The folks behind Sol Cubano have been on the move for a while now. A couple years back, the classic Sol Cubano line received some fancy new packaging, reigniting the brand. Last year, a Sol Cubano Artisan was crafted...a monster-sized Salomon featuring three select wrappers finished in barber pole and pinstripe fashion. Now, in just the third month of the 2008, two new releases have joined the ranks of Sol Cubano: the economical Series B and the higher-end Cuban Cabinet.
The latter is what I am burning right now, and have been burning for about 2 weeks. This cigar caught my attention from the start, mainly because it is made by A.J. Fernandez. If you’re not familiar with this name, chances are you will be in the near future. A.J. was trained by none other than Don Alejandro Robaina, the Cuban legend himself widely known for growing the finest wrapper leaf in Cuba’s prized Pinar del Rio region for over 50 years. After careful observation and practice of Alejandro’s techniques in growing tobaccos, fermenting tobaccos, blending, and cigar rolling, A.J. Fernandez opened his own factory in Nicaragua and now employs a healthy team of over 100 skilled rollers. I’ve tried several cigars from his factory already, including Rocky Patel Fusion, ITC 10th Anniversary, and Man O’ War (coming soon), and can honestly say his cigars rank among the best I’ve tried lately.
Like all of the cigars coming from Tabacalera Fernandez, Sol Cubano Cuban Cabinet comes hefty in the hand with a solid roll from head to toe, a glossy wrapper that’s leathery in texture(Habano in this case), and the appearance and pre-light aroma of genuine, well-aged cigars. The blend comes in a variety of sizes, but I have grown quite fond of the No. 4 (5” x 42) and Magnum (6” x 50). The Magnum is what I am enjoying right now.
The pre-light aroma was sweet, with that barnyard smell I love so much. The cigar opened with a smooth, but spicy explosion of earth and tobacco. I am now midway through, and the spice has been tamed by a silky, leathery component that’s pretty enjoyable. The cigar burns slowly and evenly, filling my palate with heavy, grey smoke that coats the sides of my mouth and tastebuds, leaving behind a long and satisfying aftertaste. With a little over 2 inches remaining, I begin to feel the power behind this cigar. It seems as though the Cuban-seed Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers begin to kick into full gear. This mixture works favorably for those seeking a full-flavored smoke...the Honduran leaves provide a hearty, earthy core while the Nicaraguan tobaccos maintain a smooth, but bold richness. And then the finale. All of the flavors seem to come together to dish out a rewarding and relaxing finish. Nice.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I like this cigar. It’s a bit more expensive than the standard Sol Cubano, but give it a shot and you’ll soon see why.
You may scoff at this statement, but I find a lot of similarities between cigars from A.J. Fernandez and Pepin Garcia. Knowing their histories, you expect that...both spent the better part of their lives in Cuba, learning the ins and outs of premium tobaccos and handmade cigars.