Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Gispert, Hoyo de Monterrey, Punch, and Ramon Allones are all legendary Cuban brands. They are also brands being produced by AJ Fernandez‘s Tabacalera Fernandez in Estelí. While Fernandez is producing Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, and Gispert for Tabacalera U.S.A.; and Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch for General, when it comes to Ramon Allones it is a different story. Last year came word that Ramon Allones would also be produced by Fernandez. The difference with this brand compared to the others is that sales and distribution would be handled by AJ Fernandez Cigars. In a nutshell, General Cigar had made a decision to essentially license the brand to AJ Fernandez Cigars. While Ramon Allones has a storied history in Cuba, when it comes to the U.S. market, it’s been more of a struggle. Just before the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez was released. Today we take a look at this version of Ramon Allones in the Toro size.
General Cigar originally produced a Dominican version of Ramon Allones. While General had success with marketing and producing non-Cuban versions of Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas, and Punch, when it came to the Ramon Allones and Bolivar brands, they didn’t seem to have the same momentum. In 2015, General was in the process of transitioning its small-batch Foundry brand and had decided to put the Ramon Allones and Bolivar brands into Foundry. Unfortunately, Foundry just never worked out for General and by 2017 and the brand pretty much started to be dismantled. The question became what would become of Bolivar and Ramon Allones. The answer to that question was they would move over to Fernandez’s operation.
When Ramon Allones was a part of Foundry, it was more of a value-priced cigar. At the same time, there was some controversy about the move toward a more contemporary packaging of the brand. These two things would change with the AJ Fernandez version. The AJ Fernandez version would return to a more classic packaging. Over the past four years, AJ Fernandez had definitely made an impact in the value-priced market. At the time of the release of the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez, it would become the most premium offering in the AJ Fernandez portfolio to date – priced between $12.00 to $15.00.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro and see what this cigar brought to the table.
Blend and Origin
The blend for the Ramon Alllones by AJ Fernandez is a Nicaraguan puro. The cigar is highlighted by a dark high priming hybrid-seed wrapper that is referred to as a Habano Oscuro Medio Tiempo grown on Fernandez’s farm.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro Medio Tiempo
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
The Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez is available in four sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50
Torpedo: 5 1/2 x 54
Toro: 6 x 52
Churchill: 7 x 50
The Habano Oscuro Medio Tiempo wrapper of the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro had a milk chocolate color. Depending on how the light hits it, it might give off a slight rosado tint. Upon closer examination, there was a slight mottling on the surface. The wrapper also had a light coating of oil on it. There were some visible veins. At the same time, the darker color of the wrapper did a good job at minimizing any visible wrapper seams.
There were two bands on the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez. The primary band has a gold, yellow, dark red, and blue color scheme. Prominently toward the top center of the band is the text “RAMON ALLONES” in red font. Toward the lower center of the band there is a gold ribbon design with the text “AJ FERNANDEZ” in dark font. In between, the center of the band has various gold, blue, and red adornments. The left side of the band has the text “NICARAGUA” in small white font while the right side has the text “ESTELI” – also in white font. The back of the band has an image of AJ Fernandez’s signature.
The secondary band sits just below the primary band. The band is red in color with the text “AJ FERNANDEZ” in gold font. The far right of the band has a red square with the AJ Fernandez “AJ” logo in gold. The upper and lower part of the band has a thin gold trim.
Finally, there is a cedar sleeve that covers the lower half of the cigar. On the sleeve is the text “RAMON ALLONES” stamped on it.
After removing the cedar sleeve, the cap of the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro was removed with a straight cut. From that point, it was time to commence the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of earth, cedar, and a slight dried fruit sweetness. Overall while it wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, it still was enough to satisfy me. It was now time to light up the Ramon Allones Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro started out with a combination of earth and white pepper notes. It didn’t take long for the flavor profile to expand as notes of chocolate, cedar, and dried fruit surfaced. The chocolate notes became primary early on with the earth, cedar, pepper, and dried fruit keeping the flavor profile balanced from the background. The retro-hale delivered a mix of black pepper and cedar.
Later in the first third, the earth notes joined the chocolate in the forefront. The second third of the Ramon Allonnes Toro saw an increase in the cedar and earth notes with the dried fruit varying in levels of intensity in the background. The retro-hale developed further as there was a definite chocolate sweetness with the pepper and cedar. The chocolate and earth alternated in intensity, but held in the forefront.
By the latter part of the second third of the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro, the pepper and cedar closed in on the cocoa and earth. There also was a slight decrease in the dried fruit note. This flavor profile held throughout the final third of the cigar. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
I found the burn to perform extremely well on the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro. This surprised me a little because I figured with a high priming wrapper, I would encounter some quirks with the combustion, but no such case with the Ramon Allones Toro. This cigar maintained a straight burn path and a straight burn line. The resulting ash was light gray. It wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t a loose or flaky ash either. The burn temperature and burn rate were ideal except on one of the three cigars I smoked, the burn rate was a little fast – but even that didn’t result in any shortcomings other than a shorter smoking time.
As for the draw of the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernande Toro, it had a sweet spot between openness and resistance. There are no complaints here as it scored very nicely and allowed for flavor to be derived easily. This was also a cigar that had a nice amount of smoke.
Strength and Body
The Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro is a cigar that is going to satisfy you if you are looking for a bold and robust smoke. This is a cigar that started out medium to full in strength and body. Shortly before the final third, both attributes rapidly spike up easily progressing this cigar into full territory for strength and body.
In terms of strength versus body, it seemed like the body had a slight edge early on, but by the midway point, both attributes balanced each other out.
One thing about the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro – it’s not going to smoke like the Cuban versions, nor is it going to smoke like the Dominican iterations that were previously released. This cigar is going to tell its very own story. If you want a bold and flavorful cigar, this is going to be the cigar for you. Given this is a bolder smoke, it’s one that I would steer to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, I found the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro to be one of the best cigars Fernandez has released in some time. At $13.00, this is not an inexpensive cigar, but it’s a cigar that certainly performs like I cigar I would expect at that price point. It’s a cigar that I would definitely recommend splurging for – and if a box purchase is within your means, then grab one.
Key Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Dried Fruit, Cedar, Black Pepper
Strength: Medium to Full (1st 2/3), Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (1st 2/3), Full (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Purchase
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop