Earlier this year, attendees of factory tours at A.J. Fernandez’s Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. began posting about various new projects that he was working on, one of which was known simply as Last Call.
As the story goes, the cigar would get handed out to guests staying at the company’s large Casa Blanca house during the last quarter of NFL games. Eventually, it was decided that the cigar would be released as part of the new Portfolio Series, a collection of private blends and limited edition products made with other tobaccos.
Last Call measures 4 1/2 x 48 with a covered foot and uses an Ecuadorian habano rosado wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers grown by Fernandez. It’s priced at $5 per cigar and packaged in boxes of 25, which are offered only to the company’s brick and mortar accounts.
- Cigar Reviewed: Last Call
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $5 (Boxes of 25, $125)
- Release Date: April 6, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The cigar features a retro-looking band with red text over an off-white background. It’s a bit of an interesting contrast to the boxes which uses gold lettering on a darker wood color, something that looks a lot more modern. That being said, I like the look. Covered feet are certainly less noticeable than they once were, but I’ve always been fond of them. The darker Ecuadorian wrapper smells of oatmeal cookies with some milder leather and barnyard behind it. Oddly, the foot smells quite different with a sweet milk chocolate breaking through over top some leather and acetone. The cold draw is rather open, which causes some concern, and features a sweet chocolate milkshake over a bit of that acetone flavor.
Last Call starts open with a toasty profile surrounded by a mild paprika on the middle of the tongue, spoiled vanilla, cedar, chalkiness and a red pepper on the back of the throat. There’s definitely a youth factor—with the flavors full, vibrant and slightly masked—but I enjoy how they work together. The draw tightens a bit as the cigar burns down and the flavor begins to settle down. It’s still toasty: a mixture of woods, burnt grass and charred meats. The sharp red pepper remains on the back of the throat while the retrohales show a different spice base and some defined lemon. While the strength and flavor are both full, the body is a bit thin, right around medium.
Things smooth out in the second third with an almond and walnut mixture taking over the reigns from the tastiness, while underneath is creamy cedar and dates. The paper is still very much present, but this A.J. Fernandez creation now has more developed pepper on the back end. Midway through, oak really becomes a centerpiece of the cigar starting with the finish, but slowly creeping up towards the front of the palate. After the halfway point, a cacao flavor takes over for the oak which has fully left the finish. Construction remains great with the draw continuing to tighten ever so slightly and smoke production and burn remaining consistent.
For the first time since lighting up, I’m inclined to peg Last Call as something other than full. The strength and flavor intensity both retreat a bit to medium-full and the flavors themselves become a lot less aggressive. While oak remains the dominant note, there’s a white bread, lemon and some herbal gin-like notes melding together. The flavors are much more compact, more challenging to differentiate where they are hitting the palate, and a bit quicker than before. Smoke production slows down a bit after the one-inch mark, but each sample burns to the end without so much as a touch-up.
- I am sort of surprised it took someone this long to name a cigar last call given its popularity in bars and this industry’s habit of hanging around bars.
- This certainly marks a departure from typical A.J. Fernandez packaging. It will be interesting to see where the company goes, particularly considering the already-announced trade show release, Bellas Artes, looks like similar packaging the company has used.
- I was pretty concerned with the draw given just how open it was despite the covered foot, fortunately, once the cigar was lit it continued to tighten gradually as it burned down.
- In the press release, Abdel Fernandez described drinking the cigar alongside a Cuban coffee, I certainly get the wake me up appeal as the strength is full.
- Cigars for this review were sent by A.J. Fernandez, which advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 25 minutes on average, so perhaps I should start smoking this cigar after halftime.
I certainly enjoyed smoking the Last Calls. Thanks to my utterly slow smoking pace, it’s not a particularly quick cigar for me, but that’s just fine. This is a strong, young cigar; one that will likely taste a lot different in six months. That being said, I think the blend makes sense now: a bit aggressive up front while smoothing towards the end. For those wondering between Last Call or New World, I like the former, just not for breakfast.