While not the most common thing to do to tobacco and cigars, barrel aging has been around for quite a while. Without over simplifying the process, tobacco is placed in the spent barrels of an assortment of spirits as a way of imparting a subtle yet noticeable flavor to the finished cigar.
La Aurora doubled up on the process for one of the newest additions to its iconic Preferidos line, putting both the tobacco in barrels during its aging process, as well as the finished cigars for a second round. The result is the La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged Perfecto, a cigar that was released nationally in Nov. 2016.
For this cigar, La Aurora used rum barrels, a fitting choice given that the company also has its own line of rum, though it hasn’t been specified if these come from those barrels.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged Doble Figurado
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: La Aurora Cigar Factory
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Brazil, Cameroon & Dominican Republic
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Double Figurado
- MSRP: $22.50 (Box of 8 Cigars, $180)
- Release Date: Nov. 3, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 8 Cigars (12,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The wrapper on this La Aurora has a few veins and visible seam lines, as well as some spots where the sugars have crystalized and now reflect the ambient light. It has an interesting color, in some light it skews towards a slightly red hue, while other samples shows more of a toffee or aged rum hue of brown. The roll is quite firm other than at the foot, and a visual inspection shows there’s a bit less tobacco than normal. The foot doesn’t offer much in the way of vibrant aromas, giving off a faint, generic pretzel note and a bit of fruit sweetness. A very conservative clip of the head allows air to flow rather freely, and it too lacks much in the way of distinct flavors or hints as to what the cigar might hold.
The underfilled foot of the first sample seems to inhibit smoke production, and it takes a few puffs to get the cigar really smoking and able to share what flavor it has to offer. When it does, it’s a rather dry, lumberyard wood with an occasional taste of oak as the lead note with some white pepper sprinkled on top, a profile that I would call fairly Dominican out of the gate. The cigar needs a bit of nursing early on to make sure it stays lit, much like a lancero or other small ring gauge does until you figure out the pace of puffing the cigar needs. My first retrohale comes about 10 minutes after lighting and is surprisingly potent with white pepper and a sawdust undertone, almost the inverse of what the palate is getting as far as intensity. By the one inch mark the flavor has become a bit sharper, and I’m beginning to wonder just how much of the barrel aging I’m tasting. The second sample eases the harshness a bit by adding a thick molasses undertone that steadily nudges its way to the front of the palate, though never becomes the dominant note. It’s a much different experience than the first cigar, and a much better flavor offering for my palate. Unfortunately it can be all to fleeting, yielding back to the charred wood note that is a bit rough for my liking. The burn line gets a bit wavy towards the end of the first third, but otherwise the cigar has performed well.
The start of the second third is when I knock the first clump of ash off, which resolves the wavy burn line and opens up the draw a bit. It also comes with some rougher flavor notes that again draw my mind back to the question of how much of the barrel aging process I’m tasting and how much of it might just be the tobacco itself. While the flavor hangs around for a bit, it begins to dissipate and clears the way for a much smoother smoke that is still quite peppery through the nose, helped tremendously by when the better aspects of the rum barrel are allowed to shine through. The burn continues to be solid, and most all of the waviness of the burn line has been relegated to memory.
The first sample of the La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged Doble Figurado left me lacking for words, quite literally. Thankfully, the second cigar sees the molasses note return in a much more subtle way, just glazing the senses enough to provide some much needed sweetness and depth. What’s most interesting here is the newfound complexity that the cigar flirts with, as the molasses mixes with the wood and tobacco that tastes much more like a subtle, time-aided commingling, rather than a hasty imparting of flavors. A few burn issues return in the final third and I’m forced to touch them up in order to bring this to a tidy conclusion. The flavors simmer and mellow a bit, with some more of the molasses-soaked wood doing a back-and-forth with the pepper to conclude the cigar.
- When it comes to associating vitolas with cigar companies, there are few that are as closely related as La Aurora and the perfecto. I’d add La Flor Dominicana and the Chisel to that short list as well.
- The same can be said for the tubes that the cigars come in; I’m hard pressed to find something so iconic and associated with a particular brand.
- That said, the tubes are tough to reuse given their shape. I feel bad putting them into the recycling bin as they are so gorgeous, but I can’t say I’m compelled enough to hang onto them.
- The foot of the second sample had a strip of tobacco covering it that was clearly several shades lighter than the rest of the wrapper. it also had a small divot in the wrapper between the head and the band
- Charlie Minato and I visited La Aurora’s factory and Cigar World during ProCigar 2015.
- The La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged Perfecto made its industry debut at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, which Charlie Minato covered.
- As noted above, La Aurora has its own line of rum, known as La Aurora 110 Aniversario. It’s quite good, as I recall, though I haven’t been able to find it in the U.S. so am limited to getting some to when I’m in the Dominican Republic.
- La Aurora is distributed in the United States by Miami Cigar & Co.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours on average.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and Corona Cigar Co. have the La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged Perfecto in stock.
Get me started on the topic of cigars that are infused with spirits and my statement is consistent: I prefer to drink my alcohol and smoke my tobacco; and should I want to intermingle them, I’ll do it one puff and one sip at a time. The same holds true in the case of the La Aurora Preferidos 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged Doble Figurado; for as much as I like rum and appreciated the generally consistent molasses note that appeared, the rest of the cigar really left me lacking, and its aggressiveness and roughness at times was a turnoff. There’s a number of other La Aurora creations that I’d rather spend 20-some dollars on; some of which are less expensive and would allow me to get a glass of rum to go with it.