San Lotano Habano Robusto

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San Lotano Habano Robusto

A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano is a line of cigars that has been a long time coming. I was introduced to it in its pre-release form at the 2009 trade show. But you could also say the San Lotano is a long time returning. Because once upon a time, in the sepia-toned pre-Castro past, Fernandez’s grandfather produced a popular Cuban cigar by the same name, so the press release tells us:

With a rich history, San Lotano dates back to Cuba’s pre-Castro era where the brand was among the most popular with traditional Cuban cigar makers. Retired for decades, the line is being reintroduced by A.J. Fernandez whose grandfather first started the brand in San Luis, Cuba. San Lotano is made entirely by hand in the Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, and is available in three enticing variations encompassing Habano, Connecticut and Maduro wrappers.

A.J. Fernandez is no stranger in the cigar industry. As a third generation cigar maker, born in Cuba, Fernandez is well known for being one of the only cigar makers in the industry to still employ many of the oldest traditions and secrets that have earned him an unmatched reputation among cigar aficionados. When asked about the importance of the brand, A.J. says, “San Lotano has been a project many years in the making for me, and it is made to honor the tradition of cigar making that I learned from my father and my father’s father. The blends are extremely rich, flavorful and are the culmination of my family’s knowledge which has been accumulated over the last century.”

The reincarnation of the San Lotano is available in three blends, Habano, Connecticut and a box-pressed Maduro, and will come in boxes of 20 in four sizes: Churchill (7 x 52), Torpedo (6 1/2 x 52), Toro (6 x 52) and Robusto (5 x 52). For the purposes of this review, I’ve selected the Habano Robusto. Let’s see if this blend is a fitting tribute to the original.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Brazil
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: ~$6.00

The Pre-Smoke
As you can see in the pictures, the San Lotano Habano is a great looking smoke. Something about name and the earthy tones of the band conjure up images of sunsets in the wild west, at least in my mind anyway. It definitely has a unique look that should help it stand out in the humidor.

The Brazilian wrapper is dark enough to be called a maduro, and on the sticks I selected for this review, flawless: smooth, few, mostly fine veins and a nice oily sheen. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing a crack or a patch on any of these I smoked prior to this review either.

Pawing the stick over looking for glitches to report, I noticed it felt a little heavy in the hand, and only slightly softer than a rock. The wrapper scent varied a little from stick to stick, a funky compost and either a chocolate or an earthy aroma. The cold draw was easier than I expected, and in one stick tasted like hard candy and anise.

The Burn
Much like the Pre-Smoke, the San Lotano Habano gets high marks in terms of combustion. It took a little extra toasting time to get burning properly, but once it was lit, it was smooth sailing. When the burn line wasn’t razor straight, it was very close, and the well-formed ash seemed nearly as solid as the leaf was before burning. The impressively long ash shown in the Tower of Burn hit the ashtray with an audible thud when it finally dropped, and remained completely intact.

The Flavor
The san Lotano got to an impressive start with rich buttery-feeling cream, roasted nuts and spice. As the cigar warmed up, I noted caramel, coffee bean, chocolate, more spice and a meaty wood, all in interesting combinations.

Around the beginning of the second third, I started to pick up a lingering medley of creamy vanilla sweetness and cinnamon that brings to mind the word “velvety”. In this third, the savory roasted nuts were gone, and in their place were meaty coffee been and cedar flavors. There was also a consistent mild smokey quality to this third.

As the cigar burned into the final third, pepper appeared and charry cedar grew more prominent as the body kicked it up a notch or two. In the background, meat and dark chocolate continued to played a part.

The Price
If I was given an unbanded San Lotano Habano, I would have guessed it retailed for around ten bucks. It looks, feels and smokes like quality craftsmanship. It’s just a great value for money.

The Verdict
The San Lotano Habano is another one of those sticks that seem to get better every time I smoke it. After burning a number of them over the past month, I started thinking about boxes instead of five packs. And now the focused attention of a review confirms it for me, the San Lotano Habano is box-worthy. The immaculate burn, the rich and involved flavors and the really reasonable price have garnered this smoke guaranteed seating in my perpetually overfilled humidor.

If you happen find the San Lotano Habano sitting on the shelf in your local shop, give it a shot. In fact, I recommend burning one while you’re there (provided the it’s still legal to do so), because the chances are you’ll buy more before you leave.

Liked It: Yes, box-worthy.
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

enjoying cigars since 1997

20 thoughts on “San Lotano Habano Robusto

    1. Yes sir, I have. There’s a reason I selected the Habano, it was the one I liked the most. Also, I smoked up almost the entire first shipment of them at Buckhead Cigar, so it was an easy review to do. (The word is he’s getting more in soon, if you’re looking to pick some up.)

  1. I love this stick! I got a box after the first one I smoked! It’s very satisfying to know that people are working hard to blend value and flavor with quality, and this is what you get every time. I just wish others were not so oblivious in my local shops…closest shop carrying them is 70 miles away.

  2. Just bought a box, haven’t smoked one yet. But when they told me at the shop that it was AJ’s line, i was sold and bought the box. Have loved every cigar of AJ’s that i have had and I’m sure I will love these.

  3. I just bought a week ago one of this Sticks in a well sorted Cigar Shop here in Panama. I can”t wait to light it up but I think i’ll have a little patience and let it rest a little longer.
    Yesterday I smoked the Rocky Patel 10th anniversary, and oh man….. This was one of the best smokes I had so far yet. Very surprised.
    Happy smoking

  4. Wow! When I first smoked my first San Latano I was hooked, to me this is the perfect cigar. I immediately called around and found a place to buy these, and ordered my first box. They confirmed my initial impressions. My “hands down” favorite smoke. The one I fell in love with was the box press maduro torpedo.

  5. I will add my recommendation about San Lotano. AJ’s Man O’ War is my regular smoke. In fact, I’ve pretty much cleared my humidor out of anything else–I only smoke a couple of cigars a week, so I don’t want to waste time with something less than perfect to my taste. Now, I am making room for San Lotano.

    I was on business in Florida, and found a cigar bar on Yelp (Smoke on th Water in Weston, if you’re ever in the area). After hearing my preferences, the humidor attendant recommended San Lotano Habano. I had one that night, and another on each of the next two nights I was in town. I immediately ordered quantity when I returned home.

    The draw is perfect for me. I like an easy draw, and AJ Fernandez never disappoints with an over-tight wrap. The flavor is wonderful, as described above, and the burn darn near perfect. While certainly full-flavored, I found the strength to be medium, which I prefer. You can stand up after smoking one and not get dizzy.

    All in all, a first-class smoke. I’ve paid a lot more for a cigar, and had a less enjoyable time. Do yourself a favor and give them a try.

  6. Wholeheartedly concur. For my money AJ hit a home run with this lineup of cigars. My personal favorite is the Maduro torpedo, but the Oval and Hzbano are close behind.

  7. I have a San Lotano habano robusto and it says 5×54 not like the app says 5×52 how can we fix this cause I have another cigar with the same issue ? If anybody knows my answer my email address is fdi9871@gmail.com. And thanks Frank

  8. I am new to the cigar world. I’ve been smoking different sticks for a year+ 1-2 a week i am also a member of the Cigar Dave officers club witch is were i received my San Lotano, Habano and can say this is a nice smoke . I have enjoyed it and will be looking for more for these thanks for a fine product and long ashes to you all.

  9. *Spot on review as I smoked my first SL and promptly bought a box. I’ll be buying a second to age for a year and then see the results. This has become a “go to” stick as the price for the box was less than a 100.00 for 20 sticks. WHAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS IS A GOOD 5.00 CIGAR. We’ll, now we have one. A J Fernandez RULES.

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