Casa Fernandez Torpedo

A few weeks ago I was digging through one of my humidors looking for something interesting to smoke. In the process, I found a small cache of mixed singles I picked up at last year’s IPCPR. I felt a small twinge of guilt that I hadn’t gotten to them sooner, but then, there are only so many hours in the day, and you have to sleep some time. As much as I’d love to review every cigar I picked up at the show, I just can’t review a single stick. Even if the readers didn’t call B.S. on single stick reviews (and they do), there’s no telling if that one you pick up at the show will actually be the same thing you buy in your local shop later. You’d think it would be, but I’ve heard too many anecdotes to the contrary over the years.

As a compromise, I’ve been smoking through the remainder of these singles looking for one I thought would make for an interesting review. When a stick peaks my interest, like the Casa Fernandez Torpedo did, I go out and buy more for a proper review. The Casa Fernandez was a challenge though. Most area retailers had never even heard of the cigar. Including those that carry other sticks produced by Tabacalera Tropical, like the JFR. I was just about to give up on my search when Walt told me that Top Shelf Cigar Company, a B&M in his area had some in stock. I called and they hooked me up. (And by “hooked me up”, I mean he agreed to take my order over the phone.)

I don’t have a lot of background on this cigar. According to the Tabacalera Tropical/Casa Fernandez website, the Casa Fernandez is part of their super-premium line of cigars, reported to be medium to full in body, and made with “Super Premium grade ‘A’ 2006 Corojo Sun Grown Warpper” and “100% Nicaraguan tobacco from Aganorsa Leaf.” Sounds good to me, let’s set it ablaze.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 1/4 x 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Sungrown
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$8.20

The Pre-Smoke
The Casa Fernandez is a nice looking cigar with a fairly straightforward golden band emblazoned with a calligraphic ‘F’. Probably not one that will grab your attention from across the humidor, but nice. Looking the cigars over, I didn’t see any obvious flaws like patches or cracks, only a few larger veins running the length of the stick.

To the touch, the cigars were mostly firm with just a little bit of give. I also noticed that the cigars were a little on the lumpy side.

The scent of the wrapper was mostly your standard funky compost with a bit of cocoa. But on one cigar, it was all dirty dog. Or maybe wet dog. I haven’t had a dog in years, but it brought back memories. The cold taste was a little more appetizing than the wrapper aroma, offering up a nice creamy caramel flavor.

The Burn
People who are really into the appearance of a cigar while it burns are likely to be a little disappointed by the Casa Fernandez. It’s definitely not going to win any beauty contests with it’s mottled dark gray ash, or it’s often uneven burn.

On the bright side, the ash is solid, the draw was good, there’s a decent volume of smoke, and though you may pull out the lighter to correct the burn, you probably won’t need to relight it. Of the cigars I smoked for this review, only one went out, and that was just before I set the cigar down for good. Though the entire time I smoked another stick, it seemed to dance on the edge of a relight the entire time.

The Flavor
The Casa Fernandez began with a creamy nutty flavor that I want to call velvety. There seemed to be some very interesting texture to the creaminess, and “velvety” was the word that just kept coming to mind while I was smoking it. The first third was a medley of nuts, mild leather, cocoa, cinnamon and caramel. But it was the caramel that quickly came to dominate.

The second third started off with cinnamon and caramel enjoying the spotlight, with less nuts or leather present. About half way into this third, the cigar began to develop a coppery flavor. I think the cigar achieved the height of it’s complexity in this latter half of this third. All at once it was a zingy caramely copper with cinnamon and just a bit of cocoa. It probably goes without saying that I was pretty impressed with what I was tasting.

As the cigar made the final leg of it’s journey, many of the previously noted flavors were still present, though there seemed to be a more cocoa and copper influence at the end. I was also impressed that this cigar remained pretty creamy and smooth right up until the end.

One thing I noticed in my various sessions with the Casa Fernandez is that you really do have a big impact on the flavor. If you smoke it faster, or puff on it more, as I did with the cigar that was always about to go out, the zingy caramel and copper I first noticed in the second third appears much sooner and is more pronounced throughout. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a little more bite out of this smoke.

The Price
It’s nice to see a cigar billed as “Super Premium” coming in under the $10 mark. That designation usually means you aren’t going to get much change for that Jackson. (In fact, Jackson may need help from Lincoln or even Hamilton to make the long trip to the register.) So in short, I’m OK with the price.

The Verdict
I tried not to give it away in the beginning. That first stick from the show? Fantastic. I absolutely loved it. And these were nearly as good. (That probably has something to do with the first being a complete surprise, and the rest facing very high expectation.) On our Stogie Review Fan Forum, I started a thread about my new highest honor for a cigar: Box-worthy. In short, it’s a stick whose combined attributes are good enough that you skip the singles and five packs to grab a box. The Casa Fernandez is box-worthy.

OK, I admit it, I have an ulterior motive in writing this review. Much like Jerry when the camera’s not rolling, I too stroke my goatee, laugh wickedly and scheme. I’m hoping that one or more Atlanta-area cigar shops will see this review, be enticed to try the cigar, and will ultimately carry it so I have a convenient place to buy more. (Not that calling up Top Shelf was all that difficult.) As with the JFR line, my understanding is that Tabacalera Tropical has a no internet sales policy when it comes to the Casa Fernandez, so that option is off the table. Now pardon me, I feel an evil laugh coming on.

Liked It: Yes. Box-worthy.
Buy It Again: Yes, and I did just before I wrote up this review.
Recommend It: Yes

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