Originally launched in 2011, the JFR brand, which stands for Just For Retailers, is a price-conscious brand that was made to be sold by brick and mortar retailers. Made by Casa Fernández in Estelí, Nicaragua, the line is also known for its multitude of vitolas in larger ring gauges, particularly the 7 x 70 size which it was one of the pioneers of just a few years ago.

In July, Casa Fernández announced plans to release two different lines under the JFR brand: XT Corojo and XT Maduro. Each of the new releases are blended to have more strength and body than the original lines, and each are further differentiated by a the addition of a foot band and a soft box press as well. The JFR XT Corojo uses AGANORSA Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and filler and is covered by a Nicaraguan corojo wrapper, while the XT Maduro incorporates a Mexican San Andrés cover leaf over AGANORSA Nicaraguan tobaccos.

 There will be three different vitolas in the JFR XT Corojo when it launches this month, all in boxes of 24.

  • JFR XT Corojo 654 XT (6 x 54) — $6.92 (Boxes of 24, $166.08)
  • JFR XT Corojo 660 XT (6 x 60) — $7.30 (Boxes of 24, $175.20)
  • JFR XT Corojo 770 XT (7 x 70) — $8.80 (Boxes of 24, $211.20)

JFR XT Corojo 654 XT 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: JFR XT Corojo 654 XT
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Grande
  • MSRP: $6.92 (Boxes of 24, $166.08)
  • Release Date: October 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The JFR XT Corojo is covered in a golden brown wrapper that is silky smooth to the touch with no oil and very few veins visible. There is a cute, stumpy pigtail on the cap, a covered foot, and a soft but noticeable box-press. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of creamy nuts, cedar, hay and leather, while the cold draw brings flavors of popcorn, wood and white pepper, along with a bit of spice on the tongue.

The first third of the JFR XT 654 XT starts with a nice creamy cedar base, along with a noticeably strong leather note as well as other flavors of peanuts, hay and slight vanilla sweetness. There is a slight tingle of spice on the tongue, but it is already fading after 10 puffs or so, although the white pepper on the retrohale stays pretty consistent throughout the first third. Construction-wise, the burn is very good so far, without a need for a touch-up, but the draw is just a bit looser than I would like. The ash is quite flaky, and smoke production is massive, flowing off the foot like a house on fire, while the strength gets nowhere near the medium point by the end of the first third.

JFR XT Corojo 654 XT 2

The sweetness in the blend increases noticeably in the second third, morphing from a vanilla note to more of a nutmeg note, combining well with other flavors of hay, peanuts, earth, leather and cedar. The creaminess from the first third is still present, but much reduced, and the spice on the tongue is long gone by the halfway point. There is still some pepper on the retrohale, but it too has decreased, while the smoke production continues to pour off the foot in dense waves. Thankfully, the draw as tightened up a bit and the burn continues to not give any issues at all, but the strength has really not increased all that much, and ends the second third well short of the medium mark.

JFR XT Corojo 654 XT 3

The final third of the JFR XT loses quite a bit of the sweetness, but adds back in some of the creaminess that defined the beginning of the cigar, along with flavors of cedar, earth, chocolate, hay, nuts and a tiny bit of bitter espresso on the finish. Smoke production continues to be way above normal, but the pepper is all but gone from the retrohale at this point in the cigar. The overall strength has increased from the second third, and comes close to the medium mark, but never actually reaches it before the end of the smoke. The draw and burn continue the trend of giving me no problems at all, and the nub is nice and cool to the touch when I put it down with a little more than an inch left.

JFR XT Corojo 654 XT 4

Final Notes

  • The ash on each and every one of the samples I smoked were noticeably flaky, with small pieces falling off with little to no provocation. Having said that, the main core of ash held on for quite a while, and fell off in one-inch chunks.
  • Most people probably think that the name Just For Retailers means that you will only be able to find these at brick and mortar stores, but it is quite easy to buy them online as well. Where it is challenging to find them is through catalogs.
  • There are already plans in the works for an 8 x 80 version of the JFR line, in case the 7 x 70 was too small.
  • While I usually just pull the pigtail off to open a pathway when they are present on the cap, this did not work with these cigars, as the pigtail pulled too much of the cap off with it, so I had to cut each cigar.
  • You can see halfwheel’s coverage of the Casa Fernández booth at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here
  • The combination of covered foot, slight box-press and small pigtail is an attractive look on a cigar.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by Casa Fernandez, who advertises on the site.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples I smoked averaged one hour and 50 minutes.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar is a JFR dealer and should have the XTs in stock when they are releaser lair this month.
86 Overall Score

I have never been a big fan of the larger JFRs, mostly due to the huge ring gauges that the line is known for, so I was very interested to see what a stronger box-pressed version would taste like. Unfortunately, the actual strength of the cigar came nowhere close to the medium-full mark that was touted, and in fact, stalled out just below medium. Having said that, the profile was quite creamy and sweet at times and had some fairly distinct flavors throughout the cigar that kept me interested, even with the almost two hour smoke time.

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.