The 2016 IPCPR Trade Show was one of the busiest in recent years for Casa Fernandez as it launched several new releases. One new brand introduced by Casa Fernandez has some very familiar names – the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA. This is a cigar named for the farms where Casa Fernandez grows its signature Nicaraguan tobacco (Aganorsa) and for its Nicaraguan factory (Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. better known as TABSA). Under Aganorsa Leaf TABSA, there are two distinct blends – a Nicaraguan puro and a Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade offering called Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut. Over the years, Casa Fernandez and TABSA have pretty much focused itself around its Nicaraguan-grown Corojo and Criollo wrappers as well as Mexican San Andres for its maduro offerings. The use of Connecticut Shade is not something we have really seen from Casa Fernandez and TABSA – until this year. Today, we take a closer look at the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut in the Toro size. While it’s fair to say that Connecticut Shade is a new frontier Casa Fernandez and TABSA is exploring, they do not miss a beat. This is an outstanding release and one that really succeeds at delivering a bold and flavorful Connecticut Shade offering.
Early in 2016, Casa Fernandez quietly released a Connecticut Shade cigar known as the Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva Connecticut. This was an exclusive cigar to online retailer Thompson Cigars. However, it was the IPCPR Trade Show where we began to see several Connecticut Shade releases come out of TABSA. Two notable Connecticut Shade releases out of TABSA this year were the Illusione Rothchildes / Gigantes CT offerings and Warped Cigars’ Villa Sombra. With the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut release, Casa Fernandez keeps one of the blends for itself.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As we noted earlier on, – in addition to the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, the blend for the Agnaorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut incorporates Casa Fernandez’s signature tobaccos grown at its Aganorsa farms located in Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Binder: Aganorsa (Nicaragua)
Filler: Aganorsa (Nicaragua)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. – TABSA).
The Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut is available in three box-pressed sizes. Each size is packaged in 20 count boxes.
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 48
Toro: 6 x 52
The Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper of the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro has a light brown color to it. Depending on how the light shines, it may also give off a slight rosado tint. There is a decent amount of oil not he wrapper. This was quite a smooth wrapper as it only had thin visible veins and thin visible wrapper seams. The cigar itself has a soft “Cuban Press” style with a slight rounding effect. The box-press was firm with no soft spots.
There are two bands on the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut. The primary band has a glossy pale yellow color with gold trim. The center of the band has a circular field with gold dotted trim. On the circular field is a black and white image of an arm holding some tobacco leaves. The left side of the band has the text “AGANORSA” while the right side has the text “TABSA” – both in black font. The far right has the initials “AL” on a small pale yellow field that almost looks like a band fastener.
There is a secondary band that rests just below the primary band. This also has a pale yellow glossy color. On the center of the band is the text “CONNECTICUT” in black font. The band itself has black pinstriped and gold dotted trim.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I selected a straight cut to remove the cap of the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw deliver a mix of cream and wood along with subtle notes of fruit and black pepper. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro and await what the smoking phase would deliver.
The start of the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro picked up where the pre-light draw left off. Notes of black pepper, cream, fruit sweetness, and cedar surfaced early. During these early stages, there was no dominant note on the tongue. Simultaneously, there was black pepper that was quite prominent on the retro-hale.
By the middle of the first third, the cream and fruit notes became primary. The cedar notes settled into the background. The pepper was also a more distant note, but had a more lingering effect on the tongue.
Around the midway point of the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro, the cedar notes moved into the forefront, Simultaneously the fruit notes diminished into the background. During the latter part of the second third, the cedar and cream notes remained in the forefront. The fruit notes were secondary, but I now also picked up a little more pepper on the tongue.
Going into the last third, the cigar changed up quite a bit. I found a sweetness returned to the forefront, but this was more of a caramel note. The cedar also was present in the forefront. There were some cream notes, but they were in the background along with the black pepper. This is the way the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
While the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro required some touch-ups from time to time, overall the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro performed quite well. This was a cigar never in danger of tunneling nor canoeing. As for the burn line, it was on the straight side. The resulting ash was firm and came off the cigar in clean chunks. This was an ash that had a light gray color. In terms of the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw was also ideal. This cigar had a very good balance of openness versus resistance. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
Very simply, the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro is one of the bolder Connecticut Shade cigars I have ever had. This was a cigar that came right out of the gate with medium strength and by the second half, this cigar was in medium to full strength territory. In terms of body, this is a cigar delivers some weight on the palate. The Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro started out medium to full-bodied and by the second half (particularly when factoring in the retro-hale), this is one of the few full-bodied Connecticut Shades out there.
In terms of strength versus body, I found the body had the edge throughout the duration of the smoking experience.
If there are any questions on whether Casa Fernandez could produce a Connecticut Shade cigar, the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro is going to provide a very quick yes.
There are a lot of Connecticut Shade Cigars that claim to be stronger and fuller than your average mild to medium Connecticut Shade. At the same time, I’ve found that few actually deliver on this claim. The Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro is one of a select few Connecticut Shade cigars that deliver this bolder smoke. On top of this, the Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro delivers plenty of flavor and a nice amount of complexity.
Casa Fernandez / TABSA cigars are usually ones that respond very well to age. I’m not sure what the long-term aging prospects are for this cigar, but I can tell you that this is a cigar smoking great right now. Priced in the $7.00 range, this is also a cigar that delivers great value. This is a Connecticut Shade cigar that I would probably steer toward a more experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely reach for again. It’s easily a box worthy cigar.
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
News: Casa Fernandez Unveils Aganorsa Leaf Connecticut
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 195
Stogie Feed: Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf TABSA Connecticut Toro
Brand Reference: Casa Fernandez