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Shortly after a massive 8.9–magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan in March 2011, a group of online cigar media were visiting La Aurora’s facilities in the Dominican Republic.

In that group was Mario Takeyama of Cigar Explorer, who was born in Japan and felt the call to do something as an industry member to provide financial relief to those whose lives were impacted by the disaster. Out of that need and discussions with Guillermo León, President of La Aurora, the Para Japón cigar project was born with the proceeds from this cigar being donated to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

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Here is what I said in my original review back in January of 2012:

I really enjoyed the Para Japón the first few times I smoked it, praising the smooth, aged tobacco and successful delivery of a medium-bodied and flavorful smoke. While the smoke is still very smooth, the flavors seemed to have become just a bit more muted and require just a bit more attention to really enjoy them. I’m intrigued to see how these continue to age, and it wouldn’t surprise me for these to get better as the flavors continue to evolve and meld together.


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Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s light this stick up.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Para Japón by La Aurora
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Brazil, Cameroon & Dominican Republic
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Sumo Robusto
  • MSRP: $10.00 (Boxes of 12, $96.00)
  • Date Released: April 29, 2011 
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 12 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

The Para Japón has an incredibly complex pre-light aroma, meshing a slightly floral and spicy sauce note that delivers an almost effervescent sensation. The cold draw is surprisingly easy despite the cigar feeling fairly firm. Visually, the wrapper is a dark butterscotch with a surprising number of veins, some significant in their size.


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A harsh, sour note taints the first few puffs of the Para Japón, though it dissipates pretty quickly. A tight white ash begins to emerge as the burn line moves up the cigar, with the flavor picking up a bit of pepper and a touch of harshness in the back of the throat that lingers as the burn line crosses the midpoint. There is a bit different experience with the ambient smoke, as it seems to be richer and smoother than what ends up on the palate. Things stay more or less on this same track until a bit of chalk enters the mix in the final third, adding a bit of texture and a new taste to the smoke as it approaches its conclusion.

Like most La Aurora cigars I have smoked, construction was solid, and the easy draw that was noted before lighting the cigar didn’t adversely affect the Para Japón once it was lit; in fact it was barely even noticeable.


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The Bottom Line: If there’s one thing I can say about the Para Japón, it’s that it is an evolving cigar. It seems to have gradually lost a little bit since being released nearly 18 months ago, as when it came out I was quite enamored with it and wondered why people weren’t picking these up left and right. The flavors seemed a bit more pronounced in this cigar than in the original review, something both good and bad as some of the harsher notes seemed just a bit more intense while some of the more enjoyable flavors that were muted a few months back stood out a bit more. While my original review left me thinking I should hurry up and smoke these, I think I’m going to slow down a bit and see where these might go in a few more months.


Original Score: 87

Redux Score: 86

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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