Jun 16th, 2023
The world of cigars is a complex and fascinating one, as any cigar aficionado knows. However, many people are unaware of the intricate process that goes into creating a cigar of the finest quality, from selecting the best tobacco to blending and aging. This process requires a deep understanding of the raw materials and a keen sense of creativity. One person who has mastered the art of cigar blending is Manuel Inoa, the master blender at La Aurora in the Dominican Republic. However, his journey to becoming a master blender was not a straightforward one.
Manuel was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, a country renowned for its tobacco and cigars. Although he initially studied industrial engineering at the Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago in the Dominican Republic, Manuel's interest in tobacco and cigars soon led him down a different path. In 1996, Manuel joined the team at La Aurora, the Dominican Republic's original and oldest cigar brand. Established by Eduardo León Jimenes in 1903, La Aurora has remained family-owned ever since. La Aurora is known for our commitment to quality and tradition, making it the perfect place for Manuel to journey toward being a master blender.
At La Aurora, he was free to experiment with new blends and flavors. Believing that the key to a great cigar is selecting the best tobacco to use in the blend, he's committed to:
However, these steps are just the beginning. Manuel’s true art lies in blending tobacco to create a uniquely complex cigar. He combines different types of tobacco to create layers upon layers of flavors and aromas, along with a consistent, even burn, with knowledge of how various tobaccos combust. He spends countless hours experimenting with different blends, adjusting the ratios of each tobacco until he finds the perfect balance. According to him, a cigar should have its own story and create a distinctive sensory experience. From the initial lighting to the final draw, each cigar must offer a voyage through different flavors, aromas, and textures. And as such, his blends are intricate and rich in taste, making them a testament to his love of cigars.
This unique approach to blending cigars quickly gained him recognition, and he made a name for himself in the industry, developing some of La Aurora's most successful lines, such as the 100 Años and the 107. Over the years, he has created some of the company's most celebrated blends, including the Puro Vintage 2003 Edition.
Manuel’s attention to detail, commitment to quality, and dedication to his craft have earned him numerous awards and accolades in the cigar industry. His expertise in the field is widely recognized, and he is regularly invited to speak at industry events and conferences. He has been recognized by Cigar Aficionado as one of the top 25 Master Blenders in the world and was named the Cigar Personality of the Year by Dominican Cigar Review in 2015. His creations have been highly rated by industry experts and his blends have received high ratings from top cigar publications.
Received 93 points by Cigar Aficionado
Named #2 Cigar of the year by Cigar Coop Cigars
Received 96 points from The Cigar Authority
But for Manuel, the real reward is knowing that his cigars are appreciated and enjoyed by cigar lovers around the world. He believes that being a master blender requires constant learning and exploration of all aspects of the tobacco industry because it demands an open mind and a passion for the job.
Today, Manuel Inoa is one of the most respected master blenders in the cigar industry because of his commitment to the craft and La Aurora consumers. He continues to work tirelessly to create new and exciting blends that push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of premium cigars.