Cigar Reveal #77


AJ Fernandez - Bella Artes Maduro

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Brand AJ Fernandez
Cigar Bella Artes Maduro
Wrapper Brazil
Binder Mexico
Filler Nicaragua
Description AJ Fernandez became a household name (well, households that smoke cigars) by creating cigars for other brands such as Southern Draw, Montecristo, and Cigar Aficionado's 2019 Cigar of the Year (and our #72 blind tasting cigar), the Aging Room Quattro Nicaraguan. But in the last few years his own brands have garnered quite a bit of acclaim in their own right. New World, San Lotano and Dias de Gloria are all great cigars, and in 2016 he created Bella Artes, a cigar inspired by his visits to the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes in Havana. Bella Artes was a pleasant-enough, medium-bodied smoke, but in our opinion the unique combo of the dark Brazilian wrapper with the Mexican binder takes the Bella Artes Maduro to another level. It's rich and consistent, and while it may not be the most complex cigar out there, it's a sure thing for any time of the day.
Review: Cigar Journal 
Named Cigar Journal's 2019 Cigar of the Year 🏆 --- Right from the start, this perfect cigar (not only visually) is expressive. It offers the scent of bread, spices, cacao sweetness; nutty, woody and leathery aromas. The intense aromas are carried by a gentle saltiness, pepper and acidity.
Review: Halfwheel
The first puffs of the Bellas Artes Maduro Robusto add a bit of pepper and earth to the chocolate cupcake flavor, but the latter is still dominant amongst the trio. It’s not long before the black pepper and earth begin to jostle the chocolate for lead flavor, winning the two-on-one battle by the time the burn line is at the one-inch mark but not completely pushing it completely off stage, at least for a bit. After that first clump of ash drops, the two sides seem to find balance, with the earth and pepper scaling back just a touch and some of the richer chocolate notes allowed to develop. It has shifted into a darker chocolate note as well, with just a touch more of a cacao note but hardly bitter, though still flirts with a warmed chocolate syrup flavor. Retrohales deliver plenty of black pepper that quickly tip the scales, potent but not overpowering in their impact ... The flavor gets a bit more robust in the final inch, finishing a bit rough but still very enjoyable thanks to a bit of grape sweetness coming into the equation. The cigar is still producing plentiful amounts of smoke and burning with an even burn line and smooth draw after just about two hours of smoking time.