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A Conversation with José Blanco

The gregarious sales director for La Aurora speaks about the cigar industry.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Vegas, Mar/Apr 2006

(continued from page 3)

A: That's it.

Q: So you said, "We have to expand our horizons."

A: I definitely was very impressed with the flavor of tobacco from Nicaragua. I think a blend of tobacco with a leaf of Nicaragua—it makes a big difference.

Q: Was the company growing its own Dominican wrapper at this time?

A: They were in the works of the Corojo wrapper, growing that first crop, which was '99, 2000. I like Corojo a lot, too. I'm a big fan of Corojo.

Q: What was the first cigar success you remember for La Aurora?

A: It was first the Preferido, then the Preferido tube. It's always on back order. A roller can make 400 robustos a day. With a Preferido it's only 125 to 135 on a good day—if the hangover is not too big. (Laughs.)

Q: Let's talk about your biggest hit, the Aurora 100 Años.

A: The funny thing is, the first day I came to work at La Aurora, the first thing I told Guillermo [León, vice president of La Aurora S.A.] was that we have to start to work with the 100 Años project. Already some filler and binder had been put aside, on the order of Don Fernando [León, the patriarch of the León family business]. They started putting away 40, 50, 60 bales, some of their best fillers each year at that time. That's the way we did it. Actually, we made 40 blends to get that blend. And it came down to two. And I think the one we didn't do, a lot of full-bodied cigar smokers would appreciate.

Q: But 100 Años isn't weak. Are you going to do something with that other blend?

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