In conjunction with Groupo De Maestro, AJ Fernandez was asked to re-imagine several key blends for Altadis. Made in Nicaragua at
the A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, this cigar consists of Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras.
Another new blend to me, suggested by the folks at Highland Cigar Company.
Mombacho Liga Maestro cigars were originally created in limited
edition to celebrate the boutique cigar company’s 10th Anniversary. These Nicaraguan puros are the product of Mombacho master blender, Claudio Sgrio, and Italian celebrity cigar enthusiast, Stefano Bertini. Now a regular production cigar made at Mombacho’s factory in Granada, Nicaragua, the blend is a medium-full recipe of ligero & viso fillers from Jalapa and Condega, plus a Condega binder, and a lustrous, mouthwatering wrapper from Jalapa.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to make of this cigar at first. The band looked classic in black and gold. A 6X54 toro would do me for a few hours if I smoked slow, which I always do, as you know.
The wrapper was a soft milk chocolate brown and I imagined either heavy spice or smoother, supple flavors when I did my pre-light draw. Cigar, coffee, slight raisin notes as expected.
Upon lighting up, the cigar’s draw was good, producing a plethora of off gray smoke. (It was dark in the bar!)
Notes are floral and medium, along with a good dose of cedar. Over the length of the cigar, mild black pepper joined a classic earthiness. When I say classic, I mean it’s very distinct, as this cigar was.
The draw remained solid and the burn line even. Value for your buck? Solid.
The Montecristo line isn’t a line I normally gravitate to, not with all the boutique blends coming out from some of today’s hottest blenders, but I picked it up in my local shop here in Decatur. (Got Cigars? 232 Ponce De Leon) at the suggestion of the owner.
What can I say to start with?
Made in Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Fernandez worked with Altadis’ Grupo de Maestros to develop this new Montecristo, which consists of Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras.
Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez will come in five sizes: Churchill at 7 inches by 50 ring gauge; Figurado, at 4 by 52; Gordo at 6 by 58; Robusto, 5 by 52; and Toro, 6 by 50. The Montes, which are all box-pressed, are set to retail from $9.95 to $12.50 and come in 10-count boxes
This oscuro cigar starts off with solid wood and white pepper notes. The box press is firm in the hand, but not razor sharp like the Padron Anniversarios for example. Light brown in color, with a solid pre-light draw, the flavors emerging from that were pretty light to my taste. Upon lighting, the cigar showed not only an even burn, but consistency of the following: Said white pepper, wood, with a touch of honey and bread at the back of the tongue.
The second and final third of the cigar maintain that consistency with one exception. The flavors balance out more and the Montecristo draws better. I’d say this is a medium-bodied cigar. Would I grab another? I sure would.
Back in 2015 I had the chance to connect with Patrick LeFils on Facebook to talk about his new blend, Common Roots. The original release was a mild to medium, all day vitola that could be enjoyed on a regular basis. The construction was superb as was the taste profile. I’ll have to get some more (need pictures) and put up a review, but for now, fast forward a year later.
We sat down and talked briefly about Common Roots, the future of the cigar industry and a few things. Mr. LeFils is a humble, open man, like many of the cigar makers I’ve met over the years, and is a credit to the industry.
1. First I’d like to know about the Common Roots brand, what was your purpose in creating this cigar?
The Common Roots brand was created from the roots up. As a chef and rancher i wanted to develop a cigar line that could meet a diverse audience, focusing on the working class. We wanted to meet the quality, price and craftsmanship
that is ask of us from our diverse family.
2. When I first smoked the original release of Common Roots, I found them to be a wonderful, all day cigar. Do you make a stronger cigar?
We have several new cigars that meet those who prefer the full-bodied experience. Our much anticipated Gold Label is a oscuro wrapped cigar is a prime example of a full-bodied cigar. Here at Common Roots however, we don’t associate the full-bodied experience with bitterness. Our Gold Label, although full-bodied will be smooth and rich.
3. What inspired you to become a cigar maker?
I have been involved in the industry for some time at different capacities. As a chef and rancher I always have enjoyed working with my hands. Also as a chef i enjoy creating different flavors and textures. With these two passions combined the cigar industry was a natural fit. I myself have built boxes, blended and am now learning to roll. It is very important to me to be able to participate directly with every part of our Common Roots process.
4. What have you thought of all the changes in the cigar industry? How has that impacted your business?
Well as any cigar manufacturer, I am not pleased with what o
ur government is doing to our way of life. It is something that will affect all who are involved with the cigar industry. It saddens my heart as someone who had limited means to start in this industry, that those who follow will find it almost impossible. As someone who pushed together every red cent to create a cigar and continually producing that cigar, it will now be extremely difficult to move ahead as the government takes more money out of my pocket. I am very hard headed however, so we will continue to push forward.
5. You’ve gotten a lot of well deserved good press quickly, how has that made you feel?
I always try to be myself in this industry. It is hard as a company to admit failures and shortcomings. Our company is an open book. It reflected in the family members who we meet in smoke shops, around town and on social media. Without our family members, such as yourself, it would be difficult to meet our failures and enjoy our small victories. There is a song by Tim McGraw entitled “Humble and Kind”. A good portion of that song is an anthem here at Common Roots Cigars.
Stay tuned for part two of the Common Roots Interview coming in a few days!
Vivalo Cigar Co., has been established since 2013 with the inaugural release “Serie Exclusivo,” which is comprised of 100% Nicaraguan tobacco from the two most esteemed growing regions, Esteli and Jalapa.
The Vivalo Exclusivo Gordo starts off with a peppery draw that has coffee on the back along with hints of sweetness. Almost nutty flavors.
The pre-light draw is awesome, that rich coffee flavor. The cigar has a great draw, whereby the pepper backs off to give way to sweeter notes of coffee properly sweetened.
The burn line is awesome after the initial pepper blast, the cigar flavors became coffee and chocolate. The sweet chocolate takes a prominent place in flavor on the end of the first third and the burn line stays pretty even.
I had this earlier at Grants and all I can say is WOW! The construction of this box pressed cigar is solid, producing a tight white ash. Flavors on this easy to draw cigar include pronounced coffee and tobacco that smooth out as the cigar smokes.
This is definitely an upgrade if you’re familiar with the general thousand line of Padron, which I am as those are my go to sticks most of the time.
I sipped a decent brandy while smoking and watching the news discuss the proposed smoking ban in San Francisco and talking to some of the more politically inclined smokers.
For $15.50 a stick, this is definitely worth buying a few if not a box.
The Artistas is a 6 1/8 X 52 Torpedo
Pete Johnson has done something in the cigar industry that not many people have. He’s made a quality cigar that’s quickly shot to the ranks of top scoring by cigar magazines across the board. Reviewers love his cigars, smokers love them, and now you’ll find out that I love them.
I had my first Tatuaje a week ago at the Occidental but I purchased the Artistas at Grants in San Francisco. I was hoping for something like La Riqueza (which i’ll review shortly) but what I got in the first third of this Nicaraguan puro was a nice spice. Upon lighting, the pre aroma brought out spice and sweetness. The smoke wasn’t so thick like a Padron. The draw easy, the construction, solid.
I had an inch of bright white ash before it fell off. And it burned pretty quickly.
The first third hit me with spice and sweetness. The next third had an oiliness I’ve grown to associate with La Riqueza that can only be described as just..yum! The last third had for me a combination of the two, but tasted so good that I smoked it to the nub.
From the website:
Blended in the style of the flavorful yet Medium Bodied Cuban Cigars.
Cigars are rolled in Nicaragua using select Nicaraguan tobaccos and classic cuban blending with a beautiful Cuban triple-cap.
Staying true to the pride of El Rey de Los Habanos.
I picked this up for a little over $8 and my only regret is I didn’t get two. Even the one I smoked yesterday with my crappy cold affected palate picked up on the nuances of his well crafted cigar.
I enjoyed this cigar with a glass of Glenfarclas 12 year single malt Scotch. The pair worked well together because the scotch is not overpowering and nor is the cigar.
Among one of the best blends from the Carlos Torano family of fine cigars. Carlos Torano Signature cigars are flawlessly handmade with a robust, complex-tasting blend of Dominican & Nicaraguan Cuban-seed Ligero long-fillers, a broadleaf binder, and an oily, sun-grown Brazilian Maduro wrapper. – From Famous Smokes who seems to have better prices than some of their competitors.
igar: Carlos Torano Signature
Size: Robusto 5 x 52
Wrapper: Sun Grown Brazilian Maduro
Filler: Dominican Cubano Ligero, Nicaraguan Habano Ligero
I had a very long day in front of the computer handling edits in my normal job as an erotic romance author and needed a cigar. I lit this up looking for something different than my normal Padron or Cuesta Rey and seeing as how I have a few of these now in my humidor along Fonsecas and other stuff, I figured I’d try one again.
Wow, what flavor! Peppery spice hit my palate upon lighting up that mellowed into a toasty flavor with undertones of refined earth and dark coffee. Due to the maduro wrapper I picked up notes of cream too. Firm ash that held on for the first inch suggested good construction.
I smoked with this Roibos tea in front of the Good News Cafewhile reading. I’ll probably try to pick up a box or so.
A very nice smoke that lasted about an hour or so. The maduro leaf used brings out a lot of flavor and even an hour or so later I’m still tasting it. Nothing about this cigar is overpowering though it’s rated as a medium bodied cigar. FYI, tis is one of the only maduros the Torano family makes and will become a staple in my humidor. I picked this beauty up in a five pack from Cigarbid at a decent price but checking out box prices at Cigar.com puts it at a similiar price to my beloved Padrons.