Ave Maria

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: , , , ,

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: , , , ,

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: , , , ,

Ave Maria Argentum

Before I started to work for a Dutch cigar importer & distributer, I used to order online from the USA and one of the cigars that I ordered a lot was the Diesel Unholy Cocktail. When I started to work for that importer & distributer I felt like I couldn’t do that anymore since it was not a legal thing to do as its considered tax evading, you are only allowed to import tobacco if you have a license with the exemption of 50 cigars that you carry across the border in person and because all my accounts were cigar shops that feel the pain of this import. But I did miss my Diesel Unholy Cocktails. So I kept asking my employer if there was a way to import these but everytime he would reply “these are made for the wholesaler that is part of Cigars International so they probably won’t sell to us anyway”. Well, after three years of nagging he finally decided to mail Meier & Dutch and much to his surprise and my happiness they were open to the idea. On top of that I ran into the responsible person a few weeks later at Tabacalera Oliva in Esteli, Nicaragua and that sealed the deal.


We started with the Diesel, Manowar and a few other cigars and slowly expanded our business with Meier & Dutch but right before the Cigaragua shop was opened I got fired as my employer had his doubts if I would be a good shopmanager. He’s wrong, but as an employee you don’t always get a chance to prove that. Too bad, because a lot of new items came in just to be sold in that shop and nowhere else in The Netherlands. Amongst those cigars is this Ave Maria Argentum, just like the Diesel Unholy Cocktail and the Manowar made by A.J. Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua. I have been to the factory and its very impressive, huge, clean and I could roam free without a chaperone, something that didn’t happen anywhere else. I met Abdel too a few times, now that his English improved we can actually hold a conversation, something that was impossible before because of my lack of Spanish.


What I notice first is the shape and the color, It’s almost a flying pic but there is just a tiny difference in shape. The cigar is a 5×58 perfecto. The color is striking because its almost black, I have never seen a wrapper this dark and you can see that the sun did its work as the surface of the toothy wrapper looks like leather. Well, thats as far as you can see the wrapper because the ring is huge, and to add to that they added a second ring too. The second ring is black with big silver lining and the word Argentum written in font that makes me think of medievel times and knights. The real ring has the same black & silver theme going on with a knight, the english crest and a banner with silver letters ave maria. On the back the ring has a red cross. I like the look of the ring. The cigar feels rock hard I just hope it doesn’t have a tight draw and the strong aroma reminds me of a hay stack in a field surrounded by some cows and an angry bull.


I couldn’t punch the cigar so I had to cut it with my flat cut. The cold draw is great with some pepper on my lips. I lit the cigar carefully, expecting a tight start but from that the start the draw is good and I taste coffee with chocolate. Once the burn gets to the thicker part the flavors open and I taste cedar, pepper, cinnamon and a hint of cacao. I also taste a little sweetness, icing sugar like sweetness. The sweetness is getting a little stronger, just like the cedar. After a third I taste a nice spice mix with sugar and pepper, this is the sweetness I expect from a Maduro wrapper like this. Halfway the base flavor becomes nutty with pepper and a little bit of sweetness. Slowly but surely the cigar gets stronger and so does the pepper, the nuts change to wood.


The draw is wonderful. The ash is light colored, dense and firm. The burn had to be corrected once but that always happens to me when lighting a cigar with a foot like that. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The cigar starts out medium bodied but evolved to full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a great cigar!

Score: 94
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Categories: 94, Ave Maria, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Ave Maria Knights Templar

Another A.J. Fernandez cigar made exclusively for Meier & Dutch, a wholesaler that’s part of Cigars International. Nicaraguan tobacco with an Ecuador Habano wrapper and according to the credits this cigar gets from the likes of Nestor Plasencia, Alan Rubin, Pete Johnson and others I am really looking forward to this stick. I smoked the 6×48 Double Corona aka Knights Templar
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The cigar looks good and the band is just awesome, very detailed, weird shapes, very beautiful. The cigar however feels a bit under filled with some soft spots and I smell a barnyard aroma. The predraw is fine, the flavor not so, I taste musty and rotten wood.
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I taste a mild coffee and a mild pepper flavor, which is soon replaced by wood. After half an inch I also taste some citrus. Soon al the flavors change to herbs and citrus. After an inch citrus becomes the main flavor with some wood on the background, slowly the cigar gets a bit stronger and after an inch and a half I get some pepper again.
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After 1 third I taste a very nice combination of spices, pepper, wood and lemon. Halfway its moist wood with an unpleasant charcoal flavor which luckily changes to herbs with a mild citrus. After two thirds I get those nice spices again, perfectly balances with the acidity of the citrus. At the end I taste some pepper.
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The draw is fine; the smoke starts out thin even though I get plenty of smoke. It gets thicker along the way. The white ash is frayed but firm. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. I had to correct the burn a few times, just a little bit. The cigar lasted me for an hour and a half.
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Would I buy his cigar again? No. I know it gets a lot of praise, even from some of the most influential people in the cigar business, but I’ve had better

Appearance: 7
Construction: 8
Draw: 9
Burn: 7
Smoke & ash: 7
Aroma first part: 7
Aroma second part: 6
Aroma third part: 7

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

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