Our Top 25 Cigars of 2018 are announced: these are the year’s best smokes, each a new-for 2018 release that more than impressed us…they left a mark. If you’re feeling adventurous for new cigars to try, here’s a quick n’ tidy recap of the selections we think are totally worth your time.
Cigar Advisor Panel: Aganorsa Leaf / Casa Fernandez Reserva Miami Maduro Cigar Review – Video
CA Review Panel: Aganorsa Leaf/Casa Fernandez Reserva Miami Maduro Cigar Review (Video)
By the Cigar Advisor Editors
Aganorsa-Casa Fernandez Reserva Maduro Miami Toro
Country of Manufacture: Miami, Florida, USA
Size: 6″ x 54
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Morron
Filler& Binder: Nicaraguan Aganorsa Leaf
The Aganorsa-Casa Fernandez Reserva Maduro Miami Back Story
It all starts with the authentic Cuban seeds planted by Cuban farmers in the rich soil of Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley. As they grow, the plants are carefully nurtured to fruition, then cured and aged in the “old school” Cuban tradition. Only one more important ingredient is added – “time”. The result is the exquisite and unprecedented Aganorsa Leaf. These are the flavorful, aromatic leaves that lie beneath the dark Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper used for the Casa Fernandez Reserva Maduro Miami cigar. Made in Aganorsa’s boutique factory in Miami, Florida, the Reserva Maduro is said to have a bold heart while retaining great complexity and balance. It is best enjoyed after a hearty meal with a rye whiskey as a pairing.
Construction and Overall Appearance: Stunning. The deep, dark chocolate color wrapper is entirely even with a polished, leathery-reddish patina; seamless rolling; perfectly applied triple cap.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Mostly leathery with a hint of spice.
First few puffs: Sharp notes of black pepper followed by a tart citrusy note.
Retrohale: Smooth and woody with a trace of peppery spice.
Base flavors: Sweet spice, cedar, tart fruit, black coffee, cocoa.
Aroma: Excellent, with a sweet, leathery redolence.
Burn / Ash Quality: Even burn throughout with a firm grey ash.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.
Summary: I’ve admired a few cigars for their appearance over the years, but this Miami Reserva Maduro was really worth taking the time to inspect. Both samples, the baseline cigar and the cigar I smoked on the video, were flawless in every respect.
The foot took quickly to flame for a perfect light. The first few puffs were a peppery wakeup call followed by notes of tart fruit; then the sweet tobacco notes rolled in. The smoke was dense and aromatic with a velvety texture throughout. Also impressive was, even in the very early stages of this cigar I tasted notes of sweet spice, leather, black coffee, and cocoa with black coffee being the most dominant.
As the Toro pressed on toward its midsection, the cocoa notes became more prevalent. I felt like I was smoking a mocha-chocolate candy bar. The cigar eventually locks into a well-balanced, medium-bodied banquet of chocolaty goodness; a layer of black coffee lies just below that with accents of sweet spice.
Overall, a consistent, complex smoke with no bitterness, even in the final inches. Very impressive on every count; what I would classify as “a perfect cigar.”
Tommy Zman’s Review
Pre-light flavor: Earthy
Toasting & Light: Fairly easy. No issues.
First Few Puffs: Spicy.
Base flavors: Coffee bean, citrus, dark chocolate, spice, black pepper.
Burn & Ash Quality: Very solid.
Balance of flavors: Well-balanced and extremely complex.
Summary: This company has been making quality cigars for some time, and now the Reserva Miami pushes their excellence over the top.
The very first thing you’ll notice about this cigar is the smooth and silky sheen of the Mexican San Andres wrapper, as well as how solidly made it is. It’s packed dense with tobacco and feels like it weighs almost twice as much as a regular toro sized cigar. And as packed with tobacco as it is, the draw is easy, as smoke just billows out from that solid white ash.
As far as body goes, it is very full-flavored – not strong, mind you, but loaded with complexity. Right off the bat it’s peppery on the palate, so you know it’s front-loaded with spicy ligero, but that gives way pretty quickly as things smooth out, while deep, rich flavors of coffee bean and dark chocolate enter on in. You’ll also get hit with an undeniable sweet component, a taste of citrus that no doubt comes from its shimmering Mexican outer leaf.
My first Reserva Miami was paired with an Elijah Craig bourbon, and my second one was paired up with Balvenie Doublewood Scotch. Both of those whiskies have a nice sweetness to them and were wonderful companions to the cigar, which, by the way is made right here in the United States (in Miami, hence the name).
If you like full flavor and complexity and don’t mind paying a little bit more for a true luxury stick, the Casa Fernandez Reserva Miami Maduro is something you’ll really want to experience.
Construction: Perfectly built, not over-packed. The San Andrés wrapper has a rich, brown coffee color with thin, black veins etching their way.
Pre-light flavor: Foot: Earth, minerals, basement must, salt, and so peppery it made me sneeze. Cold draw: Apple sweetness, heavy cream, cedar wood, and leather.
Toasting & Light: Fairly easy for all the ligero in it.
Initial notes: Warm toast, leather, earth, with a salted cracker flavor. After a few puffs a light peppery spice forms while the main notes are creamy, salty and bread-like with accents of cedar.
Base flavors: Coffee, brown sugar, cream, bread, leather, and pepper.
Retrohale: Bourbon-like sweetness with cedar and black peppercorns.
Aroma: Toast and citrus.
Burn / Ash Quality: The burn line is thin but slightly wavy. The ash is a bright white and slightly flakey.
Balance of flavors: While full-bodied this cigar took on a deeply complex profile that favored its rich, warm flavors
Summary: After the initial puffs- a plethora of leathery, woody, and lightly sweet brown sugar notes are revealed. Gradually cedar, leather, earth and pepper make their way back into the picture.
The Medio Tiempo leaves make a full presence mid-way through giving me a full-belly feel in the gut with a velvety caramel coffee note, heavy cream, and cedar. The sweet and bready flavors mesh into what I can only call sugar cookie flavor with a rich cedar and cream on the backend of a peppery finish. After the retrohale a pleasant nuttiness emerges from this increasingly complex smoke and by the last third I start to really feel the body on this guy.
Final Thoughts: Perfect to pair with a sweet bourbon or a malty Belgian style beer.
The finish is creamy and sweet yet beefy at the same time.