Size: 5 x 50 “Robusto”
Price: $4.50 by the box
My final summary was that I liked these cigars a lot so I bought a box. Here they are:
1-14-2013: Addendum- I am smoking this cigar 4 days after the review and it is much mellower in all its flavor components.. I still like it. So if you want the experience I had, I suggest you smoke the cigar within hours of receiving it. It is very potent once the cello is removed.
1-21-2014: Addendum #2– Please read some of the last comments on this review. It has been brought to my attention that the smoky flavor comes from Latakia pipe tobacco. Several sources have confirmed this. Pipesandcigars.com have a thread going on this very subject. So thank you to my readers that are so much smarter than me. LOL.
There was absolutely no information on this cigar at the time of my review.
Here is a description from Russ at Pipesandcigars.com:
“Spectre is a cigar that pushes the envelope. In making this dark and oily masterpiece, AJ Fernandez has broken the mold by bringing a tobacco into the mix that you’ve probably never seen in a cigar before- Latakia.
“The jet-black leaf from Cyprus is the result of hanging Turkish tobaccos in a barn and saturating the leaf with wood smoke. It’s a full-bodied tobacco with a uniquely smoky aroma and flavor. Widely used in pipe tobacco, Latakia is a newcomer to cigars, but with the masterful hand of AJ involved, the result is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
“Cigar guys will be intrigued by the added dimension that Latakia brings to the table, adding an almost barbecue note to the blend. Pipe enthusiasts who are already familiar with the fragrant black leaf will be amazed at how expertly it’s balanced against the rich and robust mixture of cigar tobaccos. This will be a phenomenal change of pace for the pipe or cigar smoker who wants something wildly different.”
From the CI web site:
“Arby’s nailed it: different is good. And this new handmade from AJ Fernandez makes just plain different seem normal. I’ll be honest, it’s kind of crazy. Sensory-overload crazy. An oily pitch-black maduro wrapper and a ‘secret’ blend of tobaccos combine to deliver a profile that’s smoky, spicy, bold, rich, and brimming with notes of cocoa, pine, leather, black pepper, honey, and oak. I can’t promise you’ll like it, but I do promise it’s unlike any cigar you’ve had before. For some fellas out there, that’s the ticket.”
Now that we all know what the secret ingredient is, Latakia pipe tobacco, why didn’t CI just tell us? Did they think that dumb cigar smokers wouldn’t have eventually figured it out? They should have been upfront with this information and given us our proper due.
The following part of the review was written before I knew about the Latakia.
I am a known AJ fan. And I am really looking forward to this stick.
It is a near black wrapper with a bit of oil and very toothy. Seams are good and there are plenty of veins and the stick has a rustic look. It looks like a single cap.
I clip the cap and find aromas of fire cured meat. So strong that it feels like I’m in a BBQ joint. I cannot smell anything else except spice.
Time to light up.
So I will either love it or hate it? Let’s find out together.
Wham. Spicy hot red pepper. The fire cured meat aroma translated to flavor. There is a very odd flavor. It is a very strong oakiness. But burned to a crisp. The char line is great.
Some sweetness appears. The body hits medium full in the first inch.
It’s raining and my photos will suck. Sorry. So far, the CI description is on the money. I am getting a sweet wild honey flavor. The smokiness continues in force.
It is pine. Well for chrissakes. This is a first. A real oddball flavor profile. Not Pine Sol strong, but subtle.
The pine grows strong by the middle of the first third supplanting the burned oak.
This is quite weird. LOL. So AJ does do acid. Whaddya know. The artwork on the band is dark and psychedelic with a tobacco plant lit by the setting sun. Or is it a marijuana bush?
Cocoa arrives making it taste like a chocolate covered baby back. The flavor and aroma are perfumey. Not herbal…perfumey.
I think a little Robitussin is thrown in for good luck.
The pepper continues on an upward trajectory.The leather gets stronger.
I’ve never tasted a cigar like this in my over four decades as a cigar smoker..not even an Acid comes close. It is the most unique stick. Period.
Some creaminess shows itself as the first third burns away.
The strength is now medium/full. It is chewy with a very long finish. I can’t comment on the balance as I don’t know how to evaluate it.
Cocoa gets stronger. The pine flavor is strong as well.
A rich earthiness appears and sort of pushes the other flavors out of the way. The honey balances everything.
I love it. Nothing wrong with a little out of the box thinking, or in this case; blending. Kudos AJ for getting this stick distributed. I’m sure 99% of the online stores were scared to death. And hence the low price of only $4.50-$6.00 a stick. There are only three sizes:
5 x 50, 6 x 52, and 6 x 60.
Now there is some herbal quality and clove elements. I am nearing the halfway point totally mesmerized by this cigar.
I have no idea what aging will do to this stick. No idea whatsoever.
The char line is damn near perfect. A little loose tobacco at the cap but not a big deal.
The creaminess and cocoa keep trying to make their move but there are so many bizarre flavors emitting from this stick, they are dumbfounded and sit in the corner sucking their thumbs.
The halfway point sees the cigar smooth out nicely. Flavors are well rounded. Nothing has a sharp edge on it any longer. This cigar could easily slash and thrash your palate.
At this point, the flavor profile is more user friendly. It is edgy but creamy. The smokiness only lets go a bit. And the pine moves to the background.
I can most definitively say that the secret leaf stats are this: Tel Aviv, Barstow, Uzbekistan, and Kentucky. You can take that to the bank.
While the beginning of the cigar is breathtaking and shatters your expectations, the last third behaves in a mode that we are more accustomed to. The creaminess is ahead of the pack now. It is very spicy as well.
The strength moves to full bodied. I have 2” to go and I haven’t lost interest.
It is absolutely pouring outside and is dark. I am running through the house trying to find decent places to take photos. If I use a flash, it will only reflect against the cigar band.
I guess this foreboding weather is a perfect accompaniment to the cigar.
Here are the flavors in descending order: Creaminess, pine, smokiness, cocoa, Robitussin, sweet honey, and earthiness.
For a few moments, I got a salty pretzel flavor but it only lasted a minute or two.
No nicotine yet. I am surprised.
The honey moves to third place behind creaminess and smokiness. Cocoa comes in fourth. And pine, fifth.
The cigar finishes without change. A small amount of nicotine shows itself but nothing like you would expect from a full bodied cigar.
This was quite the experience. At these prices, there is no excuse not to try them. I plan to get a box. And let them rest a few months.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS