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If there is one thing that cigar manufacturers know how to commemorate it is important dates in their company’s history, and the latest La Aurora blend to ship to retailers does just that.

The name of the cigar is La Aurora 1985 Maduro, the fourth addition to the company’s Time Capsule Series, which is made up of lines named after the years that La Aurora debuted specific blends using specific wrappers. Past members of the series have included the 1903 Cameroon1962 Corojo and 1987 Connecticut, all of which carry monikers that make it easy to discern the wrappers they are celebrating.

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In the case of the 1985 Maduro, that wrapper is actually a Brazilian maduro, leaf on top of a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The regular production release shipped in four different vitolas packaged in 20-count boxes last month:

  • La Aurora 1985 Maduro Robusto (5 x 50) — $5.75 (Boxes of 20, $115)
  • La Aurora 1985 Maduro Toro (5 3/4 x 54) — $6 (Boxes of 20, $120)
  • La Aurora 1985 Maduro Churchill (7 x 47) — $6 (Boxes of 20, $120)
  • La Aurora 1985 Maduro Gran Toro (6 x 58) — $6.25 (Boxes of 20, $125)

Like the rest of the company’s lines, it is being rolled at the La Aurora S.A. factory in the Dominican Republic and is being distributed to retailers in the U.S. by Miami Cigar & Co.

  • Cigar Reviewed: La Aurora 1985 Maduro Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: La Aurora S.A.
  • Wrapper: Brazil
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $5.75 (Box of 20, $115)
  • Release Date: April 5, 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The La Aurora 1985 Maduro Robusto is covered in a dark espresso brown wrapper that is sandpaper rough to the touch and features both a number of veins and bumps running up and down its length. An inspection finds a soft spot just under the secondary band and the cigar is extremely hard when squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of oak, earth, manure, leather, hay and raisin sweetness while the cold draw brings flavors of strong and distinct gritty earth, leather, black pepper, nutmeg and cocoa nibs.

Starting out the first third, the 1985 Maduro features a number of flavors, but the profile is dominated by only two: oak and bitter dark chocolate. Those are followed by notes of earth, anise, grass, espresso beans, leather tack and peanuts, along with a very distinct fondant sweetness on the finish. There is also a noticeable amount of black pepper on the retrohale as well as some spice on my tongue, but the latter seems to be fading almost as soon as I notice it. Construction-wise, the burn is a bit wavy, forcing me to touch it up a couple of times, while the draw is decent enough so far. The smoke production is easily in the average range, while the overall strength increases quickly enough to hit a point just under medium by the time the first third comes to an end.

Unfortunately, the fondant sweetness that increases the complexity of the profile during the first third drops off of a cliff just as the second third begins, leaving the same oak and bitter dark chocolate as the dominant notes. There are some changes to the secondary flavors, including the addition of oatmeal, almonds and sawdust, all of which fight for space along with the earth, leather tack and grass notes that are still present. While the fondant sweetness is long gone by the halfway point, it is replaced by a faint creamy milk chocolate note that combines nicely with the black pepper that remains on the retrohale. Thankfully, the burn has improved noticeably while the draw continues to impress throughout the middle third and the overall strength increases enough to reach the medium mark by the end of the second third, although it seems to stall there for the time being.

The final third of the La Aurora is an almost exact copy of the preceding third, including dominant flavors of oak and bitter dark chocolate, followed by flavors of oatmeal sawdust, almonds, earth, and grass. Both the milk chocolate sweetness and the black pepper increase on the retrohale, leading to a slightly unbalanced profile that continues until I put the cigar down with a little less than an inch left. Both the burn and the draw give me no issues whatsoever, while the strength remains just about where it started the second third, firmly in the medium range.

Final Notes

  • La Aurora is easily one of the oldest modern cigar companies still in existence, having been founded Oct. 3, 1903 by 18-year-old Eduardo León Jimenes in the Dominican Republic.
  • I find it extremely interesting that all four lines in the Time Capsule Series feature not only the exact same sizes and vitolas, but also the exact same prices, despite being released within a three-year time span.
  • While certainly not a regular note I pick up in the profile of cigars—in fact, I can remember only one other, the Debonaire Daybreak Corona—fondant sweetness is a very specific flavor that I tasted too often to count during my time as a documentary wedding photographer, since it is often used on wedding cakes.
  • While I was decently impressed with the construction on each of the samples I smoked, two of them had to be touched up once each, albeit at different points in the cigar.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by Miami Cigar & Co., which advertises on halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 28 minutes.
  • Site sponsor Famous Smoke Shop has the La Aurora 1985 Maduro Robusto in stock.
85 Overall Score

If there is one thing I am a sucker for, it is a cigar with a good background story and the La Aurora 1985 Maduro fits that bill nicely. Having said that, the profile of the blend is fairly standard, with earth, oak and dark chocolate easily taking the top spots for pretty much the entire cigar. There was a moment of complexity to be had—specifically the fondant sweetness on the finish in the first third—but unfortunately, it waned noticeably after that, leading to a significantly less nuanced profile for the final two thirds. In the end, the La Aurora 1985 Maduro was an enjoyable cigar that falls far short of amazing but fits the bill nicely as a blend featuring an enjoyable profile that is priced extremely well.

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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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