Pinolero by AJ Fernandez (IPCPR Sample)

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Pinolero by AJ Fernandez (IPCPR Sample)

Pinolero by AJ Fernandez

Back in August, Jerry, Brian, Charlie, and I had the pleasure of attending the annual IPCPR Trade Show in Orlando. One of our earlier stops was the AJ Fernandez booth. We got to talking with one of the reps when he began handing out Pinolero samples. The cigar came with a warning “This is the most powerful cigar that AJ makes.” At the time I thought, yeah right, this is probably just like the warning label on a box of Rocky Patel Edge Cigars. I mean, how powerful could this thing really be?

Prior to the show, I hadn’t heard any hype about this cigar and its appearance didn’t leave me itching to light it up right away. I gave it some time after returning home then fired up my first sample on a clean palate. Looks sure are deceiving, less than an inch in I was giving some serios thought to giving up in the Pinolero. Simply put, it was the most powerful cigar I had ever smoked and the strength was overwhelming.

I posted my thoughts on Twitter and received some heckling from Brian Hewitt, who coincidentally was smoking one of his Pinolero samples. I gritted my teeth and continued on. After the first third that cigar toned down considerably and wound up being an excellent smoke.

Since then I’ve smoked the remainder of my samples and have found the power to be very inconsistent. Some have been overwhelming while others have been rather gentle, for lack of a better description. Flavors have been consistent across the board, producing wood, salt, pepper, and even a smokey sort of sweetness on occasion. Construction has been solid. Every one has burned wonderfully and produced plenty of thick smoke.

This cigar isn’t for the faint or heart but it is most definitely worth a try if you enjoy cigars that may make you break out into a cold sweat. As I mentioned in the video, this review is based on an IPCPR sample and may vary from what arrives on store shelves.

enjoying cigars since 2005

16 thoughts on “Pinolero by AJ Fernandez (IPCPR Sample)

    1. Anthony,
      Is there anything in particular that you don’t like or are all of the lines just not doing it for you? if the latter, I can certainly understand that (I’ll never understand what so many people see in Rocky Patel product).

      1. Walt,

        It is so subjective. I cannot point to one characteristic. I watched your review in its entirety and read through the list of cigars manufactured by Tabacalera Fernandez before making the above comment. I also watched a couple YouTube videos of AF and Tabacalera Fernandez and came away impressed. However, the Tabacalera Fernandez cigars I’ve smoked thus far do not appeal to me in the same way as do cigars produced by, say, La Aurora or Oliva. In AJ’s defense, however, I must admit that I have never tried a San Lotano–and I hear good things from reliable sources. Moreover, while I have written off completely more than a few brands and manufacturers, AF Fernandez is not among them.

        BTW, I really enjoy your reviews, Walt. The stream of consciousness thing you do is quite similar to the manner in which I evaluate smokes (That’s not to see your excellent reviews lack rhyme or reason.).


  1. Great job Walt. I appreciate you pointing out the inconsistencies that can occur with pre-release show samples. I hope to see a follow up with the regular production run. I like the San Lotanos (Oval and Habanos), but the CI/ stuff has been hit or miss for me.

    1. If you like the Oval, give the Oval Maduro a try when you get the chance. I was only able to get one at IPCPR but it was impressive.

      I can take it or leave it when it comes to the regular Man O War line but I like the Ruination quite a bit. I don’t buy them often because they are roughly $7.50 at a shop in my area and I think there are better cigars for the money.

      I haven’t had any of the other CI AJ Fernandez lines.

  2. I smoked a Pinolero sample from the trade show and thought it was just ok. I keep seeing the reviews talk about how strong it was and I didn’t have that experience. I thought it was decent but on the bland side. Not much complexity and really not that much kick. Should probably try another one but not really feeling it. I have been very hit or miss on AJ Fernandez cigars.

  3. Nice “rolling” review Walt. Appreciate the detail you gave in this one. I’m a huge fan of AJ’s sticks, especially the San Lotano line, love the Oval and Oval Maduro.
    I’ll look forward to trying these.

    Great photo BTW.


  4. Walt,

    Thanks for the review. If I think the San Lotano Oval is strong I might be in trouble with this one, at least for the first 3rd!


  5. I use to think Pepin Garcia made the most consistently good cigars in the free-world. Then I had an A.J. Fernandez Sol Cubano, yeah that was a cheap cigar but A.J is now my go to guy!! I have not had an A.J. I didn’t like!!! I will take this one on!!!

  6. AJF always leaves me satisfied. The aromas, flavors and punch is what I always look forward to when I hear the name.
    Why I always keep his brand handy.

  7. I got a sample too but mine from a retailer and similarly the first inch blew my head off. And for me to notice it is saying something. My tolerance is as high as anyone’s really. I could smoke two Runinations back to back for breakfast on an empty stomach and not notice it. Nothing special flavor wise IMO though the density of the pack and flavors remind me of some old Cuban blends. A bit too woody for my taste. Of AJs blends the original Oval is the only one that gets the nod from me with the original MOW a distant second.

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