In 2016, AGANORSA Leaf’s Max Fernandez Pujals and Warped Cigar’s Kyle Gellis collaborated on a new line called Guardian of the Farm, which was dedicated to some under-appreciated members of the cigar industry, the dogs who guard the AGANORSA farms.
In particular, the line honored four dogs, naming vitolas for the canines.
in 2019, AGANORSA Leaf announced that it would be releasing the first extension to the line, a maduro wrapped cigar that gives a nod to its darker leaf and a work shift: Nightwatch.
“To make a second blend for Guardian of the Farm and our loyal dogs is a blessing,” said Fernández Pujals, in a press release. “Every dog, whether it is one of ours or your own, is commemorated with this cigar.”
The Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch gives the cigar a darker wrapper leaf, specifically a corojo maduro leaf grown in Nicaragua’s Jalapa region. Under that sits a corojo binder that is also from Jalapa and a mix of corojo and criollo fillers grown in Estelí and Jalapa.
It is offered in four sizes, all of which are regular production.
- Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Rambo (4 1/2 x 48) — $8.50 (Box of 20, $170)
- Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Campeon (6 x 52) — $9.20 (Box of 20, $184)
- Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch JJ (5 1/2 x 50) — $9.72 (Box of 20, $194.40)
- Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Orpheus (6 x 44) — $9.96 (Box of 20, $199.20)
Of note, the Campeon is a 109 style head, while the other three sizes are parejos.
- Cigar Reviewed: Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Campeon
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa Corojo Maduro)
- Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa Corojo)
- Filler: Nicaragua (Jalapa & Estelí)
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $9.20 (Box of 20, $184)
- Release Date: August 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
AGANORSA Leaf didn’t need to put the word maduro on the retail sticker to have me guessing that’s what the Guardian of the Farm Campeon is; it’s a very dark, meaty brown color with a bit of an oily sheen and a very fine texture on the fingers that sits between velvet and grit, but more towards the former. Roll-wise, it is clean with invisible seams while feeling a bit firm, with examples varying from the firm but soft to firm and full. The aroma off the foot is mild but has a bit of chocolate brownie and fresh blackberries, as well as varying combinations of the two individual smells. There can be a bit of pepper to be found, though it isn’t consistent across the samples. The cold draw can be a bit firm but not worrisome, while a bit of the chocolate carries over in an even more subdued intensity and now a bit drier, but there’s little sweetness or pepper. One sample tastes a touch damp, even though the cigar gives no indication that it is. It’s also the one that shows a bit of pepper on the lips.
The covered foot delivers a peppery first puff to the cigar, settling down once it burns off and allows for few mellower introductory puffs. After those, the Guardian of the Farm Campeon turns towards pepper and earth, both of which are fairly concentrated as would be expected from a maduro cigar. There’s not much sweetness to be found, though the blackberry note does reappear from time to time as part of the lingering finish more so than on individual puffs. While I had noted that the cold draw felt a bit tight, it loosens a bit right when the first clump of ash drops off, which serves solely to deliver more smoke on each puff. The pepper stays strong; some palates might find it a bit aggressive as a result, but for me it is a few ticks short of being too much. Interestingly, it’s not long into any of the three samples that some variance in strength and the vibrancy of flavor is able to be detected, as the second is markedly more alive than the first. The first third closes with some evolution to the flavor, bringing in the thoroughly baked chocolate brownie note but letting a bit of sweetness tag along, while the pepper gets brighter and the earthiness retreats a touch.
It’s not long into the second third of the Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Campeon that I begin to feel some nicotine strength from the cigar, which I find interesting as the cigar has dialed back the intensity of the flavor a bit. Also, it’s not long into the second third where the burn line starts to go askew, getting jagged in the first sample and angled in the second. Flavors get a bit meatier in this section, an interesting development that adds some familiarity to the profile as well as a good bit of depth, turning a peppery and earthy profile into something savory that lingers on the palate quite enjoyably. The burn rate slows to a crawl through the second third, which I find interesting as the draw has opened up and the air is flowing as freely as it has to this point. The profile has roughened up a bit, getting more rocky and black pepper driven, the latter is contributing more to the physical sensation than the flavor at this point.
The meaty notes that dominated a good chunk of the second third have largely left the Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Campeon by the time its final third gets underway, leaving the flavor to return to the earthier notes of earlier. White pepper has taken the place of the black pepper for the most part, though retrohales still show a good amount of both. The final puffs pick up a bit of chalk and sourness, suggesting the cigar would best be put down with a little over an inch to go in order to avoid a less than ideal ending. The technical aspects have been pretty solid, minus some wrapper issues in the first sample and the third sample needing a couple of relights.
- While I generally don’t prefer belicosos or torpedos, I do have a bit of a fondness for belicosos such as this due to the first Cuban cigar I ever smoked, a Bolívar Belicoso Fino. But had I been presented with all four vitolas, this would not have been the first one I selected.
- The company says that this vitola has a 109 style head, though I didn’t think that when I pulled the first one from the humidor. The first sample appeared to be a belicoso fino, as I think the head was a bit more pointed. The second and third samples were better examples of the 109 vitola.
- The burn line on the first sample got a bit messy thanks to the wrapper splitting. At times it seems like the wrapper didn’t want to burn, as there were a few spots where it just started to peel away and not combust.
- I must say I like the bands on this line, even if the shapes are repetitive. The interlocked letters for Max Fernández and Kyle Gellis are done very well, and the overall design is quite clean.
- AGANORSA Leaf is using the Nicaraguan corojo maduro from Jalapa as wrapper for three of its new releases in the latter half of 2019.
- There is definitely some nicotine strength to be felt from the Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Campeon, as each sample had me reaching for a bit of white sugar to neutralize the nicotine.
- AGANORSA Leaf advertises on halfwheel.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 30 minutes on average.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Corona Cigar Co., Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigar carry the Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Campeon.
If you'd enjoyed the original Guardian of the Farm—as I did—but felt like it needed a stronger version—which I didn't—then the Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch should be right up your alley. It's strong almost immediately out of the gates, and while it takes a few opportunities to let off the gas, it never dips below medium-plus. Earth and pepper are prominent, as is nicotine strength, so should you light one up, be prepared for a strong, flavorful cigar. Personally, I've rarely been let down by the original blend, and save for the occasional desire for something stronger, would probably gravitate towards that cigar, but the Nightwatch certainly delivers on almost every front, only stumbling with some sporadic burn and combustion issues. Top it off with a nod to the canines who guard the tobacco that went into this cigar, a fun intangible that adds a bit of a feel-good backstory, and this is a solid cigar worth giving a shot.