Well met, all! I’m Sable, and I have the distinction of being Erin’s loving (and much-loved in return) wife. I suggested that he may wish to bring other authors and reviewers aboard to work towards daily content on a blog which is beginning to get some critical attention; and when Steven Umbrello of The Leather Library suggested that I do cigar and pipe tobacco reviews also in order to develop an exchange of opinion in our little community of aficionados, Erin kindly invited me to join his blog!
For myself, I began as primarily a cigar hobbyist, and worked into pipe tobaccos only recently. I am not a daily smoker and do not, under any circumstances, smoke or tolerate cigarettes; though I recently shared my husband’s first hookah experience. I am not a fan of cased tobaccos because I dislike the bitter aftertaste the chemicals inevitably leave, and I tend to (sacrilege, I know!) share my cigars with others, because I prefer not to smoke the whole thing myself at once as I lack my husband’s tolerance to nicotine. To date I own only one pipe, a Daly bent apple churchwarden that suits most of my pipe smoking needs sufficiently. Not being quite the connoisseur that my husband is, I intend to offer reviews that are more of interest to the occasional hobbyist with the desire to take it seriously, but with less experience than the seasoned aficionado. I imagine I’ll also provide a unique feminine perspective, proving that this enjoyable hobby is not just for boys. 😉
That being said, I’d like to begin with a cigar of my recent acquaintance, the La Aurora Torpedo Maduro.
This cigar was part of a sampler order from the Thompson Cigar Company’s cigar club, which we in our household divvied up between the three of us. It came to me because I enjoy maduros. Like Steven mentioned in his recent blog post, I, like most new cigar smokers, originally laboured under the misconception that dark equaled strong. Fortunately my husband and a gentleman of our mutual acquaintance, referred to a few times by Erin as “the Captain,” explained otherwise early in my experience, and quickly introduced me to the joys of maduros. They are exceptionally rich in flavour, and just like with dark roast coffees, they usually have less stimulant than the lighter blends.
The La Aurora is the exception. This highly charged cigar tingled my lips and had me buzzing within a few moments. Definitely not for the newbie unless you intend to share! And certainly don’t drive until you know how it affects you! (A hard learned lesson, since I was driving home with Erin from Tobacco Land in Kelowna at the time we lit it.)
But I get ahead of myself. As you can see, the cigar is quite attractive, hailing from the Dominican Republic and decorated with a simple and elegant gold and red label. The lion in the image suggests a serene and kingly cigar, and with a 90 rating from Cigar Aficionado magazine, “kingly” is exactly what you would expect. The rating improves to 93 in its robusto version, which is a more popular shape. Thompson Cigars says this: “With its Maduro wrapper grown in the sun, subject to all the vicissitudes of nature, it’s an incredible feat to achieve such uniformity of chocolaty color. But the La Aurora extreme commitment to taking only leaves grown on the same farm in the rich soil and ideal climate of Santiago de los Caballeros, leaves picked from the same priming of the plants, leaves cured and aged in the same bale, assures such consistency.” I am discovering a fondness for sun-cured tobaccos and so I was pleased to learn this information.
The scent of the cigar before lighting is beautifully dark and rich; a promising maduro smell. There is also a slightly fruity undertone and a faint floral air. This cigar, of course, must be clipped as opposed to punched, which is generally my preference, but it clipped easily enough.
By the time I got to this cigar it had been exposed to the elements (read: no humidor or wrapper) for a while, but despite this, it lit easily and held together very well. I only had to re-light it once, and being as I was driving, and as I prefer to smoke my cigars cold to avoid tongue bite and maximize flavour, I was duly impressed. As advertised, it produced a light, flaky white ash and smoked easily and cleanly.
The initial impression of the cigar is about what you anticipate from a good maduro; its primary flavours were leather, cedar and BBQ (a combination I enjoy). It also continued to produce that lovely, surprisingly sweet fruity tone, which reminded me of apple and orange. Yet it was not dark enough to drive it into the “evening cigar” category, and I thought smoking it during the late afternoon traffic was a perfect way to unwind and make the trip enjoyable.
I purged it twice; once to fan the flames when I re-lit; and once just after we reached the wrapper. The taste after the first purge, if anything, enriched that unique apple tone, and the BBQ elements faded. Interestingly, after the second purge, it was exactly the reverse. An undeniable floral element remained present throughout, more noticeable in the second third than at any other point, though always delightfully there.
The cigar finished with a strong earthy flavour, rich in leathers and cedars, with that lovely sweet undertone lingering on the tongue and a touch of pepper.
Minor criticisms; one, it flaked instead of holding a complete ash; two, it went out once. Otherwise, a perfect, and perfectly enjoyable smoke that took my husband and I, sharing and smoking together, 41 minutes.
Thompson Cigars is not carrying the torpedo anymore, but you can get a box of 25 robustos HERE for $139 USD,
And that, my friends, is a lady’s perspective. 😉