Posts Tagged With: A.J. Fernandez

Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Maestro

Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Maestro. The Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year 2019. Many of my followers praise this cigar on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media accounts. So it’s time for me to review this cigar as well. To see if it lives up to the hype. A 96 score isn’t very common, so our expectations are high.

A.J. Fernandez is responsible for the production. But Aging Room is a creating of Rafael Nodal, who’s now the head of product capability of Altadis U.S.A. But before that, he was the owner of Boutique Blends and that was or is the umbrella for Aging Room. This Aging Room blend is a Nicaraguan puro.

The cigar looks great. A dark and oily wrapper. Smooth yet impressive. With a beautiful black, gold, and white ring. The secondary ring pops with its bright orange and gold. This cigar screams “pick me, you won’t regret it”. The box-press is flawless and the cigar feels well constructed. The cigar has a thick and strong barnyard aroma.

The cold draw is flawless. The flavor is spice and pepper. The first puffs are earthy, with black dark roast coffee and pepper. Lots of pepper. Soon some wood and leather join the earthy and spice flavors of the cigar. There’s also a dry nutty flavor in the profile. After a third, there is black pepper, sweetness, earthiness. Some toast and roasted coffee beans show up as well. Even though it’s a strong cigar, the flavors are round. There is not mean harshness. The pepper is growing in strength. All flavors are tied together with some citrus acidity. Near the end the pepper really becomes powerful.

The draw is flawless. The ash is salt and pepper colored. But it breaks easy. The burn is straight. The smoke is good, thick enough and full enough. This cigar is a full-body cigar, full flavor yet with plenty of balance. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box

Categories: 92, Aging Room, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The T Toro Grande

The T Toro Grande. Collaborations in the cigar industry are not uncommon. Balmoral with La Flor Dominicana and Ernesto Perez Carrillo for example. Or Drew Estate with Robert Caldwell. A.J. Fernandez with Altadis. The list is too long to write down. But a collaboration between three cigar makers? That’s unique. That’s what The T is though. A collaboration between Robert Caldwell, A.J. Fernandez, and Matt Booth.

Room 101 and Caldwell Cigars don’t own their own factories. Caldwell mainly uses Tabacalera William Ventura, where is using several factories after parting ways with Davidoff. Abdel Fernandez owns one of the most famous, and largest, factories in Esteli, Nicaragua. So it’s pretty logical that the cigars are made there. All the tobacco in this cigar comes from Nicaragua, making this cigar a puro. The Toro Grande from this review measures 6½x56 but other sizes are available as well.

The cigar looks good. An evenly Colorado Maduro colored wrapper with a little tooth. Dry but good looking. The main cigar band is gray with three different old keys on it, and a golden print saying The T. The secondary ring is thin. Olive green in colors with the initials of the makers. The box-pressed cigar feels well constructed. There is a barnyard aroma coming from the cigar, medium in strength.

The cold draw is all about leather with some pepper. It’s a smooth cold draw though. Once lit, the leather is still there but with a nice sugary sweetness. The retrohale also reveals some cedar. There are hints of soil, coffee, and pepper. The flavors are intense, complex and full of nuances. This isn’t a powerhouse as you would expect from a Nicaraguan Puro. This is a cigar with balance and character. The wood flavor is getting stronger, and there are some dark spices. The complexity and smoothness don’t change. The flavors are getting even more intense. Licorice, cedar, leather, green herbs, and a little bit of pepper. There is also faint saltiness. Wood gains strength with leather as a backup. A faint coffee is on the background with green herbs and spices. The sweetness disappears. The finale has a little more pepper.

The ash is light colored but not firm. It dropped on the desk pretty early into the cigar. The draw is fantastic and the burn is good. The smoke is thick and full. This cigar is well balanced. Medium to full in body and full in flavor. Extremely complex and balanced. Because of the shape, it does not feel like a ring 56. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, love this smoke.

Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez, The T | Tags: , , , , ,

Henk Maori Haka Gaudi

Henk Maori Haka Gaudi. Now the Maori Haka part of the name is known. We explained that in our previous Henk Maori Haka review. But where the Gaudi name comes from is a mystery to us. It’s probably named after the famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. And most likely that has something to do with the odd shape of the cigar. It’s a perfecto yet different. It is more of a combination of a torpedo and a perfecto. A rounded head, then slowly getting a thicker base to be ended with the classic salomones tip. Remarkable, unusual, just like Gaudi’s designs. (Edit: HENK owner Heiko Poerz confirmed the cigar is named after the architect)

The cigars are made at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez with vintage, aged, and rare tobaccos from the tobacco library of Abdel Fernandez. The Belgian master blender Didier Houvenaghel and HENK owner Heiko Poerz worked together to create something special for HENK. The tobaccos are all Nicaraguan and this figurado measures 5×56. The cigar is yet to be released and it will be released in porcelain jars.

A cigar with a tattoo instead of a cigar band is always an eye-catcher. Especially when the tattoo has a Maori design. Add a pigtail and an unusual shape and you have a cigar that everybody wants to smoke. That is until they see the price tag. Due to the limited production, the extra aging, and the rare tobaccos, the cigars aren’t cheap. The oily wrapper looks sharp. Colorado colored with one thin, sharp vein. Beautiful shape. A strong aroma of hay and spices.

Due to the shape of the foot, the cold draw is a bit tight. Plenty of spice in the cold draw though. Red pepper, nutmeg but also raw tobacco. Once lit, there is a nice bitter coffee flavor with cedar and spices. Then a whole range of subtle, complex flavors shows up. All perfectly balanced. Pepper, sweetness, leather, soil, still with coffee. The flavors are intense, deep, and balanced. Yet slowly, coffee and sweetness tend to become the dominant flavors, with spice and pepper as the strongest of the supporting flavors. The cigar gets more intense in the second third. Stronger, more outspoken. Some dark chocolate, a little bit of salt and citrus to enhance the flavors, wood, leather, coffee. It’s all there, in a beautiful mix. In the last third, the missing link shows up: nuts. With more pepper, creamy chocolate, spice, leather, and wood.

The draw is great. The cigar produces white, dense ash. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is decent, it could be a little thicker though. The cigar is balanced yet characterful. Smooth yet powerful. It starts medium-bodied but ends medium-full. The same goes for the flavors. The smoke time is three hours, and we had to break out a nub tool to enjoy every possible minute of this fantastic cigar.

Would I buy this cigar again? Even with the high price tag, I will

Categories: 94, Henk, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Diesel Whisky Row Robusto

Diesel Whisky Row Robusto. Who owns Diesel Cigars is a bit of a mystery to most cigar enthusiasts. Despite popular belief, it is not a brand from A.J. Fernandez although Fernandez is the manufacturer responsible for the brand. But the brand isn’t in the hands of A.J. Fernandez, it’s just blended by his skillful hands. And the production takes place at his factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The owner of Diesel cigars is Scandinavian Tobacco Group, through Meier & Dutch. STG is the parent of General Cigars, Cigar.com, Cigarsinternational.com Thompson.com, Cigarbid.com, and more. Last year, they acquired Royal Agio as well. Meier & Dutch is a wholesale company that operates under the STG umbrella. The original Diesel Unholy Cocktail was only available at STG owned internet retailers in the past.

The Diesel Unholy Cocktail is so popular that the Diesel brand spawned into a whole series. And not exclusive through the STG stores anymore, but everywhere. Some lines even made it across the ocean to Europe. For the Diesel Whisky Row, the Diesel brand and Rabbit Hole distilleries collaborate. Rabbit Hole distilleries, a bourbon manufacturer, sends used barrels to A.J. Fernandez. Fernandez uses those barrels to age Mexican San Andres leaves. He uses them as a binder under an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. For the filler, he uses aged Nicaraguan tobacco from Jalapa, Condega, and Ometepe. Ministry of Cigars reviews the 5½x52 Robusto.

The first thing that makes this cigar stand out is the shape of the ring. It’s big and diagonally placed over the cigar. But then there is a partially round part as well. Pastel blue, brown, and gray. It has the Diesel logo and the Rabbit Hole Bourbon logo. The foot ring is big as well that says that the cigar is bourbon barrel-aged and it has the names of both Diesel and Rabbit Hole prominently on the ring. The Colorado Maduro colored wrapper is smooth looking. Right below the head, there seems to be a softer spot. The aroma is strong, barnyard, and manure.

The cold draw is great. There is a bit of an alcohol taste in the cold draw, but that could be just a mind trick. There is some spice on the lips as well. Once lit, there is leather, wood, soil, and citrus acidity. There is also an alcohol flavor to the cigar, so the barrel aging does work. The barrel aging brings out more vanilla from the wood. There is a nice toasted flavor, floral, with wood, leather, nuts, and that alcohol right on the edge. Halfway there is also some nutmeg in the flavor profile, or is it cinnamon? Slowly the flavors change to wood, leather, and chocolate. All with that alcoholic mouthfeel and slight pepper. The sweetness returns, the pepper gains strength, and all on a base flavor of wood and leather.

The construction is great. A lot of thick white smoke. Beautiful light gray ash. A great draw and a straight burn. The cigar is smooth, well-rounded flavors. The cigar is medium to full in body, full in flavor. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? On my next order

Categories: 91, Diesel, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Henk Maori Masterpiece

Henk Maori Masterpiece. Henk is a luxury brand, mostly focussed on suitcases and travel bags. But designer and owner Heiko Poerz is also an avid cigar smoker for over thirty years. With his eye for detail, his and his attitude to always go for the best, he was unhappy with the cigars that were on the market. Nothing reached perfection for his palate. So he asked his friend, master blender Didier Houvenaghel, for help to create a cigar that would be tailor-made for Poerz. Houvenaghel makes cigars at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez, so automatically, Henk cigars would be made there as well. Houvenaghel and Poerz created a blend with vintage tobaccos. The tobacco is expensive, but since Poerz doesn’t compromise quality, he pushed on. His obsession with cigars also created a whole line of accessories, including the Cigarbone and the Minibone.


The Maori name is a tribute to a mutual friend of Poerz and Houvenaghel. The friend is Maori, and when the cigar was in the development stage, the three friends met up in Bali, Indonesia. Poerz jokingly mentioned that the wrapper had the same color as their friend’s skin. The line suddenly had a name, a tribute to their Maori friend. That resulted in a Maori style tattoo logo for the cigars, and names related to the Maori heritage such as the Haka. The Henk Maori Haka scored 94 and ended up on the 4th place of Ministry of Cigars Top 25 of 2019. The Henk Maori Masterpiece is a limited edition figurado. It measures 6½x64 and is made with vintage tobaccos from Nicaragua. The cigars were released in 2018, in very limited production. The cigars came in a travel humidor with 7 cigars, limited to 200 travel humidors. And 12 humidors with 52 cigars. There are also a limited number of refills and singles available.


The cigar looks amazing. The shape is fantastic, and the small pieces of Maduro wrapper on the foot and the head make the cigars pop. The unfinished head and the tattoo make this cigar stand out in any humidor. The wrapper is Colorado Maduro colored, dry and has some veins. Without the veins, the cigar would have hit 100 out of 100 points. It feels pretty packed but evenly packed. The dark manure smell is medium strong.


The cold draw is good. There is a hint of milk chocolate but also a lot of pepper in the cold draw. Straight from the start, there is coffee, slightly bitter but on a pleasant level. The draw is surprisingly good from the start. Usually, there is a bit of a tight draw until the burn reached the thicker part of the foot. There are herbal sweetness, pepper, and fresh leather flavors as well. The retrohale gives more spice and cedar. The cigar has a nutmeg and cinnamon sweetness. At the thickest part of the cigar, there is cedar, soil, pepper, and sugary sweetness. The cigar is very pleasant in the retrohale. Coffee and toast show up, still with the cedar, sweetness, pepper, and spices. The mouthfeel is creamy. The spices turn to gingerbread spices, with cedar, leather, sweetness, and pepper. The mouthfeel is still creamy. In the last third, the cigar picks up more strength. Retrohaling is no longer an option. Wood, leather, coffee, spices, and pepper are the main flavors.


The draw is amazing. The burn had to be corrected a few times though. There is a good amount of thick, white smoke. The ash is white and firm. This is a smooth, balanced, and flavorful cigar. But it packs strength too, even though it’s smooth and creamy. It is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. Balanced, smooth and full of character. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? For a very special occasion
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Categories: 93, Henk, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , ,

A.J. Fernandez New World Cameroon Churchill

I love Cameroon wrapper, that is my favorite wrapper in the world. And I love all cigars made by A.J. Fernandez. So when I heard that Fernandez was releasing a new cigar with a Cameroon wrapper, I was over the moon. Unfortunately, it took some time for them to reach Europe. And by that time, I had left Europe.

I was happy to see the cigars pop up at the webshop of a Malaysian cigar shop. I decided to drop a few dollars on this cigar. The price was a little higher than what I would pay in Europe or America, but I figured it would be worth it. And I know that the Malaysian tobacco tax is high, so I wasn’t being ripped off by the shop. They charged a fair price and carried some more rare cigars. Time to light this Nicaraguan filler, Nicaraguan binder and Cameroon wrapped 7×48 Churchill.


Let’s start with the ring. It is the regular New World ring with the classic artwork of boats arriving into the new world. The outside of the rings is green, instead of red that’s used on the regular New World line. And green fits, when I think of Africa, I think of green. The secondary ring is gold with green, and red letters. It fits the theme. The wrapper has a nice even color, it doesn’t look as rough and brittle as most Cameroon wrappers, it’s quite pretty actually. The construction feels flawless. The cigar has a dry aroma, dried wood, a little charcoal, those kinds of smells.

The cold draw is perfect. The flavor of the cold draw is plain and pure raw, well fermented, tobacco. After lighting, I taste some licorice, tobacco, and leather. Then the signature Cameroon spice joins green herbs and spices. That comes with coffee and pepper. There’s still some wood too, softwood like pine. And then I also taste some hay, with a mildly creamy mouthfeel. After a third, it is all spices and green herbs, with some citrus and sweetness. The mouthfeel turned to dry. The strength in body and flavor is medium so far. The sweetness reminds me of milk chocolate. In the final third, I pick up some pepper again with oak, spices, herbs and roasted coffee. Suddenly the pepper picks up and becomes the dominant flavor. I was waiting for that to happen. Near the end, I taste licorice through the pepper again, making the flavors go full circle

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The draw is perfect. The light-colored ash is coarse though. The burn is flawless and the smoke is thick. This cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. It has that typical Cameroon spice and herb profile which I love. The smoke time is two hours and twenty-five minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once in a while

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Categories: 91, New World, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Graycliff G2 Toro

Graycliff, I always thought they were made on the Bahamas but I was wrong. Some are made on the Bahamas indeed, but it turns out some are made in Nicaragua too. I think, but I am not sure, that these are made by A.J. Fernandez. Well, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is: is it any good?


I got this cigar from a Dutch friend, since the brand isn’t available on the European market it’s a mystery to me where he got them as he has never been to the USA or the Bahamas, yet he shared this Nicaraguan made cigar with me. The filler is Dominican and Nicaraguan, the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Connecticut.


The wrapper is quite dark for a Connecticut Shade cigar with a few very clear and relatively thick veins. The bright yellow ring has 5 black stars, the Graycliff G and a 2. Those two things combined wouldn’t make me grab the cigar in a store humidor. The construction feels good though, the shape of the cigar is fine. The aroma is quite like hay, grass and straw.


I used a plastic cutter to take off the cap. The cold draw is great with a mild salty flavor. After lighting the salt remains with some spices. The flavor doesn’t change much. After a third the cigar gets a little rough. The flavors are still salty and mild, but have a little mean edge. The cigar also gets more grassy and green in flavor, like green leaves. Near the end I taste a pleasant oak flavor.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is bending to the left. The burn is decent, it’s not straight but not so bad that I had to correct it. The smoke is quit thick. The cigar, with a smoke time of an hour and fifteen minutes, is mild in body, flavor and evolution.

Would I buy this cigar again? This cigar doesn’t do it for me.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Graycliff, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month February

I decided to make February Fernandez month, all cigars I reviewed for this month are made at the A.J. Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, a factory I have visited in 2015 and a factory that produces some of my favourite cigars.

The cigar with the highest rating last month are two cigars with the exact same score:

San Lotano Pigskin & Man’o’war Skull Crusher with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) San Lotano Pigskin (Nicaragua) 94 points
1) Man’o’war Skull Crusher (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Ave Maria Divinia (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Ave Maria Reconquista  (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) San Lotano Maduro Lancero (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) San Lotano Habano Lancero (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Man’o’war little devil (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) San Lotano Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) San Lotano The Bull Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
10) Man’o’War 52C (Nicaragua) 92 points
11) Man’o’War Ruination Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
12) Reposado Habano Salomon (Nicaragua) 91 points
13) La Herencia Cubana Perfecto (Nicaragua) 91 points
14) Reposado Maduro Salomon (Nicaragua) 90 points
15) Man’o’war Phalanx (Nicaragua) 90 points
16) La Herencia Cubana Fuerte Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
17) Ave Maria Churchill (Nicaragua) 90 points
18) Man’o’war Torpedo (Nicaragua) 90 points
19) Man’o’war Virtue Torpedo (Nicaragua) 89 points
20) Puro Autentico Maduro (Nicaragua) 89 points
21) Puro Autentico Ligero (Nicaragua) 89 points

 

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Maduro

Yesterday I wrote about the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Habano Ligero and the same story goes for the maduro. Originally a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez who released the cigars commercially after years of begging from Meier & Dutch.


The blend consists of the same tobacco as the natural, yet with another wrapper. Instead of using a Nicaraguan Habano ligero A.J. Fernandez chose a Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro to wrap around the Nicaraguan Habano binder and the Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler for this 5×44 corona.


The wrapper is dark, almost black, dry and a little rough. The ring is simple, just a glossy black with the silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. I love closed foots and a pigtail, so this cigar fits right up my alley. The aroma is medium strong, like dark chocolate in a farm field.


After cutting the cigar I try the cold draw. Surprisingly it’s good, even with the closed foot. I taste a little sweetness and a lot of spice. After lighting I taste a sweet earthy leather flavor. Soon I taste spice and pepper. After an inch I taste sweetness and pepper. Slowly the sweetness disappears while the pepper gets stronger and an earthy flavor shows up too.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick, beautiful white of color. The ash is white too. The burn is great. The cigar is strong, full bodied yet medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Meh

Score: 89

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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Ligero

The Puro Authentico from the Man O’ War series were actually created as a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez and it took Meier & Dutch three years to convince A.J. to release these small cigars, a 5×44 corona, commercially. Both the natural, which I’m reviewing today, and the maduro, which will be reviewed tomorrow, are for sale nowadays in ten count boxes.


The natural version of the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Corona is made from Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler with a Nicaraguan Habano binder. The blend is the same as the maduro version, the difference is in the wrapper, which in this case is a Nicaraguan Habano ligero.


The oily wrapper is dark, if someone gave me this cigar and said it was the maduro version, I would have believed it. Only when I put it next to the maduro I see a slight difference. The ring is different from the other Man O’ War cigars, just a small glossy black ring with a golden silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. The cigar comes with a closed foot and a small pigtail, so that’s a plus. I smell a mild, peppery chocolate aroma.


The cold draw is non existing because of the closed foot. I taste chocolate and marzipan. After lighting I taste espresso, strong, bold espresso. After a few puffs I taste sugar. After an inch I taste an earthy flavor, coffee and wood. After a third some cinnamon joins the flavors. Halfway it’s earthy, with a little sugar and quite some pepper. Near the end it’s just earthy and peppery.


The draw is good, the medium thick smoke is white. The ash is dark, it’s not firm. The burn is great. The cigar is medium flavored, full bodied. Even though it’s a thin cigar and not too long, the smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They come in the sampler, I want a few samplers so yeah.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

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