San Lotano Maduro Toro, by A.J. Fernandez
Wrapping up a long week, I bring you this week’s review: A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano Maduro.
Abdel J. Fernandez has been a big name in the cigar industry as of late. Mostly because of his Manowar, Diesel, and Ave Maria blends, but it looks like he is starting to get away from the vendor exclusive market and distribute cigars on his own. The San Lotano line is one of the first one of these blends that the consumer will be able to find in their common brick and mortar shops.
The Good Stuff: The San Lotano line is being produced in Esteli, Nicaragua and comes in three different blends. The Habano, the Connecticut, and the Maduro. I smoked through all three, in different sizes as well and I have to say that I enjoyed the Maduro the most. A neat side note is that so many people I spoke with were blown away by the Habano. This just shows A. J.’s skill, and reach to the subjectivity of cigar smokers today. This is something that can make or break any manufacturer. Not to mention you can now find them on twitter (@AJFCigars), and they are actually very active, informational, and just a blast to talk with.
Size: 6 x 52 (Box Pressed)- Wrapper: Mexican Maduro – Binder (dual): Honduran and Dominican – Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan – Body: Medium
Prelight: The San Lotano Maduro is a beautiful, box-pressed, toro cigar. The wrapper is the wonderful, deep, dark, brown so dark that it is almost black. The wrapper has a nice little gleam to it too making this cigar look like nothing more than a chunk of dark chocolate with some cigar bands on it. The thick, and EXTREMELY firm body carries minor, very small veins, and no soft spots leading up to the rounded off double-cap. The band on the entire San Lotano line is black, with a gold, orange, and green crest holding the “San Lotano” name as well as a gold banner with “By A.J. Fernandez” and some small circular pictures showing tobacco production. There is also a secondary black and gold embossed band that simply states “Maduro”.
The San Lotano Maduro gives off this massive chocolate and mossy smell. The foot carries the same aroma only its amplified by ten. The cap was very easy to clip using my double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces a really strong chocolate taste, with a bunch of spice and a little leather off the tail end.
First Smoke: Just as the prelight, and cold draw characteristics suggested this San Lotano Maduro starts out with a crap load of dark chocolate and spice. After the spice settles a bit the San Lotano shows its true colors with a much more bolder, chocolate, coffee, and leather flavor with just a little bit of fruit. This cigar really doesn’t give off much, if any stationary smoke, however the draw was thick and plentiful. The burnline is phenomenal, dead on and razor sharp leaving behind a nice semi-compacted trail of light and medium grey ash. Which held on for about an inch and a half before giving way.
Halfway There: The flavors really mellowed out into the second third of this San Lotano Maduro. Which really caught me off guard as the first third finished off with the crazy spice build up. The flavors are still chocolate dominant with a smooth woodsy backing and hints of fruit. They just aren’t as powerful as they were. The retrohale however is rocking with just a ton of spice and chocolate. The burnline is still just perfect and I am only feeling very slight nicotine teases at this point.
Finish: Although the final third of this San Lotano Maduro finished a lot milder than I would have liked, the flavors did really ramp back up towards the end. The main flavor all the way through was the chocolate. In the final third more of the cedar and tobacco flavors snuck it carrying a bit more of that fruit along with it. The cigar had just a slight amount of harshness into the nub, but nothing off-putting. I felt no nicotine, and the cigar took about and hour and forty five minutes to take down.
Overview: I honestly love the new stuff AJ has been coming out with, this maduro was no exception. My only gripe is the size. A smaller, stouter vitola would make this a perfect everyday cigar. I just haven’t been going for the larger sticks lately. Even though the weather in El Paso is suited for it, I just favor the robusto/coronas. This cigar is perfectly priced, and something I would definitely recommend to any cigar smoker from the novice to the everyday guy (or gal).
Pairing: This pairing is no surprise if you follow us here at Casas Fumando. New Belgium’s 1554 is the ideal candidate to pair with absolutely any maduro cigar. The cigar is your standard Brussels’ style black ale. Thick, and dark with a strong chocolate, nut, and roasted malt flavor. I was actually going to pair this cigar with another stout but a 1554 happen to catch my eye when I was going through the fridge. You just can’t beat the pairing.