Cigar Ratings & Reviews

#nowsmoking: Viva la Vida Box Press Toro Famous Exclusivo

Reading Time: 4 minutes

#nowsmoking: Viva La Vida Box Press Toro Cigar Review (Famous Smoke Shop Exclusive) 

#NowSmokingViva La Vida Famous Exclusivo – Box Press Toro 

Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez – Estelí, Nicaragua 
Size6″ x 52 
WrapperNicaraguan Habano 2000 Oscuro (a proprietary leaf grown by AJ) 
Binder & FillerNicaraguan 
Price: $106.99/box of 10 

#nowsmoking viva la vida cigar review box press toro at Famous Smoke Shop

What’s the cigar’s back story. . 

Billy and Gus Fakih of New York City’s Smoke Inn had been running New York City’s Smoke Inn since 1992. As one of the city’s premiere venues for enjoying premium cigars, Smoke Inn became a must-stop for cigar smokers visiting New York. But in 2015, the brothers sold the business to Britain’s Imperial Tobacco PLC (known today as Imperial Group PLC). Smoke Inn was then renamed as it became one of Imperial’s Casa de Montecristo lounges. 

#nowsmoking aj fernandez viva la vida cigar review box

That same year, Billy and Gus founded  Artesano del Tobacco, and began making their debut Viva La Vida cigars with AJ Fernandez. Bill and Gus had become close friends with AJ over the years and were particularly fond of his San Lotano selection. The cigars are blended entirely with Nicaraguan long filler from various regions including a proprietary Habano 2000 wrapper grown by AJ.  

Good luck had stung the brothers and Viva La Vida was an instant hit, gaining most of its momentum via social media. Sales soared,  and even more impressive was that the line was exclusively available as a “retail only” selection. Likewise, the cigars were sold in Famous Smoke Shop’s retail store in Easton, PA and all rolled in round parejo shapes 

#nowsmoking viva la vida cigar review by Gary Korb
#nowsmoking @famoussmokeshop:  The Viva La Vida Box Press Toro offers a well-balanced, medium to full-bodied smoke with well-defined notes of leather, cedar, sweet spice, and a few nice surprises on a long finish. 

According to Famous Smoke Shop Buyer, Erol AtaBilly and Gus met with Famous about having a special size made just for Famous. It would also be available for sale online in a limited run of 10-count boxesThe result was the cigar reviewed here, and one-off, too. Made with the same blend, it was a 6″x52 box pressed Toro, which would also display a secondary gold band with Famous Smoke Shop’s logo on it. In only a short time, the Viva La Vida Box Press Toro has become one of Famous’s bestselling private label cigars. 

How well is the cigar made?  

#nowsmoking aj fernandez viva la vida single cigar and box

Excellently. The Nicaraguan Habano 2000 Oscuro wrapper had an attractive oiliness and was perfectly pressed around the remaining all-Nicaraguan core blend. The tobaccos were well packed with no sign of soft spots. The cap came off cleanly allowing for an effortless draw with just the right amount of pressure. The cold draw notes were salty and leathery with a fig-like flavor.   

How does the cigar smoke?  

#nowsmoking viva la vida cigar review part 1

Like a joy. The initial puffs were sweet and leathery, but it didn’t take long for AJ’s signature peppery preamble to reveal itself. This event was short-lived, however, as the sweeter elements of the blend overrode the signature pepperiness. There was also a floral note that Jared noticed a little earlier than my discovery of it. I compared it to a lavender-like scent, but whatever it was, it was very appealing. Jared also picked up a note of black licorice at about an inch in, while I continued to get sweet, leathery, and even nutty-woody flavors. As for the pepper, there’s a trace of it in the retrohale, but it never returned to the flavor pool for the remainder of the sessionThe flavors also maintained an excellent balance. The burn was spot-on even exposing firm, grey, conical ashes that dropped at about one nugget per inch. Another important factor that Jared pointed out is that the cigar held up exceptionally well even after several relights. (Watch the video for why.)

What is the cigar’s flavor profile?  

#nowsmoking viva la vida cigar review part two

Medium to medium-plus in body, notes of leather, cedarand sweet spice make up the core flavors. The smoke is dense and creamy, leaving a long, sweet-spicy finish. Notes of figs, licorice, and roasted nuts also play a part in varying degrees, giving the cigar a more complex edge. 

What drinks can I pair with this cigar besides coffee?  

#nowsmoking viva la vida cigar review and drink pairing

If you like Arizona Half & Half Iced Tea/Lemonade, give that a try. (I’ve been pairing this with several cigars of late.) But for something a little harder, Jared recommended a dry rye. I think this cigar is also tailor-made for bourbon, and something not too sweet, like Woodford Reserve should make a nice match. 

(Find more cigar and drink pairing combinations here.) 

Should I buy this cigar?  

#nowsmoking viva la via cigar review nub of cigar

For one, regardless of your experience, the Viva La Vida Box Press Toro will prove to be a very satisfying smoke. The medium-plus body, creamy smoothness, and excellent balance of flavors make this vitola a superb, must-try treat. The fact that they’re available online in this size makes them even more tempting. And whether you’re an AJ Fernandez disciple or not, if you’re looking for a full-flavored smoke that’s not going to hit hard but still delivers that AJ magic, the Viva La Vida Box Press Toro is a home run.  


#cigaradvisor #cigar #cigars #cigarlife #cigarlifestyle #cigarsociety #cigarporn #cigarreviews #cigarphotography #botl #sotl #NowSmoking #menwhosmoke #thecigarculture #relax #luxury #ultimateluxury #luxurylifestyle #luxury #gooddeal #smokeability #famous80 #vivalavida #famousexclusive #exclusivecigar #vivalavidaboxpresstoro 

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Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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