A new full production release from A.J. Fernández was blended as a tribute to the past.

The company’s regular production line is named Días de Gloria—which translates to glory days—and is meant to harken back to the cigars that were once smoked by Ismael Fernández, the father of company founder Abdel Fernández, when he was living in his native Cuba.

In terms of the blend, Días de Gloria incorporates all Nicaraguan tobaccos that are grown on Fernández’ farms in Estelí. “These are the four oldest farms I own and I’ve been setting aside tobacco from each farm and aging it for years for this blend,” said Fernandez in a press release. “I want everyone to enjoy it like the glory days of old Cuba.”

There are four different vitolas of Días de Gloria, each packaged in boxes of 20.

  • Días de Gloria Short Churchill (6 1/2 x 48) — $9 (Box of 20, $180)
  • Días de Gloria Robusto (5 1/2 x 52) — $10 (Box of 20, $200)
  • Días de Gloria Toro (6 x 56) — $11 (Box of 20, $220)
  • Días de Gloria Gordo (6 x 58) — $12 (Box of 20, $240)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Días de Gloria Short Churchill
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Estelí)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Estelí)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí)
  • Length: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Short Chuchill
  • MSRP: $9 (Box of 20, $180)
  • Release Date: August 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

It is extremely hard to see much of anything on the Días de Gloria due to the overwhelming number of items covering the cigar, but once I remove the cedar wrap, I am rewarded with the sight of an extremely attractive milk chocolate brown wrapper that features just a bit of tooth and plenty of oil. There are very few overt veins present and the cigar is nicely firm when squeezed, although I do notice a small soft spot just below the secondary band on one sample. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet hay, manure, leather, cloves, dark chocolate and popcorn while the cold draw brings flavors of the same leather, oak, cocoa nibs, hay, black pepper and a bit of spice on my tongue.

Starting out the first third, the profile of the Días de Gloria Short Churchill is almost shockingly rich, with a dominant combination of leather and nuts, followed by notes of hay, lemon citrus, fresh ground coffee, cloves and a touch of cinnamon. There is some noticeable jalapeño heat on the finish as well as some obvious spice on my tongue, along with some generic vanilla sweetness that comes an goes. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, and while the burn is far from razor sharp, it is also far from needing correcting so far. Smoke production is copious without going overboard, while the overall strength rises slowly, hitting a point between mild and medium by the end of the first third.

Both the dominant combination of leather and nuts on the palate as well as the jalapeño heat on the finish continue to get stronger as the second third of the Short Churchill begins, combining nicely with lesser flavors of creamy hay, dank earth, cloves, bread, cinnamon and dry tea leaves that ebb and flow. While there is still a noticeable amount of spice on my tongue carried over from the first third, it is nowhere near as as strong and seems to be fading quickly as the second half begins while the vanilla sweetness remains fainter than I would like. The draw is still excellent and the burn has evened up a bit, while the smoke production continues to pour off of the foot with no signs of slowing down. Strength-wise, the cigar easily hits the medium mark by the halfway point, although it seems content to stay there as the second third ends.

Unfortunately, the final third of the Días de Gloria Short Churchill shifts gears almost completely, and not in a good way: instead of the rich flavors of the previous two thirds, the profile ends up being dominated by an almost overwhelmingly strong oak note that kills not only the complexity that was present but also the balance. There are still some lesser flavors of espresso beans, leather, earth, almonds and floral, but they are less distinct by this point, meaning they have significantly less impact overall. Having said that, the construction is still very good overall, including an excellent draw, a slightly wavy burn plenty of thick smoke. Finally, the overall strength level ends up hitting a point a tad north of medium just as I put the nub down with a bit more than an inch to go.

Final Notes

  • While the Días de Gloria might be a new line for most, a version of the cigar was actually released to retailers in the summer of 2016 in order to beat the deadline for regulation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which state that any new cigar introduced after Aug. 8 of that year would be subject to pre-approval before the cigars were able to be sold.
  • While it seems to be missing now, back in 2016 Fernández’s website indicated that prices for the Días de Gloria would be substantially lower than they are selling for now after they were officially launched.
  • The combination of main band, secondary band and cedar wrap—with red ribbon on the foot—means that about 80 percent of the total cigar is not visible.
  • Regardless of the fact that a Churchill vitola is typically seven inches long, I am not sure that any cigar coming in at 6 1/2 inches should be called “short.”
  • Other than a couple of touch ups in the first third on one of the samples and one touch up in the final third on another, the overall construction was excellent.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged one hour and 39 minutes across the three samples.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Días de Gloria cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Famous Smoke Shop and Gotham Cigars all have them in stock.
88 Overall Score

This is one of those reviews where a specific section of the cigar makes a major impact on the final score. After starting out rich and savory—along with quite a bit more spice than I was expecting, considering the age of the tobacco used—the profile of the Días de Gloria Short Churchill turns almost overwhelmingly woody in the final third, leading to not only less complexity but also less enjoyment overall. Having said that, there are moments of brilliance to be found in first two thirds of the blend, including flavors of lemon citrus and cinnamon that consistently showed up in the first half, along with some very distinct jalapeño heat on the finish. While I wish the last third was more like the first two and that there was a bit more sweetness in the blend overall, there is no doubt that the Días de Gloria is an excellent tribute to days gone by and well worth tracking down.

Brooks Whittington

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.