September 11, 2011

Cigar Review: San Lotano Oval

San Lotano Oval
A.J. Fernandez has been making great cigars for sometime now, mostly for Cigars International and Cigar.com, but he has also been making lines for Emilio Cigars, Gurkha, Padilla and Rocky Patel. When his first own line, San Lotano, was released, I found it to be truly amazing. I thought the Habano vitola was packed with great flavors, strength and complexity, the Connecticut was one of the most flavorful Connecticut's I have had, and I thought the maduro was an incredibly rich and flavorful cigar as well. I believe it has gained the attention and success it deserves, and I hope that it continues its growth in both areas as in the future.

When it was announced that there would be a new line made by A.J. I was incredibly excited. I love the cigars he is making, and I knew that he would follow up his first line with a smash hit. The advertisement for the Oval was very interesting, and it wasn't till what I saw the cigar would look like that I was very impressed. As I mentioned in my previous review of the San Lotano Habano, the San Lotano line was once made in Cuba by his his grandfather before the Castro regime. Taking the shape of a rounded box press, the cigar has a Habano 2000 wrapper from the upper ligero primings, which was grown in Ecuador. The binder is Nicaraguan, and the filler is a mix of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco. The Honduran tobacco is some of the new special tobacco from a new region, and all the tobacco in the cigar has been aged between 4 and 7 years. The cigars I were gifted for this review were the robusto vitolas measuring 5.5" with a 54 ring gauge.

The cigar is beautiful in hand, showing the wonderful skills of the rollers in its shape. It has a lovely light milk chocolate color to it, and holding the foot to my nose I pick up lovely hints of hay, wood, leather and spice. The cigar is very firm to hold, and has a leathery/silky feel to it. As I light up the cigar, and let it get some way into the first third I begin to pick up notes of wood, leather, coffee, pepper and spice. It is easily medium-full in body and very complex. The cigar is burning beautifully, and is producing a wonderful and sturdy light gray ash.
Unique Size
When I get into the second third of the cigar, the spices begin to level out. There are still subtle notes of pepper and spice, but they are not as present as they were in the first third. At this point I am beginning to pick up more coffee notes, but it is mixed with chocolate, so it has a mocha taste to it. I am also picking up light herbal notes along with leather as well. The second third is really an incredible smoke, and a great transition from the first third. Like the first third it burning medium-full in strength, and it still has a wonderful and strong ash. This has been a great cigar so far, and I am still looking forward to the final third.

As I get into the final third, the cigar begins to pick up even more. The strength is closer to full now, but it is still wonderfully flavorful. I am picking up a lot of spice in the final third, and it it is accompanied by a rich earth quality to it. There is still a hint of coffee in the background, but it is mostly earthy and spicy. I should mention that towards the end I began to pick up a hint of nuts as well, but it was not very dominant. The cigar burned perfectly all the way to the end, and like most of the cigar it had a great ash all the way to the nub, and remained cool as well.

I loved this cigar. Besides having a very unique size to it, it was very flavorful and complex, it was well made, and it had a great strength to it. I think this was a great follow up to the original San Lotano line and it will be very popular. I think each size will be very popular with the market, and because of that will all be great to carry in a store. I for one will be smoking this cigar often, and will be smoking a various of sizes depending on the time I have. I think because the ring gauge is the same for all sizes each cigar will be very similar in flavor, and as I said earlier, the size you choose will depend on the time you have. I am giving this cigar a 94. A new favorite of mine, and A.J. Fernandez is back on my mind again.
San Lotano Oval
*These cigars were gifted to me by Clay Roberts of A.J. Fernandez Cigars, if you have not heard of them, or your local store does not have them, check them out. A.J. Fernandez Cigars