This week I’ve decided to mix it up and do a review instead of another week in smoke. (Trust me, more of those are coming.) The cigar I selected is one that was created as a tribute to the late Fernando León, former head of La Aurora: the aptly named Fernando León Family Reserve.
The word is the Fernando León Family Reserve is a blend that Guillermo León’s father Don Fernando León produced for private consumption and to share with friends and family. When I first heard about it, I thought it might be a line based on the special edition Leon Jimenes Don Fernando No.4, which features a Cameroon wrapper and Dominican fillers and binder. That is not the case, the Family Reserve is instead a three nation blend with Dominican Corojo as the wrapper and binder.
The Fernando León Family Reserve is available in five sizes: Corona Gorda (6 x 47), Belicoso (6 1/4 x 52), Gran Toro (6 x 58), Robusto (5 x 50) and Corona (5 1/2 x 42). I have a handful of Robustos, some from the trade show, and some from a local retailer that have been waiting patiently for their chance to burn. Let’s not keep them waiting.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Binder: Dominican Corojo
Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Peru
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Some purchased, some samples
Price: MSRP $8.95
The Fernando León Family Reserve is an attractive cigar with a light brown wrapper leaf, a regal red and gold band, fine veins and no imperfections that I could see. To the touch some sticks had minor lumpiness due to underlying veins, but felt consistently firm throughout. The wrapper had a funky compost and aromatic cedar scent, and the cold draw was easy, producing raisin-like sweetness and a little citrus tart.
The Fernando León burned generally well, produced light gray ashes similar in appearance to many La Aurora cigars, and had a draw that was on the easier side of perfect. The flaws in combustion were pretty minor. There was some cracking and flaking in the ash toward the end of the smoke, and at times a lighter was required to correct a straying, occasionally jagged burn line.
I didn’t notice a great deal of difference in the flavor profile between the thirds, so I’ll summarize the whole experience. There was a growth in spice as the cigar progressed, but the profile mainly consisted of a complex and evolving combination of cedar, grass, raisin-like sweetness and pepper. The middle third was the most interesting part of the smoke, with added doses of cinnamon, bread and a citrus peel bite. Though most of the elements were similar throughout, it was far from boring.
The price seems reasonable.
Though I prefer the Guillermo León Signature to the Fernando León Family Reserve, the Fernando León Family Reserve is a solid, enjoyable cigar that seems well suited for a leisure afternoon. (A cold Presidente is optional, but recommended.) Fans of the Signature line and other La Aurora products should enjoy this. If you haven’t tried one yet, you should check it out.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.