Raised in Cuba, Abdel “A.J.” Fernandez has produced cigars for other cigar makers, such as, Padilla, Gurkha, Rocky Patel, and Greycliff, just to name a few. Deciding to break out with his own line of cigars, he has created the San Lotano line that is produced in his Esteli, Nicaragua factory – which produces roughly nine million cigars annually! The San Lotano Connecticut is a recreation that once was a pre-Castro Cuban line that his grandfather first started. Fernandez says that “San Lotano has been a project many years in the making for me, and it is made to honor the tradition of cigar making that I learned from my father and my father’s father.” The San Lotano Connecticut Toro uses the best fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, both grown using prized Cuban-seeds that are proprietary only to the Fernandez family. The long-leaf fillers are then hugged by a Honduran binder and all wrapped up with a golden and silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. This mild-medium bodied cigar is bursting with flavors of cream and nuts, with a buttery smooth finish. This cigar is mild enough to enjoy throughout the day, so we had ours over lunch with a nice chilled Chardonnay.
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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