When former New York City cigar retailers Billy and Gus Fakih released their Viva La Vida brand in March, they didn’t have a distributor. Now, the line has been picked up by A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co., which also makes the cigar for them in Nicaragua. It’s the only third-party brand that A.J. Fernandez distributes.
“I have known Billy and Gus since I launched the San Lotano brand,” says A.J. Fernandez, “and they were one of the first and best supporters while operating the Cigar Inn in New York City. We maintained a great relationship since then, after they sold the store. I'm proud to not only call them business associates but great friends as well.”
Rolled at the A.J. Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, Viva La Vida is available in five sizes: the Diadema Fina, a 6 1/2 inch by 52 ring figurado; Gran Toro, 6 by 60; Robusto, 5 by 54; Toro, 6 by 54; and Torpedo, 6 1/2 by 54.
The cigars range in price from $10.50 to $14.50, before taxes.The cigars are made with only Nicaraguan tobacco, and blended with a variety of Nicaraguan leaves including a wrapper grown by Fernandez himself, who is a tobacco farmer as well as a cigarmaker.
The A.J. Fernandez name is printed on the outer lid of the black box of Viva La Vida, but not the band.
For a vertical brand tasting of Viva La Vida, see a future issue of Cigar Insider.