I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to cigar size/shape preference. I’m a corona/Lonsdale guy. A 42 to 44 ring gauge just suits me, and a length between 5 and 6.5 inches allows for a long enough smoke without becoming tiresome. I’m also in the minority when it comes to strength and flavor profile. I love strong, full-flavored cigars. Luckily, there are some pretty hefty coronas out there- the Joya de Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo Peligroso, Camacho Triple Maduro Corona and Diesel Corona. When we decided to carry Man O’ War on PipesandCigars.com, I was particularly intrigued by one cigar- the Puro Authentico. It’s got a couple of things that make it different. It has a small pigtail cap, and the wrapper is folded over the foot. It has a simple, but elegant looking band, black textured paper with the MOW helmet in gold. I was even more intrigued when I found out that this is AJ Fernandez’ personal blend. I’m a fan of his work, and a number of his cigars have big, complex flavors, so I couldn’t wait to give one a try.
This is a Nicaraguan puro, and features a really silky Habano ligero wrapper. I snipped off the pigtail and was ready to fire up. Because the foot of the cigar is covered by folded wrapper, there’s no need to toast the foot first. In fact, it would be a shame if you did because the big burst of flavor you get from the first puff being all wrapper is amazing. The amount of smoke I get from one of these firecrackers is surprising, and the construction is just about perfect. Every one I’ve had burns flawlessly. The profile includes notes of oak and leather, a bit of dark coffee, but the undercurrent of spice (allspice, nutmeg, pepper) is the star. The flavor intensifies at the one-third mark and builds gradually from there. For a five inch corona, it lasts longer than expected. I usually finish a cigar of this size in a little more than a half hour, but the Puro Authentico lasted me for about 40 minutes. There are two reasons for this. It’s a nice, firm cigar, and I love the taste so much that I’ll smoke it down farther than I will with most.
Most evenings, now, I cap the day off with one of these, and when I don’t, it’s probably because I’m smoking the Maduro version of the Puro Authentico, which has a little more depth. If you like bold taste in a stick that doesn’t take an hour or more to finish, you’ve got to try this one.