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Training kit, a tool to make your own cigar tasting at home

To find out how to enjoy smoking a cigar, learning is the best way. Just like in wine or rum tastings, for example, there are tastings meant for savoring and tastings meant to turn you into an expert when it comes to defining the characteristics of a cigar. They serve to learn how to the detect the types of tobacco, the aromas and flavors it releases, or even if it has been rolled properly or there’s a manufacturing fault.

But attending a training class is not always easy, due to lack of time or because it’s not easy to access this type of training course. La Aurora Cigars has design a Training kit, a tool –used in tasting events or in cigar presentations, for example– that allows you to have your own tasting without traveling to a special location, and to understand how the blends are prepared, in order to become an expert.

At first, this training tool for new consumers was created for the tasting of La Aurora 1903 Doble Figurado Emerald (Preferidos). This first model of the Training kit consisted of four pure grade cigars, a multiwrapper cigar, one La Aurora 1903 Doble Figurado Emerald, an instruction booklet and a DVD with tips to optimize smoking, a lighter and a cutter “to allow smokers to perform their own cigar tasting event, without the presence of a brand representative”, as summed up by the President of La Aurora himself, Guillermo León.

La Aurora 1903 Doble Figurado Emerald is a cigar with a tobacco wrapper from Sumatra seed harvested in Ecuador and binding leaf from Valle del Cibao (Dominican Republic) and filler also from Valle del Cibao, with tobacco from Brazil and Ecuador. Later editions of this tool have been released with La Aurora 107 and La Aurora ADN Dominicano cigars. The first one is a cigar with a wrapper of tobacco from Sumatra harvested in Ecuador, binding leaf from Valle del Cibao (Dominican Republic) and filler from Valle del Cibao (Dominican Republic), Brazil, Nicaragua and Peru.

Finally, La Aurora ADN Dominicano has a tobacco wrapper from Valle del Cibao (Dominican Republic), binding leaf from Cameroon (Africa) and filler from Valle del Cibao (Dominican Republic), Pennsylvania (United States), Nicaragua and tobacco originated in the Andullo process. The most interesting aspect in this case is being able to taste a pure grade from the Andullo, given the aroma and the strength provided by this method.

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Andullo, a method that impart strength and flavor to tobacco

There is a saying which can be applied to various fields of activity and even to some aspects of life: “if something works, do not change it”. This maxim could be applied to the oldest tobacco-processing method in the Dominican Republic, the Andullo (an-doo-yaw). Inherited from the Dominican ancestors, this handcrafted procedure has survived through the ages due to the superb qualities it imparts to tobacco. Namely, a potent strength and a wonderfully heady aroma.

La Aurora Cigars have picked up on this cultural legacy and applied it to produce one of its latest cigars: La Aurora ADN Dominicano. Only seeds from native Dominican varieties are selected to grow the tobacco plants processed with this method by Aurora Cigars. Likewise, the plots of land where they’re going to be sown are carefully chosen. When the tobacco plants are ready, the Andullo process starts, lasting for one year and going through the following phases:

  • Harvesting: the first six leaves from the bottom of the plant are removed. Only the leaves from the upper middle and top of the plant are employed. Those are the leaves that impart the high degree of strength, flavour and aroma found in Andullo
  • Curing: the tobacco leaves are tied up together in bundles or gavillas and sartas are made with ropes stringing them up. Around 55 to 60 bundles are held in every sarta, which ends up being some three meters long. These are hanged up for two weeks in the curing warehouses so that the leaves become more flexible by the time the midrib removal stage comes. In this way, the leaves can be folded with ease to best fit within the cilindrical shape of the Andullo. The tobacco leaves go from green to a yellow hue.
  • Leaf Midrib Removal: the sartas are taken down from their drying slots and the leaves get cleared off 3/4ths of their midrib (the coarser central vein). Then the tobacco is weighed, with the ideal quantity to carry out the Andullo process being around 30 to 32 pounds (13.5 to 14.5 kilograms approx.)
  • Preparation: the tobacco is placed in yaguas – the leaves of the Palma Real, a common palm tree in the Greater Antilles -. The yaguas measure between 1.5 to 2 meters long each and aid the curing and fermentation processes, as they are made of organic material that allows the tobacco to breath.
  • Pressing: the tobacco is placed inside the yagua, which is rolled up around it. Then the pressing stage starts to facilitate fermentation and curing. Once inside, the tobacco is squeezed tight using ropes that go around the yagua This is done at least five times until the tobacco is completely dry. If, at any time during the process the yagua is damaged, then it gets replaced for a new one.
    Around three weeks pass between the first and second pressing. Although, it is possible that the ropes might get untied before that if too much humidity is noticed. Otherwise, the tobacco could end up having stained patches due to excess water. At the time of the second pressing the ongoing fermentation is checked up, as well as the water content and the amount of sap coming from the yagua oils.
    After the second pressing, the yagua is untied and then tied up again once per month until the fifth pressing is done. During this phase the tobacco receives oxygen and starts compacting. The pressings help the curing and fermentation to happen in a homogeneous, uniform way. All these processes take place without generating any heat, they are thoroughly cold processes.
  • Aging: after the last pressing, the aging process begins until the tobacco completely dries up and its flavour and strength qualities become matured. The result is a paste hard to work up, which can be used for chewing, pipe smoking or cigar manufacture.

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First birthday of La Aurora ADN Dominicano

Our cigar La Aurora ADN Dominicano celebrates its first year in the market. From its market launch in February 2017, those who have smoked this cigar have tasted the Andullo tobacco used in its blend. With the use of this hard-to-handle tobacco, La Aurora intended to honor the most ancient tobacco making process, which is a vital part of the Dominican tobacco culture.

This cigar was launched in the market a year ago, in February 2017, in the Dominican Republic. It was later introduced to the North American market in July 2017 during the IPCPR trade show (International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association) held in Las Vegas, USA. It was finally introduced to other markets in the InterTabac trade fair (The International Trade Fair for Tobacco Products and Smoking Accessories) held in Dortmund, Germany.

The Andullo process results in a tobacco with very peculiar flavor and strength characteristics, unique in cigar manufacturing, since its inspiring strength, aroma and sweetness, combined with a well-balanced mix, all provide for a completely exceptional smoking experience.

Specifically, the La Aurora DNA Dominicano cigar wrapper comes from the Valle del Cibao, the main source of tobacco in the Dominican Republic; the capote (binding leaf) is made with tobacco from Cameroon, Africa, and the filler is composed of tobacco from the famous Valle del Cibao, Pennsylvania (USA), Nicaragua, and Andullo.

La Aurora manufactures and markets this cigar in four different sizes: La Aurora ADN Dominicano Churchill (7 X 47); La Aurora ADN Dominicano Gran Toro (6 X 58); La Aurora ADN Dominicano Robusto (5 X 50) and La Aurora ADN Dominicano Toro (5 3/4 X 54).


Tobacco produced with the Andullo process is extremely special and unique, because it is manufactured from selected seeds of varieties originating in the Dominican Republic and the lands for its cultivation are also selected. From the plant, only the leaves of the mid-high center towards the crowns—which give that degree of strength, aroma and flavor felt in the smoke—are chosen to produce tobacco with the Andullo process.

As for the drying process, these leaves are tied in bundles, or “hands”, and left to dry in drying houses for two weeks. Later, during the destemming stage, three quarters of the central vein of the leaves are removed and they are placed in 1,5 to 2 meters long yaguas—sheaves from the leaves of the Palma Real tree, a plant of the Greater Antilles—where they are cured and fermented.

This is where the tobacco shaping process starts, which consists in rolling the Andullo tobacco in at least five tightening operations. With each tightening, the tobacco receives oxygen and is compacted. This also makes the cure and fermentation (cold) process homogeneous. Then the aging process begins, in which the tobacco dries completely and its characteristics are settled.

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Cigars and rum, a perfect match

Smoking a cigar is, per se, an experience packed with sensations perceived with the senses: feeling the cigar through touch, observing the color of the layers and the veins on the leaves, smelling the cigar and appreciating the notes of flavor in the tobacco. If the adventure of tasting a La Aurora cigar is added to the pleasure of savoring another high-quality product as Dominican as our cigars, the sensation could not be more pleasurable.

La Aurora Cigars and Ron Barceló intended to demonstrate how this combination works by deciding to design a joint tasting program for cigars and rum, ‘The Perfect Match’. The initiative, that takes place in various locations of the Dominican Republic, was designed so that lovers of both products can enjoy their combination. In each event, participants can experience the matching of three types of cigars and three kinds of rum, by the hands of one of the Brand Ambassadors from the tobacco company and a Master from the rum company.

The event consists of matching cigars La Aurora 107, La Aurora 1903 Edition Black Diamond (Preferidos) and La Aurora 1903 Ruby Edition (Preferidos) with rum Barceló Imperial, Barceló Imperial Onyx and Barceló Imperial Premium Blend in the best restaurants and cigar lounges of the country.

The latest tasting events were held this year, on January 24 at Deck Bar Lounge, in Santo Domingo; Wednesday, on February 7 at the restaurant Zutros, in Santo Domingo East side; and Friday, on February 16, in the Nautical Club of Santo Domingo.

After these events, there are still 10 cigars and rum match-tasting in Santo Domingo; another one in Santiago, one in La Romana and yet another in Bávaro. This joint tasting of La Aurora and Ron Barceló has been held since last year, when a total of 11 events of this type were held between April and November.


From the cigars used in the tasting with rum, La Aurora 107 stands out for being a mild cigar at the beginning, and somewhat spicy, with a strength that increases to a medium-strong level. With very typical flavors, a deep aroma of cocoa and spices and a sweet tip, its wrapper is grown in the sun in Ecuador, giving it a rustic appearance, but also a natural color. The capote (binding leaf) is Dominican, from Valle del Cibao, and the filler is aged for six years and is composed of tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Peru.

On the other hand, La Aurora 1903 Edition Ruby and Black Diamond (Preferidos) are part of an edition of six cigars manufactured in the scope of the centennial tradition of La Aurora, with different mixtures of tobacco, but with an equal shape and limited production, since La Aurora invests a minimum of eight years in the making of each of these cigars and because a skilled cigar maker can only make 100 of these cigars a day.

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La Aurora pays tribute to the oldest dominican tobacco process with “La Aurora ADN Dominicano”

La Aurora ADN Dominicano is the latest release of La Aurora, a cigar with an exceptional blend whose soul is the Andullo.
Using this type of tobacco, La Aurora pays tribute to the oldest Dominican tobacco process and although little known today is deeply ingrained as an essential part of the Dominican Republic’s tobacco culture and its processing practices for hundreds of years.
La Aurora, with this new release has rescued the use of Andullo as an essential and unique component in the cigar filler by using it as a whole leaf in the filler.
Andullo is a hard-to-work tobacco that is unique in cigar making; its strength, inspiring aroma and sweetness, combined with a well-balanced blend provides a completely exceptional smoking experience.


Wrapper: Cibao valley (Dominican Republic).
Binder: Cameroon (África)
Filler: Cibao valley (Dominican Republic), Pennsylvania, Nicaragua, Andullo.




La Aurora´s Latest Product Launches

As announced during the celebration of IPCPR, La Aurora launched three new products into the market: La Aurora 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged; Preferidos Parejo and La Aurora 107 Cosecha 2006. These are the new additions:

For many years, La Aurora has differentiated by aging in used rum barrels — for six months — the filler and binder of its super Premium line cigars. The difference now is that with the Aurora 1903 Edition Double Barrel Aged, tobaccos of this product line are aged at least one year, thus harmonizing perfectly with the blend and providing creaminess to the smoke. 


If anything stands out about this product, it is definitely the year of harvest: 2006. This was certainly an excellent year in terms of weather conditions for the wrapper and the other components that make up this excellent cigar.


La Aurora launches three new formats without tube in each of the 7 blends of the “La Aurora 1903 Edition” line. The company started with the introduction of these formats in Black Diamond, Sapphire and Emerald. This is how the company expands its offerings in what is undoubtedly its flagship: La Aurora Preferidos. In this way, consumers have alternatives that fit their preferences, with the additional advantage that these formats have a lower cost of production due to being less complex in their development. The fact of not having a tube also gives consumers the opportunity to enjoy one of the best cigars in the world at a much more affordable price than in the past. 

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Values (II): Innovation

We never get tired, and we never will, of saying that La  Aurora is the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic, the original, let’s say for those whom the word “ancient” sounds like obsolete, outdated, old fashioned. La Aurora was founded in 1903, 111 years ago, and its evolution during this time has nothing to do with being neither obsolete nor outdated nor old fashioned, but quite the opposite, precisely because one of its core values: the innovation.

Innovation means that La Aurora has always been one step ahead in its offer to consumers, that has always presented innovative, breaker and different products and that is what has made, 111 years later, La Aurora to be still there, trendy, on top. Because we use our history and our tradition as background, it is not a burden, it is a baggage. And so we do not mind being the oldest, if that means being wise, experienced, expert…

We could put many examples in the long history of this company that was born from the dream of a young, enterprising and hardworking man, Eduardo Leon Jimenes, but we have today in the IPCPR, at booth 18813, a product that is unique in the world, that no one has imagined before: La Aurora Training Kit Emerald.

Come to the booth if you want to see it and if you’re not in the IPCPR, you have an extensive explanation on this link: La Aurora Training Kit: Train your nose.

La Aurora is innovation and it is since 1903.

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A personal experience (Taste it easy)

Attending to seminars or cigar tastings with proffesionals or reading in the magazines the opinion of experts whose well-trained noses are capable to find in a cigar notes and aromas that we are not sometimes can make us feel we are not so good smokers as we thought. Some people’s reaction is to reject these kind of tastings. They say is only marketing, that a cigar taste is just tobacco taste, but after that they choose between one cigar or another and that is quite contradictory, don’t you think so? If tobacco is the only taste, how can you distinguish one cigar from another? Strenght, aroma, draw, notes… They do make the difference.

There is an orthodoxy, of course, that tends to optimize the pleasure of smoking a cigar, but that orthodoxy can not become such a rigid rule that prevents the enjoyment: after all smoking a cigar is a personal experience. There are no two equal cigars because teher are no two equal smokers, circumstances change, the company changes, the moods, the pairings, the weather, the seasons, the atmospheric pressure, if we are on holiday or in a business dinner, even the unknown person that is on our side showing he or she is upset because of the smoke of our cigar changes the taste. Therefore, try to apply a rigid orthodoxy when smoking in all circumstances: it is impossible. Cigar smokers are seekers of moments, and when we found it (something not easy today with so many bans), we feel like grab that moment for us and our cigar, much better if it is in good company, we take it for our personal experience. As the Spanish poet Alvaro Muñoz Robledano says “a cigar is a serving of welfare.” Of course there is a better way to cut the cigar and light it and smoke it, but the real cigar expert is the one who knows how to enjoy it his own way. No deal about this.

La Aurora, a company that has demonstrated innovation capacity since 1903 and that, therefore, has remained in the forefront of the market for 111 years, has just released the 1903 Edition Training Kit. We have explained what is in this forum. Now, Manuel Inoa, Master Blender of the company, is presenting it in the US with a huge success, not only because of his personal charisma, Mani knows always how to gain the sympathy of the smokers, but because the product itself enables the smoker to achieve in an easy and direct way notes and aromas that in a whole cigar often appear twisted into a set of more complex flavors. The personal experience of the 1903 Edition Training Kit has led us to a slogan with a word game that gives meaning to this post: Taste it easy!

Taste it easy! We mean:

1. Relax. You do not need to take out the notes of leather or nuts or whatever to really enjoy your cigar. It is not compulsory;

2. With La Aurora Training Kit we provide you the way for better link your memories with the aromas and you’ll be able to name them … Of course, if you blow out the smoke through your nose.

And remember one thing: Smoking a cigar is a personal experience. Anyone tell you how to do it. Taste it easy !

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