San Lotano Oval Habano

4-9-13 been in humidor since 2-3-13

San Lotano Oval Habano Corona (5 x 44)

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

Blender: AJ Fernandez

Without smoking it, one thing is for sure: this is a unique cigar. The shape alone sets it apart from all other cigars on the market. It is visually appealing and it sits well in the hand. The true test is how it smokes. There are plenty of cigars out there that look interesting. New shapes don’t always smoke well or catch on. Different shapes/presses aren’t even proven to smoke “better” or “worse” than standard cigars.

We have to look at what we know. We know that the the Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper is going to be strong but smooth. This is a very similar wrapper to AJ Fernandez’s Man O’ War Ruination cigar except that this is a higher priming than the Ruination (ligero) and it has more age than the Ruination (at least 4 years). The higher priming makes it stronger, the age smoother (and darker). I also suspect that this cigar will be smooth because all of the tobacco is aged between 4 years and 7 years before the roll. This cigar seems to be blended for the sake of balance alone.

One more side note before the review actually begins…

I do find it interesting that this cigar has such a unique and new shape being that it is the flagship of the San Lotano line; a line that was named after the Cuban San Lotano brand AJ’s grandfather owned when he lived in San Luis, Cuba. Cuba is so rich in tradition when it comes to cigars that the shape would not have been thought of and purposefully created. Is this “bucking tradition” or is it innovation? I’m not even sure that question is relevant.

The cigar is a nice dark tan color with a good sheen and an oily feel. It is extremely comfortable in the hand. The band is nothing flashy and is pretty much the Original San Lotano band with a few minor changes.

DSCN0941

The smell of this cigar is very classic tobacco/barnyard. A lick on the cap has a hint of sour to it and a hint of spice. A clip with a double guillotine and I have a draw that is on the tight side. There are some good rich earth flavors that hint at raisin. There is also the typical light spice AJ cigars all seem to have.

A light with a soft flame turns this cigar on. The first few puffs are spicy and black pepper. There is a bit of underlying sweetness that will probably come out as the cigar moves along. If I know AJ’s blending style this spicy beginning will mellow out out something round, sweet and unique after about an inch and a half. As the cigar settles from the light the Nicaraguan wood pulp and spice really comes through.

When the spice blast of the San Lotano starts to mellow (almost an inch in) the flavors are earth, leather and wood. There is also a subtle white pepper that ties it all together. Through the nose it is pure Nicaraguan ligero flavor that pulls right through to the finish. The flavors linger on the palate just long enough to tell you when to take another puff. This is a self pacing cigar. There is no thought required. The underlying sweetness mentioned before has a bit of cinnamon to it.

As the mid point passes the cigar becomes significantly more woody. The Nicaraguan ligero flavors are still there and the white pepper is a constant. From here on through to the end of the cigar these are the flavors that are being put out with increasing sharp leather to the end.

The San Lotano Oval Habano got rave reviews and many people place this as not only their favorite AJ Fernandez cigar but one of their favorite cigars overall. However, this cigar did not wow me like other AJ blends have in the past. There is a complexity to it but really, other than the shape, this cigar is just a good cigar. It is not a game changer. It is not as balanced as other AJ blends in my mind.

Burn to the burn

time: 1 hour 50 min

burn: 10

draw: 8

taste: 9

aftertaste: 9

construction: 9

balance: 8

feel: 8

overall: 8.7

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~ by kuzi16 on April 9, 2013.

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