La Aurora first debuted the 115 Anniversary collection in the fall of 2018 at the annual InterTabac trade show (held in Dortmund, Germany). The cigars were made to celebrate the company’s milestone 115th anniversary (famously being the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic), with the line consisting of two limited-edition and four regular-production cigars. Despite the 2018 announcement, the eventual release wasn’t until 2019, as the limited-edition cigars made their way to retailers earlier this spring. The four regular-production cigars (featuring an altered blend) were then debuted in late June at the annual IPCPR trade show (held in Las Vegas, NV).
La Aurora 115 Anniversary Limited Edition Belicoso Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic | Brazil
- Factory: La Aurora S.A. (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Limited Edition (3,000 boxes of 15 cigars)
- Vitola: 6¼″ × 52 (Belicoso)
- Price: $18.67 (MSRP)
The La Aurora 115 Anniversary collection can prove a somewhat tricky lineup to navigate. The two versions of the brand feature similar titles: La Aurora 115 Anniversary Limited Edition and La Aurora 115 Anniversary Edition. The former collection features a limited-edition belicoso and gran toro ($18.67 apiece), while the latter offers four core-line sizes with prices ranging from $9.50 to $11.00 MSRP. The packaging and blend information differ slightly as well, as the former two arrive in more ornate displays, including a flat layout of 15 cigars (belicoso) and a commemorative 30-count jar (gran toro). The limited-edition cigars boast an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper, Dominican binder from the Cibao Valley, and fillers of the Cibao Valley and Brazil. Meanwhile, the regular-production cigars use a less-specific Ecuadorian wrapper, Brazilian binder, and fillers of the Cibao Valley, Brazil, and Nicaragua.
The 115 Anniversary Limited Edition Belicoso has a very attractive look. With contrasting elements of matte, metallics, and holographic paper, the appearance feels reminiscent of Cuba’s most elaborate presentations. There is also a sub-band that designates the cigar as “Limited Edition;” a helpful addition, considering that the same belicoso format is offered in the regular-production variation of the brand. The construction is not immaculate, though it’s nothing to scoff at either. The cigar’s head shows a impressive, long and consistent taper; but the deep red-hued wrapper has loose seams and enough protruding veins to give an overall lumpy appearance. There seems to be a consistent medium-plus bunch from head to toe, having a good overall feel but perhaps coming up short for the price point.
On the wrapper there are aromas of iron, hickory, and generic barnyard. The cigar’s foot brings added notes of fresh mountain pine and minerals (like the smell of rain). The pre-light draw is virtually perfect, showing light flavors of cedar, mint, and various florals.
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Lighting up with a somewhat dry texture, the Limited Edition Belicoso is replete with herbs and spices, led by black pepper, dried wood, and various spices that remind me of Asian cuisine. With the cap cut fairly deep into the tapered head, the cigar shows a near-perfect draw (slightly firm, if anything) and a medium amount of smoke on each puff. This profile remains steady for a quarter inch before opening up with a slight floral sweetness (mostly in the finish) and touches of anise and vanilla. Another quarter inch burns before expanding once more, this time adding components of chocolate, smoked hickory, nutmeg, and increased anise and salt.
The cigar can be pegged at medium in strength, body, and flavor through the first half. The dry smoke seems to hit the tongue primarily on the bitter and salt-detecting regions (and a hint in the sweet region), with the salt aspect giving a bit of a cheek-puckering reaction on each puff.
Cinnamon and curry spices add to the spice theme of the smoke thus far. It’s a fairly consistent profile, with the smoke feeling complex up front, yet being somewhat short and sparse through the finish. A Cuban-esque muskiness keeps the profile interesting before entering nub territory; this is backed by caramel and a background creaminess. But there is a turning point—a point where tunneling and touchups lead to a burn that can be a bit hot at times. This portion turns to darker, bitter characteristics of dark cocoa, black licorice, and a burning-brush note that is a bit harsh on the palate.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
La Aurora 115 Anniversary Limited Edition Belicoso is a fun smoke in that it showcases a refreshing profile that offers a nice change of pace in a cigar arena that can feel a bit monotonous at times. For anyone that’s ever been on one of the many cigar excursions, spending multiple days at a single factory, you’ll probably agree that the various cigars to choose from—now matter how deep a brand’s portfolio goes—begin to meld together by day three. All it takes to revive the dulled palate in this scenario is firing up nearly any cigar from a different farm or factory. This is kind of how I felt about this particular smoke in comparison to the market as a whole. But to answer the question more directly, I just can’t imagine myself paying to smoke this cigar again. At half the price point, sure, but the competition is just too steep when you approach the $20 range fore me to justify a Jackson on this one.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Foreign spices
- Dried woods
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Mojito cocktail | Gin & tonic cocktail | Old Cuban cocktail | Floral tea
- Purchase Recommendation: Single
- Near-perfect draw
- Fresh flavor profile
- Multiple touchups and tunneling
- Short finish
- Harsh territory in final third