La Aurora Bristol Especiales (Aged)

(Size: 6 3/8″ x 48  —  Time: 1hr 15mins)

Last November I made a trip up to London in order to take part in a very good friend’s stag day – starting with an autumn international rugby match at Twickenham followed by a night in Reading (now, that was an interesting experience). I’d travelled up a day early so that I could attend a Classic Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall, as such, I was at a bit of a loss as to what I could do before everyone else turned up. My decision was to have an early morning smoke in Sautters, just opposite the Connaught Hotel (which I was unfortunately not staying in…)

On the day I smoked the only enjoyable HdM Epicure No2 that I’ve yet to have. Whilst I was there, however, they were having a bit of a clear out of some old non-Cuban stock ahead of becoming an all-Cuban store. As the lucky person to be sat in the shop as they were looking through the stock, I had the opportunity for first-dibs (so to speak). If only I’d grasped it with both hands… As it was, I picked up a couple of old La Aurora Bristol Especiales. I’d tried a young LA Rothschild not long before the trip, so thought they were worth a punt. A little bit of estimation followed, which placed the age of the cigars as somewhere around fifteen years old. So, how had the cigar fared with age?

Appearance /15

What can be said about the Bristol Especiale’s appearance? Well, the first thing you notice is that the cellophane the cigar comes wrapped in is almost opaque, so long has the tobacco had to stain the sleeve. The deep, sepia appearance of the cellophane is a mere side show, however; so long had this cigar been kept in the humidor at Sautters that the band itself had become discoloured – where there was once white, there was a deep brown. The wrapper itself was fairly smooth, with just a couple of small veins, and was nice and velvety to the touch. The foot appeared to be reasonably well packed and the cap had been nicely applied. 13

Smoking Characteristics /25

The pre-light draw was absolutely perfect which would continue throughout the entire duration of the smoke. The cigar lit easily, and started a good even burn, which again continued throughout, with only minor deviations (nothing requiring a touch up). The ash was fairly solid in colour, and reasonably solid for the most part. The aroma seemed to be slightly non-descript. 23

Flavours /25

Pre-light flavours were largely the warm and sweet spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg – which were very reminiscent of a Danish pastry. On lighting the cigar, these flavours continued, with a distinctively sweet note on the tip of the tongue. After about ten minutes, there developed slightly minerally undernotes. Soon after, a set of subtle flavours very similar to those you might find in a red wine started to join the party… The mineral notes become slightly more tannic, almost coating the inside of the mouth, and other flavours were slightly smoky (what, smoky, I don’t believe you!) with lots of fruit. The fruit was largely of the tart variety – lots of cherry and gooseberries, the sort of stuff which, if you believe the wine-reviewers, you find in wine… This was largely the flavours throughout the cigar until the finale when the nutmeg started to come back to the fore and there was a creamy pepperness, much like a steak sauce. Overall, the flavours were very nice, though quite mild. 23

Overall Impression /35

Overall I have to say that this was a remarkably pleasant cigar to smoke. Light in body, and mild-to-medium in flavour, it was an easy going cigar that was just the right thing for a Monday evening. One of my friends had the second of the two examples I picked up in Sautters, and his thoughts largely mirrored my own, which also displays a fair degree of consistency in construction. Not a blockbuster by any means, but very pleasant, and very satisfying. 32

Grand total… 91/100

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