I have talked about Tabacalera Tropical on numerous occasions, and last night I reviewed a classic cigar for me, the Casa Fernandez Arsenio. I love the Arsenio line by Casa Fernandez, and consider it to be the best everyday cigar. It has great flavors, rolled perfectly, and is a steal at the price point. The line gets its name from the master blender of Tabacalera Tropical, Arsenio Ramos. Mr. Ramos is in his late 70’s and has been involved in tobacco since his birth really. He began smoking at ten, and worked for Cuba Tobacco for many years before coming to Tabacalera Tropical. Besides being the blender for all Casa Fernandez lines, he helps blend cigars with Dion Giolito, Ernesto Padilla, Bill Paley, Alan Rubin and Andre Farkas to name a few. Tabacalera Tropical is just a small bit of a larger company named AGANORSA, which also has Raices Cubanas in Honduras and several other operations. I have been told that Arsenio Ramos was brought in to replace Jose Pepin Garcia, and if that is the case I don’t think they could have gotten anyone better. I think Mr. Ramos has an incredible knowledge of tobacco and cigars, and I love his stuff and find it as good as that of Don Pepin’s. The Casa Fernandez Arsenio line is a one size line and the cigar measures 5 ½” with a 52 ring gauge. Like all of Tabacalera Tropical Cigars, it has a great triple cap, and interesting little pigtail as well. It’s not your typical pigtail, but it is pressed into the cap, very cool. Check out my review of the Arsenio Corojo, to see the differences. Actually that is one of my first reviews and looking at the brings back memories. For this review I am lighting up the Arsenio Maduro. Like its counterpart, it is a Nicaraguan puro, and has tobacco from Condega, Esteli and Jalapa, but has a wrapper that has undergone the maduro process. It is all Cuban Seed and Aganorsa tobacco. This cigar is currently made in Nicaragua, not in Honduras like their other products, and I have heard that it will soon move to being produced in Miami. Currently the Casa Fernandez Miami and Reserva lines are being made there, and the Aganorsa line will move there shortly with the Arsenio.
The cigar is beautiful in hand, and I love this size. It is a little bit thicker than I typically reach for in a cigar, but for some reason this line is my go to cigar line. The wrapper is a beautiful dark marbled brown with some minor veins, and is slightly oily. Holding the foot up to my nose I am greeted with wonderful aromas of barnyard, chocolate, spices and rich dirt. It has all the aromas you could ask for in a cigar and in particular a maduro. Smoking the first third of the cigar it is showing wonderful flavors of chocolate, spice, wood and rich earth. I would say the cigar is smoking around medium-full, but more importantly it is very flavorful. The cigar is burning incredibly well, and I feel as if I am sitting in a cloud of smoke. Things are going great!
Around the two-thirds spots the cigar begins to change directions, and it is no longer showing those sweet notes but more flavors that you would get from a natural wrapper. The flavors I am picking up are that of toast, coffee, nuts, earth and spice, and it the stick is really reminding me of a Padron 1926 Serie. The flavors are really incredible, and the cigar is burning great. The strength is still around medium-full, and it is still burning great. I am in the final third now, and I begin to see a return of the first third flavors. There is a definite presence of hazelnuts and walnuts, but I am getting a return of dark chocolate, wood and spice as well. It was still burning around medium-full at this point and it has a great long finish. As to be expected the cigar is burning great, and I put it down when I am burning my fingers and lips.
This was a very nice maduro and worth a rating of 90. I prefer the natural wrapper over the maduro version, but both are really great. I think this is an awesome line by Casa Fernandez, and a heck of a deal. I would buy these cigars if they were at twice the pricing, but since they own every single level of operation in making this cigar they can sell it such a great price. I know every single person who has smoked these cigars have loved them, and I would love it if they made Cabinets of 50’s for this smoke. If you are tight on your cigar spending, and don’t want to spend more than $5 on a stick, than I would not smoke anything but this cigar. I think this cigar compares with cigars any in a high price range, and in some cases is better…most cases! This is truly an awesome line.