AJ Fernandez Buying Guide
Few manufacturers are as prolific today as AJ Fernandez. His factory is responsible for a plethora of highly-rated blends both for himself and for other companies. Just in the past few years, he has made award-winning blends for Foundation, AUSA, Southern Draw, and General. On top of this, AJ has his own name brand lines that have garnered critical acclaim.
For this edition of our Buying Guide Series, we will be looking at AJs own brands. If we included cigars he did for other companies, this list would be way too long. With that said, we are pleased to present our AJ Fernandez Buying Guide.
AJ Fernandez San Lotano Habano
AJ first gained recognition in the cigar industry with some private label blends he made for several large retailers. Following this, he created his first name-brand line, the San Lotano. This is the cigar that really made aficionados begin to pay attention. He uses classic Cuban techniques to create a smooth yet incredibly flavorful cigar.
The San Lotano Habano is hand-rolled with aged Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos. This creates a meaty and zesty core with some earthy notes. It is then finished with a seamless Brazilian Habano wrapper. Notes of dark pepper combine with touches of leather and oak, making this an intense yet subtle smoke. For his first official release, AJ made quite an impression.
AJ Fernandez San Lotano Connecticut
San Lotano became the foundation of the AJ lineup. As with any solid and well-rounded cigar line, AJ saw the need to add a more mellow yet still flavorful blend. This is where the San Lotano Connecticut was born. We are in the era of more flavorful Connecticut cigars, and this blend from AJ is right up there with the best of them.
Whereas many manufacturers would keep the same blend and just add a new wrapper, AJ completely re-worked the blend of the San Lotano to make it better mesh with the new wrapper. It is rolled with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, followed by a stout Honduran binder. It is then cloaked with a golden brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
Notes of nuts, cream, and hay are delivered with each puff, as well as undertones of dark earth and milk chocolate. This is a solid addition to the San Lotano lineup and a fan favorite among Connecticut smokers.
New World by AJ Fernandez
The New World line has been described as AJ’s budget line. I disagree entirely. What we have here is an outstanding premium cigar, that also happens to be inexpensive compared to other AJ lines. The New World has been named to the Best Buys list several times and is considered one of the best cigars in the industry at its price range. It takes its name from the Age of Discovery when European explorers first came to the New World and discovered the wonder of tobacco.
The New World is rolled by hand using vintage tobaccos from AJs own farms. It uses Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos for a zesty yet slightly sweet core. The wrapper is a dark and flavorful Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf that is bristling with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and earth. This well-balanced cigar is the perfect everyday smoke for the seasoned aficionado.
Bellas Artes Maduro
If you are a fan of a bold and rich Maduro smoke, this blend from the Bellas Artes line is perfect for you. Bellas Artes was already a fan favorite among AJ followers both for its blend and its luxurious look and feel. When AJ released the Maduro version, it received even more fanfare and critical acclaim. What makes it a favorite of mine Is that AJ is able to achieve those typical Maduro flavors and moments, but in unique and specialized ways.
The cigar starts out with aged Nicaraguan tobacco from Esteli. This is followed by a rich Mexican San Andres binder, which gives it those sweet, chocolate notes. The wrapper is an oily and dark Brazilian Maduro leaf. It is both rich and zesty, offering up hints of earth, leather, dark fruits, and white pepper. This cigar creates a lot of flavors and a lot of smoke, which is all I am looking for in a solid Maduro.
Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez
The Ramon Allones line is not as well-known as some of the other heritage brands, but to true aficionados, it has always been a respected line. General Cigar was responsible for making the non-Cuban version for years until they eventually gave it over to legendary blender AJ Fernandez.
In the summer of 2018, AJ released his version of the Ramon Allones, and it has since been heralded as not only one of the finest cigars to carry the name but also one of AJs finest cigars. It uses a Habano Oscuro wrapper, giving it deep notes of espresso and sweet spice. Its construction is nearly perfect and it is incredibly visually appealing. Not only did the new Ramon Allones showcase the talents of AJ to an even wider audience, but it also helped breathe life into a brand that many felt was on its last legs.
As a special treat, we are adding in an extra, very limited cigar to this guide. The Pinolero is one of the strongest cigars AJ has ever made. It was made an event only cigar just last year, but we were able to garner a few to share with our loyal customers. The Pinolero is a Nicaraguan puro that has long been seen as the Holy Grail of AJ cigars.
While we won’t have this regularly on the website, it is among one of my favorites from AJ and when the opportunity came to add a few to our buying guide, I jumped at the chance.