While you would not be blamed for lancero being the first thing you think of when you hear STOGIES World Class Cigars, the Houston, Texas-based retailer gets a number of exclusive releases every year that have nothing to do with the long and skinny vitola.
A good case in point is the STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive, a 5 1/4 x 54 robusto extra that was released the retailer’s third annual Big Damn Cigar Jamboree & Wingding, which took place on Oct. 15. Limited to just 50 boxes of 10 cigars priced at $8, the blend is made up of an Ecuadorian habano oscuro wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua.
- Cigar Reviewed: STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $8 (Boxes of 10, $80)
- Release Date: Oct. 15, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 50 Boxes of 10 Cigars (500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive is covered in dark chocolate brown wrapper that is silky smooth to the touch but does feature a number of prominent veins running up and the length. There is a touch of oil present, and the cigar is just short of rock hard when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong cedar, dark chocolate, manure, leather tack and earth, while the cold draw brings flavors of leather, cocoa nibs, yeast, anise, mesquite and a touch of lacquer.
The STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive starts off the first third with a very obvious and dominant leather note, interspersed with lesser flavors of cocoa nibs, gritty earth, salty almonds, hay, cedar and bread. There is a touch of indeterminate sweetness on the retrohale, as well as some fairly significant black pepper and a touch of spice on my tongue. Construction-wise, the draw is a tad open after a simple straight cut, and while the burn is far from razor sharp, it is also far from needing to be corrected so far. The smoke production is massive off of the foot, and the overall strength hits the medium mark right before the end of the first third, although it seems content to stay there for the moment.
The leather continues to be the dominant note in the second third of the A.J. Fernández exclusive, although the salty almonds note from the first third has increased in strength noticeably as well. Other flavors include creamy cedar, hay, yeast, baker’s spices and espresso beans, along with slightly more distinct sweetness on the retrohale that reminds me faintly of caramel. Thankfully, the draw has tightened up nicely and the burn continues to give me no issues whatsoever, other than not being razor sharp. The smoke production continues to flow off of the foot of the cigar like a house on fire, and the strength began increasing again around the halfway point, ending up just short of the full mark by the time the second third comes to an end.
While the sweetness has continued to increase during the final third of the STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive, it is still far from a dominant note in the profile, and still reminds me slightly of caramel. In fact, the dominant flavor in the profile remains a creamy leather note, followed by other flavors of hay, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, gritty earth, bread and anise. The draw continues to impress, but the burn is actually wavering quite a bit, forcing me to touch it up before it get out of control, and the smoke production has decreased slightly compared to the first two thirds. Strength-wise, the STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive ends the cigar just about where it began in the final third, just shy of the full mark.
- The box these cigars came in positively reeked of lacquer, the point where we took the cigars out and put them in a separate bag and quarantined the box. Thankfully, it did not seem to affect the cigars themselves other than a slight note on the cold draw, but I would be concerned about cigars that were kept in the boxes for any length of time if they are all like that.
- Just one week after debuting the STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive, A.J. Fernandez showed off another exclusive, the Tampa Humidor AJ Fernández Exclusive, which was produced for Tampa Humidor’s Cigar Bash.
- I find it interesting that the band on this release says nothing at all about STOGIES, the Big Damn Cigar Jamboree & Wingding, or really anything at all. In fact, all that is on the white band are the words by AJ Fernandez.
- Both A.J. Fernández and STOGIES World Class Cigars advertise on halfwheel.
- The final smoking time for all three samples was a relatively quick one hour and 25 minutes.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
Based on the three samples I tried, the blend of the STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive is a bit inconsistent, with one sample really standing out and featuring a dominant maple sweetness that was sadly not even close to as prominent in the other two cigars. Having said that, the construction was fine for the most part, and the flavors that were present were distinct and melded together well. In the end, the STOGIES World Class Cigars A.J. Fernández Exclusive is a decent cigar and one that is well worth trying if you run across them, but I would not go out of your way to look for them.