CI has an offering from A.J. Fernandez, the maker of Man O’ War, Diesel, 5 Vegas Triple-A, and San Lotano…
These sticks come in various sizes with no guarantee of exactly what you will get. And because of the secrecy, I have no idea what the blend is made of.
I bought a bundle on their One Day Special for less than $30. It’s a chisel head that’s 5 x 50. And is very full bodied.
After 2 months, these cigars have blossomed into superb sticks and even though the pricing is now between $25-$60, they are still a deal.
Construction is excellent. Very firm without any soft spots. A few veins, but nothing to scare you. Although, this particular stick has a vein that looks like a tree trunk running the length of the stick.
The sniff-o-rama presents a deep earthiness, cocoa, sweet cedar, and spices.
I crack the chisel head carefully and light up.
The draw is excellent. And the first flavors are of tobacco, cocoa, and black cherry.
These sticks get pretty spicy.
And as the ash hits ½”, the red pepper lights my tongue up.
It reminds of the Pepin Garcia Blue Label at first. A spice bomb.
My tongue feels like it is glowing from the pepper.
The cherry flavor tames the pepper a bit with its sweetness.
I have to admit that just about anything from Fernandez is a good smoke. All the different blends have their own characteristics but remain in the same realm with each other, sort of like a trademark. You know what you’re getting when you smoke one of his sticks. Loads of flavor and body.
As I begin the second third, the spiciness moves back a bit and the cocoa and earthiness move to the forefront. It is very sweet and at this point, the full strength of the body is evident. This ain’t a cigar for grandma.
At the halfway point, the spice ramps way, way up. I am in love with spicy cigars. I know a lot of smokers don’t like that, but I do. The more the better. Bring it on.
The sweetness level of the cherry flavor is over the top.
Into the last third, the body is really strong. I have to slow down so I don’t get a nicotine buzz and have to walk it off.
There is a lot of cocoa going on. Very dark chocolate.
This cigar is not complex. Like, say, the San Lotano. But if you want a strong, full flavored stick, this is your baby.
HERE IS THE LINK TO CI AND THESE CIGARS: http://www.cigarsinternational.com/prodDisp.asp?item=CS-AJF&cat=3
And now for something completely different:
My musician friends will appreciate this story. 1975. My band was on tour in Switzerland and France. We did several gigs with Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House. Coryell is considered the father of jazz fusion guitar playing. This guy played with all the greats.
After a couple of gigs, he invited the whole band up to his hotel room for cigars and booze. I had smoked cigars for years but the others had not. But not wanting to seem un-cool, they eagerly accepted the behemoth Cubanas from Larry.
To my dismay, the late evening get together turned into an interview session as my band members embarrassed themselves with their stupid questions instead of just enjoying each other’s company and the cigars and Scotch.
All of them smoked cigarettes. Back in those days, everyone smoked cigarettes. I had never smoked a cig in my life so road trips with the windows closed in the car would often make me ill.
One by one, the band members excused themselves and left to go to their rooms. Their green faces said it all. None of them got past half the stick. I kept laughing each time one left and called them pussies.
So by 2am, it was just Larry and me. We smoked one cigar after another exchanging road stories and talking about life.
I was about to call it a night, when Larry asked if I wanted to jam a little? Fuck me! Are you kidding? Fuck yeah.
I ran to my room to get my bass and he had a little practice amp in his room. This guy was light years above me in style and technical skills so he played down for me. We played a lot of blues and some simple jazz things; where we would play the head and then take off into improv world. That was the most fun since I grew up learning through woodshedding. And I kept up with him. The more complicated it got, the more I hammered away at my bass. After a 30 minute run, we both fell back laughing hard and couldn’t stop.
It was 6am, and I was beat. I bid my adieu and told him what a wonderful time I had. We did 5 more gigs with him. And at his sound check, he invited me to sit in every night. What a fucking honor! I’m sitting there with the Randy Brecker and Alphonse Mouzon.
Of all the great rock n roll memories, this one stands out above the rest.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS