My favourite time to smoke a cigar is on a road trip. Usually it’s because I like doing things with my hands so I get involved in things; and I’m not very good at keeping a cigar lit yet, especially since I prefer to smoke it cold. Driving provides the right combination of conditions to enjoy a good stogie because my mind and hands are busy, but not so busy that I can’t daydream on a stogie and keep it fired up. So when my gentlemen and I last drove over the mountains to the Lower Mainland, I thought it would be an excellent time to indulge in a shared smoke. We pulled over to the side of the road along the Coquilhalla Connector near the summit and I lit up one of the cigars I’d been saving from the sample pack we’d received from Thompson Cigar Company; a Guillermo Leòn La Aurora Gran Corona.
As a fan of full-bodied cigars, I was looking forward to the experience: the rich,chocolate colour promised a rich maduro taste. The wrapper note was strong and dark, with a hint of mown hay. The cigar is slightly veiny (something I enjoy; texture as well as taste) and the pre-light draw promised sweetness and spiciness. The wrapper is Ecuadorian habano, with Cameroon and Corojo binders, and Nicaraguan, Dominican, Peruvian and Brazilian fillers. Sounds like a promising combination and the cigar has received some great reviews online, praising its balance between sweetness and strength. Sounds exactly like my cup of tea!
The pack was medium-firm, about my preference. And it punched easily enough. But this is where the first sign of trouble began. Reviews online describe the wrapper as moderately oily. I found it rather dry and the edge of a leaf lifted after the punch. Perhaps it had been sitting too long in my humidor, and I had done something wrong in the storage? I’m still pretty new to this after all . . .
Then I made the mistake of lighting it! I will confess that this was made challenging by the wind whipping through the pass, which required that we seal our windows completely, and perhaps that had an effect. The reviews describe this stogie as being a pleasant combination of strong and sweet. Strong, I’ll give it. It was very full-bodied, and it also had the benefit of offering a powerful nicotine rush, which I find unusual for full-bodied cigars. But it was terribly bitter. Bitter like licking an asprin.
I smoked a good half of it with my gentlemen, waiting for it to improve. It didn’t. “Not bad,” was Jamie’s commentary. But Erin agreed with me. It smoked with a wonky tilt, probably due to a bad light. It did ash nicely, I’ll give it that too. It went out about halfway through (about twenty-five minutes into the smoke with all three of us smoking it,) and we didn’t choose to re-light it.
So much promise! But bad execution. Was it dried out when I received it? Did it dry out in my storage facilities? Or was this just a bad batch?
I find it difficult to believe how different my experience was from the reviews I’d already seen. Cigar Aficionado gave La Auroras of various sizes (though not the Gran Corona in particular, I note) anything from a 92 to a 95 rating. My experience was entirely different! For that reason I will probably sample one again sometime just to see if I was incredibly unlucky that day. But I did not enjoy this cigar at all, and if the next one I sample tastes like this, I will not waste my money again.
You can get them from Famous-Smoke.com as well in boxes of 20 for $165; or about $8.50 a stick. I hope you enjoy it more than I did!
That’s a lady’s perspective. 😉
By: Sable Aradia – Senior Content Editor