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Stogie Reviews: La Aurora Escogidos Belicoso

18 Jan 2010

Last May, at an event at one of my local tobacconists, I met Rene Castañeda, sales director of Miami Cigar & Company. His outfit distributes such brands as La Aurora, Nestor Miranda Special Selection, Don Lino, León Jimenes, 601, Cubao, and Mi Barrio, among others.

La Aurora Escogidos BelicosoThis occasion gave me a rare opportunity to buy and taste a very exclusive La Aurora blend called Escogidos (Spanish for “the chosen ones”). So I naturally bought a handful. Since then, I have been intending to write a review but, finding limited or inaccurate information on the web, I finally decided to contact Castañeda with a few questions.

He told me via email that this select Dominican puro blend was created by La Aurora Sales Director José Blanco in 2005 for those who tour the La Aurora Cigar Factory in Santiago. The factory is the oldest in the Dominican Republic, founded in 1903 by Don Eduardo León Jimenes. So, originally, Escogidos could not be purchased in the U.S.

But in 2007 La Aurora decided to broaden the availability of Escogidos by bringing these cigars to special in-store events like the one where we met, says Castañeda. The blend is only offered in two traditional sizes: Robusto and Belicoso.

I sampled five Belicosos for this review, each of which cost me $10. They feature an oily, reddish corojo wrapper with some tooth and a rugged terrain. Fairly firm to the touch, the pre-light aroma is of molasses and spice and the cold taste reveals a stiff draw.

After toasting the foot and taking a few puffs, a mild- to medium-bodied profile of molasses, peat, and cinnamon emerges. The combination is both complex and balanced. Then, after an inch, the draw opens up and the smoke becomes richer and more voluminous.

Still, I think most cigar enthusiasts will find the Escogidos Belicoso to be a little more subdued than expected. Rather than being disappointed, though, I’m impressed by how well this La Aurora keeps my attention. Maybe it’s the subtlety of the many flavors. Maybe it’s how the resting smoke smells of sweet cedar. Maybe it’s the spice and caramel on the finish.

Whatever the case, this cigar’s superb construction doesn’t hurt. My samples—all of which were smoked at least a month after some time in my humidor—exhibited superior burns and solid, stable ashes. My only complaint is that it can self-extinguish prematurely.

Too bad the Escogidos Belicoso is so difficult to come across. With an outstanding flavor on the mild side of the spectrum and exemplary combustion qualities, this José Blanco creation would otherwise always have a home in my humidor. For now, it’s a great excuse to attend La Aurora events, earning four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

6 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: La Aurora Escogidos Belicoso”

  1. DavefromPhilly Monday, January 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Holts has “6 packs to go” of these. 6 robustos for 25 bucks. I’ll have to pick some up.

  2. Bobby Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Frankly I’m surprised Holt’s is selling these online as I’ve always heard they are B&M only and even then just at store events. Sometimes I think big retailers (CI, Famous, Holts) get away with stuff that others can’t just because manufacturers are scared of upsetting them.

    I’m speculating here, but that may be why Holt’s is selling online what is supposed to be such a limited cigar.

  3. Patrick A Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    I’m not sure how to reconcile what I hear from Rene Castañeda—that Escogidos are exclusive to La Aurora events and tours—and what I see on the web—that Escogidos are occasionally available for online purchase.

    Regardless, that price at Holt’s makes the six-pack of Robustos an outstanding buy, in my opinion. I wish I would have paid under $5 apiece for my Belicosos.

  4. DavefromPhilly Friday, January 22, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    You put Holts with CI and Famous? I didn’t realize they were that big. I mean i know they have a website but so do alot of other B&M’s. I didnt realize my local shop was of that caliber. Either way i’m stoppin in there on Sunday and i’m definitely picking up a 6-pack of these guys.

  5. DavefromPhilly Friday, January 22, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    O and Patrick, no need to reconcile. You have an amazing site… shit happens.

  6. Peter brown Monday, July 21, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    After establishing an even beam, that spice carries over to the taste, which is characterized by dry cedar, pepper, and warm tobacco.