All day, Every day, Ave
Everyone knows AJ by now, but most people associate him with his full-bodied Nicaraguan blends. Immaculata shows he’s just as capable at crafting a gentler cigar. Before I divulge into the cigar, let me tell you why I chose to review this cigar – Every year, CI sends a group of its “greener” employees (guilty) to Nicaragua to tour the farms, the factories, do some taste tests, meet the makers, do some blending and roll our own, drink some Flor de Cana, and overall just get more acquainted with this lovely product we work with every day. A few months ago I got the invite and we went to stay at the AJ Fernandez guest house which is attached to his factory. And as you might expect, cigars were plentiful. Anytime you wanted one, you just walk up to the bar in the pool house and take your pick. And to my surprise it wasn’t just the core AJ brands, you know the Enclaves, New Worlds, San Lotanos, no sir. Every day there was a good variety of cigars they make in the factory. But without fail, every day there was a batch of Ave Maria Immaculatas fresh off the rolling tables. I came to find out that this is a cigar they are quite fond of in the factory. So I started each day with one. I couldn’t get enough of them. I was smoking 4-5 cigars a day down there and two of them were these Immaculatas. Upon my return to the states, the boss man greeted me with “I hope you learned something, go write about it.”
And here we are. Back in sunny Bethlehem, PA sitting in my cubicle with an Ave Maria Immaculata. I’m paring it with a cup of coffee (Dunkin K-Cup, ‘cause I’m fancy like that). The wrapper is a nice golden brown, silky smooth Ecuador Connecticut. The blend is aged, Cuban-seed and Nicaraguan grown. I gotta admit - I’ve been told smoking a cigar in its home county is a different experience, and while I can’t remember who said it, they were right. The air here is dryer and the tobacco has clearly dried a bit more than the ones I was having down in Nicaragua. Now that these tobaccos have had more time to rest and “marry” in the cigar as they call it, I find it to be a little mellower than I remember, but still has enough pepper on the retro to keep it at a mellow to medium bodied cigar. The flavors are little less pronounced than I remember but it makes for a smoother blend. Less pronounced, yes, but it still has a deep stable of pleasant notes. Cedar, white pepper, toasty tobaccos, maybe some nuttiness, and an undeniable creaminess that I always look for in a morning cigar. I puffed on a toro for this review and it took me about an hour and 10 minutes (some call me a binge herfer). It wasn’t the same experience I had when burning them in their homeland, but I still enjoyed it and it’s still a cigar I’ll continue to reach for in the mornings.
I’m younger that most guys that work here, so I have a lot of young friends who are just starting to get into cigars. I always feel bad unloading subpar cigars to people who don’t usually burn them. So when I want one of these noobs to actually enjoy it, this is the cigar I now hand them. I recommend it to anyone who is new to the scene or anyone who just enjoys a good Connecticut. But if you’re a seasoned vet and just looking for a new morning cigar, this is a good choice for you as well.