In 2013 Casa Fernández celebrated its 35th anniversary with the Aniversario Bohème No. 35, then for the next two years released new Aniversario blends to continue the celebration. When the 2015 Aniversario releases were announced however, it was hinted that it would potentially be the end of the series. The next year came and went without an announcement of a new version, and now halfway through 2017 it appears that the line has been abandoned.
When I reviewed the 2014 Ares release, it had a wonderful start and was on track to be a spectacular cigar, though after the first third the cigar spiraled downward into a disaster of relights and harshness, I wanted to put the last sample I had away for a few years and revisit it later. A few months short of the three year mark I found it in my humidor and thought now was as good a time as any. Here’s what I originally had to say about the cigar:
From the beginning, I had high hopes for this cigar. The appearance was very pleasing, the cold draw was delectable and the first half an inch or so of the cigar really had me thinking I was in for an enjoyable two hours. Unfortunately, things devolved fairly quickly, first starting with some construction issues and then continuing with a profile that just seemingly fell apart. As good as the cold draw was it makes me think that the tobacco and blend were both on point but the construction issues affected the profile too much. It’s possible I got two bad samples and I’m hoping that’s the case, but for now, I personally won’t be seeking any more of these out.
- Cigar Reviewed: Casa Fernández Aniversario Serie 2014 Ares
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Casa Fernández Miami
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $12.50 (Boxes of 10, $125.00)
- Release Date: August 8, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
One thing I do remember from my original review was how delightfully soft and supple the wrapper was, though that no longer seems to be the case. It is still fairly soft and a bit oily, but not nearly as much as before. It has firmed up a bit as well, with only a slight bit of give and certainly closer to what I would call firm as opposed to the soft side. Light hay and nuts still emanate from the wrapper, though the cold draw still brings a rich, pastry-like profile made up of hay, toasted almonds, powdered sugar and vanilla.
Starting into the first third I’m reminded again why I enjoyed the initial profile so much, with sweet fruits, smoky oak, almonds, hints of vanilla and just a touch of black pepper. About an inch in and both the black pepper and smoky oak notes grow, becoming much more dominant and bringing the sweetness of the profile down a notch. Moving into the second third sees the black pepper go from a dominant flavor to an overbearing note, drowning out the sweet fruits and subtle notes, shifting the smoky oak into a charred meaty note and generally moving into harsher territory. Pepper, charred meat and a new earth note are all that’s left by the end of the second third. The final third doesn’t see much change past becoming more harsh, getting to the point where even the pepper and meaty note aren’t all that enjoyable anymore.
Starting into the first third the Ares seems to want to burn even, producing a fairly sharp burn line, dense ash and plenty of smoke. About an inch in though, the cigar starts tunneling quite noticeably on one side while the rest of the cigar doesn’t even want to ignite. Getting it all going again, I don’t see anymore problems until I reach the second third, which sees the need of my lighter once again. The once dense ash has started to become a little flaky, dropping ash on my laptop and lap at a slightly annoying rate. Another touch-up is required right past the halfway mark when a quarter of the cigar starts lagging behind the rest. The final third doesn’t see much change to the pattern, with another couple of touch ups needed when one part of the cigar decides to either burn too slowly or too quickly.
Generally speaking unless burn and construction issues are due to over or under humidification, aging a cigar won’t fix how it was rolled. I was hoping some time would reduce the harshness and black pepper that dominates the Casa Fernández Aniversario Serie 2014 Ares in the last half, but it seems that there was almost no reduction in those notes. The first third was still quite enjoyable, and I certainly wish I could have enjoyed that for the entire length, but it wasn’t the case in 2014 and it isn’t the case today. Thankfully Casa Fernández seemed to get the formula right again for the 2015 release, of which the Voleur ranked number 11 on our 2015 top 25 list. So if they do decide to bring it back, hopefully we see something closer to that one instead.