Viva La Vida AJ Fernandez


Viva la VidaMiami, FL, September 13, 2019– AJ Fernandez will not only manufacture Viva La Vida cigars, but also distribute the brand as well. Former New York City cigar retailers Billy and Gus Fakih released the brand in March and have now agreed to use AJ Fernandez’ sales force across the country. Billy and Gus will actively remain running daily operations which includes store visits, events and overall brand management.

Viva La Vida comes in five sizes, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo, Gran Toro and Diadema Fina. The cigars range in price from $10.50 to $14.50 before taxes.

“I have known Billy and Gus since I launched the San Lotano brand,” says A.J. Fernandez, “and they were one of the first and best supporters while operating the Cigar Inn in New York City. We maintained a great relationship since then, after they sold the store. I’m proud to not only call them business associates but great friends as well.”

Viva La Vida is draped by a silky smooth Habano Oscuro 2000 wrapper, which is accentuated by a Corojo 99 binder and Criollo 98 filler tobaccos, all from AJ’s farms in Nicaragua.

Billy Fakih thus explains “Our friendship with Abdel started from the early years of San Lotano cigars, when he visited our cigar shop ‘New York Cigar Inn’ in Manhattan back in 2010. The friendship grew throughout the years and it was based on a simple thing called trust. What attracted us to Abdel was not only the great cigars he blends and creates, but also how loyal, humble and disciplined he is which reflects in his cigars.

Gus Fakih adds “The relationship we created with AJ on a business and a personal level is special, and I’m so proud and excited to call AJ a real brother and a humble human, down to earth with a big heart, a great addition to our family. Looking forward to growing our business relationship to much higher levels with one of the best in the industry.”

Through a fusion of inherited techniques and learned patience, AJ has developed proprietary tobacco grown from the most prized seeds harvested exclusively on his family farms. Perhaps the most essential quality of an AJ Fernandez cigar is not tangible. It is passion and discipline that motivates AJ to produce world renown premium cigars. The motivation that flows and radiates from AJ are contagious and palatable throughout all the artisans who hone their craft and skills under his hands-on tutelage throughout Nicaragua. All these attributes stem from humble beginnings in San Luis, Pinar del Rio, Cuba where the Fernandez family heritage began.

Viva la Vida

Viva la VidaArtesano Del Tobacco is a boutique cigar brand based out of the Big Apple. Not a name that rings a bell for most but with more than 2 decades in the industry I’m sure they know a thing or two. They started in the cigar business 25 years ago in New York as “New York Cigar Inn” which housed the only Cigar Aficionado humidor and lounge in the world. They eventually sold the lounge to Casa de Montecristo and reached out to A.J. Fernandez to form what we have here today, Viva La Vida or “live your life” for all my gringos out there. I mean, who else would you reach out too? The guys only the worlds best master blender biggie.

At a glance the cigar features a very toothy wrapper, Oily sheen and a milk chocolate color. In the sunlight there’s almost a Burgundy hue to it .. not sure, maybe its the whisky messing with me. Veins and seam are barely noticeable as one would expect from a habano oscuro 2000. What resembles a clown like figure on the band really draws the eyes in, definitely reminiscent of the 80’s style Harley Quinn from the Batman comic books. Firm to the touch (that’s what she said) with no dead spots and this bad boys rocking a triple cap like no ones business. Packed well and might I say the ciViva la Vidagar has some decent weight to be a 5X54 Robusto.

*Insert sniffing noises here* Beautiful aromas of Coffee and leather, the foot carried the same notes with a hint of cinnamon. A straight cut was my weapon of choice, medium draw with flavors parallel to the aromas. Lighting the cigar you’re greeted with a decent amount of pepper and if your a “real man” go-ahead and retro hale. You’re greeted with an array of toasted nuts is the best way I can put it being that I couldn’t really put my finger on just one.

The first half carried the nutty profile and the pepper toned down quite a bit. Hints of floral and malt start to kick in and the burn is razor sharp. This is usually the time I decide what ill be drinking. Paired it with some Grangestone 12 year I had sitting around, the pair was like waking up to Journey as your morning ringtone… just a perfect way to set things off.

Viva la VidaThe second half is where the “ooo” and “ahh” come in. The malty tobacco flavor takes over as the cigar really heats up and the finish of every draw leaves a sweet floral note. The burn doesn’t change in the slightest. I rolled the ash off to see what was happening on the inside and like I figured a pencil tip cherry was in the driver seat. Always the staple of a good roll. A solid smoke all the way around and being that it’s a new smoke for 2019 I definitely see it gaining traction and becoming a great go to. Id say its a Medium/ Medium full but I’m sure anyone can find something they enjoy about this smoke.

Wrapper: Habano Oscuro

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Price: $10.50 – $14.50 depending on vitola

Instagram: artesanodeltobacco

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints

Article by guest author Andy Melo