AJ Fernandez Cigars is a renowned cigar brand known for its exceptional quality, craftsmanship, and commitment to tradition. With a strong Cuban heritage, AJ Fernandez has made a significant impact on the cigar industry, creating distinctive blends and flavors that cater to a diverse range of tastes. In this article, we will delve into the history of AJ Fernandez Cigars, tracing its roots from Cuba to its current success as a premium cigar brand.
The Beginning: Cuban Roots
Cuba is a vibrant island nation situated in the Caribbean Sea, just south of the United States’ Florida coast. It is the largest and most populous island in the Caribbean, spanning over 42,000 square miles with a population of approximately 11 million people. Known for its rich cultural heritage, Cuba boasts a fascinating history, influenced by Spanish colonialism, African traditions, and its communist political system under Fidel Castro.
The Cuban landscape is diverse, featuring lush tropical rainforests, pristine beaches, and fertile valleys perfect for tobacco cultivation, which is the backbone of the country’s world-famous cigar industry. Havana, the capital city, is a captivating destination with colorful colonial architecture, vintage American cars, and lively music and dance scenes that showcase Cuba’s unique blend of cultural influences. Despite its tumultuous history and challenging economic conditions, Cuba remains an alluring destination for tourists seeking to experience its warm hospitality, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural tapestry.
The story of AJ Fernandez Cigars begins with its founder, Abdel J. Fernandez, who was born and raised in Cuba’s tobacco-rich region of San Luis. Abdel, affectionately known as “AJ,” grew up surrounded by tobacco fields and the vibrant culture of Cuban cigar making. His grandfather, a master blender at the prestigious San Lotano factory, instilled in him a deep appreciation for the art of tobacco cultivation and cigar production.
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Learning from the Masters
A master of cigar making, also known as a master blender or maestro tabaquero, is an individual who possesses exceptional expertise and skill in the art of tobacco cultivation, cigar blending, and cigar production. These experts have extensive knowledge of tobacco varieties, aging processes, and flavor profiles, enabling them to create unique and harmonious blends of tobaccos that result in high-quality cigars.
As a young man, AJ worked alongside his grandfather, learning the time-honored techniques and secrets of the Cuban cigar trade. He absorbed the knowledge and expertise of the generations before him, eventually becoming a master blender in his own right. Despite the challenges faced by the Cuban cigar industry in the late 20th century, AJ remained dedicated to his craft and continued to hone his skills.
A New Chapter: Nicaragua
In the early 2000s, AJ decided to leave Cuba and pursue his passion for cigar making in Nicaragua, a country with a burgeoning cigar industry and ideal conditions for tobacco cultivation. He established his factory, Tabacalera Fernandez, in Estelí, the heart of Nicaragua’s tobacco region. The move to Nicaragua allowed AJ to access a diverse range of tobaccos from various regions, which he used to create unique and innovative blends that would set his cigars apart from the competition.
Rapid Expansion and Success
AJ Fernandez quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality, premium cigars with meticulous attention to detail. His dedication to blending traditional Cuban techniques with modern innovations attracted the attention of both cigar enthusiasts and industry experts. As the brand’s popularity grew, so did its product offerings. AJ Fernandez Cigars expanded its portfolio, introducing acclaimed lines such as the San Lotano Oval, New World, and Enclave.
Some of A. J. Fernandez’s top Rated Cigars Include:
- San Lotano Oval: The San Lotano Oval is a highly acclaimed cigar by A.J. Fernandez, known for its unique oval-shaped box-pressed construction that provides an exceptional draw and even burn. The blend features a Habano 2000 wrapper from Ecuador, a Nicaraguan binder, and a combination of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos. The result is a medium to full-bodied smoke with complex flavors of cedar, spice, and cocoa, accompanied by subtle hints of creaminess and earthiness.
- New World: The New World is a collaboration between A.J. Fernandez and his father, Ismael Fernandez. This box-pressed cigar features a dark, oily Nicaraguan wrapper, a Jalapa binder, and a mix of Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. The New World is a medium to full-bodied smoke, offering a rich and balanced flavor profile with notes of cocoa, earth, leather, and a touch of sweetness. This line of cigars has gained widespread recognition for its outstanding construction, consistency, and affordability.
- Enclave: The Enclave is another highly-rated cigar from A.J. Fernandez, featuring a beautiful Habano Rosado wrapper from Ecuador, a Cameroon binder, and a blend of Nicaraguan and Piloto Cubano filler tobaccos. This combination creates a medium-bodied smoke with a complex array of flavors, including cedar, pepper, cinnamon, and a hint of natural sweetness. The Enclave has earned praise for its excellent construction, flawless burn, and smooth draw, making it a popular choice among cigar enthusiasts.
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Collaborations and Recognition
AJ Fernandez’s success has led to collaborations with other notable cigar brands and manufacturers, further solidifying its place in the industry. The company’s cigars have consistently received high ratings and accolades from industry publications and reviewers, including Cigar Aficionado, Cigar Snob, and Cigar Journal. At Hiland’s Cigars, we smoke A.J. Fernandez cigars regularly and actually give 5 reasons why the A.J. Fernandez Brand is one of our favorites!
Today, AJ Fernandez Cigars remains a testament to its founder’s commitment to quality, tradition, and innovation. As the brand continues to evolve, it maintains its focus on producing exceptional cigars that cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences. Through the blending of Cuban heritage with the unique flavors and characteristics of Nicaraguan tobacco, AJ Fernandez has cemented its place as a leading cigar brand in the world of premium cigars.