While I’ve had my fair share of AGANORSA leaf, most of it has not been in the form of Casa Fernández. Raíces is better known for its long list of clients, notably: Alec Bradley, Illusione, Padilla and Viaje. However, there’s a lot more than just four brands. Notably is Casa Fernández, the brand named after Eduardo Fernández, the head of both AGANORSA (Agricola Norteña S.A.) and Tabacalera Tropical.
- Cigar Reviewed: Casa Fernández Lancero
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’98
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 40
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $7.90 (Box of 20, $158.00)
- Release Date: 2008
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
Eduardo Fernández has always remained sort of in the background. While he is the head of a lot of companies and a known personality in Central America, he really doesn’t make many appearances in the U.S. In fact, I’d wager that if it wasn’t for his current litigation with Pepín García, most would have no clue who Fernández was. Casa Fernández bears his name, a far cry from AGANORSA, Tropical or Raíces Cubanas. The brand was introduced at the 2007 RTDA, shortly after Tropical moved from Nicaragua to its current location, Raíces Cubanas in Danlí, Honduras. Tabacalera Tropical was rebranded as Casa Fernández, although the name is still widely used in the industry, as well as on the Casa Fernández logo. It was until the next year, when the trade show took on a new name, that the lancero was released, making if the fifth format for the cigar. Over the past few years, both Raíces, as well as AGANORSA have become more common names amongst cigar smokers; yet, it seems the signature cigar of the factory is relatively unheard of, and I’m not sure why.
AGANORSA’s Corojo 06 is one of the best wrappers in existence today. It has graced a long list of cigars for a variety of brands and in various formats, and those who have smoked it will be happy to know that it makes an appearance on the Casa Fernández Lancero. It’s a medium brown coffee like hue with great reds. Veins are above average in quantity, but extremely pronounced. Aroma from the AGANORSA leaf is the signature sweet cocoa note, although not as pronounced as on Andre Farkas’ product with some red pepper accompanying the medium-full profile. Packing is an interesting creation, a rather diverse looking image, but most importantly it produces a good amount of firmness. From the bottom, it’s rather similar: sweet AGANORSA cocoa (think peculiar brownie sweetness) with lots of pepper.
From the head of the Raíces’ product, it’s the sweet cocoa and red pepper combination, a bit of herbs adds some depth to the full profile. Lighting brings a toasty pepper scent to the Winston-Salem air, expected as always. Initial draw consists of sweet cocoa transitioning into an average cedar with a bit of pepper, medium-full, but a bit underwhelming.
Sweet cedar, red pepper and cocoa. That’s the core, herbs and vanilla also show themselves, but it’s mainly the main three flavors. The fullness carries over to the finish of the Casa Fernández Lancero, which is mainly cedar and red pepper. Length is a bit above average, but there’s still some room for improvement. Body is full, strength is full, and construction is quite good; welcome to the signature of Raíces Cubanas and master blender Arsenio Ramos.
It becomes sweeter, and spicier. Confusing, but easy to understand. The cedar takes a backset to the battling pepper and cocoa, which sees a medium toastiness underneath help tie everything together. Finish still could be longer, but there are new flavors: cedar up front, caramel, toastiness and herbs. Draw is quite good with an above average amount of spicy aroma coming out. Strength is still full, although getting closer and closer to medium-full. Lightish ash holds for close to two inches, absolutely beautiful thanks to the amazingly consistent burn, which begins to become crooked towards the end of the second third.
There’s a sweetening, but it’s not from the cocoa, more of a molasses flavor. In addition, harshness picks up, the red pepper is gone, replaced by nuts, which join cedar and cocoa. While there’s a lot of changes, it’s mainly a calming of the Casa Fernández. The finish has some increased toastiness, but it’s mainly the core, and much shorter. One of the amazing features of the Casa Fernández is the lack of warming of the smoke. Not a whole changes, construction is about as consistent as Raíces Cubanas gets, which is saying something. At about an inch and a half, I set the remainder of the Casa Fernández Lancero down.
The best way to describe this? What you get when you combine a Illusione ~hl~ (Natural) and a Viaje Platino Lancero. The Casa Fernández is in its own place, but there are hints of the Illusione and the Viaje, which is a great place to start. Simply put, this is the most overlooked full lancero on the market, no questions asked. There's really nothing else to say, it's good and you need to try it.