Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Rosado Claro Corojo ’99 (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
Filler: Nicaragua Criollo ’98, Corojo ’99, Medio Tiempo
Size: 6 x 44 Corona Gorda
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $9.00 MSRP

Photo courtesy of Cigar Aficionado:

Today we take a look at the Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection.
Thanks to me for buying a 5 pack two+ months ago.

BACKGROUND:
From Cigar Dojo:
“Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection represents the culmination of more than two years of restructuring from the Fernández family and their Aganorsa Leaf (formerly Casa Fernandez) brand. The first signs of such change came in 2016, where the company introduced the Guardian of the Farm and Aganorsa Leaf TABSA cigars. Both lines featured dramatically different designs for the company, whose cigars typically showcased very traditional appearances.

“With Guardian of the Farm, the cigar was a collaboration between Warped Cigars and Casa Fernandez, featuring a modernized look much more on par with Warped’s lineup than Casa Fernandez’s. And with Aganorsa Leaf TABSA, the cigars highlighted both the Fernández family’s own tobacco-growing conglomerate, Agricola Ganadera Norteña S.A. (AGANORSA), as well as their Estelí-based factory, Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA). This cigar’s band and logo design also offered a much cleaner style for Aganorsa Leaf, and would later be transitioned to be used as the overall look for the entire company.

“Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection is blended by Max Fernández, son of company owner Eduardo Antonio Fernández Pujals. The project is designed to reflect the upper tier of the updated Aganorsa Leaf portfolio, showcasing a puro blend grown exclusively on the Fernández family’s Nicaraguan farms. The cigar uses a select Rosado Claro Corojo ’99 wrapper, which was grown in Jalapa. Adding to the intrigue, the blend makes use of a small amount (half a leaf) of medio tiempo tobacco in the filler. Medio tiempo, harvested from the top of the tobacco plant (above ligero), is a rare priming that is found on a small percentage of crops; for Aganorsa, only 50 to 80 bales of tobacco out of the annual harvest of 14,000 bales are medio tiempo (around half a percent).”

SIZES AND PRICING (MSRP):
Belicoso 6.25 x 52 $10.00
Toro 6 x 52 $9.00
Corona Gorda 6 x 44 $10.00
Robusto 5 x 52 $9.75

APPEARANCE:
Firm cigar construction that may need a poke. The wrapper is an unexciting plain paper bag brown. Seams are tucked neatly away. Lots of very small spider veins. A beautifully done triple cap with a fantail. Only the Corona Gorda has the fantail.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
Gorgeous floral notes along with large doses of creaminess, caramel, malt, milk chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, citrus, almonds, espresso, black pepper, cedar, barnyard, and sugar doughnuts. Yikes.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is just a tad tight; but do-able, so I don’t execute the life threatening PerfecDraw cigar poker tool move.

Loads of flavors dump all over my palate: black pepper, cream, espresso, chocolate, malt, buttery crackers, an assortment of nuts (like you guys), and more cream.

Damn. “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young is playing. 1969. Double Yikes. I remember playing this in my band Homegrown when it came out 49 years ago. Oy.

The tight packing of the cigar is making it burn on its own terms. Slowly and gently with a touch of bestiality thrown in.

Complexity wasted no time. Strength is medium+. The spiciness is strong. Maybe a little too much so at this point…but it’s early.
This cigar wasted no time flying off the shelves but there are still plenty of online stores and B&M’s that still have them.

With only an inch in, the blend becomes extremely intense in an all-out assault on my puny brain. Flavors are washing over my pate like a seagull sprays folks on Santa Monica Pier.
There is a very nice creamy mocha java thing going on.

AGANORSA really is an acronym for All Giant Asses Need Only Real Sorghum Applied. This makes no sense so I’m going back to bed.
(14 hours elapses)

Maltiness is ever present. Stronger than it is in most blends.

I’m standing on stage behind a closed curtain waiting for Curved Air to be introduced. And our little Scottish roadie comes up to me while I stand in front of my bass rig and shows me shit stained underwear. He smiles at me and shows me the new tightie whities he just bought while laughing hysterically that he shat his own pants. Now that’s rock n roll glamour.

Speaking of Rush. Good band. But Geddy Lee sings like one of the Chipmunks. (This is where I lose ¾ of my readers).

Strength is definitely medium/full and pushing the boundaries.

Casa Fernandez has always made good cigars but it seems like their best days were behind them. Something shook up the company. As I’m not a cigar insider, I have no idea what that may have been. But with the name change, a new vision seems to be taking place. I believe that CF sat on its big fat laurels too long without paying attention to what was happening around them in the boutique world of cigars.

The Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection is a damn fine cigar and aptly priced at $10. When you think of it, this is just ridiculous. $10 for a 90 minute experience. I bought my first box of Arturo Fuentes when I turned 18 for $40. That would have been back in 1924.
Flavors are intense. Transitions are running amok. And the finish is like an unexploded M80.

SECOND THIRD:
Yeah this is a Nic puro and all Nic puros are similar. Can’t be avoided. Due to its strength and sweetness, it is very close to a maduro in nature. That deep, raspy element in the back of my throat confirms it.

The balance goes off kilter now and then as the black pepper moves back and forth like a stripper who takes your $5 tip and walks away. (Never happened to me…this year).

It took a solid 35 minutes to get through the first third and the stick sees no reason to hurry. A nice slow screw against a wall.

In batting rotation: black pepper, creaminess, malt, cane sugar, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, citrus, black licorice, nuts, buttery, cedar, a touch of exotic Indian spices, and caramel.
Big Corona Gorda size fan. Always disappointed when a new blend comes out and they forgo this size and concentrate on the redwood tree sizes. The balance of a cigar this size always seems more on point. Something about the ratio of tobaccos. I’m just spit ballin’ here.

Gawd…Now it’s Emerson, Lake and Palmer playing “Lucky Man (1970).” We toured with them for a few gigs and Keith let me ride his rotating grand piano during sound check. I can’t even sit in the back seat of a car without getting car sick and there I was doing 360 ° circles for what seemed like forever. Puked my guts out when I was let free.

The richness is deepening. This is a new phase of the cigar experience. The second half, of a good cigar, always blasts away increasing the yippie-ki-yay factor. And the Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection keeps on keeping on.
We have hit full strength. My stomach is empty. Oy.

Charlotte’s 68th birthday was the 30th. Taking her to the best German restaurant in Milwaukee on Saturday. Funny. My first wife, when I was 21, was born in the same year and on Oct.31. One day apart from the ball and chain. And they are nothing alike. So much for astrology.

Nicotine bombards my brain neurons. Flashbacks are soon to be unveiled.
The first major sweet spot shows up. Wow.

I always check out all the deals that show up on my email. Are there any boutique blends that cost less than $12 anymore? And it seems that’s just the starting price. What a bizarre norm that has permeated the greedy cigar industry.

Remember Paul Stulac cigars? Paul was a longtime friend who gave up on the American scene and just settled back into his native Canada and sells limited amounts of his spectacular blends from local B&M’s. This morning, I noticed that Cigar Monster has 5 packs of his Phantom (6 x 53) on sale for $26. Paul was selling his cigars 5-7 years ago for $12 a pop. Unheard of at the time. If you act this very moment, you can score a couple, or more, of his 5 packs at CM. I imagine they are beautifully aged.

The Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection is spectacular. A shame it’s not a regular production blend. So, one must act fast because a month or so from now, they will be gone forever.

LAST THIRD:
It’s taken an hour and 30 minutes to get here. Unheard of from this size. Packed to the gills with tobacco and yet a perfect draw. Nice. Not a single construction issue.

The progression of the blend has been in constant flux surprising me with each puff. This is an extremely complex cigar. A cigar you want to hide out in your man cave and smoke in solitary confinement in order to appreciate its offering.
I haven’t had this much fun since my last bowel movement. Old people are always constipated. I don’t know why.

The citrus has accelerated. The spiciness is way out front. The balance is a bit out of whack but I’m not complaining. This is a great cigar and I forgive it for any imperfections.

Just like that, the perfect balance returns. Licorice becomes more prevalent. The cocoa and espresso wane. Creaminess surges. A lovely sweetness permeates the experience. So buttery. Almonds become marzipan. Vanilla is strong. A little bit of banana shows up. (If I had a dollar for every woman that has said that to me…well…).

The finish stands alone…like the cheese. It is so intense that I find myself slowing down to enjoy it.

The second half of the Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection is pure gold. Based on the limited production and the quality of the cigar, more $ could have been charged.
This cigar was blended for sophisticated palates. It may be a little strong for newbies.

I’m on the verge of hallucinations from the nicotine.
The progression of flavors and character is brilliant. Look up premium cigar in the dictionary and a photo of the Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection is depicted.
Get some before they’re gone.

RATING: 95

And now for something completely different:

I have completely run out of memory bank. I have written thousands of reviews in which at least half had rock n roll stories. I spent 10 years in the professional end of the music business. Despite that short time, I remain a lifelong bassist. And now I’m an altakaker.
So, I must repeat stories that old-time readers have read at least once. My apologies to them.

I had just joined the precursor to Curved Air. CA had been dead for two years. Darryl Way, the leader and violinist/keys player was plucked by Miles Copeland III and talked into becoming one of the many acts on his roster. Copeland made his bones with Wishbone Ash, Caravan, Renaissance, Climax Blues Band, and many other bands were on the roster.

Miles promised to build a band around Darryl. When I auditioned, the guitarist Mick and the drummer, Miles’ brother Stewart had already been picked.

The intent was to be an original band with a bluesier feel than the classical progressive sound of CA. So, we had auditions for singers. It was a fucking circus.

And then Butch Hatcher walked in.
Here was another American that was a dead double for Greg Allman. And who played in the Southern rock band, Flatrock.This guy was a character.
We only did one gig with Butch…who was an old carny performer that could spew fire from his mouth. Which is how we ended the gig.

Word got to Darryl that Decca Records wanted their commitment finalized with Curved Air. One last album was due Decca.

The original members of CA went into a meeting and the resolution was a live album. No new songs would need to be written. It could be recorded in just two nights in concert. Some time spent in the studio to mix and produce it. And voila, it was done.

We rehearsed at Miles’ home in St. John’s Wood. Down the street from Abbey Road Studio. Stewart lived just a few doors down from the place and we’d sit on his stoop, smoking herb, while watching tourists trying to get the Beatles crosswalk pic get run over by over anxious Brits.

At the end of one rehearsal, Darryl sprang it on us. This band would have to take a two-month hiatus because Curved Air needed to do a 6-8 week tour and finish a live album.
Then he looked at me and said, “Kohn. You will be the bassist.”
I did a double take.
What?

The original four members and me. And I did not know a single Curved Air song. Two weeks before the first gig, we rehearsed. What a disaster. These guys knew the songs backwards and forwards. Me? I had to take copious notes on my sheet music. We’d play a song and someone would say, “OK. Let’s move on.” We weren’t playing blues changes. These were classical musicians who wrote very complex changes and so I spent days in front of my record player learning the songs on my own.

We did the tour and got tremendous feedback and everywhere we played they went nuts over us. It surprised everyone in the band and associated with the band.

So, another meeting was called. Instead of going out and getting paid 50 pounds per night with Stark Naked, why not reform the band and go back out as CA?
After playing arenas for the first time, I was in.

The guitarist/keys/co-leader Francis Monkman was not asked to join. He and Darryl always butted heads due to huge egos.

And neither was drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa asked to join up. Flo’s mother was the second richest woman in Britain. She came from the long line of Pilkington glass family. So, Flo attended Eton and spoke very slowly like Alfred Hitchcock. To accentuate his speaking style, he preferred Valium as his drug of choice. Every time he spoke, we took a nap. Out of all the CA members, Flo became my best friend. For such a wealthy guy, he was very down to earth. I guess the Valium contributed.

So now, Darryl’s new band became Curved Air with Sonja Kristina.
Butch had to be fired. He and I had become friends. A solid guy and loads of fun.

This was sprung on me at a rehearsal before Butch got there. Darryl was all ego and a big coward. Before a plan could be devised on how to let Butch go, Butch walked in.
I looked at Darryl and he said nothing. The leader of our band didn’t have the balls to fire Butch.

Someone complained we needed an extension cord. Stew said he had a good one at home. Butch volunteered to go get it.
He started to walk out and I urgently looked at Darryl who was ignoring me. He was going to let Butch go on an errand and bring back an extension cord and then fire him. How can you do that to someone?
Just as Butch was about to leave, I stopped him. I said, “Butch, don’t go. Because when you get back we’re going to can your ass.”
Butch froze in a daze.

It was explained to him why this had to be done. I felt the humiliation. This whole thing was so ham handed. But then we were all in our mid 20’s and dumb.

Finally, Darryl got involved. I was the only one to hug Butch and I kept in touch with him while he shacked up with some chick in the record business who got him a new band and a record deal.

To this day, Darryl’s behavior exemplifies the type of man he was. He treated me no better when they fired me over 2 years into me being a member of the band. All political. It had nothing to do with my playing. He had become jealous of me and the attention my playing was getting. He was the STAR! Not the Jew.

I was ashamed of how he treated Butch. And he dumped me without any severance and laid me low in a foreign country. And he could care less.

During the current revival tour, Darryl departed the band after around a year. Sonja told me that his nerves couldn’t take it. And if you go to YouTube and watch some of the reunion tour videos with him in it, he looks miserable.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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5 replies

  1. Thank you, Mr. Kohn. I just picked 10 Phantoms from Cigar Monster, thanks to you. Stulacs are always just a little out of my price range. Keep up the stellar reviews, they are the best out there, by far.

  2. Happy Birthday Charolette. Living with this one hasn’t been easy. Thanks for the review my brother. As always great to see the print..

  3. Snatched a 5 pack of these a month or two ago, and I like them a lot. It’s funny, most of the reviews mention it being very representative of a Nicaraguan puro. Particularly, a Nic puro that uses Aganorsa tobacco. But it’s just so well done, and the flavor intensity is perfect in that 6 x 44 size. I hope it becomes an annual release and isn’t just a one off.

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