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Manuel Quesada 70th Announced

At today’s Procigar tour at the Quesada Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic, the company formally announced its newest release: Manuel Quesada 70th.

The cigar is made in honor of Manuel “Manolo” Quesada Jr., who turns 70 in April. Quesada Jr. himself blended the cigar and as of now, he’s apparently not telling anyone what it is.

It’s offered in his two favorite sizes: Toro (6 x 50) and Belicoso (6 x 52)—both of which are priced at $12.95 per cigar. The Manuel Quesada 70th is limited to 1,000 boxes of 10 cigars in each size.

“My uncle has dedicated his life to cigars and all of us at Quesada cannot express in words how proud we are of him,” said Terence Reilly, gm of Quesada Cigars, in a press release. “Whether you know him well or have never met him personally, smoking the MQ 70 gives the aficionado an opportunity to connect with Manuel through the taste and avor of this blend. It truly exemplies his palate.”

*Credit: Halfwheel

Stellar Stogies: Romeo y Julieta

The “Romeo y Julieta” above obviously refers to the famous Cuban cigar brand, not its unremarkable Dominican namesake. The brand is, of course, named after the star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare’s most famous play. Which I often take to mean that I should smoke a pair of them. I’m just romantic that way.

Romeo y Julieta Cigars was established in Cuba in 1875. And while it took awhile for Romeo y Julieta to become the worldwide star of the cigar industry it is today, the brand did win quite a few high-level cigar awards in its infancy. Among them were gold medals from exhibitions in Antwerp, Paris, and Brussels. Ever wondered about the gold medals on Romeo y Julieta bands? That’s where they came from.

The brand transformed into the Romeo y Julieta we would recognize today when it was purchased by the firm Rodriguez, Argüelles y Cia in 1903. The head of the company, Jose Rodriguez, really knew what he was doing when he decided to acquire the brand: he was formerly in charge of Havana’s famous Cabañas factory. He wanted to take a good brand and make it great. And he certainly did.

Though quality was always important to the brand, Rodriguez (who soon became sole owner of “Romeo y Julieta Cigar Factory”) was a sharp guy – he also knew how important increased production and great marketing would be to the success of the brand. So he started off by implementing a system of incentives that would increase the quantity of cigars the workers could produce. A very modern idea.

Rodriguez was a modern guy, and also used plenty of modern marketing techniques to get the brand name out there. A smooth salesman, he traveled the world marketing his cigars. He pulled lots of gimmicky (but very successful) marketing stunts, such as entering his racehorse (named, of course, Julieta) in races worldwide to bring attention to his cigars. Or making a public spectacle of opening up a Romeo y Julieta cigar shop in the Hotel Capulet in Verona, Italy. And if these place names don’t sound familiar to you (and hence you don’t get the gimmick), you need to go re-read your Shakespeare.

Because of Rodriguez’s smooth schmoozing, the brand exploded, becoming one of the most popular in the world. Just to keep things going, he began to offer personalized bands for the brand’s steady customers. At one point, 2000 different personalized bands were being made for the brand’s more affluent and famous patrons.

One of these famous patrons was, of course, good ol’ Winston Churchill. He was such a big fan of the brand that Romeo y Julieta is given credit for creating the “Churchill” shape that’s so popular today (the factory name is Julieta 2).

*Credit: Karen, Cigar Inspector

*Photo credits: Kevin Hammond, Miss Cleopatra

La Aurora 107: A powerful Cigar

Sitting at The Lone Wolf Lounge about to review the La Aurora 107 Toro, I got engaged in a conversation about cigar reviews. The question arose by a fellow cigar member who is a  relative newcomer to the world of cigars. He claimed that most of the reviews he has read have been “bullshit.” His point is all the descriptions of the smokes he has partaken in are not very accurate.
Language such as pepper, oak, blackberry really do tell an accurate story of what the cigar is really like. The descriptors are so vague they are not doing justice to the cigar experience. What is the difference between white pepper and black pepper?
The owner of the lounge was also involved in this discussion and commented that reviews should take into account how the cigar is indulged. Is it in a quiet lounge or with a group of friends? Is the cigar smoked with a beverage , and how the cigar was stored?
My answer was the descriptors are subjective but it gives you a base to judge it on. As for all other factors there are valid and perhaps the review should mention the surroundings of the experience.

Brand/Name of Cigar: Aurora 107 
Cigar shape: Toro
Length and Gauge: 5.5 x 5.4
Strength: Medium- full
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Price: $ 7.13 a cigar , box of 21, $139. 87
Where and when smoked: Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, 3/13/17

aurora107

Appearance / Construction:

Dark chocolate brown wrapper with an oily feel, Had a very clean look with no obvious faults or imperfections. The band was also pleasing to the eye with a strong presentation.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

Initial blast of strong pepper. Looking for other flavors such as chocolate or nuts but if they were there, the pepper was the predominant taste. It was a powerful start, gave the cigar a strong identity. Smooth though out so the taste while strong was not overpowering or unpleasant. Very rich blend.

Smoking Characteristics:

Uneven burn. Not a game changer because of this but hopefully won’t impact the enjoyment of the smoke. Burned steady and slow, with a grey ash.

As the cigar smoked down, the ash evened itself out a bit. Stayed full bodied, smooth to the palate with good, peppery flavor. If you like a strong smoke, you will like this blend. There are no subtle notes of other flavors. You are smoking a no nonsense cigar. The draw did correct itself a bit with one relight. I believe the uneven burn was a minor blip and not a real factor in the cigar.

Conclusion/Overall impression:

The Aurora 107 Toro made a statement for a rich, smooth full bodied blend. The audience for this type of cigar is a seasoned smoker who likes to sit down for an hour or so, and be challenged in a positive way.

aurora2107

Here are the numbers: 
Appearance/ Construction; 3.5 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma; 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 4 out 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 3.8 out of 5

Final thoughts:

Fell slightly flat for a smoke which is a must have for your humidor. Might be part of my cigar mix every so often. Good price point so it that is a big factor in your cigar mind, you would consider this. Worth trying and of course make your own judgement.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole