Our Brand Ambassador, Wascar Aracena, is also Production Coordinator at the factory. Thus, his passion for premium cigars is coupled with his knowledge of cigar manual manufacturing processes and quality standards. And all of this is reflected in his conversations. You learn a lot from him, and you feel like tasting cigars to apply what you’ve learned.
As Production Coordinator of handmade cigars, machining, and packaging, he is responsible for ensuring compliance with quality standards. “With the supervisory team of six workers under my direct charge, we verify that the cigars do have the required amount of tobacco and that they have the quality characteristics required,” Wascar explains.
In addition, he is a member of La Aurora’s smokers panel. It’s a group of expert smokers from different departments of the company who evaluate tobaccos and cigars. They meet every morning. The Quality Department determines which cigars or tobaccos are tested and gathers the information that comes from the smokers panel.
“I like all my roles in the company. I enjoy them all to the fullest. I like working at La Aurora,” says Wascar. Specifically, about the smokers panel, he explains that it’s “a very rewarding experience, which allows you to take some time to really taste a cigar and understand how it’s made, and what sensations and stimulations come from that cigar.”
“It’s one of the best experiences there is: being able to share with people who are knowledgeable about the world of cigars and, together, getting an idea of what each cigar has to offer. We are learning every day,” explains Wascar.
“We also resort to tastings and pairing events often and use them to gather information about our cigars. Those who attend these events—through their experiences—contribute to provide us with more information when it comes to creating the general cigar profile. It’s a mutual collaboration,” he adds.
As a brand ambassador, he likes to be in touch with people
In the role of brand ambassador, he likes “to be in touch with people.” “It’s an honor and a pleasure to be able to show people who we are as a company, our legacy. We have a family-like relationship on a day-to-day basis, here. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to show what we are, and I welcome this great responsibility that the company has given me,” he says. “I also like to show people why they should buy our products,” he adds. This instructional role is carried out as brand ambassador and when he provides support to the Cigar Institute.
First, he tells smokers that tasting a cigar is the closest thing to falling in love. “You start a relationship where you engage all five senses to enjoy the cigar to the fullest,” he says. In technical matters, such as cigar cutting, he recommends the open cut. “We recommend the open cut because it allows more smoke to enter the mouth and allows us to obtain more information. However, it all depends on the smoker’s taste,” argues Wascar.
On the other hand, he recommends using butane gas lighters for lighting the cigar, not benzine, because its smell permeates the cigar. “The best method is using matches. We must wait until the powder is consumed, and when the fire enters the wood, we light the cigar. Or with a cedar leaf,” he recommends.
“We’re looking for people to discover which notes they find enjoyable”
As far as smoking is concerned, he suggests tranquility at the time of smoking. “You should smoke patiently so as not to consume the cigar too quickly because the heat that is generated will not be pleasant in the mouth and will irritate the taste buds,” he says. And then comes the great discovery: to see what flavors you find in the cigar. For this, Wascar explains them that the notes found in the cigar and those sensations in their mouths will trigger their sensory memory to remember something. “Our primary interest is for people to discover what notes they find pleasurable, so that they know why they like that cigar.”
Another relevant question is what to combine with the smoke. This will also depend on individual taste. “To make a pairing pleasant for each person, what they have to do is to know their drink, to know the notes in their food and to know the notes in their cigar,” recommends Wascar. Knowing all the pairing data makes it possible to know where each note comes from.
In the absence of such knowledge, it’s a matter of tasting gradually—because the pairing is based on taste. Wascar usually smokes and drinks rum. The E. León Jimenes 110 Aniversario rum pairs well with all cigars because it was really made for smokers. “It’s very personal. It’s a matter of taste, of what you feel comfortable with. It’s all about enjoying the moment,” he says.
Finally, he adds: “If you pair the cigar with a drink with similar notes to those in the cigar, you get more of an explosion. But it doesn’t mean that the notes won’t stand out otherwise. In fact, there are tastings by similarity and others by contrast. There are people who like to feel one thing with the cigar and something very different with the drink. The real goal is for the person to feel comfortable, to feel the pleasure of smoking.” Cigars pair well with our E. León Jimenes rum because of the characteristics of the rum. It was a rum really made for smokers. I usually smoke with rum, mostly.
Cigars, an enjoyment in company or in solitude
Our brand ambassador says he doesn’t have a favorite cigar. “I like to give all cigars a chance. For me, all cigars have a right moment, they have a right drink…”, he says. But he does have preferred shapes: Corona Gorda, Robusto and Lancero. In terms of cigar flavors, he prefers creamy and medium-high to high strength.
When he isn’t at work, our brand ambassador usually smokes in the evening, usually with friends. Although on vacation he also smokes any time of the day, home alone, with a cup of coffee. “The world of tobacco is a world of friends, where people get together to share a cigar and the education and knowledge on cigars starts there,” he emphasizes.
“The cigar has the virtue of being well appreciated in company or in solitude. It has that greatness. In solitude it allows you to relax, to make an introspection of your life, to think about future plans… With friends it’s a moment of camaraderie per se, of knowledge on cigars, etc.,” he concludes.