The past two years have seen AJ Fernandez emerge as a cigar maker for many leading brands. While the brands in the Altadis and General Cigar portfolio have definitely seen Fernandez’s influence, there have been many other companies. Just before the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, one company that announced a project with Fernandez was Boutique Blends. The project would be an extension to Boutique Blends’ newly revamped Quattro line known as the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua. Boutique Blends and Fernandez are no strangers. Boutique Blends partnered with Fernandez for the Aging Room Pelo de Oro release. In addition Boutique Blends co-owner Rafael Nodal had worked with Fernandez on several projects for Altadis in his role of head of product capability at Altadis. Today we take a closer look at the Quattro Nicaragua in the Vibrato (box pressed Toro size).
The Aging Room Quattro F55 was the first Quattro release. It’s a box-pressed cigar is one of Boutique Blends’ most successful projects to date. The Quattro line has extended with the F59 and F55M Maduro releases. Last year, Boutique Blends underwent a massive restructuring of its portfolio. As a part of it, the Quattro F55 and Quattro F55M were rebranded as the Quattro Original and Quattro Maduro lines. In addition, Boutique Blends added the Quattro Connecticut and Quattro Nicaragua lines. The F59 line was put on hiatus.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Like the Aging Room Pelo de Oro, the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua is an all-Nicaraguan puro, but utilizes a different blend. It is the first Nicaraguan puro to be a part of the Quattro line, and it’s the first Quattro made outside the Dominican Republic (the other offerings are made in the Dominican Republic at Tabacalera Palma).
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua is offered in four sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes
Espressivo: 5 x 50
Maestro (Belicoso): 6 x 52
Vibrato: 6 x 54
Concerto: 7 x 50
The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato’s Nicaraguan wrapper had a chocolate-brown color to it. Upon closer examination, there is some subtle mottling on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper also had a lot coating of oil on it. While there are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams, the wrapper is on the smoother side. The box-press of the cigar has a slight soft press around the edges.
There are two bands on the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua. The primary has a black background with white and gold trim across the top and bottom as well as the middle of the band. The upper portion of the band has the Aging Room logo in gold. To the left and right of the logo is the text “by Rafael Nodal” in a white cursive font. The lower part of the band has gold and black pinstriping. On the lower center of the band is the text “QUATTRO” in small gold font. The left and right sides of the band have the text “F55N” in gold etched font – giving a nod to the old naming scheme of the Aging Room Quattro line.
The secondary band is orange with gold trim. On the center of the band is the text “NICARAGUA”. The left side of the band has the Aging Room logo in black font while the right side has the text “QUATTRO” in black font.
The cigar experience of the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato commenced with a straight cut to remove the cap. After detaching the cap it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The dry draw delivered a mix of cocoa, cedar, and earth. Overall this was an excellent pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato kicked off with notes of red pepper, earth, chocolate, and cedar. Early on the chocolate notes moved into the forefront. There was a smoothness to the chocolate note and at times there was a little cherry sweetness mixed in. Meanwhile, the red pepper was a close secondary note with the earth and cedar further back. The retro-hale of the Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato delivered an extra layer of red and black pepper.
Later in the first third, the pepper subsided further back. Concurrently the earth notes began to increase in intensity. This continued into the second third. By the midway point, the earth and chocolate notes were on an even playing field. By this time the cherry component that was detected in the early stages had dissipated.
Later in the second third, the pepper and cedar notes began to increase in intensity. The pepper increased a little more rapidly and by the final third, they started to close in on the forefront. However, in the end, the earth and chocolate remained the primary flavors. When the cigar experience of the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato came to a close, it had a cool, but slightly soft nub.
While the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato maintained a straight burn line, there was some meandering of the burn path. This was pretty much rectified with some touch-ups. Meanwhile, the resulting ash was tight and firm with a light gray color. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato scored very nicely. This was a cigar that had a nice balance between openness and resistance. In some cases, a box press can have a draw skewed more toward the open side, but not so much with this cigar. In the end, the Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from. It also was a cigar that produced a nice layer of smoke.
Strength and Body
The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato is going to be a cigar with some kick. This is a cigar that started our medium to full in both strength and body. There was a slight variation in the intensity levels along the way, but in the end, the Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato stayed in the medium to full range for both attributes. In terms of strength versus body, I found there was a nice balance between both attributes with neither overshadowing the other.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are a lot of companies seeking out AJ Fernandez to produce a cigar for them. The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato is one of the ones definitely flew under the radar. It provides a bolder, regular offering – something that was definitely needed in the Aging Room portfolio. If you like a bold Nicaraguan puro with what I would term “just the right amount of spice,” the Quattro Nicaragua Vibrato is going to deliver the cigar for you. Given this is a bolder cigar, I’m inclined to steer this to a more experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar that I would smoke again – and it garners box worthy consideration.
Key Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Red Pepper, Cedar, Cherry
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Worthy Consideration
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop