Another new release from La Aurora, the León Jimenes Prestige is one of the most interesting releases this year from a historical standpoint. There has been a León Jimenes blend out for quite a while, it was actually introduced in the 1970s, but the idea behind the Prestige release is to help to reintroduce the brand in the U.S. market.
While the original blend has always done well internationally, sales in the U.S. have been flat for years. The Prestige is a totally new blend meant to be a bit stronger and spicier than the original León Jimenes.
A little history on the León Jimenes brand via TobaccoReporter.com:
In 1903, leaf merchant Eduardo León Jimenes decided to become something more than a tobacco seller. Buying some tobacco from his father, the 18-year-old Jimenes hired three rollers and established a factory in the small town of Guazumal, outside of Santiago. Jimenes’ cigar company, which would become La Aurora, established the foundation for a growing family business, Group León Jimenes. The León family is one of the Dominican Republic’s wealthiest and most influential families.
The makeup of the León Jimenes cigars has also changed over the years:
León Jimenes cigars were originally made using a Cameroon wrapper; however, frustrated with difficulty in obtaining enough Cameroon, Fernando León opted to wrap the Dominican filler and binder cigars in Dominican-grown Connecticut leaf that’s aged at least three years, producing a mild but flavorful taste with nutty, leathery and cedar undertones.
The Prestige will include three different vitolas at launch.
- Corona (5 x 38)— $8
- Robusto (5 x 50)— $9
- Churchill (7 x 47) — $10.50
The León Jimenes Prestige will come in boxes of 20 tubos when it is released in October 2011 and will be presented in black and gold aluminum tubes. Here is what the boxes and Tubes look like at the 2011 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
- Cigar Reviewed: León Jimenes Prestige Robusto
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
- Wrapper: Connecticut
- Binder: Dominican & Nicaraguan
- Filler: Dominican
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $9 (Boxes of 20, $180)
- Release Date: October 2011
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The cigar itself has a light brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch, and has a bit of oil present. It is quite firm when squeezed and the wrapper smells like wood and a touch of vanilla sweetness. A great looking cigar, one that is obviously well-rolled.
The first third starts with a mild cedar flavor interspersed with notes of leather, white chocolate, nuts and just a hint of spice on the retrohale. A good mild start, but left me wanting a bit more from the rest of the cigar.
The second third has the same core flavors—cedar, leather and chocolate—but does add a nice graham cracker flavor to the underlying sweetness. Sadly, it is not a strong note, and comes and goes throughout the second third.
The final third did not change much, flavor-wise — still mild and woody, still a nice sweetness that is present, but by the end I was starting to get a bit bored. The cigar did get a bit hot at the end, but I was easily able to nub it.
- I did smoke one of the original León Jimenes blends to compare, and there is no doubt that the Prestige is a slight stronger, with more spice and pepper on the retrohale. To me, the original blend was so bland it was almost tasteless, so the Prestige is a definite step up.
- It is interesting to me that although the cigar’s name is officially the “León Jimenes Prestige,” the word “Prestige” appears nowhere on the band. However, the name is on the tubes and boxes they will come in.
- This cigar has a very dry profile, extremely noticeable while smoking and there was also plenty of thick, white smoke produced, which I love when smoking.
- This cigar got pretty hot and slightly bitter when I smoked them too fast. Keep it to a nice slow pace puff-wise.
- As I expected, the construction of the León Jimenes Prestige is excellent. Both samples I smoked had perfect draws and almost perfect burn. In fact, on both samples, the first ash did not fall for almost half of the cigar.
- The final smoking time for both samples was right around one hour and five minutes.
While it did not have the most complex profile, I enjoyed this cigar for what it was, an extremely well-constructed, milder and well-balanced smoke. I think anyone who tries one will enjoy this blend, especially as a morning smoke, but the major problem that La Aurora and its distribution partner, Miami Cigar & Co., will run into is the price tag. At $9, it is about a $1.50 more than a Room101 Connecticut, and the corona size is almost twice as much as a comparable E.P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut, which I personally enjoyed quite a bit more. However, if you are looking for a classic Connecticut profile, this is a prime example.