A.J. Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 54 Toro
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $8.50 (Now $7.00 in a 10 count box – Only 12 boxes still available)
Apparently, Atlantic sold out in 48 hours. The good news is that the cigars are now “in stock.”

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Cigar:

Today we take a look at the A.J. Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario.
I bought a box of 10 eight weeks ago.

Released December 2016.
From Atlantic Cigar:
“The limited-edition AJ Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario was created by AJ Fernandez to celebration of Atlantic Cigar Company’s milestone of 20 years in business. Who better to ask then legendary Cuban cigar master AJ Fernandez to create this special limited release. Our 20th Anniversary series will be offered by four manufactures release each season starting in Fall with the release of Viaje Atlantic Cigar 20th Anniversary.

“The AJ Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario is a tweaked blend of the popular and highly rated New World blend, replacing the Nicaraguan wrapper with a dark rich Mexican San Andreas (sic) wrapper and a slight bump up in strengthen with the addition of fuller bodied Nicaraguan ligero tobacco in the filer. The cigars are also round instead of the box-pressed, allowing for the extra ligero tobaccos and for proper combustion.

“The result is a bold spicy smoke that’s sure to please those who like San Andres wrapped cigars blended with full flavor Nicaraguan fillers. The Cigars come packed in 10-count boxes and only 400 boxes were produced.”

The wrapper is an oily, dark chocolate brown with visible seams and somewhat rustic in appearance. Veins mottle the wrapper but are so dark they are difficult to see. The triple cap is nicely applied.
The stick is as firm as my stubborn kraut wife. Nicely stacked.
The cigar is covered in grand billboards with the standard New World main cigar band, a secondary band announcing it to be a 20th anniversary Atlantic joint venture with AJ, and a rosy red ribbon with AF written on it.

From the shaft, I can smell cinnamon, dark cocoa, espresso, barnyard, cedar, and raisins…with a touch of black licorice.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell black pepper, dark chocolate, espresso, cedar, dried fruit, barnyard, and a swish of cream.

The cold draw presents flavors of intense chocolate, cinnamon, black pepper, black licorice, molasses, espresso, and black licorice.

I’ve made it clear I’m an AJ fan. He is probably one of the most consistent blenders on the planet. I reviewed the original New World back in 2014 and loved it…still do. An affordable cigar that delivers the goods.

I’ve already smoked a couple sticks of this special blend and both were consistent and tasty. I guess I should have provided a spoiler alert.

Like someone turning a light switch on, flavors immediately begin to disperse themselves; attacking my palate like an orangutan in heat.

Here they are: Creaminess, chocolate, black pepper, dried fruit, cinnamon, black licorice, cedar, and roasted salted nuts.
Good start.

Halfwheel is the only reviewer to have rated this cigar. It was given an 88. I think that Halfwheel is so inundated by donations of cigars that they choose to only review the best of the best. And therefore may have become jaded by only smoking the finest and most expensive blends available. Just an opinion. Sometimes I agree wholeheartedly with their assessments and other times disagree completely.

A lithe floral note appears that gives the cigar a perfumey flavor as well as aroma.

The original New World comes only in box pressed format. I do believe size and shape matters that can affect the outcome of expression by the blender. The two I smoked earlier were not my first cigars of the day so I’m curious to see how the 20th Anniversario punches my ‘nads.

The creaminess hits the clutch and swims into 4th gear. Strength is barely medium at this early point. The finish is already a mile long. No significant transitions or complexity yet.
AJ blends are one of the few styles that I can identify as there is a common thread that runs through all the different productions. AJ has his own niche.

1” in and strength has a potent medium robustness.

The 3 cigars now smoked have perfect construction. Haven’t needed to use my PerfecDraw cigar poker on any of them. (Promo code Katman gets you 15% off anything Dr. Rod sells.)

The blend kicks into 5th gear now. The creaminess is outstanding…followed by a delicious dark chocolate, licorice, floral notes, molasses, and black cherries…with a splash of strong black coffee.
We hit medium/full earlier than I expected.

I remember being spanked by the nicotine rush in the last third with the two previous sticks…and I had food in my stomach. This morning may be a return to 1967. Peace, Love, & Understanding. (And hallucinations.)

I’ve been surprised by the efficacy of this blend. It was good to go from the second day I had these cigars. It’s improved with each passing day of humidor time but good ol’ AJ has the key to the magic kingdom in making his blends the epitome of new blend style. In other words, no waiting for 5 months before you can smoke his wares.

This is an excellent cigar and when I checked this morning on Atlantic’s web site, there were only 12 boxes left and 14 singles left and then “That’s All Folks!”
I’m actually surprised that other reviewers chose not to write about this blend. Too bad, so sad.

Smoke time was a leisurely 35 minutes.
Strength is a brawny medium/full.

The black pepper is on the money. Not so strong that it obliterates other flavors. A nice even keeled spiciness that accentuates the overall impression.
Transitions move in. Complexity is on point. The finish is terrific.
Herbal notes show up. I also taste a strong cinnamon now. Nuttiness plants itself in the form of hazelnut and sweet marzipan.
There is an ever present sweetness that gives the blend a smooth touch.

I’ve hit the sweet spot barely into the second third. Delectable and thoroughly enjoyable.
Man, the last couple of blends I reviewed were total let downs. Nice to write about the life and times of an excellent blend.

The AJ Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario is by no means a flavor bomb. It doesn’t have a kitchen sink flavor profile. But it is a super solid, delicious blend that for the dough is exceptional. I gotta hand it to Atlantic for not being greedy and charging double digits for this limited edition cigar. It will be hard to find a bevy of $7 sticks that are this good.

I may have to eat my words. The blend is morphing. It just may become a flavor bomb shortly as the cigar accelerates like Buckaroo Banzai.

Damn. My testes are twitching and my penile implant is vibrating on its own. I believe the tweaking of the blend; especially as it now possesses the Mexican San Andrés wrapper…plus the undisclosed Nicaraguan leaf elements was masterful in its conception. I’m a big fan of this wrapper. It adds a lovely sweetness in which creaminess and chocolate excel.

As I’m not overflowing with cigar donations by every cigar manufacturer in the world like Halfwheel, I think that this blend deserves a higher rating than 88.

The halfway point arrives at 50 minutes. The AJ Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario is now a killer blend. If I were you, and considering that at least 500+ people will read this review on the first day, I’d stop reading and snag one of the last 12 boxes at Atlantic Cigar.

Please fill in the message section in the checkout phase telling Atlantic that the Katman sent you. These guys hate me for divulging the deals you get by joining their VIP club. Like it’s a secret, right?

This is first class construction. Not a single issue.
If I were a rich man, I’d buy the remaining 12 boxes and gleefully sit in the corner and pee on the cat.

I still have 7 sticks left which I will save for my first cigar of the day from this point forward. No more smoking one in the middle of the day after my palate has been tarnished by food and drink.
Look at that beautiful char line.

I bought a 5 pack of New World sticks a couple months ago and while I love the blend, this version is superior. It could easily pass for a $10-$12 stick.

Creaminess and chocolate rule the day on this blend. The ancillary flavors contribute like the string section of an orchestra. The blend possesses a perfect balance and I don’t remember the last time I said this.

Transitions are swirling. Complexity is foundational.
This is the most fun I’ve had with my boxers on.

Speaking of which…when I was in the band Curved Air in the 1970’s, only men over 80 wore boxers. Every time we played a gig, I’d change into my stage gear in the dressing room and the band always made fun of me. In fact, Sonja took my girlfriend aside and told her to buy me new underwear. So we did just that for the tours so they’d leave me alone.

Quickly approaching flavor bomb status. So complex.
The black pepper kicks it as the blend attains full strength. So far, nicotine has not arrived. Yes, I know I’ve jinxed it.

The licorice really stands out now. As well as the baking spices and herbal notes. The coffee element is beginning to overtake the chocolate. The marzipan is screaming laughter. But the creaminess is the star of the show.

OK. I fucked up by mentioning the lack of nicotine and now I’m flying on a magic carpet ride.
My body slumps in my chair. My chin begins to rest on my chest. My eyesight begins to vanish. I like it.

Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
The AJ Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario is a damn fine collaboration.

It’s hard to believe that this blend was released almost 7 months ago with only 400 boxes and there are still 12 left. I like Atlantic Cigar even though we don’t see eye to eye.

Last time: Creaminess, coffee, chocolate, baker’s spices, licorice, cinnamon, black pepper, floral notes, roasted nuts, a hint of curry spices, and dried fruit.

This is a super smooth smoke. No jarring adjustments. Liquid and yet still flamboyant.
The last third is spectacular. Full strength. A mere modicum of nicotine. Flavors ooze. My brain’s synapses are behaving like a snapping turtle.

I’m bummed that after this review the cigars will have disappeared for good.

I’m going to shut up now and just sit back and enjoy.
I’m back.

Whoa. The nicotine makes a quantum leap. My head is swimming…lol. When I finish this review, I will stagger into the kitchen for some breakfast to stop the swirling.

Clearly, this is not a blend for newbies. Rather, it is a cigar for those with sophisticated palates.
I’ve gotten a slew of emails from manufacturers declaring their new blends to be debuted at the IPCPR trade show. Prices are in the stratosphere. Hopefully, I will get some to review. But I have bitter feelings about new cigars in the $15 range. And here we have a gorgeous blend that goes for a measly $7.

The AJ Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario finishes without a hint of harshness or bitterness. Smooth as my new grandson’s tush.
I highly recommend this cigar and a few lucky folks will get to experience this journey of passionate blending.
Final smoke time is one hour 50 minutes.


And now for something completely different:
Early 1980’s.
Remember Punk?
Remember L.A. Punk?
I do.
Remember the band “FEAR?”
The lead singer’s name was Lee Ving.

I had a couple of friends that were big radio D.J’s in L.A.
They used to drag me with them when they interviewed rock stars for their shows.
One day, Stephen Snyder asked me to drive him to Hollywood to interview Lee Ving. We picked him up at the corner of Hollywood & Vine.
He got into my 1971 Datsun station wagon.

I asked Steve, “Now where?”
Lee Ving said to just drive around and do the interview in the car.

So Steve and Lee Ving sat in the back of my little station wagon. Steve turned the tape recorder on and the interview began.
We drove around Hollywood for two full hours.

Now FEAR had a scary rep. They were the kings of L.A. Punk. They were insane on stage.
Lee Ving was their lead singer. And he was twice as crazy as the rest of the band.

I was afraid he’d start tearing apart the inside of my car. I was sweatin’ it.
Now it turned out this guy was the funniest guy I had ever heard. His stage persona was just that.
Steve had to keep telling me to shut up while they recorded the interview because I was laughing so hard.

This guy was as normal as apple pie and it was all an act. I tried to entice Lee Ving to check out my recording studio in Long Beach. That would be a feather in my cap but it never happened.

From there, we went to John Doe’s and Exene Cervenka’s house. They were the band “X.”
We entered their house. It stunk to high heaven. They were major pigs.

Plates of two week old food were just lying around everywhere. Everything in the house was in disarray.
Steve interviewed Exene and John while I sat and listened. They had played the night before and had major hangovers from the after-gig partying.

Even Lee Ving couldn’t stand it and said, “Phil. Let’s go outside and smoke a joint.”
We sat on the stoop and lit up. Lee just got funnier. And then I brought out some coke. Lee’s eyes lit up. We did some. I found myself actually rolling on the steps in front of the house from laughing. I couldn’t breathe.

Lee Ving loved me for “getting him.”
We sat there for an hour til Steve came out.

We then drove to the Whisky A’ Go Go. Lee knew the owner and we were allowed in. We sat at the bar. Just the three of us. We smoked. We drank. We tooted.

The next day, I woke up with my sides bruised from laughing so hard.

I never reported this story. I watched a special on the Hollywood recording studio “Sound City” a week ago and they showed FEAR recording. This jogged my memory banks.

I wish I had a photo of Punk’s biggest star driving around in the back seat of my shitty old Datsun while I chauffeured him and Steve.

My band, The Attitude, who had a hit with a remake of “Hound Dog,” and the the single made it onto the CD “The Godfathers of L.A. Punk.” You can still buy this CD from most online stores. Funny thing was that we were not a punk band but we shared management with the other bands…a French man named Philippe Moganne who was Iggy Pop’s first manager.

The skinny good looking guy playing bass is me.
The early 80’s was a lot of fun.

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5 replies

  1. Geesh! You made this sound so good I had to search it out immediately. Got a few on the way and I can’t wait to light ’em up!

  2. Great story Phil! Did you ever run into Dream Syndicate led by Steve Wynn? They had a great song “The Days of Wine & Roses”.

    Another very overlooked group was David & David. Their album and the single “Welcome to the Boomtown” were great and still holds up. One of the “David’s”, David Baerwald, had a couple of excellent solo albums and he was an instrumental part of the jam group that helped Sheryl Crow create her first album.

    Then there’s the SF band Flipper, who had a couple of great songs like “That’s the Way of the World” and “Sex Bomb”, which clocked in around 19 minutes and consisted entirely of the lyric: “She’s a sex bomb my baby – yeah” [repeat endlessly]

    Can’t figure out why they never broke … : – )

  3. BTW the PerfecDraw cigar poker discount for “Katman” has been discontinued for some reason. I told them to stuff it—I’ll continue to use my battery powered drill. They probably get more publicity from you than anyone else.

  4. Man, I would have loved hanging out with you when our peckers lead the way, Phil. You’re the Hunter S. Thompson of the cigar world, bro! I just bought the A.J. 20th Anniversario from Atlantic and yet another box of the CAO Anaconda. I’m going to become a VIP member and tell them the Katman told me to. Wish I could see their faces squinch in pain. Actually, their prices are better than every other online outfit I’ve dealt with, so hats off. Aloha, brah🤙🏻.

  5. High praise indeed sir…Gonzo-esque; I’ll take it. Although my detractors prefer a simple Asshole but I wear that as a badge of honor.
    Thanks Bobby,

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