Ten years ago, Man O’ War started coming out of A.J. Fernandez’s factory and ever since has been taking the cigar world by storm. The substantial and elegant bands on the Man O’ War aren’t just window dressing. Full-bodied aficionados are going to love this handsome stogie: a supremely flavorful and superbly constructed handmade that’s an absolute powder keg. Before you even light this brown beauty, hold it awhile, because it’s not every day that such a weighty, firmly packed cigar gladdens your hand. When you smoke it, chances are it will gladden your heart. Driven by its bold mixture of Cuban-seeded Nicaraguan and Honduran long-leaf ligeros and a Pennsylvania Broadleaf, it offers layer upon layer of bold flavors that are raw and intense and reminiscent of Cuba. However, the balance is kept with its velvety smoothness. The tobaccos are hand-selected and picked from the plant’s highest priming, which results in maximum strength and robust flavor. The oily Habano Ecuador sun-grown leaf wrapper is dark, thick and juicy, rivaling the flavorful core within. Boxed pressed to perfection, there’s an explosion of earthy, leathery, and spicy notes, and the long toasty finish didn’t disappoint. Panelists concurred that Ruination’s most cherished characteristic is balance. Just when the intensity teeters on overbearing, it settles into a smooth smoke brimming with flavor – and then the cycle repeats. A shifting roller coaster of taste and strength, this blend is the complete package. A full tawny port or VSOP Cognac will match this stogie's prowess.
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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