San Lotano – The Bull Robusto by A.J. Fernandez Cigars

San Lotano – The Bull is the third line under A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano brand. The Bull was originally soft-launched in 2013 as an exclusive to Meier & Dutch distributors, but would make a national launch last year. The San Lotano Bull line introduced a box-pressed Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapped blend into the San Lotano portfolio. Recently I’ve been smoking through some of the San Lotano Bull cigars in the Robusto size. Overall I have found this to be an excellent blend and one that is ranking as one of A.J. Fernandez’s best cigars.

The San Lotano brand was resurrected by A.J. Fernandez back in 2010. The brand was originally produced by Fernandez’s grandfather in Cuba. A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano line was released in 2010 in three blends (Connecticut, Habano, Maduro) and recently has been rebranded the San Lotano Réquiem line. This was followed with the launch of the San Lotano Oval line in 2011 featuring a unique oval-shaped pressed cigar. The Oval line was originally launched in a Habano wrapper, a Maduro blend followed in 2012, and a Connecticut followed in 2013.  The San Lotano Bull line is currently only in a Sumatra wrapped blend.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the San Lotano Bull Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

The San Lotano Bull features an Ecuadorian Sumatra over a binder and fillers from A.J. Fernandez’s farm in Nicaragua.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The San Lotano Bull is offered in four box-pressed vitolas. The cigars are packaged in ten count boxes.

Robusto: 5 x 54
Toro: 6 x 54
Torpedo: 6 1/2 x 54
Gordo: 6 x 60

Appearance

The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the San Lotano Bull has a dark cinnamon color to it. There is a slight coating of oil on the wrapper. Overall I found this to be a very smooth wrapper. There are some thin visible veins and for the most part the wrapper seams are well hidden. The Bull has a slightly soft-styled box-press to it. The cigar itself had a firm pack with no soft spots. When I removed the sleeve, there was some nice plume already building on this cigar (It had about 4 months in the humidor).

San Lotano – The Bull Robusto (Cedar Sleeve Removed)

The band is similar to the San Lotano Réquiem line. It prominently features the text “San Lotano” in gold font on a green background. Under the text. it says “by A.J. Fernandez” in black font on a yellow ribbon-shaped background. Under the yellow-ribbon shape, the color is orange. The rest of the band is black and green with gold adornments and trim. There is a small circular picture of tobacco leaves to the left of the band’s front. To the right of the band’s front is a small circular picture of some finished cigar product.

A cedar sleeve covers the San Lotano Bull from the band to the footer. The cedar sleeve is curved at the top to fit right under the curvature of the band. A black colored “branded” bull is imprinted on the cedar sleeve. A black ribbon covers the lower part of the cedar sleeve around the circumference of the cigar.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Before cutting the cigar, I slid off the cedar sleeve (with the ribbon on it). I then proceeded with a straight cut into the cap. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. To no surprise, I got plenty of cedar and wood flavors on the cold draw. I also detected a slight creamy note. Overall I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw of the San Lotano Bull Robusto. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking experience would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The San Lotano Bull Robusto started with a mix of black pepper, cedar, and natural tobacco flavors. It wasn’t too much of a surprise that the cedar notes became primary and the pepper and natural tobacco remained secondary. The cedar notes contributed more in the way of sweetness than spice. Meanwhile on the retro-hale, I picked up more of the black pepper notes

Later in the first third, I found the natural tobacco notes transitioned into more of a mild coffee flavor.  The coffee notes moved into the forefront joining the cedar notes. There was a nice synergy between the coffee and cedar as they alternated in intensity. At the same time, I found a creaminess develop in the background. Overall this smoothed out the flavor profile very nicely.

During the second third, I found the flavor profile continue.  The cream notes did diminish significantly, but the Bull did not lose its smoothness.

Toward the last third, I found the pepper spice moved toward the forefront.  The cedar and coffee notes remained in the forefront. Since the cedar was delivering more sweetness, I didn’t find the last third to be overpowering with spice. This is the way the cigar experience of the Bull came to a close. The resulting nub was ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The various lines of A.J. Fernandez Cigars have had a solid reputation for excellent construction and the San Lotano Bull is no exception. This was also reflected very nicely on both the burn and draw of the Bull Robusto. The burn path remained straight from start to finish. There was a slight jaggedness to the burn line itself, but overall this proved to be cosmetic and didn’t require an abnormal amount of touch-ups. A firm charcoal gray ash was produced and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the San Lotano – The Bull Robusto

I found the draw of the San Lotano Bull to perform very well. I didn’t find the draw to be too loose, nor too tight. Overall this was a low maintenance draw to derive flavors from – making the Bull an enjoyable cigar to smoke from start to finish.

Strength and Body

The San Lotano Bull line has been positioned as a stronger, fuller and more bold offering in the San Lotano portfolio. For the most part I agree with this. The Bull started out both medium to full in terms of strength and body and by the second half, both attributes progressed to full. I did find the strength came down a little with some time in the humidor and as a result, I found both the strength and body now had a nice balance between the two attributes.

Final Thoughts

Besides delivering some great flavors, perhaps one thing I that really makes the San Lotano Bull stand out is how smooth and bold this cigar is. These are two attributes that are often mutually exclusive. Even with some age, there is still plenty of strength with this cigar – and it won’t assault the palate. I like how this cigar also balances the sweetness and spice – delivering the best of both worlds. With the way this cigar has been aging, the Bull goes right into the upper echelon of A.J. Fernandez’s offerings. Because this is a stronger and fuller cigar, the Bull is something I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and one certainly worthy of a box purchase.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92

References

News: n/a
Price: $9.60
Source: Cigars Provided by Sponsor (*)
Stogie Geeks Episode: Episode 97
Stogie Feed: San Lotano The Bull Torpedo

(*) A.J. Fernandez Cigars is a sponsor of Cigar Coop and Stogie Geeks. For more information on San Lotano – The Bull, visit the A.J. Fernandez Cigars web-site.