2018 Awards: Factory of the Year


After walking away with an honorable mention in both 2016 and 2017, you might say that this year’s winner of our Factory of the Year award is on fire.

Factory of the Year: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.

Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. is an Estelí-based factory that produces cigars for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Altadis U.S.A., Caldwell, Foundation, General Cigar Co., La Palina, Southern Draw and owner Abdel Fernández’s eponymous brand. Put simply, the factory not only produced an enormous number of new cigars this year, but also a large number of very good cigars.


Of course, this award is not solely about the number of cigars a factory produces, or how many companies entrust their products and reputation to it, or even how many great scores its cigars garnered; if it was, there would be very different winners in each of those categories. However, when you combine all of those attributes into a spreadsheet, Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. came out on top, garnering at least a top-five rating from each of the four halfwheel voters.

Honorable Mentions: Cigars Davidoff, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A., Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A. and Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.

0 Overall Score

Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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