A.J. Fernandez Enclave

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One of the most prolific producers in the industry, A.J. Fernandez launched the Enclave, which is meant to be a salute to native Americans, in the fall of 2015. It is a follow-up to his New World line of 2014-15, and it is another collaboration with his father, Ismael. And like the New World smokes, the Enclave is on the reasonable end of the price spectrum, and that is always a noble endeavor.

CIGAR STATS: The Enclave features an Ecuadoran Habano Rosado wrapper around a Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan and Piloto Cubano filler. It is produced at the Tabacalera Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua, and is offered in four sizes: Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 x 52), Figurado (6½ x 52), and Churchill (7 x 52). You can expect to pay $7-8 per stick.

APPEARANCE: The dark reddish-brown wrapper has a prominent vein or two and a folded-over foot. It’s a good-lloking cigar with a bit of spring to the touch.

THE SMOKE: Upon lighting up, the early flavor notes are wood (cedar) with a helping of coffee. It’s in the medium-bodied range, and there’s a bit of cream along the way. At about the midpoint, hay and some floral notes begin to compete with the wood, serving up a flavorful mix that remains to the end. Throughout the smoke, the Enclave generates a pleasant, rich aroma. In addition, the flavor never descends into the harshness late in the smoke that is often prevalent in lesser cigars. The draw is on the easy side, but very consistent, and the burn line is OK, requiring only one touchup.

THE VERDICT: A.J. Fernandez is renowned for packing a lot of flavor in his creations, and he has done it again here. The Enclave isn’t a powerhouse in terms of strength, but it delivers a tasty, relaxing 90-minute smoke, which is all anyone can ask for on a midsummer evening. To learn more about the Enclave, visit ajfernandezcigars.com– Brian Coyne

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