2019 Cigar Of The Year

This stick earned the Cigar of the Year 2019 award by Cigar Aficionado magazine. I was excited to learn this stick was created in part by AJ Fernandez using his farms and factories. I admire his unique spin on cigar fabrication. It’s always a source of joy to me smoking the COTY as I enjoy comparing my smoking experience to editors of a publication.


Factory: Tabacalera San Lotano – Estelí, Nicaragua 

Size: 6″ x 52 Box Press

Strength: Full

Wrapper: Nicaragua (Sumatra seed)

Binder & Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí)

Pre Light

Great hand feel with a box-pressed torpedo. The wrapper feels like a brown paper bag while giving a barnyard aroma. The foot smells of general barnyard. If you’ve ever been on a farm, you know that “smell”. Cold draw flavor is bold aged tobacco.

First Third

First light flavors are deep earth with a cocoa undertone morphing into a creamy finish. Retro-hale is a mix of freshly baked bread and cashews. Very impressed to start with a medium to full strength profile.
The smoothness of the aged tobacco creates smoke that feels like fine silk with very impressive smoke production. I’m also getting the essence of balsamic vinegar on the finish, it is subtle but it keeps you desiring more after every draw.

Second Third

Jumping into the 2nd third, the same base flavors are present while adding the nose of fresh-made coffee. Retro-hale brings coffee to the foreground. Bright white ash holding on. The finish goes on for almost 60 seconds after you exhale. Not a razor-sharp burn but not requiring a touch-up. You can’t help but feel like you are dining at a 5-star restaurant while smoking, it is truly elegant.

Final Third

This vitola has a unique richness. It’s well balanced and not overpowering. As I approach the nub of the cigar, draw flavors have brought on a brown sugar sweetness. Perfect timing for the dessert of this luxury cigar. Retro hale is a very intense straight black pepper at this point. I must regulate my retro-hale to control the strength.

At the band point a warm nutty richness engulfs your palette. This is where this cigar shines. A powerhouse created by talented cigar makers.


An impressive cigar to say the least. The complexity is a treat for anyone who prefers a stick that transforms. From the masterful construction, perfect performance, and most importantly flavor, this cigar is a classic premium cigar.

Buy It Again ?

Absolutely! Is has been hard to come by after the hype of getting the industry’s top honor, but it a rewarding smoke. I cant wait to see who takes the honor for 2020! Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below.

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