This week we’re talking a look at the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro, one of AJ’s many blends with a classic Cuban name. It marks an interesting sort of collaboration with General Cigars, the brand owner, and AJ Fernandez. In fact, I’m not sure you’d actually call it a collaboration as General is really hands off with sales and distribution on this one. But enough inside baseball, let’s talk about the cigar itself.
The production volume of the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez is limited by the yield of the special Medio Tiempo wrapper leaf. Not every tobacco plant actually produces those leaves, which grow at the top of the plant. And when the Medio Tiempo leaves do grow, you have to find ones that are of wrapper quality. So not only does the plant have to grow them, the gotta be pretty. Fortunately AJ has plenty of tobacco plants at his disposal.
One quick note before we get into the meat of the review. While I did get some samples back at last years tradeshow, those are long gone. I’m basing this review on the ones I’ve been taking notes on the smokes I’ve been picking up from my local shop over the past three months, give or take. We’ll talk a little more about that later.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Hybrid Nicaraguan Habano Medio Tiempo
Price: MSRP $14
The Pre Light
It’s kind of amusing. After I jotted down some notes on the appearance of the last cigar I smoked for this review, I took a look at my notes for the previous smoke. I wrote nearly the same thing, word for word. That tells me two things. First, I’m a little predictable, and second, the cigar’s construction is nicely consistent. At least in terms of appearance. I love the smell of a cedar sleeve fresh out of the cellophane, and the Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez has a consistently dark wrapper, with a couple of crushed, medium sized veins and no apparent imperfections. And I nearly forgot to mention that I noticed a fine tooth in the wrapper of several of the cigars. It’s a good looking cigar.
The First Third
After some initial nut and caramel flavors, pepper makes a quick arrival. But the cigar doesn’t smack you with pepper and spices up front, it burns for an inch or so before the body and pepper picks up. As it continues to burn, sweet spices, earth and cedar join in. Very enjoyable notes of graham cracker, vanilla, and even berries make brief appearances. The performance in the burn department is flawless: even lines, solid, atrractive ashes, good draw, good smoke volume.
The Second Third
The second third is where I noticed the potency had increased. The flavors were still very much about the rich caramel, earth, pepper, cedar, and chocolate, though the pepper becomes more pronounced and lingers. In some cases, I tasted a very pleasant combination of vanilla and cedar late in this third. Again at this stage, nothing but smooth sailing in terms of construction. Perhaps some minescule blips with the burn lines evenness, but nothing that had any real negative impact on the experience.
The Final Third
The final third makes a shift toward a rich creamy chocolate, pepper, and cedar. At times I still picked up caramel, but not as much as in the preceding sections. Those three main flavors were pretty dominant. Once again, I can’t complain about the burn here either.
The Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez is a cigar that has been noticeably improving with age, and the stock at my local shop has definitely hit its stride. I mentioned earlier that I’m basing this review off the sticks I purchased (mostly) in 2019 from a local shop. That’s important for a few reasons. First of all, trade show samples aren’t always the best indicator of the final product. At the very least, they spend a week in Las Vegas. Nothing is in its best condition after a week in Vegas- cigar samples or cigar reviewers. Also those samples are long gone. But more importantly, the cigars are just significantly better now. Better than they were even in late 2018. So if you had Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez last year, and weren’t absolutely in love with it, try it again. I think you’ll change your mind.