The namesake of AJ Fernandes Cigars has quickly become one of the hottest cigar makers on the planet. Abdel Josef (AJ) Fernandez is a third-generation cigar maker – born of Cuban heritage at the epicenter of Cuban cigar country: Pinar del Rio, where his Grandfather launched the original San Lotano cigars brand. After leaving Cuba, AJ briefly joined the “family business” – working alongside his uncle, Nestor Plasencia, in his tobacco fields before opening his own operations in Nicaragua. Tabacalera Fernandez started in a small garage making AJ Fernandez cigars with just six rollers.
By 2009 he was making cigars for Rocky Patel, Gurkha, Padilla, and others. Soon after, he would revive San Lotano and relaunch the brand in honor of his grandfather. With a unique Oval press, San Lotano was named No. 2 cigar in the world by Cigar Journal and cracked the Top 25 Cigars of the Year by Cigar Aficionado in 2012. This new-found stardom helped launch his brand into near-celebrity status. Partnered with his father Ismael, the two oversee production of various farms, including the crown jewel in Esteli, Tabacalera AJ Fernandez.
Guided by his motto, “To make the finest cigars, you should have the best suitable raw material,” AJ has worked tirelessly in creating the best cigars possible. The cigars that put him on the map, including Diesel, Man O’ War, and Ave Maria, are characterized by Nicaraguan power: peppery, earthy, and full-bodied.
Working closely with his father, AJ proved the San Lotano was no flash in the pan with the subsequent releases of Enclave, New World, La Gran Llave and Bellas Artes. New World Connecticut, ranked number 1 cigar of the year by Cigar Journal, is a masterpiece of aged Nicaraguan and Brazilian filler, San Andreas binder, and silky US Connecticut Shade wrapper.
Famous Smoke Shop has now collaborated with Fernandez on two exclusive lines, Shadow King and Pantheon. The Nicaraguan pedigree of these AJ Fernandez cigars is eveidnt: Shadow King features a unique blend of Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican filler, Mexican binder, and a dark and sumptuous Sumatra Oscuro wrapper that resonate in full-bodied glory. The Roman-themed Pantheon cigars lineup, four in all, runs the gambit of strength and flavors.