|San Lotano Oval Maduro|
The San Lotano Oval Maduro represents the fifth blend released under A.J. Fernandez Cigars’ San Lotano line. The San Lotano line made its debut in 2010 with a Connnecticut, Habano, and Maduro released. A year later, a new blend called the San Lotano Oval was released. While I was a little critical of the Oval, one cannot deny that the Oval was well-received by many cigar enthusiasts. As a result, when AJ Fernandez Cigars’ announced there would be maduro version of the San Lotano Oval, there immediately was a buzz. I recently had a chance to smoke a pre-release version of the San Lotano Oval Maduro, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Oval, the Oval Maduro was more in-line with my flavor profile.
The San Lotano Oval Maduro is slated to be released to San Lotano retailers in April. Abe Dababneh, host of Kiss My Ash Radio and the owner of South Florida’s Smoke Inn hinted on his 3/31 show that he might be getting some of these cigars before they are shipped to the masses.
The Oval derives its name from its rounded box-press shape. In fact
this shape is like no other I have seen before and is a true work of
cigar art. Since this was a pre-release sample, I will default to a pre-review to
describe the experience and provide an assessment rating at a later
In addition to its unique rounded box-press shape, the San Lotano Oval Maduro is highlighted by its Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras, AJ Fernandez Secret Filler
The San Lotano Oval Maduro will also be made available in five vitolas like the original San Lotano Oval.
Petit Robusto: 4 1/2 x 54
Corona: 5 x 44
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 54
Toro: 6 x 52
Gordo: 6 1/2 x 60
Much like the original San Lotano Oval, the combination of the wrapper and unique rounded box-press make the San Lotano Oval Maduro a visually striking cigar. The maduro wrapper is a dark roasted coffee color. The wrapper is slightly oily and it does have some bumps on it.
The band is the same as for the core line San Lotano Oval. It prominently features the text “San Lotano Oval” in gold font on a black background. Under the text “Oval” it says “by A.J. Fernandez” in black font on a yellow ribbon-shaped background. Under the yellow-ribbon shape, the color is burnt orange The rest of the band has gold trim around it. 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.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I typically do with most cigars, I opted for a straight cut into the cap of the Oval Maduro. When I commenced with the pre-light draw, I was treated to notes of coffee and wood. It wasn’t a pre-light draw that had me doing handstands, but it still was satisfactory. At this point it was time to light up my Oval Maduro and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start to the San Lotano Oval Maduro started with a small shot of pepper. The pepper was not overwhelming, but did provide a nice spicy start. The pepper itself seemed different than the typical black pepper on many cigars, but I just got not put my finger on what it was.
The Oval Maduro got smoother as it settled down into a flavor profile of wood, leather, and pepper. Early on, none of the flavors stood out in the forefront over the others. Midway through the first third, I soon detected coffee notes as well. I still wasn’t getting any particular dominant flavor in the first third. The pepper notes could be more detected on the after-draw. The flavors of the wood, leather, coffee, and pepper did fuse very nicely.
Later in the first third, some black licorice sweetness emerged. The licorice and coffee notes became the primary notes as the pepper, leather, and wood stayed in the background. By the last third, much of the coffee and sweet notes had diminished. The finish is mostly woody – reminding me a bit of the way the core San Lotano Oval Toro finished. The Oval Maduro, while not finishing with any fancy flavors did finish smoothly. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
While the Oval Maduro has an unorthodox shape for a cigar, it still scores very well when it comes to the construction attributes of burn and draw. The burn was razor-sharp from start to finish. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. As for the draw, it was flawless – making the San Lotano Oval Maduro a joy to smoke.
Strength and Body
The San Lotano Oval Maduro is not going to overpower you in terms of being a nicotine bomb (this is also consistent with the core line Oval). I assessed the Oval Maduro to be medium in strength. As for the depth of the flavors, I did find these were more subtle, than robust. Subtle flavors can also be very effective in a smoking experience – and in this case they are. I ended up assessing the San Lotano Oval Maduro to be medium in body. The strength and body balanced each other very well with the Oval Maduro. I use the term medium/medium for cigars that are medium strength, medium body. I believe this is less common with maduros, but with this maduro I think its applicable.
Overall, I liked the San Lotano Oval Maduro better than the San Lotano Oval. I would have liked more flavor on the finish, but it (the finish) still wasn’t all that bad. Many people criticized the original core line San Lotano Maduro for being a “medium/medium” cigar. I still enjoyed that core line Maduro and had it as my #12 Cigar for 2010. I do think the Oval Maduro is better. I’m curious to see how the cigar community embraces this cigar – namely because I think this is better than the original San Lotano Oval. I’d recommend this to novice or experienced cigar enthusiasts to try. As for myself, while I would smoke this again, I’m also curious to see how the other vitolas of the Oval Maduro smoke as I
enjoyed the smaller sizes of the San Lotano Oval better.
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by AJ Fernandez Cigars. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.