Viva La Vida is a brand from Artesano Del Tobacco started by brothers Gus and Billy Fakih and distributed by AJ Fernandez. The brand launched in 2019 with 5 sizes and only available brick and mortar, later adding the Jester and a couple online shop exclusives, one of those being the Atlantic Cigar exclusive Box Press measuring 6 x 56.
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 blend for Viva La Vida is a Nicaraguan puro using a Habano Oscuro wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan fillers. The wrapper is grown by AJ Fernandez himself. The band contains AJ Fernandez’s name, although it is not an official AJ Fernandez brand. The original five sizes were: Diadema Fina (6 1/2 x 52), Gran Toro (6 x 60), Robusto (5 x 54), Toro (6 x 54), and Torpedo (6 1/2 x 54). The company has since added the Jester (5 x 56), 500 Club 6 x 60 Box Pressed, Atlantic Cigar Exclusive Box Pressed 6 x 56, and Famous Smoke Exclusive Box Pressed 6 x 52.
Vitola: Double Toro
Ring Gauge: 56
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Habano Oscuro
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
Blender: AJ Fernandez
Number of reviewers: 4 – Alan (Eulogy) Ryan H. (Ryan H.) John A. (Bostoneo) Mickey T. (irratebass)
Age: 4 Months
Release Date: February 2020
Contributed by: Blind Man’s Puff
“Great looking cigar. Box pressed…toro in size. Dark brown wrpper with minimal visible veins, but plenty of seams, and appears to be packed yet feels light in my hand.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“Cane sugar and semi sweet chocolate jasmine floral. Man that is a wonderful smell” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)
“Started with a lot of green juice notes but it backed down in intensity after half an inch. I’m a bit unsure how much I’m enjoying the flavors but it’s a unique combination. Black coffee, green juice, baking spice, and a touch of dark chocolate are all flavors that I like but are a bit odd all together. There’s a little bit of pepper and leather on the retrohale which is nice since I’m not finding either on the draw.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Crushed red pepper spice straight off the light. My eyes are waterings little. After the cigar warms a little, sweet honey and earth emerges, old leather through the nose as well as a little bread on the tail end. Quite a complex little cigar with tons of character. Draw and burn are on point as well.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)
“Same flavors as before, but marshmallow has joined the fold. Strength has stayed mild to medium and just barely topples at the medium side.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“Profile starts to lose a little of its richness only getting black pepper earth just a little honey left. Still an awesome cigar. Has a mule like nic kick that comes with it.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)
“There’s still a slight vegetal note but it’s almost a completely different cigar now. There’s sweet tobacco richness, leather, cedar, baking spice, and a pretty aggressive level of red pepper making a profile that’s very rich in flavor.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Floral vegital honey shining now. Really thinking this cigar will make it into my top 10 of 2020” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)
“Ecellent draw……plenty of mouthfuls of smoke” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“Burned very sharp from beginning to end never requiring a touch up or relight.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Excellent construction. Ash held on for about a 1/4 of an inch before I became too paranoid of wearing it.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Experience Overall: 94
“The first two thirds were good. I guess it would depend on how much you like a green juice flavor if you’re willing to stick it out to the end but the final third was almost like smoking a different cigar. Still, the flavors were always rich even if a bit odd. The smoke output was great, the draw was spot on, and the body was decadent.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Everything about this cigar was awesome. Great taste performance truly a great cigar.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)
“Not my cup of tea. This cigar is meant to be paired with something sweet, perhaps coffee or sweetened chocolate to counter balance the deep and dark flavors that sometimes turn a bit sour and charred. Ash did not like to stay on this one as I had gotten ash all over me multiple times, very annoying, and probably due to the super loose draw this stick had. I wouldn’t smoke this one all by itself at all and for that, a no go for my tastes and preferences.” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“This was an excellent cigar! This is the kind of cigar you look forward to smoking all day, and when you do sit down to smoke it…it delivers!” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 78
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.