La Aurora’s master blender, Manuel Inoa, talks about his work in the company and explains the basics on manufacturing and tasting cigars in an extensive interview published in the January-February edition of “Tobacco Business”.
The article shows our master blender’s 35-year trajectory in the field, detailing how he entered the world of tobacco and, in particular, La Aurora. Specifically, it notes that his main priority is to make memorable cigars.
During the interview, which extends from page 40 to 45, Inoa, who is also production manager and ambassador of La Aurora, tells us of his travels around the world taking the tobacco culture everywhere. “I travel at least 200 days a year doing events and teaching people, telling them how to best enjoy the flavors of their cigars,” he says.
Fermentation and blends, two complex aspects of creating a cigar
The author of the interview, Stephen A. Ross, asks our master blender about the most complex aspects of becoming an expert in the matter. Inoa answers: “Learning about the fermentation process to obtain the best flavors of tobacco and knowing what they have to offer four years later to be used in the cigar”.
And he adds: “Making the mixture of a cigar is also very challenging because its ingredients—the tobaccos that compose it—change every year, but the cigar should taste the same year after year.” Inoa adds that the climate plays a major role in this matter.
To make every mixture perfect, he counts on the help of a panel of smokers. “We want to lead the introduction of new products. Therefore, we have a panel that works with us going through the blends,” reveals Inoa, noting that the final decision is up to the president of La Aurora, Guillermo Leon.
The creation of La Aurora Cien Años and La Aurora Hors d’Age
In addition to the blend, we must pay attention to the flavor, the construction and the appearance of cigars. Many cigars are born thanks to the effort we put into all of this. Our master blender recalls the process of making La Aurora Cien Años, as a “huge challenge”. 96 blends have been designed for its creation.
La Aurora Hors d’Age resulted from those 96 blends designed for La Aurora Cien Años. “We released the first one in 2017 and the second one in 2019. The mixture was composed when we created the Cien Años cigar. It was one of those 96. We keep all tobaccos for the mixture for 12 years. I am very proud of this product,” he explains.
In the interview, included in a special section on the occasion of the celebration of Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE), Manuel Inoa notes that a good cigar must have good flavors and aromas. “You can make a unique cigar in terms of blend, but if it is not well done, you will not enjoy it,” he points out.
In his view, the drag must be good and offer you all the flavors. “Nothing ruins a cigar’s flavors more than a bad drag. Also, the blend must be correct, with every tobacco in the right position and with the proper humidity,” he says.