|Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva|
A few weeks ago, I assessed a cigar by Casa Fernandez called the Casa Fernandez Miami. This was a re-branding of Casa Fernandez’s self-titled core cigar. This was done to reflect Casa Fernandez’s relocation to Miami, Florida. At the 2011 IPCPR, another blend under the Casa Fernandez Miami line was introduced Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva. This cigar was a cigar that got a lot of positive buzz coming out of the trade show. I’ll admit the first sample I had did not wow me, but I have had a chance to smoke a few more and the follow-up smokes have been more positive.
Casa Fernandez might not be a name a lot of folks have heard of, but the
cigars are slowly gaining a following. The company is run by founder
Eduardo Fernandez and his cousin, Paul Palmer. Most notably, team Casa
Fernandez was involved with blending Dion Giolito’s Illusione and
Cruzado brands – and as many know, these cigars have an enormous
Let’s take a closer look at the Casa Fernandez Miami and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Like the core Casa Fernandez Miami, the Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva is a Nicaraguan puro. It is what went into this Nicaraguan puro that is most intriguing.
The composition of the blend is interesting as far as the tobaccos go. The Casa Fernandez web-site gives the following description of the blend: The Casa Fernandez Miami (Reserva) Nicaraguan puro utilizing a variety of Authentic Cuban seeds and “AA” Tobacco leaf from Aganorsa. The cigar’s blend is comprised of Medio Tiempo, Ligero and Viso from specific Aganorsa Tobacco farms in Jalapa Valley, Condega Valley and Esteli in Nicaragua.
The interesting component to all of this is the use of Medio Tiempo. Most people are familiar with Ligero being the highest priming on a tobacco plant. On some plants, two additional tobacco leaves grow, above ligero – these are called Medio Tiempo. As a result, this leaf gets the most sunlight and nutrients of any part of the tobacco plant. It results in a lot of flavor. It is a heavier tobacco, so it tends to be found on larger ring gauge cigars. This is not a common priming for tobacco, so as a result Medio Tiempo is not a tobacco that is commonly used.
The Casa Fernandez Reserva Miami is available in a single vitola – a 6 x 54 called the Toro Reserva. Since it does make use of the Medio Tiempo tobacco, it makes sense that a larger ring gauge was used.
The wrapper on the Casa Fernandez Miami is milk chocolate in color. There are some veins present on the wrapper. Some of the veins are a bit “toothy”, but for the most part the wrapper is smooth.
There is a double band on the cigar. The first Band similar to core Casa Fernandez Miami with yellow, brown, and red colors. The second band is unique to the Miami Reserva and is black and gold.
Despite the use of a heavier tobacco, the cigar still felt light to me. For the cigar I used to base this review on, there was a slight soft spot toward the cap, but others I smoked did not have a soft spot.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva, I placed a straight cut in the cap. I had no immediate effects of the cap being a looser pack. I immediately commenced with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided me a nice mix of pre-light complexity – namely caramel, wood, and pepper notes. Given that I was satisfied with the pre-light draw, I was excited to light my Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva and see what was in store.
The initial draws of the Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva treated me to shot of cedar spice. The cedar spice quickly morphed to more of a classic black pepper. The pepper was present on both the tongue and the nostrils. The pepper took center stage early, and was joined by secondary notes of caramel sweetness. I also got an interesting mint finish on the draw. Around the five percent mark, the caramel flavor moved center stage, the pepper diminished, and the mint finish had dissipated.
Around 15 percent into the cigar experience, I detected some wood notes. I also noticed the pepper start to come back into the picture. It is at this point that the caramel sweetness started to diminish. By the end of the first third, the pepper notes were in control, the wood notes were secondary, and the caramel sweetness took on tertiary flavor. I also detected notes of chocolate as a tertiary note. This is the profile that would hold for the remainder of the smoking experience. Occasionally the pepper, wood, and caramel/chocolate would increase or decrease, but for the most part the profile would hold.
The finish was not harsh, but it did have some spiciness to it. The resulting nub was soft and warm each time I smoked this cigar.
Burn and Draw
On the samples of the Casa Fernandez Miami I smoked, I did have to perform multiple touch-ups on the cigar. For the most part, the touch-ups did the trick, but I did have to break out the butane more times than I would have liked. The burn rate and burn temperature of the Casa Fernandez Miami were ideal.
As for the draw, it was a little looser than I would have liked, but it still was not a bad draw. I don’t think this was due to the softer cap because in the other smokes that did not have this issue, the draw was still looser than I would have liked.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I expected full strength in terms of the nicotine delivered by this cigar – and that is exactly what I got. This cigar was positioned as a stronger cigar than the core Casa Fernandez Miami. The core Miami cigar did seem to have the strength sneak up on me as the smoke progressed. The Reserva Miami was more consistent in terms of the strength from start to finish.
As for the body, I actually thought the flavors had enough depth to qualify as full-bodied. I would not say this had more body than the core Casa Fernandez Miami – it was more the same. The strength and body seem to balance each other well.
It took me a few smokes to get sold on the Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva, but I finally can say I was sold. If there are two areas of improvement I would recommend for this cigar, it would be: 1) improve the burn and draw; 2) Have some more flavor changes throughout the smoke. Overall, this was still an interesting blend that delivered an interesting smoke. I’d only recommend this cigar to an experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, the flavor and strength of this cigar would have enough to have me come back and smoke it again.
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: Three cigars were used as input for this assessment. The main cigar was purchased from Club Havana 134 in Anderson, South Carolina. There were also two samples provided by an authorized representative of Casa Fernandez cigars that were used as input for this assessment.