Toro, 6 x 54
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano 2000
|Cigar age||0 yr. 4.1 mo.|
BACKGROUND: A.J. Fernandez is no stranger in the cigar industry. As a third generation cigar maker, born in Cuba, Fernandez is well known for being one of the few cigar makers in the industry to still employ many of the oldest traditions and secrets that have earned him an unmatched reputation among cigar aficionados.
Fernandez has made cigars for many notable brands in the industry including: Padilla, Rocky Patel, Graycliff, Gurkha, Man O War, Diesel and many more.
The San Lotano brand of cigars is made entirely by hand in AJ’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The blends are extremely rich, flavorful and are the culmination of Fernandez’s knowledge, which has been accumulated from his family over the last century. The Fernandez factory is one of the largest in Nicaragua, producing 9 million cigars a year.
San Lotano Oval features a truly unique shape and an impressive pedigree of tobacco. The best way to describe the shape would be an oval shaped box-press, if you can imagine that. The Oval features a Habano 2000 wrapper that is aged over four years.
The Habano 2000 wrapper covers Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos that mirror the same well-aged flavor of the wrapper and are perfect compliments to each other. The extra aging gives the blend a refined quality and a smooth, consistent flavor.
This review’s featured Oval is the 6.5-inch by 54 ring gauge Toro.
TASTING NOTES: I tried a pre-release version of the San Lotano Oval just before the 2011 trade show and I loved it. The Oval is blended with ultra premium aged tobacco, giving the cigar a very distinguished balance. It has a luscious Habano 2000 wrapper that has been aged over 4 years. I selected the Oval Churchill as my favorite new cigar of 2011.
This cigar was full of flavor out of the gate. There were smoky notes and a hint of bourbon. Or, maybe that could be better summed up as a peat character, which is something you might taste in certain scotches. There was also a rich, sweet character that reminded me of vanilla bean. The retrohale was savory and full of roast coffee flavor and a bit of pepper spice. There was a long and lip-smacking finish that reminded me of Booker's bourbon. During the second half the cigar graduated in intensity and began to show flavors of espresso and baker's cocoa.
FINAL THOUGHTS: At medium-full in body, flavor and strength, this cigar may not be approachable to all cigar smokers. Nevertheless, it is an interesting and complex smoke and certainly worthy of your list of outstanding cigars to try.
In an interesting sidelight, the San Lotano Habano Churchill was the number 2 reviewed cigar of 2011 on the Stogie Fresh list. I scored it a 92.5. In fact, in any size, I love the Habano. I can smoke that cigar every day and all day long and never get tired of it.
The Oval smokes like the Habano on steroids. It is full in flavor, yet very balanced and should age well. This is a no-brainer choice for your humidor.
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