Robusto, 5.5" x 54 ring gauge/ $7.25, Buckhead
Today I will be reviewing the latest release from A. J. Fernandez cigars, the Oval. The cigar is comprised of a secret blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers, with a Nicaraguan binder all covered with 4+ year aged Habano 2000 wrapper. It comes in 6 different sizes. According to their website: "The prestigious San Lotano Oval from AJ Fernandez presents in a highly unique oval shape. The key to an enhanced smoking experience: ultra-premium aged tobacco. The new Oval affords a truly distinguished balance like no other." I've smoked at least 10 of these prior to this review.
When I picked up this cigar I was impressed by the looks of it. The wrapper is a nice ruddy brown in color, with slight veins. It has some tooth and oils to it as well. The band is quite good looking and is very similar to the rest of the San Lotano line, except that instead of a second band declaring the blend, it is right on the main band. As the name says the cigar has an oval cross section. It almost looks as though the cigar was squished between two boards. The top and bottom are flat, while the sides are rounded. This cigar shape fits quite naturally in my hand. When I gave the cigar a squeeze I couldn't detect any soft spots with only a slight amount of give. Once I put my nose to the wrapper I got the aroma of barnyard with the same from the foot. After clipping it with my MTX and taking a cold draw on it I tasted notes of maple sweetness with a good draw.
As soon as I lit up the cigar the tastes of leather, maple, and red pepper spice, with a sweet finish blasted my tongue. After taking a few more puffs and retrohaling the smoke my nasal passages burned like I had eaten a large dab of wasabi. The flavors of cinnamon and cola started to come through as I progressed through the first third. The draw was pretty much perfect and it produced a large volume of smoke. The burn was slightly wavy, but nothing that needed correcting. The light grey ash had a stacked look to it and held on for about three quarters of a inch before needing to be tapped off. At this point I would classify it at the upper end of medium in body and strength.
Once I started into the second third of the cigar I started getting more of the maple sweetness. Other than I didn't really notice much change in the flavors. That definitely wasn't a bad thing as I was thoroughly enjoying the cigar. I also started getting a slight nicotine hit as well. The spice was still there, although not as strong as the first third. The burn had pretty much evened itself out. At the end of this third I started getting a sweet creamy finish.
The final third saw this cigar finish off strong. The flavors were of leather, earth, cinnamon, maple and cream with a sweet finish. The one thing I like about all of the San Lotanos I've smoked is the bands come off easily and in one piece. I would say that this cigar moved into the bottom end of full by the end of the cigar.
This is definitely an excellent cigar! I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Oval's I've had. It is just too bad that it is purportedly a cigar that is a limited run. I can highly recommend it to anyone out there! If you are sensitive to nicotine you might want to eat before smoking it, but since it has such great flavors I recommend you do so.