New World Puro Especial by AJ Fernandez
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
What’s this, another new blend from AJ Fernandez? Well, sort of. As noted by Cigar Aficionado, “It should be noted that the New World Puro Especial was released in limited quantities last year under the name Habano Especial. Puro Especial is the final brand name and will see national release after the trade show.” A Nicaraguan puro with aged (3 to 5 years) tobaccos chosen from various Fernandez farms in Esteli, this offering from AJ and his father Ismael was officially introduced at the 2017 IPCPR trade show. Available sizes are Short Churchill 6 x 48, Robusto 5½ x 52 and Toro 6½ x 52 in boxes of 20. Although not as low priced as the original New World, the Puro Especial is still consumer friendly, with prices ranging from $8 -$9.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Esteli Criollo ‘98
Binder: Nicaraguan Esteli
Filler: Nicaraguan Esteli
Size: Toro 6½ x 52
Smoking time: One hour, thirty-five minutes
Pairing: Skookum Brewery Murder of Crows oak aged Imperial Stout (ABV 9%)
The New World Puro Especial comes draped in a rustic dark brown leaf that has lighter and darker areas, multiple fine to medium veins, and a splotch of vegetable glue in one spot. It has a slight sheen at the cap, but mostly has a matte finish and somewhat velvety, albeit lumpy, feel to it, and the pack is very firm throughout. The primarily red, gold, and white bands stand out well against the dark color of the wrapper leaf. Taking a sniff of the wrapper, I pick up earth and tart barnyard scents, while the foot gives up cocoa tinged natural tobacco and dark wood. The cold draw shows sweet cedar and a hint of spice.
Right off the bat, sweet dark cedar hits the palate, along with earth and some meatiness, as the New World Puro Especial puts out gobs of smoke with little effort. Pungent pepper plays on both the palate and retrohale, as the sweetness soon fades and the earthiness steps up. The burn has been uneven, but is trying its best to even itself out as it leaves a trail of brown tinged medium gray ash that hangs on for just over an inch. Bitter coffee has moved in as the wood has turned to oak. Nearing the end of the first third, the pepper has dropped significantly and leather and a bit of sweet musk have come into the fold.
The New World Puro Especial has entered its second third with a slight drop from near medium-full to more of a medium body with a comfortable smoothness and a small bump up in sweetness. While still a bit wavy, the burn has pretty much evened itself out. A mineral-like note has joined in, as the cigar’s body again begins to climb up and the pepper flavor becomes more noticeable. As the middle third winds down, the coffee notes become more prominent.
The sweet musk moves forward as the New World Puro Especial continues into its final section, driven by the wood, coffee, pepper, and musk, while remaining smooth on entry. The cigar winds up at medium-full in body and medium in strength, smoking cool and very firm down to the nub, with no corrections or re-lights needed throughout.
The New World Puro Especial hits all of the plus points for me. Enjoyable flavors, decent complexity, excellent construction and burn properties all at a friendly price add up to a cigar I can easily recommend to nearly all smokers from the experienced to novices looking to get into something with a little more body and power. I would love to grab a few of the Short Churchill vitola, since that size is right up my alley, but hell, I’ll gladly light up any of them for an enjoyable smoke.
You can get the New World Puro Especial from our friends over at Cuenca Cigars.
Hailing from Skookum Brewery in Arlington, WA, Murder of Crows Imperial Stout is aged on Old Crow oak cubes, boasting an ABV of 9%. Although the bourbon properties are a little understated, the flavors of prune, mocha, dark caramel, and roasty malts on a medium bodied mouthfeel are pretty damned nice and paired up beautifully with the New World Puro Especial. Most stouts or porters, or a Belgian quad would also do well, as would a nice rich port.