This latest release from A.J. Fernandez is Last Call. The cigar will be the first in a collection of brands known as the Portfolio Series—experimental blends that the company is planning to release separately from the company’s regular production lines.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
“The Portfolio Series by A.J. Fernandez is a collection of unique blends that A.J. has worked on throughout the years in Nicaragua,” Starky Arias of A.J. Fernandez Cigars told Cigar Aficionado. “The blends are comprised of unique cuts of premium tobacco from A.J.’s vast inventory of fillers and will be released to the public in the future. Some lines will be limited in production and others, such as Last Call, will be full productions.”
Last Call will debut in one size, called Geniales, measuring 4 1/2 inches by 48 ring gauge and wears an Ecuador Habano Rosado wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers that Fernandez has grown on his own farms. The cigar first came to life as a personal blend of Fernandez’s, which he shared with guests who came to visit his Nicaraguan estate.
“The cigar line was given this particular name since it literally became the final smoke of the evening for A.J. and his guests during their visits to the ‘White House’ for Monday and Thursday night NFL games…The final smoke of the night,” Arias explained.
Last Call by A.J. Fernandez will started shipping to retailers in April, and is positioned as a brick-and-mortar exclusive. The cigar comes in 25-count boxes and will retail for $5 each. The cigars are rolled at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua, located in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Ring Gauge: 48
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Filler: Select AJ Fernandez Nicaraguan Fillers
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
Blender: A.J. Fernandez
Number of reviewers: 4 – Gregg (McGreggor57) Matt C. (Big Matt) Adam B. (Bushboy) Kyle (kaleehb)
Age: 2 Months
Release Date: April 2016
Contributed by: A.J. Fernandez Cigars
“This is an excellent looking cigar, and what I would consider to be a rothschild. A rothschild is typically about 4 1/2″ in length by a 48-50 ring gauge, however with how the industry is going this cigar could easily be considered a robusto. Sample 512 has a great looking rosado wrapper, and has a partially closed foot. The cigar itself smells of fine leather and barnyard but the foot smells of milk chocolate and grass.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)
“The aroma off of this cigar presents a very toasty profile: including cedar, charred red meat, and grass.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)
“A nice mix of leather, oak and tobacco with a little spice on the retrohale provide a great start to this cigar. Shortly in some cedar and wet grasses develop in the background. The balance of flavors is spot on as no single one dominates.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)
“I really love the partially closed or is it supposed to be completely closed foot? Regardless of that the cold draw is great and I can taste potential before even lighting it up. This sample has a great hand-feel and is a vitola/size, I tend to reach for often. The second I lit this premium cigar it brought me straight to the 6th inning of a close baseball game. Immediately I’m hit with red pepper, milk chocolate, smoked paprika, Nicaragua, grass, and charred red meat. Additionally there are grass notes on the profile that reminds me of a young/youthful cigar which isn’t something I experience everyday with what I feel is a Nicaraguan cigar.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)
“Ladies and gentlemen we have a flavor-bomb in the second third with medium to full body profile and complexity is increasing. I’ll be damned if this cigar doesn’t reach full body by the final third. The flavors are milk chocolate, charred meat, various nuts, lemon, juniper berries and a toastiness. Cedar turns to oak. The youth and the grass is still present but is very pleasant. I just noticed that I haven’t been retrohaling because its great just on the exhale. The retrohale is oak and lemon, with a slight chalkiness.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)
“Vanilla carried over with added nuttiness. Sweet finish but not overwhelming. So far I am enjoying this smoke. Even got a compliment on the aroma from a non-smoker friend.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)
“As the cedar recedes a little char develops bringing out the richer flavors of oak and leather. Some sweetness remains on the finish from the baking spices and cedar. This cigar ends on a delicious creamy leathery woodsy note.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)
“I am impressed by the transition in flavors of this cigar. Nothing too drastic, although a nice ride. Nothing shocking, however left me looking forward to the next pull. Enjoy this stick at a slow pace and you will not be disappointed.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)
“Draw on this cigar started a bit tight, however, opened up as the smoking experience progressed. The draw did not hinder my smoking experience.” -Kyle (kaleehb)
“Lots of smoke coupled with a tightly coiled ash and straight burn-line.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)
“Cigar was constructed very well. I feel the burn issues that occurred were a result of the folded tobacco covering the foot of the cigar as the burn was wavy from the start. I’m wondering if the foot had been cut as normal if these burn issues would have existed?” -Kyle (kaleehb)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Overall Experience: 91
“Each third stood on it’s own flavor wise, although the final one was my favorite. The shifts between the oak and cedar were perfectly balanced by the leather. Tobacco and baking spices provided a sweet contracts to the woodsy notes. Definitely a keeper in my book.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)
“Overall, this is a very good cigar that will only benefit with a little more humidor time, say 3-6 months. I think this cigar might incorporate an Ecuadorian wrapper, due to the flavor profile (grass) however with its rosado shade it has me second guessing myself. I would easily recommend this cigar to a cigar newbie (on a full stomach) or a seasoned cigar enthusiast. This is a smoke I hope to get the chance to reach for again and again.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)
“I enjoyed this cigar thoroughly. My initial thoughts were opposite for unknown reasons (based on past experiences with other cigars), but was proved wrong. I would definitely smoke this cigar again and give praise to the mastermind behind the blend.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)
“Overall, this cigar was an enjoyable experience. Depending on the price, I’m not sure if I would purchase more, however, if you’re looking for a unique size and enjoy woody tastes/flavors this stick is for you. Probably won’t make this part of my regular rotation.” -Kyle (kaleehb)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 54
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.