A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut Toro

The A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut is the second blend to be released in A.J. Fernandez Cigars’ New World line. If you watched the Stogie Geeks 3 Year Anniversary special, you heard for the first time of plans for this particular line. It was at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show when the first A.J. Fernandez New World was officially launched. The New World is a value-priced, box-pressed Nicaraguan puro that was the first project at A.J. Fernandez Cigars between master blender A.J. Fernandez and his father Ismael. The original New World was an enormous success from both a commercial and critical standpoint. Now A.J. Fernandez introduces a Connecticut Shade offering under this brand. While it’s not the first Connecticut Shade cigar by the company, it is the most different it has released. The A.J. Fernandez New World introduces a very traditional Connecticut Shade cigar – once again at a value-price. With the New World Connecticut about to hit the shelves, recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke this cigar in a Toro size. Once again A.J. Fernandez knocks it out of the part as this cigar – living up to the high expectations I expected here.

When the original Nicaraguan puro New World was announced, A.J. Fernandez Cigars explained (in a press release) the significance of the name New World and how it ties in with cigars:

In November 1492, Jerez and Luis de Torres first observed natives smoking as they were searching for the Emperor of China. Not knowing they landed in what is now known as Cuba, they came across natives that made rolls of palm and mais leaves in the manner of a musket formed of paper with tobacco on the inside. One would light one side and drink the smoke out of the other.

Shortly after the announcement on Stogie Geeks, cigar enthusiasts in New York got a chance to sample this blend for the first time. A very special one-time limited run in a special size (a 5 1/2 x 54 Robusto) of this cigar was released to Cigar Inn in New York City.

Connecticut Shade cigars are not new to A.J. Fernandez Cigars. Most notably, the company has Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrappers with the San Lotano (Réquiem) Connecticut and San Lotan Oval Connecticut lines. Many consider the San Lotano (Réquiem) Connecticut as a game changer as it brought a bolder, spicier Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar to the table. The New World Connecticut is different as it uses a U.S. Connecticut Shade wrapper. It also provides a milder, traditional Connecticut Shade offering – something that hasn’t really existed in existing lines.

Like the original New World, the New World Connecticut is a collaboration between A.J. and Ismael Fernandez. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

The A.J. Fernandez New World is not the original New World with a Connecticut Shade wrapper. It is a completely different blend. It features tobaccos from four countries.

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade U.S.A.
Binder: San Andres Mexico
Filler: Nicaragua, Brazil
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Fernandez)

Vitolas Available

There are four sizes to the New World Connecticut packaged in 20 count boxes. Another difference from the original New World line is that the New World Connecticut uses rounded vitolas as opposed to the box-press format used on the original New World line.

Corona Gorda: 5 1/2 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Belicoso: 6 x 54

Note: The Cigar Inn version of the Robusto was slightly larger – measuring 5 1/2 x 54.

A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut
(Photo Credit: A.J. Fernandez Cigars)

Appearance

The A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut has a slightly weathered light brown wrapper. The wrapper itself is silky smooth with a light oily sheen on it. There was a little more oil toward the cap. There were some thin visible veins and most of the wrapper seams were well hidden. There was a strong barnyard aroma that can easily be detected across the length of the cigar.

The band to the A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut is pretty much the same one found on the original New World line. It is off-white in color with red trim across the top and bottom. There is a portrait style print representing some Columbus-era New World explorers. Above the portrait is the text “NEW WORLD” in green font arranged in a slight arc. Below that text is the text “by A.J. Fernandez” in thin red cursive font. To the left of the portrait is the text “HECHO A MANO” in red font and “100% PREMIUM QUALITY” in green font – arranged in landscape mode. To the right is the text “ESTELI NICARAGUA” in red font and “SATISFACTION GUARANTEED” – also arrange in landscape mode. There are gold medallions across the lower part of the portrait and some gold adornments on the far left and right. The back of the band has A.J. Fernandez’s “signature” on it.

The New World Connecticut also features a gray ribbon on the footer. It has the “AJF” logo along with the text “CONNECTICUT” on it – both in red font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I typically do, I started my cigar experience for the New World Connecticut Toro with a straight cut. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of wood and cream. While the flavor profile of this pre-light draw was simple, it was a very good one. At this point, I removed the ribbon from the footer, lit up my New World Connecticut Toro and prepared for the smoking phase.

Flavor Profile

Out of the gate, the A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut Toro started out as a very traditional Connecticut Shade cigar flavor-wise. The cigar delivered notes of cream, nut, cedar spice, and wood. The cream notes had almost a rich “milky” taste to them. The cream and cedar notes quickly moved to the forefront while the nut and wood notes became secondary. The retro-hale delivered notes of toast and black pepper that layered nicely over the flavors on the tongue.

Around the mid-point of the first third, I found the cream and cedar notes continued to maintain their presence in the forefront. The cream notes seemed to have a slight edge. The nut flavors floated between the forefront and background. The wood flavors were more distant.

By the halfway point, I noticed the cedar notes became more prominent on the after-draw – delivering a nice lingering effect on the tongue. The cedar and cream were still the primary flavors overall. The nut flavors were now secondary. The wood notes had dissipated and from time to time I picked up a slight citrus note.

During the second half, I found the flavor profile to remain similar. The cedar notes now seemed to have a slight edge over the cream. The nut flavors were still secondary. This was the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and remained quite firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

Overall the burn performed well on the A.J. Fernandez New World Connecicut Toro. There was a slight meandering early on with the burn line, but by the middle of the first third, the burn settled nicely and went on a straighter path. The resulting ash had a charcoal gray color. The ash itself came off the cigar in clean chunks with virtually no flaking. The burn temperature of the cigar was ideal. In terms of the burn rate, I found this to be a little faster than I would expect. Each time I smoked the Toro, it took about 60 to 65 minute to smoke. However the faster rate had no adverse effects other than resulting in a shorter smoking time.

Burn of the A.J. Fernandez New World Toro

The draw was not too loose, nor too tight. It’s possible the open-ness of this draw contributed to the quicker paced burn, however I’ve had other cigars that had draws like this where the burn was at a slower pace.

Strength and Body

As mentioned, the New World Connecticut is a very traditional Connecticut Shade smoke. It is traditional with both flavor as well as its strength and body. If you are looking for a Connecticut Shade that pushing the boundaries of strength and body – this isn’t that type of cigar. From a strength perspective, the New World Connecticut Toro is going to be in the mild range from start to finish. The flavors are going to be on the lighter side – delivering a mild to medium-bodied cigar from start to finish. In terms of strength versus body, the body is going to have the edge throughout the smoking experience.

Final Thoughts

While A.J. Fernandez has the San Lotano (Réquiem) Connecticut and San Lotano Oval Connecticut, the one missing piece in the portfolio was a milder and more traditional Connecticut Shade cigar. The A.J. Fernandez New World delivers that piece and delivers it quite well. The milder strength and milder body of this cigar works perfectly with the notes of cream, cedar, and nut. While it won’t re-invent a flavor profile for a Connecticut Shade, it will deliver a profile where the flavors complement each other perfectly. Finally the fact that these cigars are priced in the $6.00 range make this cigar a great value.

This is a cigar that is perfect for the newbie or novice cigar enthusiast. Experienced cigar enthusiasts wanting a milder or “morning” smoke will appreciate what this brings to the table. As for myself, this is a cigar that I would smoke again – and it’s easily a box worthy purchase.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Mild
Body: Mild to Medium
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92

References

News:A.J. Fernandez New World Connecticut Details Announced
Price: ~$6.00
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a

* A.J. Fernandez Cigars are a sponsor of Cigar Coop and Stogie Geeks.