Eduardo León Jimenes founded La Aurora Cigars
18 year-olded Eduardo León Jimenes founded La Aurora cigar factory in Don Pedro, Guazumal community in the province of Santiago de los Caballeros, with a small investment. The dream of creating a handmade cigar brand with global dimension begins. Those first cigars were “Perfecto” format, the doble figurado that even today are produced in a very limited way, only 100 units daily by craftsman. La Aurora is the seed of the Dominican Republic largest business group, the E. León Jimenes Group.
The factory moves to Santiago de los Caballeros
La Aurora factory moved to the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, what gave a new impulse to the business. La Aurora started to stand out from most cigar factories that, in those years, still worked in the city. Workload increased due to high quality of the cigars, that made a higher demand of them.
First cigars with ring
La Aurora places the first rings to the cigars, made on red and golden, with a central allegory of the Spanish coat of arms.
Francisco Fernando Arturo León Asensio
Francisco Fernando Arturo Leon Asensio is born in Santiago de los Caballeros. He’ll be the man to be in charge of la Aurora for almost half a century. Fernando León Asensio will become a legend in the Dominican tobacco culture: his passion, his knowledge and his nearness made him earn the respect and admiration of all the tobacco growers in Cibao Valley.
The lying lion
The lying lion first appears in La Aurora rings with the words E.LEON (Eduardo León, founder of the company) in gold on a red background. This lion will become the true symbol of the brand and of the whole group.
E.León Jimenes C. por A
Aurora turns into E.León Jimenes C. por A. (Shares Company) with a registered capital of 100,000 golden Dominican Pesos, divided into one thousand shares of 100 golden pesos each that have always to be nominative. Eduardo León Jimenes becomes president of the Board and his brother, Herminio, vice-president.
Eduardo León Jimenes dies
Eduardo León Jimenes dies at 52 due to a heart disease. His brother, Herminio, takes over the company. Don Eduardo leaves seven children from his marriage with Maria Asensio: Maria Rosa, Eduardo, Fernando, Carmen, Guillermo, Clara and José. Eduardo León Asensio, 18, and especially Fernando León Asensio, 15, will be helping his uncle carry on with the business.
Eduardo León Asensio becomes president
21-year-old Eduardo León Asensio becomes E.León Jimenes C. por A president of the board. Fernando León Asensio turns his efforts in the tobacco growing. World War II breaks out in La Aurora business. The company had just started exporting cigars, but the insecurity of the seas, as cargo ships were constantly attacked by warships, made the company stop exports.
The sons extra effort
Eduardo, Fernando, Guillermo and José León Asensio, sons Eduardo León Jimenes, had to make an extra effort to overcome all difficulties and barriers imposed by the dictatorship of Trujillo. The Dominican tyrant tried anyway to take control over the entire Dominican tobacco industry, harassing the companies with sudden laws and new taxes that avoid their development.
Herminio León Jimenes dies
Herminio León Jimenes dies at 65 (25th of april 1886 – 1st of july 1951).
Sindicato de Trabajadores de E.León JImenes, C. por A.
The search for new technologies and machinery for the production of cigarettes, took the León brothers to make a decision that can be considered very modern for its time and a major contribution of La Aurora to the relations between employee and employer: in August 28th, they led to the creation of the first union with the name “union of Workers of E. León Jimenes, C. por A.,” which in November signed the first collective agreement that recognized the rights of the worker. With this agreement, the León brothers wanted to ensure their staff that machinery not only would not produce layoffs, to replace men by machines, but would benefit workers.
Guillermo León Herbert born
Guillermo León Herbert is born in Santiago de los Caballeros. He is the current president of La Aurora and the third generation in his family to run the cigar business.
Fernando León promotes the growing of Dominican leaf
Fernando León promotes the growing of Dominican leaf for wrapper in Sabana del Puerto, south of Santiago de los Caballeros, halfway to the capital. The project had to be discontinued two years later because of the horrible weather conditions, but the experience would be very useful for the future.
The cigar exports to the world return
1963 is a key year for La Aurora. The factory moves to a new headquarters in Villa Progreso, on the outskirts of Santiago de los Caballeros, where they start producing cigarettes, but it is the date that cigar exports to the world resumes. The founder’s dream start to take shape again. This renewed impetus was conducted uniting the efforts of the family, with Eduardo León Asensio in charge of the company, the knowledge of Fernando León Asensio in the line of growing and harvesting tobacco and with younger brothers, Guillermo and José, assuming responsibilities in the family company.
The new cigarette factory
Fernando León Asensio’s birthday, 41 years old, is the day chosen for the inauguration of the new cigarette factory with the presence of Juan Bosch, democratic president of Dominican Republic, who said: “The León Asensio brothers has made his workers shareholders of their new cigarette factory. This means that these are the new industrialists of Santiago also advanced in the modern concept of social justice”. From Villa Progreso factory are coming out to the local market brands of cigarettes lika La Aurora, Leones, Sublime, Perlas (pearls), Oro Negro (Black Gold), Premier (all of them with the lying lion logo) and, later, Apollo Club, Polar, Criollo, Royal, Nacional and finally, Marlboro.
Group signs an agreement with Philip Morris Inc.
After long years of mutual support in the field of growing blond tobacco in Dominican Republic, E. León Jimenes Group signs an agreement with Philip Morris Inc. for the exclusive right to manufacture and sale Marlboro cigarettes in the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, E. León Jimenes were forced to a number of conditions are always fulfilled to the letter: protect the brand and product according to the specifications, rules and direction of Philip Morris. The agreement with the US tobacco giant remained until 2006.
Guillermo León Herbert starts working in the León Jimenes Group
Guillermo León Herbert starts working for E. León Jimenes in logistics department, although he has been often taken to the tobacco fields by his father, Fernando León, since he was very young. His first professional steps in tobacco world were given in summers, when he used to work for the Group as an articled clerk to learn everything about all the premium cigars process. From that early time, Guillermo León has good memories of the familiar treatment that his father had with the growers and the respect that these had to him, at the same time.
The opening of Bohemia Brewery
E. Leon Jimenes enters a new sector, the beer, with the opening of Bohemia Brewery, producer of Bohemia, a pilsener type brand; Löwenbräu, a German malt beer and, from January 1984, the international well known brand Heineken under license production.
La Aurora and Presidente.
With the purchase of Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, owner of beer President, Leon Jimenes Group becomes the absolute leader of the beer market in the country. Now there are three country brands that holds the group: La Aurora, Presidente and Nacional.
La Aurora brand renewal starts with the launching of a new brand of cigars, Leon Jimenes, tribute to the company founders, Eduardo León Jimenes and his brother Herminio León Jimenes. La Aurora is looking for the new smokers with a smoother blend, but with the famous Connecticut wrapper that now and on will be characteristic in this cigar.
Guillermo León Herbert take the reins of La Aurora
Guillermo León Herbert assumes the leadership of La Aurora beside his father, Fernando León Asensio.
La Aurora grows wrapper tobacco leaves in Sabana del Puerto
Another old project is resumed: La Aurora grows wrapper tobacco leaves in Sabana del Puerto, under Guillermo Leon Herbert direction. In addition to recovering the project that his father started in 1961, the idea is to get quality wrapper leaves, with quality aging, to launch an exceptional cigar to commemorate La Aurora centenary. The result could not be better: La Aurora 100 años, one hundred percent Dominican tobacco. The cigar was launched with the idea of being a limited edition but had to be incorporated into the regular portfolio because of the market demand.
E. Leon Jimenes has diversified into other sectors such as banking and publishing, and now plays a major role in the Dominican art, culture and sports promotion and sponsorship. With the advent of the millennium, every industry inside the consortium were clustered in the same organizational structure, under the joint name of León Jimenes Group, whose chairman was José León Asensio. Guillermo León Herbert assumed the vice presidency of cigars.
Meanwhile, La Aurora cigars have already global dimension, with a presence in many markets. From this point, the portfolio is enlarged with the gradual incorporation of new cigar series in the search of new smokers: La Aurora Corojo, Leon Jimenes Prestige, La Aurora 1495 commemorating the 500th anniversary of the founding of Santiago de los Caballeros … the new releases will be well received by the market year after year.
Taxes paid by León Jimenes Group this year represented the 9.59% of the total duty incomes of the Dominican government, same quantity than 2000, when this figure was 9.58% of the total national income.
Series 1903 and La Aurora 100 años
La Aurora Centenary year is celebrated with two new cigar series of superpremium cigars: Preferidos, serie 1903, the doble figurado that is the original La Aurora format since 1903: only one hundred sticks are produced per day; and La Aurora 100 años, an exceptional cigar launched as limited edition that had to be incorporated to the regular portfolio because of its demand.
The 2004 best Dominican Cigar in the World
The prestigious US magazine, Cigar Aficionado, awards La Aurora 100 Años Belicoso the 2004 best Dominican Cigar in the World.
La Aurora goes back
La Aurora goes back to the origin, moving all the operations to Guazumal. There, in the Free Zone of Tamboril is where the headquarters of the company are located today.
Fernando León Asensio dies
Fernando León Asensio dies at 87.
La Aurora 107 series
Succesful releases go on: now is La Aurora 107 series, an stronger blend with new formats more adapted to the smokers demand; and Imperiales By Leon Jimenes, a value brand with a premium presentation.
La Aurora capital and split the company off the rest of León Jimenes Group
Guillermo Leon Herbert buys 100% of the capital of La Aurora and separates the manufacture of premium cigars from the rest of León Jimenes Group. It is a return to the beginning: La Aurora, which has been the seed of the largest business group in the history of Dominican Republic, walk on his own again.
That same year, La Aurora signed an agreement with John Middleton, an Altria company, for the manufacture of Black & Mild. The agreement includes a commitment to La Aurora to scrupulously respect the quality standards of the largest tobacco company in the world, a challenge that few companies can afford.
The 110th anniversary
Another important year for La Aurora as marks the beginning of the products diversify. To commemorate the 110th anniversary, rum La Aurora is launched. Is a super premium spirit with a production of only 3,000 bottles a year, all numbered. In the cigars side, a key range: Family Reserve.
La Aurora Cigar World
In 2015, La Aurora opted for an innovative project that is unique in the world: La Aurora Cigar World. It’s a concept whose aim is to train real experts in premium cigars.
With 113 years of history
With 113 years of history, La Aurora is a modern cigar factory with more than 1100 workers, that produce more than 1 billion sticks per year and has presence in 67 markets in the world today.
Eleven years later, history repeats
Philip Morris has signed an important production agreement with La Aurora, in which it will start manufacturing Philip Morris cigarettes.