Cigar Aficionado

Empire State—Aurora's New York Cigar

New York is getting another special, premium cigar with next week's debut of the Broadway Series by La Aurora. The one-size (for now) cigar, made in the Dominican Republic from a four-nation blend, will be available only in the Empire State.

La Aurora is a small but prominent cigar company that makes the Aurora, Guillermo León and León Jimenes lines of cigars in the Dominican Republic. Despite its Dominican ties that stretch back to 1903, La Aurora has long been fond of New York City.

Longtime family patriarch Fernando León Asensio, who died in 2009, had a residence in Manhattan for many years and traveled to the city quite often. La Aurora vice president Guillermo León (one of León Asensio's sons) said the cigar was released to help New York cigar shops that are struggling under the yoke of the 75 percent tobacco tax, one of the highest in the nation.

"New York has always been special to me and my family," said León in a statement. "What has happened with the cigar taxes in New York is tragic. Since we cannot lower the taxes, we worked hard to lower the cost of this cigar without compromising quality."     

Broadway Series by La Aurora comes in one size, a Sumo Toro measuring 5 3/4 by 54 ring. The cigar is made with two wrappers-the inner one is Ecuador Sumatra, and the outer one (the one a smoker actually sees) is from Nicaragua. The binder is from the Dominican Republic and the filler blend is from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru. The cigar's suggested retail price of $12.25 includes the new 75 percent tax.

The launch follows the September pre-release of Alec Bradley New York, a five-size, limited-edition line made only for New York Cigar Shops. (A sixth size was made for a special tasting at Cigar Inn.) "With New York getting hammered [by taxes] as much as it is," said Alec Bradley owner Alan Rubin at the time of launch, "it's good timing." The cigars went on sale this month in New York cigar shops.

The Broadway Series by La Aurora will debut on Monday night at a sold-out dinner at the Cigar Inn on Second Avenue in Manhattan from 7 to 10 p.m. León is slated to attend, as are Nestor Miranda and Rene Casteneda from distributor Miami Cigar & Co.

"Whoa! That's a huge tax - and I thought taxes here were stiff. On the upside, we can at least buy Cubans without looking over our shoulders... The Aurora Broadway sounds like an appealing smoke. So many blends and a double wrapper: Quite a meal." —December 20, 2010 17:22 PM
"That double wrapper sounds really great. I wonder what taste's awaite the smoker of that cigar? What is the best place to order some of these cigars from and have them shipped perhaps to Michigan (1 mile from Windsor, On, Canada), so I can go over the border and pick them up. This "Cigar Inn", what address in New York? If I have them shipped to Canada, I'll be hit with another 167% sales tax or something terrible like that on top of the price of the cigars! I checked with our customs one time about bringing back a box of cigars around $100.00. They told me that if I don't stay over for 48 hours in the States, it would cost approx $267.00 for that box of cigars. Pathetic hold they have on us." —December 17, 2010 13:30 PM
"I think these New York exclusive lines are a great thing. It's a shame to hear about tax rates so high! Hopefully that is something that will go away with time. The cigar sounds great though. I'm really interested in the double wrapper." —December 16, 2010 19:29 PM