness and coffee. About two-thirds of the puffs have a vibrant pepper mixture—more red pepper than black pepper—but it’s not present on every puff. A coffee liqueur-like flavor emerges right as the smoke leaves my mouth, it’s followed by some French bread flavors, sourness, acidity, a fruity coffee sensation, leather and then a sharper leather flavor that sits on the back of the throat for another 15 seconds after the other flavors are no longer detectable. Retrohales have a vibrant meaty flavor followed by burnt coffee, leather, earthiness and some floral flavors. That meatiness turns beefier on the finish, but there’s also some unique floral flavors and saltiness. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Construction is excellent overall, though one cigar is showing just a tad bit of tunneling.

The La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Box-Pressed Torpedo has a similar mixture of nuttiness, leather and coffee. The leather is a new addition, though it’s pretty complementary to the earthiness that was there before. Plus, the earthiness remains a secondary flavor, joined by fruitiness and white pepper, though the latter is solely on my tongue. The finish has peanuts, an underlying sweetness, some pine and white pepper, once again the latter solely on the tongue. It’s calmed down a bit compared to some parts of the first third, though I think that’s largely due to the adjustment of where the pepper is hitting my palate and what type of pepper I’m picking up as the rest of the flavors are still a bit aggressive. Retrohales see a heavy dose of red pepper followed by bread flavors and sugar. The finish has straw, red pepper, leather and nuttiness. Sort of like the leather flavor in the first third, the red pepper seems to engulf the back of my throat and sticks around a lot longer than the other flavors. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium and, on two cigars, strength is medium-full. On the third sample I smoked, the strength has increased to a level where I’m feeling it and am increasingly concerned about whether I’m going to be able to finish the cigar. The draw is a bit more open than I’d like it to be, though I imagine most people would be fine with it, though there are some needs for touch-ups. Smoke production continues to be impressive and the burn is even.

While the balanced mixture of earthiness, coffee and nuttiness still leads the La Aroma de Cuba Pasión, the profile has changed dramatically as there’s now some creaminess that accents things. While the creaminess softens the profile a bit, there’s still a generic pepper flavor that keeps up the sharpness that has been present throughout the cigar. The finishes see the creaminess and nuttiness combine to a peanut butter-like flavor, though I also get some of the straw flavors from earlier. Retroahles vary quite a bit. At times, there’s a great contrast between floral flavors and red pepper, other times the creaminess takes over, and on the third sample I’m getting some soy sauce-like flavors. The finish is much more intense thanks to a white pepper that drowns out earthiness and ketchup. About five seconds after the smoke leaves my nostrils, the pepper lets up and I can taste some fruitiness or nuttiness depending on the puff. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength—on the first two cigars—is medium-full. On the final cigar, it remains full and I continue to be affected by the strength to the point where once I type my last few words of notes, I put the cigar in the ashtray and go lie down. Touch-ups are needed to help keep the burn going, but the construction is otherwise great.

Final Notes

  • I find it a bit odd that two vitolas—the Encanto and Marveloso—have special names, whereas the other four sizes are called by what their vitolas names would be, Corona Gorda or Robusto, for example.
  • The first two samples I smoked were medium-plus to medium-full in strength. Somewhere before the halfway point of the second third, I noticed the nicotine was not only a lot more intense but also starting to hit my head. By the end of the second third, I was at a point where I was needing to think about how much time I was going to need to lie down after finishing the cigar. I’m not sure why this was the case, but every once in a while I’ll have a review where one cigar is substantially stronger than the other two.
  • Given Ashton’s portfolio, I cannot imagine that the company would want the strength level of the third cigar to be representative of the blend as a whole. It was way too strong for me and completely outside the range of the rest of Ashton’s portfolio.
  • For those wondering, I don’t think my nicotine issues were a result of something I did. I smoked the cigar in the mid-afternoon, which is my normal smoking time. I had a late breakfast and no lunch, which isn’t that uncommon for my day-to-day life.
  • It was strong enough that for the first time in months, I grabbed a bottle of water to help try to alleviate some of the nicotine. Water is not the solution to deal with nicotine sickness but stopping the cigar, consuming lots of sugar, and lying down—the three things I’d recommend doing when you start to feel nicotine sick—would prevent me from finishing the final sample.
  • For reasons unrelated to the strength, this is a cigar I plan on doing a redux review in six months. I think that a few months in the humidor will help to calm down some of the more aggressive parts of the portfolio, which hopefully will allow for more of the complexity and balance to come through. The main flavor in the mouth—that combination of earthiness, nuttiness, coffee and/or leather—is extremely balanced with no flavor really taking the top spot. But the flavors can get a bit aggressive at times.
  • While my main issue with the cigar is that aggressiveness, the score suffered here for the minor burn and draw issues that were present after the first third.
  • As is explained a bit more below, I think this might be a bit too similar to the other La Aroma de Cubas for me to understand why this cigar was being made. Rather than this shade-grown wrapper, I’d be much more interested in tasting a second Connecticut shade cigar from the Garcías, as My Father also makes the San Cristobal Elegancia for Ashton
  • That being said, I imagine that Ashton is pretty sensitive to adding any Connecticut shade cigars to its portfolio given the popularity of the eponymous Ashton line.
  • Flavor-wise, the final cigar tasted quite similar to the others.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time varied, but the average was right around two hours.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co. and Famous Smoke Shop carry the La Aroma de Cuba Pasión Box-Pressed Torpedo.
87 Overall Score

I should start by saying, I think this is a solid cigar that got punished for a variety of small things: balance, a few touch-ups and a slightly open draw. Flavor-wise, all the pieces are here. But even before the final sample delivered enough nicotine that I needed to lie down, I was of the opinion that this cigar was just a bit too aggressive right now for my liking. This—particularly after the first third—reminds me of the pepper-forward Pepín blending profile that was oftentimes talked about a decade or so ago. It’s a style of cigar that I don’t think is representative of most of the new cigars that come from the My Father Cigars S.A. factory these days, though it’s certainly still a part of some of the older blends. I’m curious to see what a few months of rest might do to the cigar as there are plenty of interesting flavors that at times can get a bit too sharp, though that’s not my largest issue with the La Aroma de Cuba Pasión. For me, the main question is whether this is noticeably different than the other La Aroma de Cubas—and to a lesser extent San Cristobals—that Ashton already sells. While I don’t think I’d have any issue telling this and a La Aroma de Cuba Edición Especial apart, I don’t think they are that different and I’m not sure I’d pick up these nuances if not smoking this cigar for the review. With the exception of the La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse—which I think is an obvious more complex blend—the Pasión ends up being just a bit more expensive than the other La Aroma de Cubas, and I’m not sure how many people will be able to notice the differences.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.