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Stogie Reviews: La Sirena The Prince

16 Feb 2011

As noted by my colleague when he reviewed a pre-release Trident, La Sirena is a new, full-bodied addition to the Miami Cigar & Co. portfolio. The blend consists of Nicaraguan criollo and corojo filler tobaccos, dual Nicaraguan habano and corojo binders, and a Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrapper.

Since the samples I smoked were not pre-release, they each came with a band—and what a band it is, taking up almost two-thirds of the cigar. When removed and flattened, the band has a compass look that adds to the nautical theme of the blend.

“The Prince” is a standard Robutso size at five inches long with a ring gauge of 50 (and an MSRP of $8). Pre-light, it smells strongly of hay, almost overpoweringly so, with just a hint of chocolate. The wrapper is toothy with a dark, dull espresso color and surprisingly few oils.

Without any construction issues, the cigar takes to fire well, revealing an initial core of spice and cane syrup sweetness. The smoke is dense and mouth feel definitely puts this cigar in the full-bodied range.

Despite its fullness, as noted by my colleague, the cigar is surprisingly lacking in strength. The ash holds for about an inch before being removed with a light tap.

As the cigar progresses, the spice fades a little allowing chocolate and earth flavors to emerge. There’s also a long, sweet finish that’s quite intriguing. The remainder of The Prince displays variations on the same theme.

Notably, I found that the cigar smoked better when stored at a higher humidity. I smoked one sample that had been in my travel humidor for a few days and that sample was much flatter than the rest.

Still, La Sirena performs admirably, and fans of full-bodied maduros will certainly find this to be an enjoyable smoke. The Prince earns four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick M

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Reviews: La Aurora Broadway Series Sumo Toro

10 Feb 2011

In an effort to help New York retailers who have been saddled with a 75% tobacco tax, several manufacturers have created blends that are intended to be sold exclusively at tobacconists in the Empire State. One such blend is the Broadway Series by La Aurora, which is currently offered in only one size: “Sumo Toro” (5.75 x 54). The MSRP, including the tax, is $12.25.

The Broadway Series has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, dual binders from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and a filler blend with Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian tobaccos. The construction is excellent with no noticeable imperfections. It is moderately toothy with some rather large veins. Pre-light, the only smell I am able to detect is that of tobacco with maybe a slight hint of sweetness.

The first thing that strikes me is how much stronger this cigar is than the last few offerings I’ve smoked from La Aurora. The Sumo Toro definitely starts off in the full-bodied range with initial flavors of cracked white pepper, earth, and candied almonds. It burns well through the first third with a solid ash and an almost perfect draw.

As the cigar progress, the white pepper spice fades and a slight hint of dark chocolate enters the mix. There’s also a flavor of fresh ground coffee, but the taste is dissimilar to brewed coffee. Throughout the last third, the aforementioned flavors come and go in varying quantities.

As my friend Barry mentioned when he reviewed this cigar, I’m not sure how a $12 exclusive cigar is going to help boost New York retailers’ overall sales. Maybe La Aurora intends to attract out-of-state buyers to New York retailers. Still, wouldn’t New York retailers and cigar enthusiasts alike be better served with a solid smoke in the $5-7 range?

All this aside, I really enjoyed my samples of the Broadway Series. The Sumo Toro reminds me of a much stronger Guillermo León, which isn’t a surprise given the similarities of the blends. While the added strength of the Broadway Series makes it more upfront and slightly less nuanced, I am awarding this extremely enjoyable smoke four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick M

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Reviews: La Aurora 107 Lancero

2 Feb 2011

La Aurora, as far as the (mostly traditional) cigar industry goes, is highly involved in social media. Both company president Guillermo León and director of sales José Blanco are engaged on Twitter.

This involvement in the Twitter community led to the eventual release of the Lancero vitola of the 107, a blend that was released in 2010 to celebrate the 107th anniversary of the oldest cigar maker in the Dominican Republic.

After much discussion and pleading from the masses via the web, La Aurora decided to produce 300 boxes of 107 Lanceros, a cigar that measures 7 inches long with a 40 ring gauge.

The 107 blend features an Ecuadorian wrapper, a Dominican binder, and a two-country filler blend from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Being a fan of the 107 line in general, especially the Corona, I was excited to sit down and smoke the Lancero.

The construction of the Lancero is, not surprisingly, excellent. It has no visible imperfections. Pre-light, the predominate smell is of hay with just a hint of spice detectable.

Once lit, the cigar opens up with a core of cedar and hazelnut. As it progresses, a creaminess is introduced and the hazelnut flavor increases. The ash on the cigar holds for about an inch at a time and the burn wavers but doesn’t require any correcting.

As the cigar nears the end, the creaminess continues to increase, although it is balanced out by flavors reminiscent of kettle-cooked potato chips.

Overall, I am impressed by the 107 Lancero. While I am not, generally speaking, a fan of the lancero format, this cigar is intricate and well-constructed.

And with an MSRP of $7, it is certainly worth a try, especially of you like smaller ring gauges. I think the Corona remains my favorite 107, but the Lancero is a close second, earning four out of five stogies.

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

Patrick M

photo credit: Stogie Guys