Another company on top of my list to visit at the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) 2023 Trade Show was La Aurora. La Aurora is best known for having the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. While La Aurora has been sold in the U.S. market for many years, this year was different. For many years, Miami Cigar and Company distributed La Aurora exclusively in the U.S. market. Last year, the company announced it was taking control of its distribution and forming La Aurora USA LLC – essentially, this would be La Aurora USA’s first Trade Show. At the same time, La Aurora USA LLC would have its work cut out for it.
Prior to the split from Miami Cigar and Company, La Aurora had launched a direct-to-consumer initiative. From discussions with the brick-and-mortar community, this was not something looked upon favorably by many retailers. Therefore, this was an important show for La Aurora to reconnect with retailers. La Aurora worked to bring in a strong team to launch La Aurora USA. This included Ed McKenna (CEO), John Ferrigan (National Sales Director), John Gaglio (Brand Manager), and William Marante (Brand Ambassador). The team got support from owner Guillermo León and his family, Master Blender Manuel Inoa, and NBA Hall of Fame Karl Malone, who works with La Aurora to produce and distribute his cigar line. Ed McKenna took our team through the booth and walked through many of the changes.
What impressed me the most was the company creed that McKenna highlighted. This is an essential component of a new venture, and it was great to see La Aurora do this.
La Aurora is quite proud of being the oldest premium cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. Another nice highlight was the timeline of La Aurora’s history that surrounded the booth.
In terms of the products, La Aurora showcased a new offering that taps into its rich history. This year, the company is celebrating a major milestone – 120 years in business. Over the years, La Aurora has been known for its anniversary cigars, and this year was no exception. The blend taps into the Dominican roots and is a Dominican puro with Dominican Havana ’92 wrapper over an Olor del Valle Cibao binder and a filler of various tobaccos including Corojo, Olor del Valle del Cibao, and Piloto Cubano del Valle del Cibao. The cigars will be available in four sizes: Robusto (5×50), Toro (5 ½ x 54), Gran Toro (6 × 58), and Churchill (7 × 47) – each presented in 20-count boxes. This is a regular production line due later this summer.
Meanwhile, a more ultra-premium project is planned for the 120th anniversary in the Preferidos #1 size. The Preferidos #1 is a 6 x 58 perfecto and is one of the signature sizes of La Aurora. The company showed off the packaging for this 120th Anniversary project and took one of the original Preferidos molds to the show.
Meanwhile, La Aurora has been quietly restructuring and rebranding its La Aurora 107. The core La Aurora 107 is now known as La Aurora Ecuador. The La Aurora 107 Maduro is now called the La Aurora 107 USA. Both cigars get their name from the wrapper used. Of course, there is the La Aurora 107 Nicaragua. The packaging for all three lines is now consistent.
Finally, it is worth noting again that Karl Malone Barrel Aged Cigars were being showcased at the La Aurora booth. While I didn’t talk to Karl this time, I have talked to him in the past, and he has steadfast loyalty to the León family.
All in all, I’m quite optimistic about the future of La Aurora USA LLC!
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted (some photos provided by La Aurora LLC)
Originally posted on July 16, 2023 @ 6:17 pm