Antonio By A.J. Fernandez


A.J. Fernandez Cigars, with deep roots in San Luís, Cuba, has made a significant mark in the cigar industry, particularly with the revival of the San Lotano brand, a nod to the legacy left by Abdel Fernandez’s grandfather before the Cuban Revolution. The development of Tabacalera Fernandez from a modest facility in Estelí, Nicaragua, into one of the largest cigar producers, underscores a journey of dedication and craftsmanship. A.J. Fernandez has been pivotal in creating renowned blends like “Man O’War” and “Diesel,” earning accolades and near cult followings for their distinct profiles.

The Antonio is a robust homage to the traditional Cuban robusto, embodying the rich heritage of Cuban cigar making while asserting the superior quality of Nicaraguan craftsmanship. This cigar, named after Ramon Allones’ brother Antonio, who co-founded the iconic company, challenges the notion that Cuban cigars are unrivaled. It invites aficionados to experience a blend that rivals, if not surpasses, the nostalgic allure of Cuban cigars with its Nicaraguan flair and Privada Cigar Club’s innovative spirit.

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Wrapper: Cuban Corojo (Proved too delicate for production)
Binder: Honduran Criollo
Fillers: Nicaraguan Esteli and Condega

Body: A rich tapestry of aged tobacco and salted peanuts embraces the palate, creating a nuanced and savory foundation.
Foot: A subtle aroma of faint cedar emanates from the foot, introducing a delicate woody note that hints at the cigar’s complexity.
Cold Draw: The cold draw reveals an intriguing blend of aged tobacco and salted peanuts, with a touch of peach sweetness.

Tasting Notes: The opening draws envelop the palate in sweet cedar and hay, with a surprising twist of candied ginger and a medley of baker’s spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. A delicate balance is struck with a faint Nutella note—melding chocolate milk with hazelnut—and a subtle tamarind tang complemented by a hint of red pepper.

Progressing into the second third, the profile deepens with cedar and tamarind leading into a robust black pepper and roasted hazelnuts. The smoke becomes creamier, interspersed with cinnamon warmth on the finish. The retrohale surprises with wasabi and cedar, while fleeting notes of cocoa and raisin add a layer of complexity. The fruitiness becomes pronounced, weaving a rich tapestry of flavors.

The final third offers a crescendo of cedar, roasted hazelnut, an abundance of dried and fresh fruits, and cocoa. The black pepper retrohale transforms the smoke into a creamy and rich experience, closing with a nuanced finish of white pepper and oak.

Pairing Notes: A medium-bodied coffee or a spiced rum could elevate the Antonio’s intricate spice and fruit notes. This pairing highlights the cigar’s dynamic range from sweet to spicy, showcasing its ability to stand toe-to-toe with the great Cuban robustos, proving that nostalgia for Cuban cigars can be respectfully challenged by Nicaraguan ingenuity and quality.


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