March 2, 2011

San Lotano - Habano (Torpedo)

San Lotano Habano
It is not often that when we began our first serious endeavor we succeed the first time, but when we do it is an amazing moment. I can safely say that A.J. Fernandez succeeded his first time with San Lotano. Although A.J. has been making cigars for many brand owners these past years, (Graycliff, Gurkha, Padilla, Rocky Patel, and more) this is his own brand, and he will also handle the national distribution himself. Reading this you should go to your local brick and mortar shop and see if it is there. If not, go to the owner and ask him if he can get San Lotano. Tell him to go to AJ Fernandez's website, and go to the Contact Sales section. AJ Fernandez Cigars

AJ and his San Lotano line are a boutique company. Yes he makes a lot of cigar lines for other companies, but having only one line and handling the manufacturing of it, he is a boutique manufacturer. I don't consider the cigars he makes for other brands in impact on him and his factory. With the San Lotano line you have a choice of three wrappers, an Ecuadorian Connecticut, San Andres maduro, or a Brazilian Habano. All three blends are unique in their own way, never sharing the same filler tobacco ratio in them, and the San Andres maduro is a boxed press cigar. My favorite of the line is the Habano. Covered in a unique Habano wrapper from Brazil grown by the Fuego Family, he is one of the only two people to have access to it. The wrapper itself is very spicy and flavorful. Underneath the wrapper he has a Honduran binder, and filler tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All ligero tobacco in the filler has been aged five years as well I have been told. San Lotano is not a new line, in fact it was his grandfather's in Pre-Castro Cuba. With AJ having ownership of the name, he decided to launch his own cigar in it's honor. Now on to the review.

Looking over this cigar it is beautifully constructed, perfect. It is practically vein free, oily, smooth, and has this even color of antique brown with a sepia tone feeling. The bands are simple, classy, and tasteful. The aroma at cold is of chocolate, earth, and barnyard. I smoked some of these when I was in Antigua and it just seemed fitting. I was standing on the beach feeling the Caribbean breeze looking out on the the island of Montserrat in this wonderful heat and humidity. When you light this up, you are taken back to San Luis, Cuba where it all began.

San Lotano Bands


 The cigar is very firm and when you cut the head and take your first draw it is perfect, enough resistance to make sure it doesn't smoke too fast but not too tight. Immediately you are greeted by warm flavors of spice, roasted coffee, and cedar. The smoke is very full bodied, but it is full in your gut and not your head. When I say this cigar is warm, I mean it in a way that is comforting and relaxing. Some cigars burn hot, and I am not defining it by temperature. All the flavors played off one another bombarding your palate with this old world classic taste. A couple cigars that have that sense to me are Cuban Bolivar's, Man O' War Ruination, Illusione Epernay, and Tatuaje Miami's. There is no doubt that AJ has created a terrific cigar and will always be terrific. The smoke lasted about two hours and was never dull. I know I described some of the dominant flavors early on, but this cigar has a lot going on.

I give this cigar a 97 and look forward to his next launch. I can't stress enough how amazing this smoke is. Price aside, which is very reasonable, this cigar is a masterpiece. If you can't find this at your local shop, ask the store owner to get it, and in the mean time call Cigar.com or Cigars International, and get a box. There are lines that have a maduro, habano, and Connecticut version  for everyone with different tastes, but this is one line that you should smoke and enjoy all versions. Forget your notion that you don't care for a habano wrapper or any other, and pick them up. AJ is 1 for 1 in my book, and best manufacturer out there right now!
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