Monthly Archives: February 2019

Ave Maria Divinia

Another Ave Maria, this time the DIvinia, that makes the third Ave Maria review this month and the final one but that doesn’t mean I reviewed all Ave Maria cigars, there are more out there still like the Argentum and the Immaculata that I still hope to try some day.


The Ave Maria Divinia has just one vitola, like the Reconquista but this time its a 6×54 toro. And just like the Reconquista, the cigars come individually packed in coffins and have a premium price tag compared to other cigars from A.J. Fernandez and Meier & Dutch. The cigar is made from Nicaraguan Cuban Seed tobacco topped with a Sun Grown Habano wrapper.


The coffin immediately catches your eye due to the deep blue color and the white logo. When you open the tube you will find a box pressed, cellophane wrapped cigar. The wrapper has a nice brown color, deep but not too dark, a leathery structure and touch. The ring is top notch, beautifully shaped, the Ave Maria knight and a nice secondary ring in blue but the outlines are fantastic, like a fading silver with a white undercoat, so much detail, amazing.  The construction is great and the cigar looks well finished. The aroma is pleasant, a rich barnyard smell.


After cutting I taste an citrus flavor with a perfect resistance in the draw. After lighting I taste a perfect mix of sweet, sour and spice, all coated in coffee. After half an inch I taste more of a mocha flavor than that sweet coffee. The flavors change to a spice sweetness with cedar. Halfway I also taste some chocolate, white pepper shows up in the aftertaste. The pepper slowly grows to the dominant flavor and is very strong near the end.


The burn is sharp, couldn’t be more straight. The light colored ash had thin rings, it’s firm. The draw has the perfect amount of resistance. The smoke has good volume but it’s thin. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No doubt

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Ave Maria, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

San Lotano Maduro Lancero

A few days ago I reviewed the exact same blend, Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers, binder from Honduras with a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper so today I will smoke this lancero instead of the robusto and see what difference 7×38 makes compared to 5×52. As a lancero lover I’m expecting a lot.


I like the fact that this line has a name that goes back a few Fernandez generations, especially if you know that a few years later A.J.’s father joined him at the factory after his retirement from the Plasencia family, another big name in the Latin America cigar industry. Family is clearly very important, something we in the west sometimes forget, so stories like these make me value my family more.


When you put both the robusto and the lancero side to side you can see its the same wrapper. Same leathery look, same color, same everything. The rings are the same too. The construction on the lancero feels great and the pig tail finishes the cigar. he aroma is the same too, dark chocolate with pepper.


I used my xikar cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is perfect with a spicy dry tobacco and hay flavor.  After lighting I taste pepper, coffee, leather and chocolate. After almost an inch I taste a strong leather with some sweet dark chocolate and lemon on the background. After a third I taste wood, salty and spicy, peppery and earthy, very nice. Right before the halfway point a faint dark chocolate shows up too.  The cigar slowly gets stronger and more peppery, a strong Nicaraguan pepper.


The draw is great. The smoke could be a bit thicker but the volume is good. The burn is impeccable. The white ash is pretty but not too firm. The dynamic and evolution of this cigar is great. The cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

San Lotano Habano Lancero

As I explained a few days ago, when I smokd the San Lotano Maduro Robusto, this cigar was named after the brand that A.J.’s grandfather created in Cuba and that is was the first cigar that A.J. Fernandez released by himself instead of making it as a private label. And it set off a lot, making him one of the hottest names in the industry.


Now the Habano, which is made from a Brazilian Habano wrapper, a Honduran binder and filler from Honduras and Nicaragua, originally didn’t come in a lancero shape, that vitola was added later and I googled, I can’t find any stock online so it might be out of production at all. That would not surprise me because a 7×38 cigar is hard to sell, only a small number of connaisseurs really know how to appreciate this vitola.


The cigar has a leathery wrapper, dark brown yet not maduro dark. The cigar feels well constructed and I always like a pig tail. The ring is quite simple, black and green with golden letters and a yellow banner with A.J.’s name. A secondary, small brown ring with golden outlines and letters saying Habano. The smell is strong, ammonia and barnyard is what I smell.


After cutting I tried the cold draw and it’s perfect. The cold draw has a nice spicy flavor. After lighting I got hit by a strong espresso. Soon I taste some cedar, leather and spice too. After a third I taste a smooth floral aroma with some white pepper. Halfway I get some sugar too. The sweetness disappears, I taste leather and pepper. Near the end the cigar turns very peppery.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is thick and full. The light ash is firm. The burn is flawless. The cigar is smooth, medium full bodied and flavored with a smoke time of seventy five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a great cigar but I like the Maduro a little better.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

San Lotano The Bull Robusto

After the regular San Lotano line, with three different wrappers, A.J. released the San Lotano Oval in both a maduro and habano version and because of the success of the 5 blends he released another San Lotano, The Bull. And initially it was distributed by Meier & Dutch only but got released to Fernandez’s own accounts too.


The bull is box pressed and the blend is tweaked for that vitola, it works better in a box press than in the oval shape or as a round cigar. The cigar is made out of Nicaraguan filler and binder with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and it comes in four vitolas, a 5×54 robusto, a 6×54 toro, a 6×60 gordo and a 6 1/2×54 torpedo.


The first thing that you see is that the bottom half of the cigar is wrapped in cedar. Now that’s not unusual yet there is a picture of a bull on the cedar and it has a cut out so that the ring is fully visible. The ring is the same as on the other San Lotano lines. The wrapper is dark and oily. The construction feels good with a nice cap. The cigar has a medium strong, deep, barnyard and forrest aroma.


After cutting the cigar I get a great cold draw. I taste just well fermented tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee with sugar. After half an inch I taste toast, some pepper and cedar, well balanced. Some spices show up too. Halfway it’s mostly spice, nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon, those kinds of flavors. After two thirds I still taste the spices but now with pepper and some minty freshness.


The draw is great. The ash is quite dark with nice layers. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is straight. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah every now and then

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Ave Maria Barbarossa

Now when you read the sales pitch of this cigar you’re expectations will be raised since a few other cigar manufacturers, not affiliated with either this brand, Meier & Dutch, or A.J. Fernandez praised this cigar. So my curiosity led me to buying a few of those cigars including this 7×48 Churchill that is named Barbarossa.


The cigar, made in Esteli at the A.J. Fernandez factory, is created with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler and an Habano wrapper from Ecuador. The cigar comes in ten different vitolas, ranging from a corona up to a 7.1×60 salomones and everything in between, parejo’s, figurados, a range so wide that most people will find a vitola to their liking.


The medium brown, smooth wrapper has a reddish glow, something I like. There is also a little tooth. The ring is amazing, a nice shape, a knight in a white shirt with a red cross, like the knights from the crusades, detailed, high quality prints, its great. The cigar feels evenly packed, the triple cap is well placed. The aroma is medium strong, hay, straw with a little ammonia is what I smell


After cutting I taste a very spicy and peppery cold draw, which is a little loose. After lighting I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and cedar. After a third I taste wood with white pepper and herbal flavors. The wood becomes stronger, the pepper gets milder. In the final third I taste a flavor that I can’t place, it’s a warm, creamy flavor that is a little woody but not full on wood.


The smoke is amazing, thick, full, voluminous. The draw is a little loose, but not too much to complain. The ash is light colored. The burn is not great but not bad either. The cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a bad cigar, I won’t turn one down but buying? There are more and better options out there for me.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Ave Maria, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

La Herencia Cubana Core Perfecto

About a year ago my buddy Rutger came by my house to smoke a few cigars and he handed me this La Herencia Cubana Core Perfecto. Usually I shy away from a 6×60 but in a box pressed double perfecto shape I don’t mind the vitola. Add that it had been years since I smoked a La Herencia Cubana, so I gladly accepted his gracious offer.


The A.J. Fernandez made cigar has an interesting blend of ligero tobaccos from Esteli and Ometepe in Nicaragua, Honduran Jamastran ligero with some Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapped in a Habano viso from Esteli and a sun grown Habano ligero wrapper from Ecuador. Just that line up alone makes me very curious and excited, it sounds delicious.


The shape is awesome and the wrapper is very dark, almost as dark as the Oscuro Fuerte I reviewed a few days ago. Except this wrapper has a little tooth making it feel like fine sanding paper. The ring is completely different than the Oscuro Fuerte ring, brown pair with black petals and a darker brown logo, small lettering. Very modest and old school. The construction is top, the cigar has a good touch and the shape is awesome. The cigar has a medium strong aroma that is quite dark, dark wood and some manure.


I used a guillotine cutter to take the cap of the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste sweetness and pepper.  After lighting I taste coffee with a hint of chocolate. The first third is relatively the same. Then I taste more of a dark wood, with chocolate and some spice. Slowly a little pepper shows up too. Near the end I taste wood with a floral flavor and a mild pepper.


The draw is perfect, the smoke is thick and white. The ash is white with black stripes. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The cigar doesn’t have a lot of evolution but what I taste is damn good. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes, thanks to a nub tool.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not mind a few more.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, La Herencia Cubana, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

San Lotano Maduro Robusto

A.J. Fernandez made a name for himself by creating cigars for others. Others like Padilla, Rocky Patel, Gurkha but mostly for Meier & Dutch, the wholesaler who’s affiliated with the biggest online shops through their parent Scandinavian Tobacco Group. And I’m talking about some of my favorite brands like Diesel, Man O War, La Herencia Cubana and more. And with the San Lotano A.J. Fernandez released a line bearing his own name and for his own company, which turned out the start of something beautiful. The name of the cigar comes from a brand dat A.J.’s grandfather started in Cuba.

 

 


The San Lotano came out in three different blends, Connecticut, Habano and Maduro and later there came spinoffs in the shape of San Lotano Oval Habano & Maduro, Requim Connecticut, Habano & Maduro, San Lotano The Bull, San Lotano 54S and limited editions. But this is one of the blends that started it all, a Mexican San Andres wrapper, Honduran binder and filler from Honduras and Nicaragua in a box pressed 5×52 robusto vitola.

 

 


The cigar is dark, with a dry, leathery wrapper. The ring is quite simple, black with a green square and golden letters saying San Lotano, then a yellow banner with A.J.’s name on a red backdrop. A secondary black ring says Maduro. The cigar is well constructed with a beautiful cap. The aroma is strong and reminds me of dark chocolate with pepper. Near the end the cigar is earthy again with lots of pepper.

 

 


The cold draw is a bit loose, with a sweet and sour, spicy flavor. After lighting I taste an earthy, coffee flavor with some pepper. Bold and strong. After half an inch I taste soil with pepper. After a third I taste some dark chocolate, earth and pepper. The final third starts leathery, peppery and with some cocoa.

 

 


The ash is light gray, firm and with nice rings. The draw is great, the smoke is quite thick and full. The burn is decent, not perfect but no touch up needed. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Ave Maria Reconquista

The packaging only made me very curious about this cigar, a cigar that is quite expensive compared to what the A.J. Fernandez and Meier & Dutch combination is known for. Most cigars that A.J. makes for Meier & Dutch are good yet from budget to medium priced, yet this one vitola blend has a premium price tag, but also a premium packaging with individual coffins  that actually push the cigar up when you open de coffin so there is no risk of damaging the cigar while trying to take it out.


The cigar, a 7×54 torpedo, is a blend of Cuban seed tobaccos, all well aged and all from three of the major tobacco growing areas in Nicaragua: Jalapa, near the Honduran border, Condega, in between Jalapa and Esteli, and then Esteli, where most of the tobacco factories are located. The wrapper is a dark Habano Oscuro from Brazil, Brazilian tobacco is usually sweet, add the oscuro part and I’m expecting quite some sweetness, the blend sounds amazing.


The wrapper is dark, its dry, its toothy and combined with the big, yet beautiful ring in medieval knight, crusader style , very detailed and very well printed this cigar just makes my mouth water. The construction feels good, the head of the cigar is very pointy.  The cigar has a strong aroma of barnyard, manure but also of some very dark, bitter, chocolate.


Since it’s a torpedo the only option is to cut the cigar. The cold draw is quite loose, and I taste spicy dry tobacco. As soon as I light the cigar I taste spice, dirt and tobacco, all strong and unrefined. After a few puffs the cigar finds more balance with dirt, some caramel sweetness and spice. After an inch I taste gingerbread with some sweetness. After a third I taste coffee with spices and some caramel. Halfway I taste the gingerbread again, a little sweeter this time but also with some white pepper. The final third starts peppery with dark chocolate.


The draw is good, a slight bit tighter would be better though. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight and the smoke is medium in volume but quite thick, although the volume picks up along the way. The cigar is medium full in strength and full in flavor, with a lot of dynamic and evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Ave Maria, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

La Herencia Cubana Oscuro Fuerte Robusto

Before I started working in the industry, I think that was about 2011, me and my cigar smoking friends from The Netherlands were always looking for the latest finds from My Father and A.J. Fernandez that weren’t available here in The Netherlands, and the La Herencia Cubana Oscuro Fuerte was one of them. One of my friends, Jan, ordered a box and shared some with me, I think this specific cigar is a few years old by now.


The cigar is made by A.J. Fernandez at his factory in Esteli, like all cigars that I’m reviewing this month. The cigar, in this case a 5 1/2×54 robusto, is made from Nicaraguan filler and binder with a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. As the name suggests, the wrapper is very dark and the cigar is probably quite strong.


The cigar is dark, leathery and oily. The ring is white with light brown, gold and copper detailing and logo, and it says La Herencia Cubana. Then there is a secondary ring that looks like the classic Cuban regional edition ring yet in green and silver instead of red and silver as the Cubans do. The cigar feels kind of hard but without any soft spots, the shape and the cap look nice. Even after all these years, the cigar has a strong aroma of a barnyard and a stable full of cows.


I was in the mood for a bold cigar and I expect this to fit my needs. I used a cheap plastic cutter. The cold draw is a little tight, I taste a mild milk chocolate flavor with pepper. After lighting I taste a dry earthy flavor with coffee. The earthy flavor is the dominant flavor but there is also a hint of cocoa. After a third I taste a buttery, sticky yet mild and slightly bitter chocolate with some wood and herbs. Slowly I taste some mint too. Halfway I taste wood, oak, with a little acidity. The end has a little black pepper.


The draw is good. The ash is medium dark and a little flaky. The smoke is medium thick and full. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, La Herencia Cubana, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

San Lotano Oval Pigskin Super Smoke Figurado XLVIII

A few years ago A.J. Fernandez released this 6×60 figurado version of the San Lotano Oval for two retailers, one in New York and one in New Jersey as a gimmick for the Superbowl that was being held in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. And I happened to get this cigars a few years later from a Dutch BOTL who got his hands on a box. And what better day to publish this review than on another Superbowl Sunday right?


Now the San Lotano Oval is a well known line and you would expect that this cigar has the exact same blend, but a review by William Cooper taught me that the blend is different and actually one of the many test blends of the Mayimbe, a cigar that I loved. The cigar has filler tobacco from Nicaragua and Honduras, a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.


I love the shape of this cigar, its a piece of art. It’s a fat perfecto but then oval pressed too, very unique. The head is pointy while the foot is blunt. The wrapper is oily, coffee colored and with a silky feel. The cigar has the regular San Lotano Oval ring, the black with golden letters and the yellow banner ‘by A.J. Fernandez’ yet there is a secondary black ring with the AJF logo in red and golden letters on a white background. The aroma is strong, I live in a small town with plenty of farm fields surrounding a lake. The aroma of the cigar reminds me of early morning walks through the fields, a smell of fresh grass, cows, herbs and the dawn of a new day.


The only way to decap this cigar is with a cutter due to the shape. The cold draw is surprisingly easy, I expected a tight draw due to the pointy foot. I taste a tangy peppery cedar. After lighting I taste a beautiful mix of acidity, nutmeg, espresso and wood. The acidity mellows out and the cigar gets spicier and stronger with more pepper. After half an inch I taste more cedar with some spices.  After a third the cigar is mellow, warm flavors, wood with warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon,very pleasing. Halfway the cigar becomes stronger with a hefty pepper on a base flavor of wood.


The draw is flawless, the smoke is thick and full. The burn is straight and the gray ash is firm, with nice rings. The cigar has a lot of dynamic and evolution, especially for a 60 ring cigar. The cigar ranges from medium but grows to full, just like the flavor. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible.

Score: 94
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Categories: 94, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

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