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.
What 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.
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