Team Cigar Review: AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Short Churchill

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Cigar Details: AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Short Churchill

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Proprietary Hybrid Rojita: U.S. Connecticut Shade (50%), Corojo 99 (25%), Havana 2000 (25%)
  • Binder: Quilali
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran and Brazilian
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Blender: AJ Fernandez
  • Price: $8.25
  • Release Date: July 2016
  • Source: AJ Fernandez

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper is medium brown with a few veins present. The seams are visible but very smooth. There appear to be two caps with the top cap a little wrinkly. The cigar has a box press to it. There are two bands, the first which lists the name of the line and a second strip band that says AJ Fernandez. This second band is one that will be seen on a few more cigars and may become quite popular in the next year or so. The primary colors of both bands are gold and red. The aroma from the wrapper is barnyard and white pepper. The aroma from the foot is a lightly sweet hay. The pre-light draw is a light graham cracker and there is a spicy tingle on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Short Churchill has a silky smooth caramel shade wrapper. Veins are visible but pressed so well you don’t even feel them. Seams are incredibly tight. The bunching and roll feels well executed as there is a firm, uniformed give. The head is finished off with a thick double cap. Pre-light wrapper aromas give cedar and flowery perfume. Foot smells of white pepper, sharp cedar and dry roasted nuttiness. Cold draw tells creamy dry roasted nuts and dry earth.

First Third

Initial draws bring an interesting combination of sweet, creamy and peppery components. The retrohale has a good pepper zing to it as well. The cigar burns quickly to the quarter inch mark while I’m still trying to figure out flavors and am now getting some bread and wood with a pepper finish. The retrohale is still carrying a substantial pepper note. Three quarters of an inch in, there are pockets of nice sweetness which I’m attributing to the bread that show up from time to time. The woodiness and pepper are still there while a little bit of cream comes back. The pepper has a very long finish. At an inch in, the retrohale settles down with the pepper and the breadiness takes over as the dominant note. At an inch and a half, the profile is wood and bread with the pepper finish. This is how the third finishes. The strength in this third was medium-full.

First Third

The first third (right from the first draw) starts with cayenne style pepper weighing on my tongue and rear palate. In addition, leather, slight sweetness, dry earth, slight dry roasted nuttiness and intermittent coffee with cream. Through the nose, pungent and stinging cayenne pepper and dry wood. The finish consists of dry wood and faint dry roasted nuttiness. Body is at medium and strength medium-full starting from the halfway mark.

Second Third

As this third begins, the bread is upfront with the wood in the background. There is also a slight pepper finish. The retrohale is a light oak. A quarter inch in and the wood transitions to oak and moves up front with the bread now in the background. At a half inch in, the bread increases to even out with the oak. The retrohale is now very bready. At an inch in, the mouth flavor and retrohale are both an even mix of oak and bread. At an inch and a half in, the oak and bread keep jockeying for the dominant position on each draw. As the third comes to a close, oak has taken over the profile. The strength in this third is medium-full.

Second Third

The second third continues with the cayenne spice and heat, leather, dry earth and faint dry roasted nuttiness. The once intermittent coffee with cream is now a consistent note. Further, the profile becomes sweeter and creamier but still not as dominant as the spice. Through retrohaling, still pungent and stinging cayenne pepper and dry wood. The finish consists of dry wood, slight cayenne pepper and faint dry roasted nuttiness. Body and strength continues to be medium and medium-full, respectively.

Final Third

As this third begins, there is some bitterness that joins the oak. A quarter inch in and the bitterness fades back with the oak coming back up front. The retrohale is a creamy oak. At a half inch in, the bitterness is just on the finish with some cream coming in to mix with the oak. At an inch in, the bitterness comes back and pushes the cream out. The cigar finishes with the mix of bitter oak and the retrohale of creamy oak. The strength in this third was full.

Final Third

The last third moves in pace with the second third. Still cayenne spice and heat but now with the addition of a slick oiliness. In conjunction to the spice, there is leather, dry earth, medium sweetness and slight dry roasted nuttiness. The coffee and cream is no longer a component. Through the nose, still pungent and stinging cayenne pepper and dry wood. The finish lingering with dry wood, slight cayenne pepper and slight dry roasted nuttiness.

Burn

There was a decent amount of waviness in the second half of the second third, but other than that the burn was very straight. The ash held on in inch and a half segments.

Burn

The cigar produced ample smoke production. Total smoking time clocked in at a great 2 hours and 45 minutes. The burn was fairly uneven most of the cigar but never needed a re-light or touch up. Ashes were slightly flaky with some portions falling on the floor. Ash marks averaged one inch.

Draw

The draw was just how I like it and produced large amounts of smoke on each draw.

Overall

The flavors were very dynamic in the first third but became pretty linear the rest of the way. I wish that the flavor profile from the first third would have continued which would make this an excellent cigar. With excellent performance, I’d really like to try this in a shorter vitola to see if the flavor would keep on throughout more of the smoking experience. The strength is up there, so newer smokers or those that like milder cigars may want to take caution, but if you like fuller strength cigars, this is a must try. I highly recommend that you seek one of these out.

Aaron
Jiunn
Good Pre
Light
Very Good
Very Good First
Third
Good
Good Second Third Good
Average Final
Third
Good
Very Good Burn Good
Amazing Draw Subpar
Good Overall Good

Draw

The cigar was too loose. So loose that I had to slow the pulls considerably as when I didn’t, bitterness came into the profile.

Overall

This was another tasty cigar in AJ’s ever growing portfolio. I liked how the flavors were in your face the entire smoking experience as compared to constantly searching for subtleties. The one thing I wish could be altered is the loose draw as I had to constantly pay attention to it at the risk of the cigar burning too hot and providing too much bitterness.

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

7.20

Cost/Point

$1.15

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.27

Cost/Point

$1.32

Scoring System

Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Short Churchill

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