It was almost a month ago that we started our 2011 IPCPR cigar reviews, and we are still going strong, there are so many cigars to find and review that it makes this time of year very time consuming, but fun!

In continuing we arrive at today’s review, the new San Lotano Oval made by none other than AJ Fernandez at his factory Tabacalera Fernandez in Estelí, Nicaragua! Not too long ago I reviewed the San Lotano Habano which was AJ’s first solo nationally distributed cigar and is a cigar that was reborn (so to speak) in that the name was taken from a cigar brand his grandfather created in San Luis, Cuba many decades ago.

Alex Svenson of had spoken to AJ personally about the San Lotano Oval blend and Alex had this to say:

The wrapper is h2000 grown in Ecuador. It is top ligero priming which he has just enough of to jive with the limited release qty. So think ruination wrapper but darker and stronger. He is also using some of that special Honduras stuff from the new region in the filler. Aside from the Honduran filler which is still pretty new, all other tobaccos are at least 4 years old and some up to 7 years aged. He says the cigar is made from a lot of his favorite tobaccos from vintage years and he is very excited about it.

The San Lotano Oval will be available in six sizes and contrary to earlier reports, are being sold in boxes of twenty. Sizes are:

  • San Lotano Oval Petit Robusto (4 1/2 x 54)
  • San Lotano Oval Corona (5 x 54)
  • San Lotano Oval Robusto (5 1/2 x 54)
  • San Lotano Oval Toro (6 x 54)
  • San Lotano Oval Gordo (6 1/2 x 60)
  • San Lotano Oval Pyramid (6 1/2 x 54)

San Lotano Oval Petit Robusto 1.png

  • Cigar Reviewed: San Lotano Oval Petit Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras & “AJ’s Secret Filler”
  • Size: 4 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Petit Robusto
  • MSRP: $8.30 (Boxes of 20, $166.00)
  • Release Date: August 2011
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Limited Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The cigar itself is very unique looking, it shows a lot of similarities to the San Lotano Habano I reviewed previously, but it has a much darker shade wrapper which comes from the high priming Ligero they chose to use. The cigar has an interesting shape to it. It’s simply oval (go figure!) with a sort of flat bottom and rounded top, it has a few prominent veins running along the side. It’s slightly toothy but has a smooth feel and an overall leathery look to it. It smells of sweet chocolate, manure and coffee. The cold draw brings on flavors of aged wood, leather and a mushroom type flavor that is very pleasant.

Starting off in the first third the cigar is quite smooth and flavorful right away, I get flavors of coffee bean, leather, dark chocolate and a touch of spice and pepper, its medium body with a long woody finish.

San Lotano Oval Petit Robusto 2.png

Coming into the second third the cigar transitions nicely, I start to get a nice mellow cedar as well as some dark chocolate, coffee and leather. The spice and pepper is still present and it leaves a little tingle on the tongue and through the nose. There is a touch of nuts, chocolate sweetness and wood on the finish. Great burn, great performance

San Lotano Oval Petit Robusto 3.png

Finishing up in the final third the cigar switches up again and gets very toasty, there is a real rich nuttiness but it’s a roasted type of nut flavor, there is also a core earthiness, it tastes of wet earth, vegetation and mushrooms. The finish is long and complex with dark chocolate, toasty flavors, earth and leather. The pepper and spice are present as well giving it great balance and complexity.

San Lotano Oval Petit Robusto 4.png

Final Notes

  • I found this to be very similar to the San Lotano Habano, but with an increase in flavor, balance and overall smoothness. This cigar is extremely smooth and it switches up quite a bit and keeps things very interesting. It definitely shows aged tobacco and sets itself apart from the regular line. I also found the Oval to be more Medium bodied where the Habano was more medium- full.
  • I only smoked two of the vitolas, the Petit Robusto for the review and I also smoked the Pyramid for comparison and I have to say that the Petit Robusto was better, aside from the fact that I like the vitola better it offered a smoother smoke and it was a touch more flavorful with a little more sweetness than the Pyramid. Both were very good smokes and I think anyone would be happy with either.
  • AJ has found a real winner with these San Lotano blends and I hope he continues to exercise is creative ability and do more with them, I also love the fact that they are only available at brick and mortar stores, you will not find these online and in this day in age with all the taxes and hurdles the local cigar shop has its nice that manufacturers are creating special stuff for them.
  • Alot of you are probably a little disappointed with all the large ring gauges on the sizes, but to be honest the ones I smoke didn’t seem that big at all, the Oval shape really disguises the fact that they are large, the 54 gauge that i smoked felt like a 52.
  • Final Smoking time was 50 minutes.
93 Overall Score

I could definitely see this cigar as being on my top ten list for the year so far, I could say that about the regular San Lotano Habano line, but this takes it even further for me, a great innovative shape, perfect vitola, wonderful smooth flavor profile, a complex and interesting smoke. I will definitely be buying some of these and checking out the rest of the sizes because i was extremely impressed with this cigar.

Steve Valle

Steve Valle wrote for Smoking Stogie, a precursor to halfwheel, from 2010-2011.