Man O' War May 13th, 2008 Keith 93 Share: I don’t want to overstate it but quite simply, Man O’ War is special. Let me count the ways. First, the maker – AJ Fernandez. His Esteli, Nicaragua-based Tabacalera Fernandez factory boasts a surprising list of quality blends; in fact, he’s the best maker you never heard of. His list of clients includes Ernie Padilla, Rocky Patel, Kaizad Hansotia and others. He was introduced to tobacco and cigar-making at a tender age and has been in and around cigars ever since. Born in Cuba and having spent the first 25 years of his life there, he had the fortune of learning at the knee of Alejandro Robaina, the veritable Cuban Godfather of cigars. Next – before getting into the cigar itself I must say a word about the packaging. Glorious. Man O’ War is packed 22 to a box, actually less a box and more a massive chest; each chest boasting beautiful artwork and rustic, antiqued detailing throughout. A glorious presentation foretelling the dazzalicious cigar to come. On to the cigar – each time I reach for a Man O’ War I find myself gazing, saucer-eyed, at the wrapper leaf. This leaf is downright sultry....a dark (super dark) Habano wrapper grown in Ecuador that’s thick, leathery, and oozing with juicy oils. Oilier than anything I’ve ever seen. The filler blend is a Cuban-seed recipe of choice long-fillers from Esteli’s black soil. Overall it’s medium to full-bodied in strength, beginning with a searing rush of spice that instantly tingles the taste buds followed by a core of crisp tobacco flavor that is undeniable. About an inch in it becomes velvety and heavy on the palate, dusting your entire mouth with a disarmingly smooth core of earthy goodness. An array of spice lingers following each draw. To say this cigar is complex is an understatement. The veritable potpourri of unique flavors include dark roast coffee, mocha and leather.... expertly delivered on top of a backbone of sweet, oaky magic. If you’re wild about ‘boutique’ cigars and/or complex blends – you will have a jones on for Man O’ War. Trust me. This cigar is epic.