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Cigar Review: A.J. Fernandez Spectre Robusto

24 Feb 2014

The Spectre by AJ Fernandez is easily one of the most unique, interesting cigars I have smoked in years. Now, we’ll discuss whether or not that’s a compliment in a little, but just go into this review knowing that this cigar is very distinctive and you likely have not smoked something like this before.

A.J. Fernandez Spectre RobustoWhat makes this such a unique experience is the “secret blend” of tobacco used in making the Spectre, which reportedly includes latakia. For those who are not big pipe enthusiasts, latakia is a type of tobacco normally included in what are called “English” blends. It has a smoky smell, like a campfire, and normally has smoky and spicy flavors associated with it. At this point, some of you may be thinking of cigars like the MUWAT KFC or the Leccia Black, which feature Kentucky Fire-Cured tobacco. While the process these two tobaccos go through to achieve their flavor is similar, there is a distinct difference: KFC is American tobacco, and latakia is an Oriental process.

While some details about the cigar were not disclosed to the public, we do know this has a Maduro wrapper with Nicaraguan origin. Three sizes are initially offered: Toro, Robusto, and Gordo. I smoked three Robustos (5 x 50) for this review. The wrapper is very dark and oily, and the band shows a tobacco leaf in shadows, with a bright light coming up behind it. While it’s a small complaint, I don’t really like bands like this which take up more than 50% of the cigar. When clipped the cigar emanates very smoky aromas, with some spice and leather underneath.

Lighting up this cigar straight off the shelves is an insane experience. The flavor is so strong and interesting in the first half that it was honestly a little overwhelming. Your palate is blasted with smokiness, charred meat, leather, cocoa, and earth, with a sharp spiciness dominating the finish. The second half of the cigar burnt a little hot, but also allowed most of the flavors to mellow out and complement each other a bit more.

I feel the need to add in that I smoked the third cigar for this review after it sat in my humidor outside the cello for about two weeks. The experience was really different. That smoky-spicy latakia dominant first half was replaced by rich cocoa and earth, that were overpowered in the previous two I had smoked. Sadly, that experience also felt muted and one-dimensional in comparison to my first two.

This is a cigar that I cannot really recommend to just any smoker, due to the strength of flavor (the nicotine is a solid medium, by the way). However, if you’re looking for a unique experience, these sticks can be picked up at a pretty good price, and it’s worth trying them just to say you have. I personally like them, and they are well rolled, but considering the fact that this cigar would never enter my regular rotation, I will only give it three stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Joey J

photo credit: Stogie Guys

4 Responses to “Cigar Review: A.J. Fernandez Spectre Robusto”

  1. Cyrus Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Joey- are you a fan of other AJ Fernandez cigars? I wonder if this is an anomoly for AJF cigars or just that you generall aren't a fan of AJ's cigars.

  2. Joey Jobes Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    Cyrus, it really depends on the cigar. I'm a big fan of the Emilio AF series, the Man O War Ruination, and the 5 Vegas AAA. Some of his other smokes, like the Diesel Unholy Cocktail, are not really my favorite. Also, to clarify, I wouldn't say I'm not a fan of this smoke, just that it's so intense and unique fresh that I don't think I could smoke it all the time. If you like full flavor I'd encourage you to track one down and try it!

  3. Eric Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    I'm glad to see cigar makers experimenting with blending and taking some influence from the pipe tobacco world, but smoked tobacco doesn't interest my palate at all.
    Interesting trend though with Leccia Black, Muwat, etc.
    Any others I'm forgetting using fire cured tobac?

  4. Samuel Monday, August 4, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    I agree that this is a unique and interesting cigar, but I didn't find it (too) intense. Those that like their cigars strong will have no problem with these sticks. I'd like to add–with my non-industry approved terminology–that the Spectre has the scent of sweet rubber (reminiscent of certain pipe tobaccos I've tried before) and will quickly instill its bouquet into other cigars in one's humidor. It's a bit off-putting at first, but the flavor justifies the cost. After finishing a 5-pack of the Gordos, I immediately picked up a 10-count box.