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You know the man, AJ Fernandez...the brands, you know them too. Man O’ War, Ave Maria, and Diesel just to name a FEW. AJ is a legend in the industry and churns out high-quality, highly enjoyable blends like it is his job! It took a number of years, but it’s finally here, the AJ collection to end all AJ collections. Enter The Chosen Few Sampler. Five of AJ’s most revered, most premium, most prestigious blends join forces with the newest Diesel to grace store shelves, that's 6 phenomenal blends in one package! Everything is beautifully presented in a custom box donning artistic renditions of each brand’s logo. If you bought these cigars on the solo, you would easily spend over $100. The good news is, you can save a pile of cash when you pick up this delectable sampler.The Chosen Few Sampler includes:1 – Man O’ War Armada (6.5” x 56)1 – Man O’ War Armada War Horse (6.5” x 64)1 – Ave Maria Reconquista (7” x 54)1 – Ave Maria Divinia (6” x 54)1 – Diesel Wicked (6.2” x 56)1 – Diesel Rage (6” x 54)MSRP: $103
I am smoking the last stick from my Chosen Few Sampler. It is the MOW Armada War Horse (6.5" X 64). Gorgeous! However there is a 2" tear in the Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. I'll keep an eye on that as I consume the vitola. For a spleef that costs $20.00, you don't expect to have to deal with any construction issues. It's delicious, by the way. Not full bodied, as advertised, but med/full with a level of complexity that boggles the mind! The body is too big for my tastes. Thankfully, it is a figurado, so clenching the tip in my teeth gives me the security to smoke it. Not to be a "Debby Downer", but I have to say for all the great things this stogie brings to the party, I can rattle off a dozen better cigars for 1/4 to 1/3 the price. Anything Diesel! San Lotano Oval. Camacho Corojo. Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970. Drew Estate Undercrown. Okay, that last one is pretty pricey too, but it's better! As good, anyway. you get the idea. Great cigar. However, not realistically priced for someone like me, who relies on CI to bring the deals that allow me to at least try puros like Armada. Nuff about that! Quick run through the other five super premium boutique cigar-a-sauruses that The Chosen Few Sampler contains. 1) The other Armada. Regular production Gordo Toro that seems no different than the special shape Gordo figurado I am smoking as I write this critique. 2) Ave Maria Reconquista=Good cigar. Ave Maria is my least favorite AJ offering for some reason. Price, maybe? This fancy-smancy toro comes in a coffin or something, I think. Who cares? The blend is righteous, but the bling is over the top & adds about 5 clams to the cost of the cigar. Why? 3) Ave Maria Divinia=Another toro gordo that delivers waves of caramel, cashew & peat flavors, Addictive, except you can't afford to smoke them. Did I mention they come in a coffin or something? 4) Diesel Wicked= yes, it is! The best cigar in this sampler, in my opinion. Maybe even worth the cost. Ha ha. Lol. NOT!!!
The Chosen Few Sampler review (cont.) 5) Diesel Rage=The trick here is the 100% proprietary tobaccos used to make this blend. That & the special ultra-dark Ecuadorian Habano Sun Grown Oscuro wrapper utilized. A bold & complex medium spleef, brimming with vanilla, spices, caramel, fruity tones & an earthy component that takes Rage to a very high level of tastiness. My 2nd favorite of the 6 blends contained in this ultra high end boutique super premium sampler. None of the vitolas contained within will see 90+ ratings. Not from me anyway. Although they are delicious, they are just 6 more examples of why AJ is the God of blenders. Cut the cost of these to about what I paid on special, that is around $5.50 per cheroot & you might be on to something. At that price point, they all are 90 rated gems. Like AJ's San Lotano Oval, his 5 Vegas "AAA", the master's penultimate blend, la Herencia Cubana Core. Those SOBs are about $10 simoleans themselves, but are so superior to all other cigars, that I always have a few on hand. I often find the coronas on sale for 3 bones, the toros as low as $1.75 & the robustos for as little as 2 smackers. Now that is a deal! Still, for what I have invested in these 6 babies, I could have done a whole lot worse. When they go on sale for anything under 40 ice cubes, I will order up a couple more & put them in storage for special events like funerals, births, christenings, the holidays & after a 2 lb. porterhouse steak dinner!
I rarely pay over $5.00 for a cigar, but when I saw these six blends in a cool wooden display box & laid eyes on the lid's artwork, I began to gain an appreciation for why they might be asking $6.66 per vitola. Not to mention, if you went out to buy just the six cigars, you'd probably need most of a Benjamin to get the job done. I got a great deal at MMAO during their recent "free shipping" offer & had them delivered right to my door in 3 days. I have carefully stowed them in my favorite humidor in anticipation of savoring each & every one, in due course. Meanwhile, I intend to grab up a few more Chosen Few Samplers for gifts, which I will smoke the contents of & replace with the appropriate but regular production blends.