La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican Cuban Seed
Filler: Dominican Cuban Seed
Size: 7.5 x 58 “Salomon”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $25.00 MSRP ($21.25 at Cigars International- $5.00 at Cbid)

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Today we take a look at the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003.

I was very unfamiliar with this blend until a reader sent me a few. The cigar band is so plain and old school, I made the mistake of thinking it was an inexpensive cigar. Boy, was I wrong. I have not smoked one yet so I am anxious to see what $25 tastes like.

The 2003 was released in 2008.

All of the leaves have been aged for five years in cedar before rolling and then aged another 8 months after completion.

The filler and binder are the same as the 100 Años blend.

Only 12,000 sticks were produced. Only two rollers produced these sticks and could only make 60 per day. The cigars come in boxes of 8.

Cigar Aficionado gave this blend a 92 rating:
“A large, beautifully made diadema whose draw saturates the palate with rich smoke full of coffee bean flavors and lush, meaty fruits. This will undoubtedly age well.”

This is one big honker of a cigar and I expect to see another birthday before I finish it.

So, I shall be translating the first testament from Hebrew to Aramaic and then to Albanian to kill time.

Construction is gorgeous. The mottled brown wrapper has a reddish tinge to it. Seams are totally invisible. There are a lot of veins that look like my crystal glass ashtray with the tobacco leaf. And a tiny bit of tooth. The cap must be a bitch to apply. While perfect in the important manner a cap needs to be, there is a slight skewed look. I compare two of them and they are identical in shape and size. It truly is a work of art.

I clip the cap and find massive aromas of chocolate at the cap and down the shaft. I also smell cloves. Coffee is present as well. And some spice.

Time to light up. The foot is open but not quite half an inch. Just the right amount that one doesn’t need to clip it any further.

The cigar is very heavy in the hand and feels packed to the gills but the draw is perfect. The first flavor is the dark chocolate.
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The first distinct flavors are very sweet…like raisin, gooey caramel, and shortbread.
Black pepper begins to rise from the ashes. It gets stronger by the moment. The strength is mild/medium. But there is 7” left to disprove that.

Creaminess shows up early rounding out the flavor profile. The coffee element turns into dark espresso.

Reality check. I expected more from this $20-$25 stick right away. It has had a lot of humidor time according to the person that gifted it to me. And I have allowed it a couple months humidor time.

I expected a Soupy Sales pie in the face of pleasantry. Instead, it starts out like just about any decent cigar does. Nothing special. It should have hit flavor bomb status by the first half inch.
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I read one review of the A Listers because getting info on this cigar is difficult. And he rated it an 81. Jesus Christ. An 81? That is a Rocky Patel house brand rating.

There is a citrus flavor now. I have burned 1-1/2” and I’m having burn issues. The stick should have a razor sharp char line. Instead, it is all over the place. Needing several touch ups so early in the cigar.

Maybe it is a joke cigar where Barry Stein jumps out and sits on your face at the very end.

Really, this is a very ordinary cigar with 2” gone. I’m sure that by the halfway point it will be singing to me but for this kind of dough, it should do it a lot sooner than that.

What is wrong with the La Aurora people? Do they thing we are stupid? Only 12,000 cigars (1500 boxes of 8) released in 2008 and guess what? They are still around 5 years later. LOL! That should have been the tip off.

I don’t rate cigars the way other reviewers do. Giving it a numbered rating is totally subjective. It makes no sense. So, instead I tell you the dollar range I think the cigar should be in and this stick is a $6 cigar.

The burn line absolutely refuses to behave. This is the fourth time I’ve had to touch it up…or get a big canoe. And by touch up, I mean burning away a considerable amount of wrapper.

This should be a 2-1/2 hour cigar. At this point, I will be lucky if lasts half that long because of all the touch ups.
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I should just stop touching it up and take the photos au natural.

The flavor profile is exactly the same as described earlier except for two things: The espresso turns into a strong cappuccino and the strength of the flavor profile is much stronger.

But here they are again: Creaminess, cappuccino, cocoa, spice, citrus, caramel, shortbread, raisin, cedar, and leather. Considering that the leaves spent so much time packed away in cedar; there should be a much stronger cedar impact.

I begin the second third and the cigar is heading towards flavor bomb. Flavors become very intense and pleasing. Finally.

The pepper changes from black to ha-cha-cha red pepper burning the tip of my tongue. Now we’re talking.
The cigar has become an overdue flavor bomb with 4” to go.
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I am beginning to pass the large bulbous portion of the cigar and should see the cigar burn more quickly now.
The shortbread flavor teeters on a buttery graham cracker crust. Add the creaminess and we almost have a delicious cheese cake.

I’m quite impressed with the coffee flavor. It exhibits the strongest coffee element of any cigar I’ve smoked.

Nuttiness comes out of the wood work. Almonds, hazelnut, cashew, and Brazil nut. Very nice.

The cocoa makes a surge. I grab a Diet Coke so as to experience my NYC egg cream experience.
A malted flavor shows up. So it’s both an egg cream and a malted shake.

This is what should have happened by the first inch of the cigar. It is now an $8 cigar.

Sips of Diet Coke really exemplify those great flavors.
The strength is a solid medium body.

As this will not be an almost 3 hour smoke, there is time for me to add a superfluous rock n roll story.

The flavor profile is lip smacking good. And just now, the cigar finds its complexity. A nice balance.

There is some sort of disconnect when La Aurora designed this cigar. Clearly, it was not a barn stormer when it came out or else it would still not be up for sale. Word got out that it ain’t worth $25 or even close to that. And so they sit in CI’s warehouse hoping that someone, please, will buy them.

I check Cbid and they have a few 5 packs and some singles. The bidding price is around $4-$5 each. Ha! Water seeks its own level.

I would spend that for this cigar. But if they all have the burn issues, than I would not buy them but at $5 a pop, it is worth a shot. That’s the problem with smoking a cigar for the first time for a review. No comparisons.

I just added two new sponsors: Stogie Boys and Cuban Crafters. Luis Alvarado from Cuban Crafters has been a good buddy for a long time. A very down to earth guy.

Flavors are great! The cigar is extremely complex now. The finish is very long.

I have to admit that I am really digging this cigar now. The burn issues are relentless. If it weren’t for that, I would highly recommend this cigar. That and the fact that it took a good third of the cigar to get into high gear.

The flavor properties now make this a solid $10 stick. It is as good as any flavorful boutique blend.

I don’t think I would rate the cigar as low as 81. And based on the description of flavors, it is clear that the reviewer did not give this old school cigar enough humidor time. He only recites 1/3 of the flavors I am experiencing. So if you do decide to bid on this cigar, expect to marinate it in your humidor for a good 6 months.

I got an email from a reader who asked a good question. If a cigar has been hanging around a long time, like the old Camacho Corojos, why does it need humidor time?

I explained that the cello keeps it from fully maturing. And the cigar needs resting time. Plus you want it to soak up the flavors of the other cigars in your humidor to round it out. And it gives the cigar time to breathe.

I never put a cigar in my humidor with the cello still on. The cello is strictly for shipping purposes to protect the cigar. Yet, I can’t count how many cigars I’ve bought in the past that come without a cello and they are just fine. Now, those cigars don’t need as much humidor time.

I’m at the halfway point and time to remove the cigar band. There is way too much glue and I damn near destroy it removing it with my curved X-Acto blade.
Plus I nick the wrapper.
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The last third begins. The flavors are screaming laughter. A delicious cigar.

The La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 is a cigar full of conflict. A wonderfully flavored cigar. But with serious construction issues. Those issues finally resolve themselves in the last third….too little, too late.

The A List reviewer that gave it an 81 said that the Puro Vintage 2004 is a much better cigar.

I Google the 2004 and only find a few stores that advertise having them. But when I go to that store, they are out of stock. So clearly, this was a much better cigar and got snagged by smokers pretty quickly. They came out in 2009.

There is a 2005 as well. But instead of putting out 12,000 cigars, only 8,000 were put provided to the public.
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The cigar finishes out, not with a flourish, but rather; with a blah flavor profile. It becomes a little bitter and harsh. And I am tired of smoking it.

Some nicotine shows up. The cigar never reaches medium/full; telling me that it had more than enough rest.
I was really looking forward to smoking this cigar. I expected a lot. But like most expensive cigars, it let me down.

$5 is a good price for this stick. Yet, I still won’t recommend it. A waste of time.
Buy the La Aurora Puro Vintage 2003 at your own risk.
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And now for something completely different:

Sonja was a morphine addict when I joined the band. She was under a doctor’s care to wean her off by giving her methadone. At that time, doctors didn’t realize that methadone is just as addictive. Now they use other drugs to wean addicts.

Every night on tour was the same thing. She didn’t shoot up the methadone before a show because it fucked her up too much.

So by the time the show was over, she was jonesing bad.

It was my job, as the new guy, to get her back to the hotel and get her fixed up. By then, most of the time, she was out of her mind.

It was always a struggle to get her to hold still while I prepped the syringe.

Once, she was so out of it, that I couldn’t get her to inject herself. I sat on top of her on the bed and slapped her over and over until some semblance of reality sunk in. I had never stuck a syringe in anyone; including me.

I had tied her arm off and thought I was going to have to inject her myself. All I could think of was the headlines the next day as it proclaimed that bassist kills beloved singer.

We managed to get her to inject herself. Moments later, she remembered nothing of what happened and suggested we go downstairs and play poker with the roadies. I fell off the bed on to my back huffing and puffing telling her I pass.

She was constantly depressed that first tour. She kept making half ass attempts at killing herself. It got very tiring.

She and Stewart Copeland moved in with each other. And they began breaking open the glass ampules with the methadone in it and drinking it to get high.

And then one day, Stew found himself going through withdrawal and stopped immediately.

She was eventually put on oral methadone and was successfully cured.

When I joined the band I expected it to be fun and a big bowl of cherries. I had no idea that I would be the guy to keep her alive.

The band decided to fire me a couple years later. And it was Sonja who told me over the phone. I was devastated. There wasn’t a good reason for letting me go, but rather, it was just politics within the band.

I told her she was an incredible ingrate. I kept her alive that first tour and this is the loyalty she showed me? She was very nonchalant about the whole thing. I became very bitter.

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6 replies

  1. Two years ago I bought an 8-pack of these on the cheap and thought I was getting the deal of the century. I’d really enjoyed the Preferidos, the 107 & 1495… the 100 anos was amazing… how could I go wrong?

    My first attempt to smoke one after a few months in the humi was disaster… I smoked about half and after struggling with a tight draw, several corrections and a couple re-lights my wife told me to chuck it and get a cigar I knew I’d enjoy. She’s a smart one, that girl.

    A year later I tried again with much the same result… I employed a poker to try and improve the draw. There were so many issues that, after a very frustrating hour, I threw in the towel again.

    I still have 6 buried deep in the humi and will try one again sometime this summer. If you have any suggestions on how to make this an enjoyable smoke I’d like to know. (dry boxing???) My strategy is to try one every year knowing that the previous years experience will be a somewhat faded memory and hoping that it greatly improves with age.

    One of the reasons I’m reluctant to take risks when buying smokes and spend time reading your trusted reviews is that I have a deep seated fear of making purchase mistakes often enough that I end up with a humi packed with crap… ugh, life’s too short!

  2. $25 for that … What a heartbreaker. Coincidence that you just took on Stogie Boys. I checked their site for the first time because CO video review went nuts over a Stogie housebrand called Riot. It’s under $4 but reviewed as a cross between DE and Padron for performance and flavor characteristics. Would love your take on it in a future review.

    • I just got a package from Stogie Boys. It contained Riot and Cafe Latte.
      I highly doubt that the $3 Riot (and that’s by the box) is as good as a Padron. But you never know. I’m dealing with a chick in their office and have asked how much humidor time the stick needs. Betcha a buck she writes back and tells me they can be smoked right away.
      I will wait two weeks and then try one.
      Plus the coffee flavored Cafe Latte goes for $1.75. I specifically asked that they not send me $2 cigars. No one listens anymore.
      I doubt SB will be pleased when I review the Cafe Latte and it turns out to be complete shit.

    • I just got a package from Stogie Boys. It contained Riot and Cafe Latte.
      I highly doubt that the $3 Riot (and that’s by the box) is as good as a Padron. But you never know. I’m dealing with a chick in their office and have asked how much humidor time the stick needs. Betcha a buck she writes back and tells me they can be smoked right away.
      I will wait two weeks and then try one.
      Plus the coffee flavored Cafe Latte goes for $1.75. I specifically asked that they not send me $2 cigars. No one listens anymore.
      I doubt SB will be pleased when I review the Cafe Latte and it turns out to be complete shit.

  3. 8 of these babies now on sale at cigar,com for $44.95. Looks like you were right.