AJ Fernandez Dias de Gloria Review


AJ Fernandez has really made a name for himself in the cigar industry over the last few years. He really made waves when he introduced the Oval to the world and since then, the man has been busy! Blending cigars for his own name and for a variety of other cigar makers, he is not stop on his road to success. AJ dropped the Dias de Gloria at the 2019 IPCPR. Let’s see what this cigar is all about!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto, 5.5×52

Appearance & Smell
It’s hard to tell because I forgot to turn my flash on the camera but this has a medium brown wrapper color that is almost reddish. The pre-light smell was rich earth and nutmeg.

Smoke Preparation
I used a Xikar Xi1 to put a nice flat cut into the cap and a Xikar Enigma double torch to get an even light on the end.


Burn & Draw
Wow, this cigar was VERY well rolled. The draw was not too tough at all but it had the perfect resistance. Even though this was the robusto size, it burned for an hour and 10 minutes with me steadily smoking. I didn’t have to touch up the cigar once, it burned evenly throughout the entire smoke. I knocked off my first ash out of habit but after that, I just let the ash go to see how long it got. It was very well constructed and not a flaky ash.


Strength & Body
The strength was a solid medium. I could see one of the longer vitolas getting into a medium-plus towards the end of the cigar but the robusto size was a solid medium. The body was really interesting. For the first third of the cigar there was a really rich earthy and cedary taste but it was rather boring. Once I got towards the middle of the cigar I started to enoy it much more. I picked up a little bit of red clay and some sort of sweet spice like cinnamon or nutmeg. Those flavors danced around each other going into the last third. In the last third the cedar came back into play but not nearly as strong as the first third.


Final Thoughts
I’m torn! I really didn’t enjoy the smoke until about the middle. This cigar MSRPs at about $9-$10 and I’m not sure I would pay that much to not enjoy the first half of my cigar. The second half was really good though… ugh! I think I might give this one a try again in the future to see if the first half has anything else to give me or if this cigar was just a fluke. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Source: IPCPR
Brand Information: AJ Fernandez


Nub Cappuccino (Single Roast) Review


When I first started smoking cigars, I was pointed to the flavored section. I smoked quite a few of the Tatiana cigars and Java cigars. After awhile, I switched to non-flavored cigars and I haven’t smoked many flavored recently. At the time, Nub did not have a flavored line of cigars. Within the past few years, Oliva has added flavored cigars to the Nub lineup. Today I am reviewing the Nub Cappuccino (Single roast). Let’s take a look!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Sumatra
Binder: I had difficulty finding a reputable source that says exactly what the binder is.
Filler: Again, I had trouble finding reputable sources for this information.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Vitola: 4×38 (438)

Appearance & Smell
It has a very nice medium brown wrapper. The wrapper is pretty smooth with a few visible veins. The cigar smells like coffee but it is not as strong as I thought it would be. I expected to pick up a lot more sweetness but I was pleasantly surprised to not be overwhelmed by sugar.

Smoke Preparation
I used a Xikar Xi1 to get a nice flat cut on the cap of the cigar. Pre-light draw tasted faintly like coffee and a little bit like oak. I lit the cigar with a Xikar Enigma double torch.


Burn & Draw
The draw was a little bit tighter than a prefer. The cigar made me work a little harder to get good smoke. From the beginning this cigar did not burn evenly. It may be related to the tight draw but there is no way of knowing for sure. I had to touch it a few times to try and even it up but it never worked.


Strength & Body
The strength was about a mild to medium which was a pleasant surprise. Most flavored cigars tend to stick strictly in the mild realm, so it was nice to have a cigar that pushed into medium strength just a little. From the light up there was an unusual bitterness. Every now and then I would get random sweet/coffee notes but the over all taste was old/bitter.

Final Thoughts
There was some aspects of this cigar that I was happy about and some that I was not very happy about at all. I enjoyed that it was just mild and boring and the size was nice for a faster/shorter smoke. Unfortunately, it burned uneven the entire smoke, it was a tight draw, and the cigar had a consistent bitterness that never varied into other tastes. This cigar retails for about $5-$6 a piece. Even with the inexpensive price tag, I don’t think I will be giving this one a whirl again. I could only get halfway through the cigar before I had to give up, so the picture below was the last.

Source: Given as a gift


La Aurora 1903 Edition Gold Preferido Corojo Review


As a retailer I am blessed to meet many people in the cigar industry. I love the days when a cigar rep will stop in and have a smoke with me. And no, it’s not because I get free cigars, it’s because I get to sit and talk about what’s going on in our industry over a cigar or two. One of my old reps gave me this cigar to try out the last time he stopped into town. It was a completely new cigar to me, so let’s take a look how it smoked!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: DR Cibao Valley Corojo
Binder: DR Cibao Valley
Filler: DR Cibao Valley, Brazil, Cameroon
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Robusto, 5×50

Appearance and Smell
This cigar has a very toothy wrapper, fairly smooth veins, and a beautiful medium brown complexion. This cigar also has a very classic La Aurora band, unlike some of their other cigars, they did put a foot band on this one for a little flair.

Smoke Preparation
For this cigar, I used a Xikar Xi1 to put a flat cut on the cap. Pre-light cold draw had some really earthy and red pepper notes. I lit the cigar with my Xikar Enigma double torch.


Burn and Draw
During the first inch or so of the cigar, it had a very even burn. At about the middle of the cigar, it started to get a little crooked but a quick touch-up got it back in line. Part of the burn going sideways was because I was smoking outside and a storm was rolling in, so there was wind. The draw had a tiny bit more resistance than I prefer but it was certainly smoke-able. Towards the last third, it started to burn pretty crooked. You can see it a little better in the last picture.


Strength and Body
I expected a medium but it really came off as a medium-plus. That corojo wrapper kicked up the nicotine quite a bit. The body started off with with a lot of earthy red pepper at the beginning. After the first third, the pepper did mellow out. Some notes of hay and cedar creeped into the body. The red pepper did stay throughout the smoke but I was glad it mellowed out.

Final Thoughts
This cigar packed more a punch than I expected but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a decent smoke with decent flavor. This cigar has an MSRP of $$9.50. Is it worth it for the price? It wwouldn’t be worth it to me for a robusto based on my palate and the crooked burn at the end.

Source: Representative Provided
Brand Information: La Aurora Cigars


Gilberto Oliva Reserva Toro Review


Many of you have probably seen this in your local cigar shop. With a classic look, this newer addition to Oliva’s portfolio has quickly made itself a staple of many cigar smokers’ rotations. Let’s dive in and see how it smokes!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Indonesian Sumatra
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro, 6×50

Appearance and Smell
The band and box are very traditional looking and rather boring. The toro itself has some pretty visible veins but nothing over-the-top. It’s a little lighter than milk chocolate. The pre-light smell is a lot of hay and red clay.

Smoke Preparation
I used my trusty Xikar Xi1 to put a flat cut on the cap. Pre-light cold draw reinforced the hay and red clay that I had smelled. I lit the cigar with my Xikar Enigma double torch.


Burn & Draw
This cigar burned pretty evenly without any touch-ups. The draw was a medium without too much resistance. The ash held together pretty well and I was able to ash only when I wanted to.


Strength and Body
This was what I would call an easy medium strength cigar. It really was right down the middle of the road with nicotine. The body wasn’t super complex. The flavors were good but there wasn’t a lot of transition. The hay and red clay stayed fairly consistent throughout the whole smoke with a little bit of white pepper coming in and out.


Final Thoughts
This was a really solid smoke. Since this cigar was right in the middle of the road in strength, it’s a good cigar for mild cigar smokers to bump up to when they want to experiment with something a little heavier. A serious cigar smoker won’t be blown away with the flavor complexity but they won’t necessarily be bored. At my local shops, this cigar has an MSRP of $6.50. At that price, this makes it a great toro to get a box of for parties or golf course time!

Source: Purchased Locally
Brand Information: Oliva Cigars



Nestor Miranda Connecticut Robusto Review


I had the chance to stop by the Miami Cigar booth while at the IPCPR last year and was pleased to find some new cigars that I hadn’t tried. Since I hadn’t tried any of the new Nestor Miranda Collection, I was excited to get my hands on a few. This has had about 10 months of rest on it in my humidor and I was excited to try it out. Here are my thoughts!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto, 50×4.5

Appearance & Smell
Mmmmmm, this has a very nice looking Connecticut wrapper on it. A couple veins are visible but it certainly is not a toothy wrapper. The smell on the wrapper and the foot give me a lot of sweet hay notes and a little bit of earthiness.

Smoke Preparation
I sure do love my trusty tools! I cut the cap with a flat cut using my Xikar Xi1 cutter and I lit it using a Xikar Enigma double torch lighter.


Burn & Draw
The cigar lit very well and evenly. The draw was the slightest bit tight but I liked having the little extra pull so I didn’t mind. For the most part, this cigar burned very evenly. When it would start to burn crooked, it corrected itself. I didn’t have to touch up the cigar once.


Strength & Body
I was really expecting this to be more of a mild cigar and it really leaned toward the mild plus to medium side. As for the body, who nelly! The sweet hay I smelled really showed up during the burn with some rich earthiness. I’m not sure if it was the hay-taste or inherent to the cigar but I also had a lot of bitterness throughout the smoke as well. That bitterness threw my pallet off a bit and I never quite recovered to be able to look for other nuances.

Final Thoughts
I’m mixed on this one. I would try it again just to see if the same taste issues happened again with the bitterness. If it happened again though, I would never buy one. The construction is flawless, it burned great. I did have to stop just over halfway through because a rain storm caught me, that’s part of why I would try it again. I would want to see if it balances out in the last half. Not the worst I have smoked but certainly not the best.

Have you smoked it? What are your thoughts?

Source: IPCPR
Brand Information: Miami Cigars


La Flor Dominicana Factory Press 2017 Review


Ahhhhh, the La Flor Dominicana Factory Press, a harder-to-find cigar but within a reasonable realm to find and afford. It had been about 3 years since I had smoked a Factory Press of any sort. I decided that last night was the time for me to bust into a new one. Here are my thoughts!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Toro Extra, 6.5×58

Appearance & Smell
Generally smooth appearance with a couple veins. As you probably guessed from the name, it is in a box pressed shape. It smells like rich earth, coffee, and of sweetness.

Smoke Preparation
I opened the cigar up using my Xikar Xi1 to put a flat cut on the cap. I used a Xikar Enigma double torch to toast and get an even light on the cigar.


Burn & Draw
The burn on the cigar was pretty nice. It got slightly uneven a couple times but it corrected itself almost every time. The only time it did not correct the burn was towards the end (check the last photo). The draw was a dream! Not too tight and not too loose. I don’t normally smoke larger ring cigars but having the box press and a perfect draw made it a good experience.


Strength & Body
This was definitely a medium-plus cigar, if you smoked it to the end it would get a bit fuller. The body provided rich earth and cocoa notes. The sweetness I had smelled at the beginning came from the cocoa. There was a hint of earthy, red spice throughout the smoke but it was never a dominant flavor for my palate, it always played in the background.


Final Thoughts
Goodness, this is a great cigar! It’s a little pricier than a lot of other cigars but at $15-$16, I think it’s worth it for special occasions or if you just wanted to spoil yourself. Even though I don’t like larger ring gauges usually, the box press made it a comfortable smoke.  I would definitely suggest setting aside an 1.5 to 2 hours to complete it, it’s not a small cigar!

Source: Purchased Locally
Brand Information: La Flor Dominicana


Sobremesa El Americano Cigar Review

Sobremesa 1

Steve Saka is the Master Blender at Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, which is the company that puts out the Sobremesa. Does the name sound familiar? It might be because Steve Saka was the president of Drew Estate Cigars from 2005 to 2013. The man knows the cigar industry inside and out. Admittedly, I didn’t know that this cigar was from Steve Saka’s design when I first smoked it. Here are my thoughts!

Blend Profile:
Wrapper: La Meca Ecuador Habano Grade 1 Rosado
Binder: Matacapan Negro de Temporal
Filler: Variety of Nicaraguan and a bit of USA Broadleaf
Vitola: El Americano, 6×52

Appearance & Smell:
The appearance is a beautiful milk chocolate wrapper. The wrapper is very smooth with relatively small veins. The label and foot wrap are beautiful on this cigar. The smell is very complex. There is a depth of cocoa and leather.

Smoke Preparation:
I cut this cigar with my Xikar Xi1 flat cutter. I lit this cigar with my Xikar Enigma double torch to get an even light.

Sobremesa 2

Burn & Draw:
Whoa. The burn was nice and slow but the draw wasn’t too tough. It felt like a dream to pull on this cigar. This cigar burned ridiculously even. I never had to touch it up.

Sobremesa 3

Strength & Body:
I felt like this cigar stayed at a medium plus for strength. It isn’t a nicotine bomb but it surely does have a great body! The complexity was lovely! This is not a cigar that I would suggest for a beginner. The Sobremesa has a lot of complexity to unpack and I think people should have a fairly experienced pallet to be able to really enjoy this cigar. There was cocoa, leather, cream, and a hint of sweet spice that bounced in and out.

Final Thoughts:
WOW. Not knowing that this cigar was made by Steve Sara, I came into it truly blind. I was very impressed with it. This cigar is a dream cigar for me and my pallet! The complexity was lovely, the burn and draw were fantastic, and I couldn’t help but smoke it done to the very end. I didn’t even want to let it go after it got down to my fingers. This is about a $12-$13 cigar for the size I smoked and I feel like it was worth every bit of it. Let me know what you think!

Source: Sample
Brand Info: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

Sobremesa 4