Relic Cigars
  • Relic Cigars
  • Relic Cigars
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The mystery that is Relic.

Many claim to know old world Cuban cigars. AJ Fernandez lived them. Raised in Cuba, but born into the cigar industry, AJ worked in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, for nearly two decades. Here, he mastered the handmade cigar, from soil to ash, alongside some of the industry’s most knowledgeable minds. The result, some of the industry’s tastiest and most beloved morsels, including Diesel, San Lotano, Ave Maria, and Man O’ War.

What is Relic? Maybe it’s the secret processes and tradition-steeped methods passed down from teacher to student. Maybe it’s the rare Esteli-grown Habano wrapper that took nearly a decade to perfect. Maybe it’s an elusive recipe of savory tobaccos combining to pay homage to the cigar AJ based his lifetime of learnings upon. I can’t tell you what Relic means to AJ, but I can tell you what it means to you: an amazing experience unlike anything AJ has released to date.

On paper, Relic employs a generous dose of well-aged, Nicaraguan long-leaf ligeros. Skillfully blended for optimum flavor and strength, these thick, black leaves are secured within a bold Habano binder from Ecuador, then cloaked by AJ’s rarest wrapper and proudest accomplishment. A dark, toothy, shade grown Habano wrapper from the volcanic soils of Esteli, Nicaragua. Powerful yet graceful, this leaf is true to AJ form, and is only used to create Relic.

Once lit, each Relic consumes the palate with an immodest level of bold flavors. Perfectly executed from start to finish, the bouquet is robust throughout, offering deep notes of earth, leather, and espresso, made complete by underlying spices and hints of oak and rich chocolatey-tobacco goodness. Complexity is unwavering, and the strength satisfying. Relic truly is a product of decades dedicated to the exploration and enlightenment of the leaf.

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Overall Rating4.6 out of 5 Based on 5 Ratings

Customer Reviews of “Relic”

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5 out of 5
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Showing 1-12 of 12 Reviews
4 out of 5
Good smoke....
Good smoke....
5 out of 5
Good EDS
Quality construction, smooth burning, good taste
5 out of 5
True classic
I am a huge fan of AJ Fernandez and the Relic is one of the best.
4 out of 5
Pretty good for the price
5 out of 5
AJ never disappoints
I have a great appreciation for all thing AJ. I hadn’t tried the Relic yet so I figured why not just jump in feet first and purchase a box. After all I have yet to be disappointed by anything that AJ has had a hand in making or creating. So far I haven’t been disappointed, they arrived in the time frame as promised. The box is not your typical box as in being a pretty presentation box, instead it more of a rustic box which in all intents and purpose is what you would expect to find a relic in. The cigars went from the box directly into my humidor to rest for a period before trying them. After a couple weeks resting I finally tried one and was not disappointed. The constitution was flawless, the burn was even all the way thru with lots of billowing smoke. I got lots of spice, espresso, and some leather and chocolate. Which is what I really enjoy. All in all in my humbling opinion these are really good cigars and will not hesitate to purchase again.
Customer Testimonials
Relic is the token medium smoke, tossed into the Full bodied Frenzy sampler of AJ Fernandez vitolas. Actually, the HC Habano2 is medium also. Anyway, Relic brings a lot to the party, including a rich chewy, leathery Habano wrapper, laid over volcanically enriched black tobacco ligero long fillers. You can see the dark leaves centered at the foot of the toro. Interestingly spiced & fairly complex, Relic burns slow & cool, never veering far past medium. A Habano binder adds zest to what reminds me of Man-O-War lite, if I had a leather strap in my mouth while smoking one. It even has the eerie mentholy component we have seen in Ruination, minus a good deal of the strength of that superior blend. For the $2.50/stick I have invested, Relic is a nice treat. At full freight, I would have to scurry over to AJ's more budget friendly super smokes like Diesel, Uncut, Estd 1844, Sol Cubano & La Herencia Cubana Oscuro Fuerte, to name a few. Note: A piece of the Habano wrapper was missing near the cap of the Relic toro I smoked during the writing of this review. Although slightly disturbing, it proved no barrier to the spleef performing perfectly, throughout the entire 90 minute smoking time. A testament to the construction of an AJ stogie. That is to say they are always well rolled, handsome cusses, that burn even & cool, with near perfect draw resistance, that releases clouds of luxurious smoke.
Honest CI. This one is a blissful POWERHOUSE! Calling it 'med-full' is just plain wrong. A superb smoke!
AS of Los Angeles, CA
I received Relics in an A.J. Fernandez sampler and what a beauty. Relic was in the "Full Bodied Feast" category, but I think it is lighter than the other A.J. sticks. It has the richness and flavor that I wanted, but it is not the fullest that A.J has to offer. Ruination and Diesel are two of my favorites and are the reason I pulled the trigger on this sampler. I was wonderfully surprised by this cigar (Relic) that I had never heard about. The draw has little resistance, huge amount of smoke, and it has such a great flavor. It is in the M-F category, which works for me because Relic is the one I start my smoking experience with, and then follow it up with one of A.J.'s fuller blends. I really appreciate the minds at C.I. that came up with this sampler because it is a true showcase for a master blender like Fernandez. It lends itself to those who like to feel their smoke in the gut, like a variety of great smokes, and Relic is a real gem that lends itself well to the other Fernandez heavenly creations.
Very interesting. I'm down to the nub on my first one. Surprising flavors all through this cigar. I got a box of the perfecto 5x58. I like the shorter large ring....Great burn, construction, draw, smoke volume, flavor, and anything else you want to nit pick. I hope the rest are this good. I hope they're around for a long time....
My my. Tasty from the very beginning. Great smoke on every puff. Will be a regular in the humidor.
I'm not sure how AJ does it. I've barely smoked an AJF cigar I haven't enjoyed. Relic is no different. Full of flavor and punch. Worth a try for sure.
AC of Gray, TN
Powerhouse smoke! Just what you would expect from AJ Fernandez. If you like Diesel, Man O' War, San Lotano ... you'll love Relic.
JL of Jefferson, TX

Relic by AJ Fernandez

Steve R

Don’t ask how the sausage is made, son, just feast.

Relic hit us by surprise. As strong as our relationship is with AJ Fernandez, he somehow kept this beauty out from under our nosey noses. Probably a good thing, otherwise we surely would have bought every Relic cigar produced on the spot. It’s just that good. So yes, I will be giving this cigar a very strong rating. And yes, this review will be glowing. I refuse to make you wait for the end result. It’s a ’96.’ Boom. Read on if you want to. Go and buy a 5-pack if you’d rather not waste time. Ninety Six. Period.

So the brand is Relic. And, as I’ve already said, it hails from AJ Fernandez and his impressive Tabacalera Fernandez factory of Esteli, Nicaragua. This place is a veritable fortress, churning out delicious boutique handmades with power, including Man O’ War, San Lotano, Diesel, and so much more. As for AJ, he’s a mastermind at every point in a tobacco leaf’s life cycle: from seed to smoke. For two decades he worked alongside Cuban legend Alejandro Robaina in Cuba’s famous Pinar del Rio region. His cigars are a product of unrivaled learnings from a legend, with the boutique twist of a master. Relic is the latest example.

I’m going to tell you as much as I know about Relic. The long-fillers were born in Nicaragua’s soil, and they’re all extensively aged, top-priming ligeros. These pitch black leaves of various (unknown to me) Nicaraguan origins are secured inside a feisty Habano binder from Ecuador. And then the wrapper. The leaf that truly defines Relic and delivers flavor unlike anything AJ has produced to date. A rare, shade grown Habano wrapper from AJ’s farm in Esteli, Nicaragua. This dark, toothy leaf is loaded with power and flavor, took AJ nearly a decade to successfully grow to perfection, and is likely the reason Relic was kept secret from our greedy hands. That was more info than AJ wanted to tell us, but the wrapper was a proud moment, and his time to boast a little he was reluctantly eager to tell us.

The pre-light aroma from Relic is fantastic. Barnyard, sweet cedar, a little bit of pepper. The initial light is bold, awakening the taste buds and flooding the entire palate and nose with rich, toasty nuances. The bouquet is big up front, booming with notes of earth and leather, followed by a zest on the finish that’s just right. Like most big bouquets, the flavors mellow slightly, giving way to other intricacies. In this case, coffee enters the fray with a nice, oaky finish and the dash of pepper remains on the long, satisfying finish. The room note is equally big: thick clouds of aromatic smoke waft above filling my room with oily, woodsy smells.

Midway through, and I am fully aware: Relic is complex. Relic is unique. Relic is eventful. Relic is satisfying.

There’s a lot going on here, and I highly recommend trying Relic on a fresh palate, with no beverage other than water, at least once. The flavors are familiar yet unique. The coffee is like a roasted coffee bean, with a little bit of toastiness to it. The earth is rich and rustic, with a grittiness to it that smothers your taste buds. The oak is smoky and sweet; enhanced by the robust aroma filling my office. The pepper is fresh and inviting. Not spicy. Rather, a freshly cracked black pepper added to complement the bold flavors perfectly.

Three quarters of the way through, I realize my midway thoughts are now fully confirmed. So I said to myself, ‘magnificent self, I am going to enjoy this cigar til my fingers burn, and it’s going to be very difficult to put it down for good.’

Ahh. The final few minutes with Relic. Something I now know will be bittersweet. I’ve enjoyed this cigar thoroughly, and am enjoying the robust finale as I type the remainder of this review. Like many of AJ’s fuller-flavored creations, Relic ends with a charismatic crescendo. A truckload of flavor, delivered in a concentrated format that sits heavy on every last taste bud and lets you know, ‘I just burned something special.’ Something different. Something I want to have again – soon. No bitterness. No sharp notes. Just a rich, robust bouquet that’s big and smoky, blanketing my palate with a rush of dense, velvety smoke. Smooth from start to finish, Relic truly is something to be savored. Slowly.

Relic ain’t cheap. That’s for sure. But, once you try a few I’m confident you’ll agree, it’s far from expensive. Try it. Enjoy it. AJ can’t make a ton of them, but he can and will make enough for you to add this to the fabled short list of favorites.