Most people know the legendary A.J. Fernandez and some of his highly rated cigars, but most don’t realize that it’s actually a father and son team with his father, Ismael, helping his son run his huge operation. He also helps with the blending process, and the Enclave was one of the many projects Ismael created, so it’s no surprise that this highly rated cigar focuses more on flavor than strength and is a little more old-fashioned and Cuban-esque. This stunning smoke features a luscious red-hued Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper that sits atop a refined Cameroon binder. Underneath are select Nicaraguan long-fillers, including a choice Piloto Cubano strain grown on AJ’s proprietary farms. Balanced to the nub, the Enclave has delicate Cuban-esque notes of cedar, white pepper, cinnamon, and sweet spices. The Enclave was also given a well-deserved 92 rating as well as taking the number 20 spot on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2016. Pair this medium to full cigar with a bourbon.
The Nicaraguan cigar industry originated when Cuban cigar makers escaped the revolution and re-established their livelihood in Nicaragua with Cuban-seed tobacco. Blessed with dark, rich soil, their new home was ideal for tobacco cultivation and Nicaragua quickly became known for cigars that rivaled Cuban quality. Unfortunately, revolution and war came to Nicaragua in the 1980s and devastated the industry, but it’s rebounded dramatically and is once again producing tobacco considered by many to be the finest in the world.
The Esteli Valley is in many ways the heart of Nicaraguan production and is known for its very powerful and spicy tobacco. The Jalapa Valley produces arguably the finest tobacco in the country: somewhat sweeter and less intense than Esteli, but extremely complex. The tobacco of the Condega Valley is often described as a blend of the other two regions.
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