Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Size: 6.5 x 48 Short Churchill
Today we take a look at the AJ Fernandez Días De Gloria.
I bought a fiver.
According to Tobacco Business:
“The cigar industry’s go-to cigar maker and collaborator has a new brand coming to his own cigar company. A.J. Fernandez’s Días De Gloria will pay homage to pre-Castro Cuba. Translating to “glory days,” Días De Gloria will make its debut at the 2019 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) trade show and convention in Las Vegas.
“Some may recognize Días De Gloria as it had a soft launch in 2017 but was pulled from the market soon after its release by Fernandez who wanted to focus on other brands within his company’s vast portfolio.
“Billed as a nod to Cuba before the Revolution, Días De Gloria is blended with aged tobacco from A.J. Fernandez’s four oldest Estelí, Nicaraguan farms: La Soledad, La Providencia 1, La Lilia and Finca Los Cedros. It’s important to note that some of the tobaccos used to make this special cigar have been aged for up to seven years and that none of the tobacco used in this cigar is actually from Cuba, despite the name.
“I’ve been setting aside tobacco from my oldest farms to create a blend that pays homage to the glory days of Cuba,” said Fernandez of the new release on Facebook.
Días De Gloria will come in 20-count boxes.”
SIZES AND PRICING (About $1.25 less online):
Short Churchill 6.5 x 48 $9.00
Robusto 5.5 x 52 $10.00
Toro 6 x 56 $11.00 (Box Pressed)
Gordo 6 x 58 $12.00
A solid stick with a few veins, invisible seams, no tooth; smooth as a glacier, and a perfectly executed triple cap. No soft or hard spots. The wrapper is a shiny paper bag hue with hints of milk chocolate. The cigar band is ornate; hence the closeup:
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Exotic spices are first up…curry, turmeric, ginger, and balsamic. Right behind is a nice flowing creaminess, a soupçon of black pepper, barnyard, cedar, a touch of floral, burnt oak, vanilla toffee, milk chocolate, a hint of anise, and black currants.
The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, creaminess, milk chocolate, malt, caramel, anise, cedar, barnyard, and black coffee.
The resistance is a little tight for my preferences; so, I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and with one swipe, it is ‘poifect.’ It is the usual plug at the cigar band level.
The first puffs are all AJ…peppery, creamy, heavy, black coffee, fruity, and malty. Also, complexity wastes no time. It is Johnny on the spot. Nice.
An assault of other flavors begin: those exotic spices are in play, brown sugar, very spicy ginger, a non-descript nutty influence, a flaky buttery element ala a croissant, more sweetness comes from black grapes and raisins.
Transitions kick in immediately. The finish is the most surprising component as it covers my teeth like two coats of paint. Very buttery. Making me hungry.
Strength is a solid medium.
Know what I like about most AJ blends? Every time I buy some, I allow them a couple days naked in my humi and try one. I get great gobs of potential allowing me to foresee the future of the blend. Shortly after those couple of days, that peek into the future fades and the sticks need a couple months of humi time.
The complex nature of the blend increases the peace. It is on an upward trajectory with each puff. No turning back and no inconsistencies.
The burn is right on.
All AJ blends have some sort of similar thread running through them that clearly identifies the blender. Same goes for the Días De Gloria. It’s like déjà vu all over again…I’ve been here before.
Which is OK. I would like to see Fernandez make a quantum leap into something really out there and not in his comfort zone. Like the CAO Flathead V19 I just reviewed. What a spectacular cigar. Didn’t see that one coming. AJ needs to do something like that.
The Doobie Brothers are playing. I remember a story from 1984. The band is originally from San Jose, CA. I was living in South Lake Tahoe. A friend and I went down to Santa Cruz and stopped in a little bar right on the ocean. Tiran Porter, the original bassist for the band, had a three-piece band playing sort of a jazz fusion type of thing. Very good and fun. During their break, I invited him to our table. And boy did he let loose on his disdain for the Doobies and their latest direction. He went on and on about how much he disliked Michael McDonald and what he did to the band. It was an eye opener for sure.
At 1-1/2” burned, the blend takes off for the cosmos. The complexity digs its heels in. It is exceptionally impressive. The strength moves on up to medium/full.
The new nature of the cigar forces all those wonderful flavors to morph into one. The spiciness is the only stand-alone element…but it is paired with spicy cinnamon and ginger.
The Días De Gloria is on a new course now. I may have to eat my words about AJ stepping out of his comfort zone. This is not your usual Fernandez blend. This is special…like me in high school when my mother made me wear a helmet in school.
The creaminess is joined by luscious butterscotch. The buttery element is burning a hole through my palate. Never tasted a croissant before in a tobacco blend.
I’ve had the sticks for a month. I tried one a week in and it was nothing like this.
AJ has other sticks in this price range but I’ve had them all, reviewed them all…this is my new fave. You can drink in the extensively aged tobacco. It is so rich that it’s like eating an aged steak or a crazy good cheesecake. The savory and sweet are now perfectly balanced. Beautiful.
The stick is packed to the hilt so it’s a nice slow roll.
Time for a sip of water…yeah, baby…flavors explode like the first time I bought a Playboy from a kid in 7th grade who stole them and sold them for 75 cents.
The water has a smoothing effect on the blend. Everything just spreads out in a 360-degree circle.
No big transition between the first third and the start of the second third. The cigar is on its own recognizance…but doing well.
I find some cigar blends very relaxing. Never configured the physics of that but I do recognize it. The Días De Gloria is a beautifully blended cigar with that aged tobacco really the star of the show. The smoothness is just outstanding. Even at medium/full, I can still see clearly…no nicotine in sight…so to speak.
I believe this Short Churchill size of 6.5 x 48 is right up my alley. And a perfect conveyer of what AJ intended.
The smoke emitting from the cigar is voluminous, so I wear an eye patch over both eyes to protect them from getting watery.
Man, I wasn’t expecting this blend to tickle my fancy in this manner. AJ upped his game with this cigar.
There is a warm bread-like flavor now…coated and slobbered in sweet butter. The usual components of an AJ blend are not front and center…it started out as a heavy blend but has transformed into a very delicate balance of richness and smoothness. The sometimes-heavy handed elements of chocolate and espresso are way in the background; supplanted by all the earlier described exotics.
The spiciness bounces around from black pepper, red pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, jalapeno, and ginger. No doubt, I’m enjoying the experience.
The savory aspects are kept to elements of meatiness, smokiness, and various nut meats.
And now I feel the nicotine. I don’t sense the cigar becoming stronger.
The halfway point is here and the blend is behaving like a sea of swarming simbas.
Only a month of humi time has proved that the cigar has enormous potential. I can only imagine what it will be like with 4 months of humi time. I will exert some discipline and leave the balance of my sticks to reach that point.
I did not find info that says this is a limited edition; so, in the regard of this being a regular production cigar pleases me greatly. Word of mouth and will make this a winner for AJ.
The leaps of complexity only reinforce the beauty of this blend. It is reminiscent of an Isabela blend called Time Traveler. No, it was limited edition and you cannot purchase it. It was out in June, 2017. It had over 3 years of aging on the tobacco and Isabela owner Johnny Piette made the claim that the cigar would change up every ¾”. He was spot on. This Días De Gloria isn’t far off from that concept as it is in constant flux. That’s a good thing for the sophisticated palate. And for those that just know what they like and don’t like.
The cigar is just oozing flavors and highly complimented by balance, smoothness, and intensity.
It’s taken a good 75 minutes to get this far. A slow leisurely experience. Lovely.
The nicotine has calmed way the fuck down. Boy are my arms tired. I remove my eye patches and no longer find myself typing like a chimp on acid.
Second sip of water and bam! It is like putting your mouth underneath a stream of warm melted sweet butter with big dollops of butterscotch.
The nuts make a run for it bringing Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and smoked almonds to the table.
I expected to see the last third go for full strength but it remains at a calmative medium/full. That’s the aged tobacco doing its thing.
The Días De Gloria is now going Bozo crazy on me. A momentous leap of complexity kicks in with explosive consequences. My palate can barely absorb what’s going on. Transitions are going nuts. The finish is nearly overwhelming.
The mélange of spicy components are all over the place. A total bombardment of different influences. Wow.
If you buy your sticks at your local lounge, you will pay full MSRP plus tax. But online, the price drops approximately $1.00+per stick. So, this $9.00 stick can be had for $7.50-$8.00. That’s just bloody crazy. The cigar could easily have been greedily priced at the universal cost of $12. But, you gotta’ shop around.
Everything came together for this blend. It works in perfect harmony. Can you say Ommmm?
And we hit full strength as the cigar starts to peter out.
I highly recommend you snag some Días De Gloria. Don’t be impatient. Let them rest.
I still have three sticks singing their siren songs but I will be strong.
And now for something completely different:
A story I’ve never told before…
It was the late 70’s and I was a sideman in a three-piece rock band. The leader had an in with some kind of fraternal lodge in the touristy mountains surround L.A.
Played with them several times. And the threesome got paid $1200. That’s over $4200 in 2019 dollars.
And then like all bands do, it fell apart. The leader got tired of it all.
He told me I could continue with the gig as he put in a good word with the head Poohbah of the lodge.
I had to put a band together.
No internet back then so I found two musicians the regular way…trolling the musician classifieds.
I spoke to a lot of musicians and decided on a drummer and guitarist that worked together.
We scheduled our first rehearsal a week before the gig.
I offered them $200 each for the gig and they accepted.
Imagine my shock when I saw them drive up in a 1965 VW bus covered in religious stickers…covered the bus completely.
Then the real shock occurred when they got out…the guitarist looked dead nuts exactly like Charles Manson…with a leg missing. Scared the shit out of me.
And no shit, his name was Charlie.
The drummer was fairly normal…as far as drummers go.
The guitarist seemed a little nuts but could play and sing well.
We got to the gig and you could hear a pin drop when the guitarist entered. He was wearing a shiny silver suit with bangles everywhere. His lapels had huge crosses on them.
And when he walked across the room, mouths dropped as the comparison to Manson was not just my impression.
The Grand Poohbah told us to leave. I said pay me and we will go. We were allowed to play.
I had brought a buddy of mine from Long Beach. We drove separately from the other two musicians.
It was quite possibly the weirdest gig I had ever played.
We finished our four sets and I got the dough. Now since it was my gig and I had no intention of playing there again, or playing with Manson and his drummer ever again, I paid them $200 each. I pocketed the rest of the dough.
We went to a local Denny’s after the gig. The boys in the band got wind that I had not split the dough equally and refused to sit with Doug and me.
We kept getting the stink eye from their table. Doug was freaked as having a Manson clone staring at us with evil eyes caused him to want to leave immediately.
We finished our fine crap Denny’s food and were on our way. I went over to the guys’ table and reached my hand out to thank them for the gig. They refused to shake my hand. I didn’t care. I felt lucky I didn’t get my throat slit.
Doug and I headed out to the parking lot and saw that someone had flattened all four tires of the VW bus. Holy shit.
We made a beeline out of there.
Never heard from Charlie again.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS