This review comes courtesy of our good friend Brian. We met Brian via Twitter, and found out he only lives about an hour away. We’ve had the opportunity to hang our a few times and enjoy some great cigars. So we were happy when he decided to give reviewing cigars a try, so without further ado, here is Brian’s Nice Tight Ash debut.
Not much information can be found on this stick. From what I can gather, AJ Fernandez developed this is a blend as a power house addition to his well received Man O’ War line. The line is rolled in the Tabacalera Fernandez factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. I do know that the majority, if not all, of this stick is made up of ligero which lends credence to the powerhouse stigma. This line comes in 3 vitolas:
Belicoso – 5.7″ x 56
Robusto No. 1 – 5.5″ x 54
Robusto No. 2 – 6.0″ x 60
Today we are smoking the Belicoso. The vitals on this stick are:
Company: Tabacalera Fernandez
Made In: Esteli, Nicaragua
Made By: Tabacalera Fernandez
Size: 5.7″ x 56 Belicoso
Wrapper: Habano Ecuadorian Ligero
Filler: Mix of Cuban-seed Honduran and Nicaraguan long leaf ligeros
MSRP: $11.00 as a single
The first thing I notice when I pull this stick from the humidor is its weight. This is a HEAVY stick. Fully packed with a large ring, this stick is firm from head to foot. There is a distinctive barnyard smell on the dark ligero wrapper leaf while a very nice sweetness comes at the foot. There are some prominent veins throughout but nothing out of the ordinary. This is a nice looking stick. Clipped only about ¼” off of the tapered head of this belicoso to reveal an absolutely perfect draw that had a slight sweet tobacco flavor.
The foot took the light well and immediately began emitting a TON of thick smoke. The sweet taste from the pre-light is no where to be found as a blast of black pepper spice hits hard right up front. It is absolutely awesome. Though it is a heavy spice, if your nasal cavity can handle it, I highly recommend a small percentage of retrohale. The smoke through the nose really brings that spice forward. The first few puffs yield earth and leather flavors behind the pepper spice. At about the 1” mark the spice mellows just a bit with leather becoming much richer and hints of wood begin to come through. The spice is definitely still there but not as prominent.
As we enter the second third there is still tons of smoke coming off this cigar. As spicy and strong as this cigar is, the aroma of the resting smoke is quite pleasant, almost sweet. The flavors at this point are rich leather and earth. The spice continues to gradually fade but there is still plenty there at this point. The burn line is near perfect with a strong tight medium grey ash that has yet to come loose as we get to the half way point. The finish has developed an almost “sweet” wood flavor that is very interesting and pleasant. Just after the half way point, the burn went a little crazy on one side and required a minor touch up. After this touch up, the ash finally dropped at 2 ¼” and stayed completely intact in ashtray.
As we enter the final third, the spice has really mellowed out. Flavors have changed a bit. They aren’t quite as rich as they were and the leather is not nearly as prevalent. The dominant flavor at his point is the earth with undertones of a toasty/charred wood and maybe some bitter coffee. It progressed this way until the end as the finish became “dry” (not unpleasant) and the spice completely fades out as the cigar comes to a close. No further touch ups were required and the burn line was even the rest of the way through.
The cigar is excellent. It is well worth the $8.00/stick box price and at $5.00 it is a steal. You get your moneys worth with the complexity of the stick as well as the amount of time you get to enjoy this thing. This vitola consistently lasts me right around 2 hours. Just to compare I am probably a slightly slower than average smoker. The flavors are great and changes in the flavors and the intensity of the spice keeps it interesting throughout. The construction of this stick is really impressive. Other than the minor touchup needed at the half way point, the stick was flawless. Great burn and perfect draw throughout. If you like full bodied, full flavored smokes with a good shot of spice, I highly recommend you pick up some of these sticks. This is definitely a box worthy stick for me which turned out to be a good thing since I bought a box blind at Cigarfest. Sometimes things work out.
Anyway, hope you get something out of this review as it is my first shot at it and remember what the guys always say…Nothing Beats a Nice Tight Ash.