Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Sun Grown
Size: 6 x 54 “Toro-Box Pressed”
Price: $13.33 by the box of 12/$15.00 by the 4 Pack (See Cbid Pricing Below)
I can’t give this up. I tried. But this makes me happy. With the generous help of a few readers, I have enough cigars to review for a while.
Thanks to Miguel Castro for today’s cigar.
Today we take a look at the Ave Maria Divinia.
Ave Maria is the brain child of my hero AJ Fernandez. The man has almost never let me down. His blends fit my palate like a glove. And this cigar is no different.
The cigar comes in individual coffins. The Ave Maria brand is only available from the CI Conglomerate.
The Ave Maria Divinia is so new that it is not included on the Ave Maria web site.
This is all I could find on the Cigar.com web site:
“In typical Ave Maria fashion, Divinia starts off with an elegant presentation. Quite the display, each cigar is housed in individual coffins and extravagant wood boxes of 12. As for the blend, well-aged Cuban-seed Nicaraguan long-fillers are topped with an oily Nicaraguan Sun-Grown wrapper and box-pressed to perfection, resulting in a perfect draw and slow, even burn. A very Cubanesque and highly complex blend, Ave Maria Divinia begins with a refined character then takes your senses on an incredible ride between the contrasting highly aromatic flavor profile and mellow balance not typically seen in a medium to full-bodied platform. The strength slowly builds as you enjoy the cigar and rich, savory notes of earth, coffee, cocoa, and nuts intermingle throughout the entire experience.”
For some reason, there are only a few reviews of this cigar. It’s cost? Maybe.
This is one of the most beautiful cigars I’ve seen. It has a flawless box press. Invisible seams. Very few veins. The wrapper is a semi-oily medium russet brown. Smooth as silk. The only detractor is a sloppy triple cap. Solid, baby, solid stick.
The double cigar bands are gorgeous. The main band reminds me of the old Gurkha billboards they used on their cigars. There is so much going on that it would take me 15 minutes to describe what I see. Hopefully, a good photo will take care of that for me.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell sweetness, citrus, cedar, earthiness, coffee, and nuts.
From the clipped cap and foot, I smell strong coffee, sweetness, citrus, earthiness, and spice.
The cold draw presents flavors of fruit, sweetness, cedar, coffee, and earthiness.
The draw is spot on. I’m enshrouded in a cloud of smoke like a Wisconsin rain storm.
First flavors up: Red pepper, chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts, cedar, and earthy tobacco. I think Miguel told me samples he sent me had a month of humi time and I’ve had them about 10 days. Can’t remember for sure. But then most AJ Fernandez cigars mature quickly. No waiting for 4+ months like so many other brands.
Ahhh….perfect way to come back to the laptop. SRV playing “Cold Shot” on the cable TV radio. I get up and crank it.
Creaminess appears next. The Ave Maria Divinia is already very complex. Very smooth. Strength is medium+ body. This is exactly what I expect from a $15 cigar. Get to it and do it fast. Don’t waste my time or you will have the Wrath of Khan….er..I mean Kohn.
The char line is doing very nicely, thank you.
A nice multi-tasking sweetness joins the fray: summer fruit, dried fruit, and Crystal/Caramel malt.
The earthiness shares its position with a touch of peat. The Ave Maria Divinia became so complex so quickly that flavors are on a rotating ferris wheel. This is a truly enjoyable cigar blend.
I have enough cigars to last 3 weeks of reviews with more cigars coming from the same wonderful fellas. And I have one devoted reader that lives here in Milwaukee: Bruce Cholka. He dropped some sticks off the other day. We are going to try and get together this Sunday. I can’t wait. Oh…human contact. LOL!
Speaking of which, we finally have a vehicle after several months of being without. My son in law sold us his 2003 Chevy Silverado Z71 4×4 Extended cab with the giant V-8 in it. Perfect shape and condition. It’s like driving a tank. But this is good news for Charlotte. She is scared to death driving in the snow and we get a lot of it here. So now she only has to hit the 4×4 button and she is good to go.
The Ave Maria Divinia is a slow roll. Taking its time. 1-1/2” has taken 20 minutes.
Sweet Spot 1.0. Big, bold, beautiful flavor profile. Yet very simple. So far, it is not a kitchen sink blend. Clearly, it reeks of high premium cigar blend. I’ve tried the Reconquista but I like the Divinia better.
While I mean no disrespect to a faction of reviewers that are able to describe a complete third of a cigar in two sentences, I have no idea how they do that. How do they compress a virtual cigar experience into 25 words? I don’t have the discipline for that.
And we start the second third with Led Zep’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” Doesn’t get better than that.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Strength is so smooth that it is difficult to determine strength. Probably touching the hem of medium/full.
A couple new malt influences appear: Aromatic Malt and Brown Malt. Very nice. And they solidify the other flavors by pulling them together in a tight bow.
Now it’s George Thorogood. My long time buddy, Doug Page loved this guy. Mainly because both were from Wilmington, Delaware. Unfortunately, Doug thought he could keep on living the excesses of our youth of champagne and cocaine into his 50’s and it killed him. What a sad loss. He was my friend that most exemplified the Big Lebowski. When he visited, he always had a tumbler of fine Scotch, on the rocks, in his hands. He was our “Dude.”
Here they are: Chocolate, coffee, creaminess, roasted nuts, malt, spice, sweetness, dried fruit, summer fruit, cedar, peat, caramel, and a very earthy tobacco flavor. This is the type of blend where the flavor of the tobacco leaves is strong and very pleasant.
Then the light switch is turned on and we have a strong medium/full body.
This has to be one of the smoothest cigars I’ve smoked. Such a pleasure.
Construction has been on point. No issues whatsoever.
Smoke time is 65 minutes.
Sweet Spot 2.0. Now the flavor profile is flying high. So intense and powerful.
Four main ingredients really lead the pack: Coffee, creaminess, roasted nuts, and malt.
AJ has really outdone himself with the Ave Maria Divinia. Pure manna from the gods.
There is a super long, chewy finish.
I get a lot of emails each day. And this cracks me up. Almost all of them say they tire of hearing a reviewer say that the cigar tastes of earthiness and leather. And that’s it.
Another thing I hear from my readers…Is that they squint to taste the flavors trying to match what I taste. LOL. I do the same thing while I am reviewing a cigar. I’ve got squint lines around my eyes the size of the Grand Canyon. It takes a lot of serious focus to dissect the flavors of a good cigar. And somehow, squinting is a part of that.
I really love that there is a fairly high level of spiciness since the start of the cigar.
The Police are playing and I have the perfect story for the end of the review.
The Ave Maria Divinia moves to full bodied.
And the dreaded Vitamin N follows suit. Oh lord…I still have 2” to go. Crash helmet at the ready.
Flavors are super complex and best described in the photo below.
There is no change in the flavor profile. All accounted for. Except the only difference is that they are so bold, that my yarmulke is spinning on my head.
Yesterday, I got home from being dropped off after I left the kid’s truck at the repair shop. It needed some minor repairs. And God bless those kids, they paid for the whole thing. They even spent $170 to get the truck detailed. This is actually a dream come true. I’ve always wanted a big truck. And now, as I near the point where I can no longer drive, I’ve got one. Murphy’s Law.
But here is where my meandering was going. I stood in front of the door and couldn’t figure out how to open it with my key. I spent 5 minutes trying to open it. It’s a bitch when you are losing your mind.
My dear wife, Charlotte, is a technophobe. And this truck is decked out in every interior gadget known to man. I expect lots of panic attacks from her.
Back to the Ave Maria Divinia.
This is a great cigar. I can’t thank Miguel enough.
The nicotine has leveled out.
It is here that the fruit defines itself: A bit of pineapple, a touch of black grapes, and a smattering of dried mango.
The roasted nuts are raw cashew, almond paste, and Spanish peanuts.
Ever have a Tin Roof sundae? My father got me hooked on them when I was a little guy. Just a scoop of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and covered with Spanish peanuts.
The Ave Maria Divinia finishes in grand style.
Smooth is the Ave Maria Divinia’s theme song. In B Flat Major.
Experienced palates will love it. Newbies will have trouble with the strength.
I did some checking around and since it is only sold by CI companies, there is no variation on the price. EXCEPT for Cbid. You can get this expensive cigar for around $5.00. That’s a deal.
Is it worth $15? Of course not.
I absolutely loved this outing from AJ Fernandez. I’ve liked all the Ave Maria blends but this blend takes the cake.
I think the presentation of individual coffins is a needless affectation. It certainly doesn’t help the price point. I’ve never understood fancy shmancy presentations whether it is the cigar coffin or the fancy cigar box. You just end up throwing them away. I mean, really, how many uses can you find for a cigar coffin?
But strip away all that fol de rol and you find a great cigar beneath it all.
More Rock n Roll:
The Police Chronicles…1983
It was the Hollywood party to celebrate the album “Zenyatta Mondata” going platinum.
I tried to get a hold of Stew, and his brother Miles, but they didn’t take my calls. This was the tip off; but I ignored it.
I had a couple good buddies that were big time L.A. radio disk jockeys. To be honest, they were more my friends because I had to use coke to grease the wheels to get my Eddie Munster single played. But they did their best to appear sincere.
Anyway, Marshall the DJ, asked if I wanted to go the party that I couldn’t get in to. He had a pair of tickets and I gladly went. He would rather take a source for drugs than take his woman.
There must have been 700 people at this party right on the Sunset Strip. I finally found Stew and asked him to come with me and let’s kibitz. He looked like a wild man and said he would be right back. His eyes were dilated to the size of dinner plates.
What I didn’t know at that particular moment was that he was nearly overdosing on cocaine. He had those weird sensations of you must keep moving. One cannot even carry on a conversation whey you are that high. He ran through the party, continuously, like a video game. He kept blowing me off. I got pissed. Marshall told me to calm down.
I found Sting who was wandering around the party. He had some force field around him because no one dared to approach him. I did.
I re-introduced myself and he remembered me. He was kind and generous and we spoke for a few minutes.
Then I found Andy Summers and he remembered me too. Curved Air was a big deal. These guys grew up with the band. He and I talked for a good 20 minutes and found ourselves laughing our asses off. Andy was the most down to earth fella of the band. I gave him a single of “Hound Dog” and he took it. A couple months later, I got a letter from Andy telling me how much he enjoyed talking with me and saying how much he enjoyed the song.
After a couple hours of feeding our faces and drinking for free, I sought out Stew to say good-bye.
He stood still long enough for me to tell him that my record of “Hound Dog” had hit the Top 40.
“Well, let me be the first to congratulate you!”
I told him thanks but he was just about the last person to congratulate me. “See ya chump.”
On the way out, I ran into Miles Copeland. I stopped and he was all smiles. I let him have it and the whole time me poking my index finger in his chest.
Marshall had to pull me off of him.
I left that party fuming.
Hollywood types. All a bunch of phonies. I shared a cheap, tiny flat with Stew in Curved Air and we ate together almost every night. Just him and me. I was the bassist and he was the drummer. We were best friends for over two years.
I was mortified that he outgrew me. How can you treat someone that was at one time so close?
When “Hound Dog” hit the Top 10, I called Stew after he was back in London to tell him. It was the middle of the night for him and I woke him. He mumbled congrats and some other unintelligible things and I said good-bye.
He changed his phone number after that.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
So great to see you back! I just recently discovered your blog and it has opened my eyes and saved me from smoking overpriced cuban cigars. Completely fell in love with non-Cuban leaf again. And love your writing.
Greetings from Holland
I’m glad you liked this one! I’m a big fan of AJ and the Ave Maria line is actually my favorite if them all. He hooked me with the Knights Templar theme. True story. I’m a sucker for branding.
This is where our tastes differ, though. I love the smoothness of the Divinia, but there is something about the two Reconquistas I’ve had. I think of them as two sides to AJ’s ultra premium blending capability. The Divinity holds my hand and leads me to taste nirvana, where the Reconquista grabbed me by the scruff and threw me to the same nirvana. What can I say? I like it a little rough.
I love reading your reviews, and one of these days I promise to send you some sticks as a thank you for the good reads.
I just smoked the Divinia myself before reading this. I had reservations about it for some reason, but it was fantastic! Too bad they’re so pricy.
All the best!
Thank you Mike.