Robusto, 5" x 52 ring gauge / $7.99, Maxamar's
Today I'll be reviewing the latest cigar from A.J. Fernandez, the Oval Maduro. This cigar is a follow up to the Oval Natural that was released last year. The cigar comes in five (corona, robusto, toro, torpedo & Churchill) sizes, two fewer than the natural release. I also notice that the maduros are a little shorter and and little smaller in ring gauge in their natural cousin. I haven't heard why this is though. They do have the same binder and filler as the natural all with an Ecuadorian Habano maduro wrapper. I smoked at least five of these before I smoked this one for review.
This sample had a very nice looking dark brown colored wrapper that had a lot of oils and tooth to it. There were some medium and fine veins and the wrap was very evenly done. When I squeezed the cigar I got a slight amount of give, but there were no soft spots. One thing about the looks is I wish the band said maduro on it or it had a second band. Some of the ones I've seen could easily be mistaken for the other and in a hurry even with the size difference I might mistakenly pick up the wrong one. Putting my nose to the wrapper I get notes of leather and cedar with barnyard coming from the foot. After clipping it and taking a cold draw on it I get what I best describe as red chili & chocolate with a good draw.
Lighting up the cigar brought about fairly strong flavors of chocolate, spice, earth and leather. The retrohale did have a wasabi like burn to it as well. The flavors also seem to coat the palate fairly liberally. The finish on this cigar was very sweet, almost a sugary sweetness. I would classify this cigar as starting out in the upper end of medium range. The ash flowered on me and needed to be tapped off after about a half of an inch. The draw was great and it produced a lot of smoke.
As I moved into the second third the flavors changed into chocolate and cinnamon with some leather, earth and anise thrown in. The sweetness was still very present as well. The strength of the cigar built towards the bottom end of full as well. The draw continued to be perfect with the ash still a little crumbly.
The final third saw the flavors kind of reverse from the second third with the main flavors being earth, leather and coffee with hints of chocolate and anise. The sweetness and spice on the tongue and retrohale continued on from the beginning.
Overall I really enjoyed this cigar. However I will say that I still like the natural better. I would like to see what these do with some age, if I can hide them from myself. One thing to note the Oval Maduro is quite a bit different than the regular Maduro line. I don't know if I could pick one of those as my favorite because they both offer good flavors that would be appropriate for different times or desires. I would say that most smokers would be able to enjoy this cigar, with only the ones sensitive to nicotine probably not enjoying it. I would suggest that you give this one a try when you see it.