Limited to 2,500 boxes of 10 in each size, A.J. Fernandez’s Mayimbe 2013 is one of the first cigars to be produced at his new Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The Mayimbe 2013 was blended using a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper, a proprietary Nicaraguan AJF binder, and Nicaraguan, Honduran Jamastran, and a special leaf called AJF Privativo as filler tobaccos. Interestingly, Fernandez chose to release the cigar in four sizes, all with a 56 ring gauge. After the recent success of Fernandez’s San Lotano, and to a lesser degree, Pinolero cigar lines, I was looking forward to lighting up the Mayimbe 2013 Robusto for today’s review.
The Robusto exhibited solid, clean construction with an ample triple-cap up top. Its smooth and slightly oily wrapper was a reddish hue that one usually wouldn’t associate with Connecticut Broadleaf. Pre-light draws gave off a pleasant, “warm” taste of cedar and unsweetened cocoa.
After an easy light, the Mayimbe was letting off lots of dense smoke right from the get-go. Generous plumes of smoke flowed from the cigar with very little effort on my part. The initial profile of the cigar was a very full taste of smoky wood and rich cocoa coupled with some intense red & black pepper spice and a long, syrupy-sweet finish. About a 1/2 inch in a wave of silky smoothness moved in, adding some cream to the profile and rounding out the fiery spice a bit.
Going into the second third I was still getting plenty of potent and flavorful smoke through an easy draw, and a neat grey ash was stacking up nicely. The cigar’s rich, woody taste was now punctuated by some white pepper and lighter sweetness on the end of each puff. At this point I noted that despite the vivid flavors this stick was piping out, my palate remained pretty “clean”, with very little aftertaste between draws. A little bit further into this portion the Mayimbe reached an awesomely smooth balance, with just the right amount of spice creeping in the background and a soft cocoa sweetness riding shotgun with the creamy cedar as the leading notes.
The final third of the cigar was where the real fun began, as added notes of cinnamon/nutmeg spice, toasted bread, walnuts, and hints of salt joined the fold, culminating in a taste that reminded me of gingerbread, a very fitting flavor for this time of year. This great profile continued on through the last couple of inches of the cigar, causing me to hold on to this stick for a little longer than usual.
The Mayimbe, while not insanely complex, was far from basic in terms of flavor. It smoked like Mr. Fernandez had really honed in on a specific set of complimentary flavors that he had in mind for this cigar. As someone who samples a fair amount of new cigars on a weekly basis, I can honestly say that the Mayimbe brings a unique profile to the table, one with harmony at a level that I have not experienced since I reviewed the Torano Vault D-042. Call me old-fashioned, but I like it when a “special release” cigar actually tastes like a “special release”, and the Mayimbe certainly does. It just got better and better as the smoke went on. This delicious flavor profile, along with a burn and draw performance that left very little to be desired, have landed the Mayimbe Robusto a spot in the category of “cigars I smoked at work that I end up ordering for personal consumption.” In the immortal words of Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber, “I like it a lot,” and I give it a well-earned A+ grade. Cigar-makers take note, this is the kind of stogie that will set you apart from the pack.