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In 2008, La Aurora announced plans to release a blend in a salomon vitola using tobacco for the wrapper, filler and binder that was all aged for five years. The so called Puro Vintage 2003 was a massive 7 1/2 x 58 cigar which only used tobacco harvested in 2003, and then aged for five years in cedar. Subsequent blends were released in 2011 using tobacco from 2004 and again in 2013 using tobacco from 2005, all in salomon vitolas.
 
A post from a La Aurora named account on Cigar Pass has some details on the original release in 2008:

…this is a limited edition of only 12,000 sticks, 1,500 boxes of 8 cigars each, its the same filler and binder of the original 100 Años blend, the wrapper is Ecuador 2003, I know its not a lot but the problem was, only two rollers made them sixty a day, after the cigar is bunched they draw teste [sic] each one, after that two hours in the press, after that the wrapper is put on, then draw tested again, this is done to have the a perfect draw, then eights [sic] months of aging…

 
As of this date, there have been three different Puro Vintage releases.
  • La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 (7 1/2 x 58) — 2008 — 12,000 Total Cigars (1,500 Boxes of 8 Cigars)
  • La Aurora Puro Vintage 2004 (6 1/4 x 52) — 2011 — 8,000 Total Cigars (1,000 Boxes of 8 Cigars)
  • La Aurora Puro Vintage 2005 (6 1/2 x 52) — 2013 — 8,000 Total Cigars (1,000 Boxes of 8 Cigars)
 
In 2012, La Aurora released the 107 Puro Vintage, a salomon in the La Aurora 107 blend.
 
La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 1
  • Cigar Reviewed: La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Size: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 58
  • Vitola: Salomon
  • MSRP: $25.00 (Boxes of 8, $200.00)
  • Date Released: 2008
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 8 Cigars (12,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

 

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The La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 is a monster of a cigar, a salomon with a bulb at foot that is not as clearly defined as some other examples and a cap that comes to a sharp point. The wrapper is a gorgeous deep reddish brown color that has a bit of tooth to it, and still retains some oil after all these years. There are quite a few veins present, and there is just a little give when it is squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of huge dark chocolate and coffee notes, along with a little black pepper.

The Puro Vintage 2003 starts out with a noticeably creamy profile, along with strong flavors of coffee, dark cocoa, leather, oak and tart citrus. Some bitterness creeps into the finish at times, but it is not an overly strong note, and does not detract from the profile at this point. There is a really nice amount of black pepper on the retrohale as well as some slight spice on the tongue, but both seem to be decreasing as the first third commences. Every once in a while, I get a sweetness that comes and goes, but nothing definitive so far, while the smoke production is massive off the foot. Construction-wise, both the burn and draw are excellent so far, and the overall strength ends the first third well beneath the medium mark.

La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 2

A nice — albeit very subtle — creamy nuttiness begins to creep in around the start of the second third of the La Aurora, combining nicely with other notes of dark cocoa, leather, oak and coffee. The tart citrus from the first third has sadly disappeared, as has most of the sweetness in the profile, but the black pepper on the retrohale has remained constant so far. The burn, draw and smoke production continue to be phenomenal, but the strength has not seen much of an increase at all, and still has not made it to the medium mark by the end of the second third.

La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 3

The final third of the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 features a return of the indeterminate sweetness, although not quite to the level of the first third, but the creaminess in the profile remains constant, as do the major flavors of dark chocolate, espresso, oak and a bit of leather. Both the draw and burn end as excellently as they began, and the cigar continues to spew smoke like a house on fire until the end. Strength-wise, the Puro Vintage 2003 ends almost exactly where it began, about halfway between mild and medium marks, and I put the nub down with a little more than an inch left. 

La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 4

Final Notes:

  • I find it interesting that out of all of the blog posts and information I read, very few that I read mentioned the fact that the filler and binder are the same as the 100 Años blend which was released back in 2003.
  • At the end of 2013, La Aurora announced plans for a Puro Vintage sampler, which contains one of each of the three releases so far: 2003, 2004 and 2005. The three pack sampler reportedly will have its own box, although a final price has not been released.
  • I have smoked the Puro Vintage 2004, and find it to be quite a bit more complex, as well as having more strength in the blend. I have not smoked the Puro Vintage 2005 as of yet.
  • Interestingly, while the Puro Vintage was released in 2008, according to Barry Stein of Miami Cigar Co., there were still some of the 12,000 cigars released on store shelves four years later at the beginning of 2012.
  • Due to a few larger catalog retailers, the price of Puro Vintage 2003 on the secondary market has fallen out. Cigars were sold through the catalogs for under $10.
  • As you have probably already figured out, the date on each of the releases refers to the crop year that all of the tobacco used in each blend comes from, not the year in which the cigars were rolled or released.
  • This cigar has the most chocolate forward aroma off the wrapper that I have smelled in quite a while. The chocolate note was also quite evident in the profile itself, albeit not as strong.
  • Almost every salomon with more closed bulb on the foot has had a tight draw to start that usually opens up after the bulb is smoked. The draw on the Puro Vintage 2003 was excellent from the start, perhaps due in part to the fact that the bulb on this release is not as bulbous.
  • Just wonderful construction on all fronts, from the burn to the draw to the smoke production. All three samples were a joy to smoke in that regard.
  • The average smoking time for all three samples  was just over two hours.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel from site sponsor Atlantic Cigar, who is unfortunately now sold out.
81 Overall Score

With cigars that are this large and have this much age, there is always the possibility that the profile is just not all that exciting, and that proved to be the case with the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003. While the first third started out with a little bit of promise, the cigar ultimately ended up extremely monotonous by the end, but on the bright side, the burn, draw and smoke production were all phenomenal for each of the three samples I smoked. A very well constructed, easy smoking cigar, but far too large and with a profile that just did not feature enough complexity to make me feel good about the over two hours I spent smoking each one.

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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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