Ora Vivo, La Aurora, Atabey, AJ Fernandez Enclave and New World Cigars

It’s been such a busy week, ran the 5K without dying, tried to cut off my thumb, colonoscopy,  and a birthday, along with having our bathroom renovated and working on remodeling thee downstairs powder room.  If only I didn’t have a 9-5 job taking up valuable time during the day! (I’m looking for a new job,mine’s going away in a few months, so careful what I wish for, right?). Anyway, I still managed to get some great cigars in starting with  a Nica Rustica Belly after the 5K. I bought a bundle at the release party in Kentucky last month and the extra few weeks in the humidor has done well for them. I though maybe it was a bit wet in July, although it OraVivoEurope_CoronaGordamay have just been the cigars that handed out at the event.  They seem to be ready now and was a great two-hour warm down after the run.  Sunday afternoon I started the powder room project, and after getting some stuff done I took a walk with an Ora Vivo Armand Assante European edition, a generous gift from Kruk in New Hampshire. Kruk is probably a bigger fan of Victor Vitale‘s work than I am, and apparently  bought many boxes of the European Edition when they became available. He very generously sent me a couple, and I did my best to compensate him with a few cigars.  Anyway, the European edition comes in a Coronaish size, 5 ½” x 46ish, not too far off the 5½” x 48 Cedro No.5 size I like a lot.  This cigar burned perfectly, it had a smooth, refined Nicaraguan flavor and was very elegant. This is a great cigar for any time of the day, but I can easily see sparking one up with a morning cuppa joe.  I don’t have many negatives to say about this line in general, but this corona may be the best of the bunch.


LaAuroraUntamed_Extreme_RobustoMonday’s evening walk was accompanied by a new offering from La Aurora, a line extension to their Untamed line, the Extreme in a robusto.  I  really likes the Untamed, it was bold, had some strength, and was very satisfying. This Extreme takes it up a notch, with some more of the heavy, espresso and cocoa flavors and a kick. I would venture to guess that this also has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, with was beautifully dark and oily. It’s a powerhouse, and I can’t find a lot of info on it at this writing.  I loved it, and I really liked the regular Untamed line as well. These may be my favorites in the La Aurora line (although the Preferidos are pretty good too…and the Puro Vintage…and the Corojo…).


Atabey_RitosI celebrated  a successful colonoscopy with a special cigar, the Atabey Ritos, the newest size in the line, a 6 1/8″ x 55 cigar that has what appears to be a beautiful Connecticut shade wrapper. These are made in Costa Rica under the careful supervision of Nelson Alphonso, the man responsible for the Cuban Cohiba Behike packaging as well as the designer of the Padrón 50th anniversary humidor. This was a trade show sample from David Garofalo, who distributes the brand. It’s not a cheap date, MSRP is around $33,  but it IS a spectacularly good smoke. It simply could not have burned better, the burn was straight with a flat ember and perfect draw. It had sweet woody, earthy notes and was quite the elegant cigar.  Often times high-end cigars are lost on me, I really don’t have a sophisticated palate, but this was a great smoke.


AJF_Enclave_RobustoI  followed that up on Thursday with a new cigar from AJ Fernandez, the  Enclave in a 5″ x 52 robusto size. This cigar has a Habano Rosado wrapper, Binder from Cameroon and fillers that are described as AJF Piloto Cubano and AJF Select Nicaraguan, which leads me to believe they were grown on the company’s own farms and are top-secret varieties. Is the Piloto Cubano Dominican?  Don’t know, bit what I do know is that this was a stout, powerful cigar with great flavor.  It was spicy and woody, and I really liked it. I think this is a winner, and AJ Fernandez has his share of winners in my book.  I will certainly sample other sizes in this line, there is a Figurado that looks really cool.


AJF NewWorld_NaveganteWithout even thinking on Friday I grabbed a New World by AJ Fernandez for my evening walk.  This one was in the 5½” x 55 Navigante size. While this isn’t a new cigar, it’s a good one, maybe not quite as powerful as the Enclave, but a super tasty blend of tobaccos from Esteli, Condega, Jalapa and Ometepe in Nicaragua.  this one had the coffee/chocolate flavors I really like in a cigar.  I want to say I remember this, as well as the Enclave, being a collaboration between Abdel and his father Ismael, and there are certain similarities, chief being I really like both of them!  The New World Connecticut is a winner in my book too, but that really doesn’t mean a lot considering I really enjoy most cigars from this factory. Abdel is a tobacco genius and is only in his thirties.

DECSCCBlend2013Saturday was my birthday (thanks in advance for any well wishes) and after a nice afternoon with my granddaughters and family, I picked one of my last three cigars I blended on my 2013 Cigar Safari trip.  These had a San Andres wrapper, Cameroon binder, and fillers from Brazil and Esteli if I remember correctly.  I thought it from the beginning, and it remains true, but there are just too many flavors going on in the blend, it’s very busy. That’s not to say I don’t like it a lot, and it always brings back memories of a great trip, as well as providing a relaxing celebratory smoke. I’m going away for a few days and packed some favorites to relax with, it will be nice getting away with no events or other things to do, it’s been a long time since we just went somewhere to be human beings instead of human doings.


That’s it for today, until the next time,




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11 Responses to Ora Vivo, La Aurora, Atabey, AJ Fernandez Enclave and New World Cigars

  1. That Atabey is a special cigar. It’s unfortunate that it comes at such a special price. Hope you enjoyed a spectacular birthday.

  2. Patrick

    Great line up of cigars. I haven’t gotten to try one well rested, the untamed I burned was a little to bitter to me. Happy birthday mate, Life is good!

  3. Charlie H.

    The Piloto Cubano filler in the new Enclave is grown on AJ’s Nicaraguan farm…99.9999% of Piloto is grown in the DR but this is actually grown in Nicaragua. When it comes to the Atabey I grab the Divinos because they are around the $20 mark…great cigars (I hear rumors there is 5 year oldCuban filler used) but I think the wrapper is a Habano leaf.

  4. jjo

    Happy birthday, young/old man! 😉

    I’ve been waiting for Victor to get his wares to my part of the country… Still waiting, Victor! lol

  5. Razor

    Happy Birthday Craig – how was that colonoscopy?

  6. Great cigars here! It’s good to treat yourself sometimes. Hope these cigars were a treat!

  7. Happy birthday, congrats on the colonoscopy, and great round of reviews, as always.

  8. Sam

    Was just wondering if you ever smoked a cigar you didn’t like??

    • That’s a great question. I smoke plenty of cigars I don’t care for, I just choose not to write about them here. I don’t think it serves the cigar industry for me to speak ill of a cigar.

      • jjo

        And I thought you were the Will Rogers of the cigar blogging world, lol. Yeah, it doesn’t do anyone much good to rag on a bad cigar, and whether one likes a cigar or not aside from construction issues is pretty subjective anyway. I have seen some posts where it was rather obvious that you didn’t really care for the cigar, and I salute you for never being bombastic or obnoxious about it.

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