Cigar Review- Nica Libre

Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 “Torpedo”
Body: Medium
Price: $4.00


The cigar I am reviewing was a gift from a good friend. He has had them in his humidor since June of 2011. And now, I blow the review by telling you that all that humidor time has turned this cigar into a monster.
I read a several reviews and most were not very nice to this cigar. Obviously, due to smoking the cigar too early. This is not a cigar you smoke in week 2 of your humidor time. The big reviewers, for the most part, chose not review this cigar. I don’t know why.

This is an A.J. Fernandez cigar for chrissakes. Have you ever smoked an AJ blend that wasn’t great? I haven’t. The man is a genius.

I have smoked all but three of the sticks in the gift box, and figured I’d use one for a review. My basic advice is to allow this cigar a few months in your humidor. If you are patient, you will be rewarded.
On to the review.

I’m sure it was CI’s idea to make it look like a Padron. And that back fired on them because it is nothing like a Padron, regardless of the similarity in cigar bands.

It was a real stupid marketing strategy. Because this is a very good cigar. And the Potencia version, which is made by Oliva, is very similar to the Oliva V for only $2.50 more. And if you go to Cbid, you can grab these cigars for even less.
The box press is nicely done. It’s crisp with sharp lines. The cigar has beautiful seams with plenty of small veins and a few big ones. The caps, which are triple caps, are a bit sloppy and change consistency from cigar to cigar. Oil glistens in the light off the wrapper. And it feels very toothy.

I clip the cap and find aromas of cocoa, leather, cedar, espresso, and potent spice.

Time to light up.
Big doses of flavor march forward to be recognized. The spiciness is upfront. Sweetness and cocoa follow. The cigar spews and billows smoke as the draw is perfect. The char line is close to perfect, as well. Creaminess appears.
See…none of the reviews I read reported this. The cigar is meant to be deeply matured. It is probably best to give it at least a couple months. Not two weeks.

I am getting rich and deep tasting flavors. The cigar is complex by the first inch mark. It tastes like some of AJ’s finest blends. If anything, it reminds me of the San Lotano. Not the Padron. What a horrifying marketing trick.

The earthy element is very rich and complex. The sweetness is intense. The pepper is strong but not overwhelming.
Creaminess leads the charge now. It is very strong and delightful. The cocoa lays back a bit.

I find the end of the first third stunning, flavor-wise. It is a flavor bomb. But remember, the cigar has humidor aged for 2 years. It better taste good.

The second third sees the cocoa really ratcheting up. As well as the sweetness. It is almost sugary. The pepper lays back a bit but still chugging away.

The cocoa overtakes the creaminess and is in front now. It reminds me of dark chocolate fudge. This cigar is not a rainbow of flavors. It confines itself to cream, cocoa, coffee, leather, sweetness and spice. The flavors are bold and enticing. Which makes up for the lack of other strong flavors. The complexity makes this cigar exciting, where these flavors alone, would just be an average cigar.

The triple cap is doing an outstanding job of keeping the whole cap in one piece without a single piece of loose tobacco on my lips.

The halfway point is pumping out cocoa and creaminess and now the pepper is back in force. I try not to retro hale strong pepper influenced cigars. I have a sensitive shnoz. And I accidentally do it and my head lights up like an M-80. Damn. That burned!

The burn is the most consistent of the last few cigars I’ve reviewed, as of late.

I begin the last third with the flavors increasing in intensity. The leather and cedar are much stronger now and no longer find themselves in the back field. The creaminess and cocoa are battling it out for the finish line. The sweetness is right behind. I should have been a race horse track announcer. Maybe in a prior life.

The combo of creamy and cocoa become like nougat. Or a soft whipped mousse-like consistency candy bar. Anyone old enough to remember U-No candy bars? I loved them as a kid. The bar was always small which made it disappear in just a few big bites. It had a center that went way past a Three Musketeer bar. I taste a U-No bar. For today’s reference, you would probably say it has a truffle center.
u no bar

The body has been classic medium from the start with no sense of it getting stronger.

The last couple inches are pure joy. This experience is combination of a truffle candy bar and a thick chocolate milk shake.
For the price, this cigar is a steal. The cigar ends with a medium body.You are getting an authentic AJ Fernandez blend for pennies compared to the rest of his blends. And every bit as good as most of them..with the caveat that you age it properly.

And now for something completely different:

This story has nothing to do with rock n roll or sex and drugs. It is a story about the building of the Arizona Diamondbacks stadium.

I was a project manager for a company that did high end metal fabrication and installation. Rails, glass rail, stainless, bronze, copper, etc.

We had a huge contract to do all the foo-foo gingerbread stuff in the stadium. One of the things we provided was a two foot square panel, made of solid copper, that was cut to show the Diamondback logo. It was cut using water jet technology. It is cleaner than laser cutting because it doesn’t leave burned edges. Laser cut edges must be ground smooth to remove the black. Obviously, water jet cutting is very, very expensive.

We provided hundreds of these panels and they were inserted, every eight feet, in all the guard rails in the stadium. They have since been removed because the idiot architects decided not to coat them in some sort of clear lacquer. Which meant they wanted them to oxidize and the color would eventually look like an old penny. Which is not very pretty. Not too mention, people were touching them constantly. So the oil from their hands left bright fingerprints and the whole thing looked horrible.

I got the idea to make a 2” square version to use as key chains. I still have mine. I got enough for everyone at work but I had the shop coat them with lacquer so they would stay shiny. We paid $5 each for them.

Schuff Steel did the structural work on the stadium. And when they left, there was still a lot of miscellaneous metal work to be done, as extras because the architects couldn’t find their asses with a metal detector.

The general contractor knew I had a structural background and gave us several million dollars in no-bid contracts to finish the stadium. Sort of a small Halliburton situation.

The back stop behind home plate was a metal wire panel and designed to protect the people in those seats from errant foul balls. Believe it or not, the design was very complicated. The wire rope cable support was ¾” stainless steel. And the cables were attached using a swaged connection. This means the cable is inserted into a stainless steel tube and then compressed. or crimped, to hold the cable in place. This was stupid considering the amount of tension that would be placed on the units. They should have used mechanical connections, which are basically tied off cable, but the dumb ass architects liked the clean look of the tube. This would back fire.



The main cable was over 800 feet long. It stretched from far right outfield, down the first base line, around home plate, down the third base line, and then back out to left field by the bleachers.

I hired a contractor, that I had used before, that was out of San Diego. It took them over a month to install the cables. They had the cable connections fabricated by a company that does nothing but cable work.

Cables were everywhere. 20 cables were attached to the 800 foot cable to pull it back to create that parabolic shape. They had to tie these cables to the big swooping cable back to the second and third levels; thereby holding the big mutha’ in place. It required engineers to survey the installation so that as the cable was tightened in increments of 1/16″, the big cable would drop into place. One cable would be tightened a sixteenth of an inch, and then the surveyors would move to the next cable. They did this over and over in a certain sequence. Very complicated and I won’t bore you with the math. It took two weeks for the surveyors to get the cables tightened and at the right height.


I was there when they finished. Less than 30 minutes later, I looked up as I heard what sounded like a plane crashing through the sound barrier. The big right field connection cable connection came loose and the cable was shot, like out of a cannon, all the way back to home plate along the first base line. It flew several hundred feet at the speed of sound.
Workers were everywhere in its path. There was over 30,000lbs per square inch tension on those cables, so when it came loose, it tore bolted seats and threw them 100 feet into the air… and sent them flying into the infield. Where the cable just barely touched the seats, it left half circles of missing plastic at the top of the chair. It literally dissolved the plastic.

I watched as this loose snake missed hundreds of workers in its path. Had it hit one person, it could have decapitated him or cut him in half. And God help us if it happened during a game. It would have killed dozens of people.

So you can imagine the brouhaha that followed. It got the same response as if a plane had crashed on first base.

The general contractor insisted that this time, the connections would be mechanical. Screw the architect. The blame for this was shifted to the manufacturer of the cable. In all situations, engineers over design connections, so that they are several times the required design. That’s how all structural steel is designed. The bottom line is that the manufacturer just let this swaged connection pass by inspection. Everyone asked where their quality control was? The GC demanded all their paperwork. It got ugly.

I spent the next two weeks supervising the re-installation of the cables. It was slow and laborious. It took four teams of surveyors and engineers to get it right. We had no liability and it was not our fault. But we were the messengers, so to speak. And the GC was really pissed off at us for something that was not our fault. The cable company took full responsibility for this and re-fabricated the connections at their cost. And they had to pay for the re-installation…and the four teams of surveyors.
I remember standing in the rain, due to a leaking roof, in the middle of February. The closing roof had so many leaks that it was like a rain forest inside the stadium. And I got sick as a dog the first week. After seeing how diligent I was, the GC got off my back and our relationship went back to normal as they came to terms with this not being my fault.

As expected, the owner of the company I worked for, didn’t give a shit if I was sick or not. I was to be there every single day until it was fixed…10 hours, 6 days per week. I remember taking the cable connection part that failed and having it made into a coffee table curio. I had the connection welded to a stainless steel plate.

When it was complete, I spent the next four days in the hospital with pneumonia. The boss never visited once. Construction is a really shitty industry. I don’t miss it one bit.

The only upside was that I spent almost two years watching a ball park being built. From breaking ground in 1996 to the laying of the sod in 1998. Once the sod was down, they put guards around the playing field to make sure no workers stepped on the grass.

Later, when the park was open, I went to a game with the CFO and we had home plate seats. I got there early because the D-backs were playing the Cardinals. And I wanted to watch batting practice.

I remember being in awe at the size of Mark McGwire when he came to the plate. I was only 30 feet away. And I watched as he hit every pitch outside the park. And his last one smashed a hole in the Jumbo-Tron.
The D-Backs lost the game that day.


2 replies

  1. Thanks for the D-Backs story…Love that stadium…Ths is a stick I will try if i can get my grabby paws on one…Peace brother.

  2. I didn’t think that much of the Nica Libre’s when I tried them. Hmmm, now I’ll have to give them a second look!

    Love the work stories too! Got more?

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