La Aurora meets Guatemala

by Yannis Valavanis

Last week, on Friday, if I’m not mistaken, I paid a visit to the Mancode offices in Chalandri, etiquette as politicians say and as journalists say, but I’ll put it more simply, to smoke some cigarettes and to try some new spirit. God blessed of course – that’s what others say as far as you know – and not only did I try some new rum and a new cigar but I also had a look at the new issue of Mancode which comes out on Sunday the 18th, as an Easter present, and I played pool.

In the bad chaos that was going on all over the place due to the preparation of the Easter issue, I was hanging out at the pool table and playing, mostly alone, Thales was in and out, throwing a few shots, sometimes talking on his cell phone and sometimes yelling but I had a great time. He brought me a nice cigar to try and I opened a great spirit, I opened a great spirit, I read the new Mancode, on the press, and threw my shots.

La Aurora Zeppelin 107, a decent St. Dominic’s offspring, very, very aromatic and with a very, very long and nice finish. First of all, let me clarify something to friends and non-friends, I have nothing against non-Cuban cigars except that they leave me with a bitter and bad aftertaste, just like Cohiba cigars, which is why I don’t prefer them, except for Cohiba’s Maduro. Beyond that, I’m also open to trying new and different cigars from wherever they come from and to be completely honest I wish all cigar factories in all countries could and would produce comparable cigars to Cuban cigars and at better prices, because Fidel has gotten very expensive lately. So 107 to come back, he got that number as an anniversary number for the 107 years of La Aurora’s fabrics and I think it represents it deservedly. With 6 year aged tobaccos from many countries, Nicaragua, Peru, Brazil and locally, it has a 58 ring gauge and 102mm length, intense spice and tobacco flavours, excellent burn and a very sweet and flavoursome finish, if a little strong at the end… but I liked it. I was very very satisfied I must admit and I am a discerning customer.

The rum though was all the money, very strong and very special, Zacapa Royal – all products excellent and special today, cigar, rum, magazine and billiards, This Zacapa is a completely new product for me, I have never tried it before and although I am a big fan of the 23, this is completely different and more bittersweet although too strong. A large palette of aromas with a very intense and deep amber colour, after 30 years of ageing, are its emphatic characteristics. The solera process (rums of different ages passed through different barrels) that characterizes Zacapa rums, is a complex process and has yielded the maximum in this product: banana, orange, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, dried fruits and nuts but also very intense flavours of wood, cinnamon and tobacco combined with its 45 degrees, give literally an intoxicating result. Very strong aftertaste and with a very long and intense finish, undoubtedly 10/10 for this rum from Guatemala that justifies its somewhat high price but also deservedly represents this distillery that has been producing one of the world’s best rums since 1930.