On the first of May, New York City’s Club Macanudo will host the launch party for Ramon Allones AJ Fernandez, the newest brand from cigarmaker Abdel “A.J.” Fernandez. The brand will see national distribution after the event in New York.
This is one of many heritage Cuban brands made by Fernandez, who’s become the “go-to-guy” in the industry for reinvigorating classic Cuban cigar lines with strong, Nicaraguan blends. For the last few years, large companies like General Cigar and Altadis U.S.A. have turned to Fernandez to create modern, full-bodied interpretations of its U.S.-friendly cigar brands bearing classic Cuban names (but no Cuban tobacco) such as Hoyo de Monterrey and H. Upmann.
In this case, General owns the trademark for Ramon Allones, but has appointed A.J. Fernandez the exclusive manufacturer and distributor in the United States.
Despite the brand’s rich history as a Cuban cigar, Ramon Allones has never been successful as a non-Cuban brand. Overshadowed by General’s larger brands like Partagas and Macanudo, Ramon Allones cigars were sold mostly in catalogs until 2015, when the brand was reblended and folded into General’s defunct subsidiary, Foundry.
Now, Ramon Allones is in Fernandez’s hands. The blend features a wrapper that he says is a Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro from a medio tiempo priming. Medio tiempo is a rare leaf that grows atop some tobacco plants. Not to be confused with corona leaves, medio tiempo doesn’t always sprout, but when it does, it’s prized for its strength.
Under the medio tiempo wrapper is Corojo ’99 binder and a filler combination of Corojo ’99 from Jalapa, Criollo ’98 from Condega, Criollo ’98 from Pueblo Nuevo and a hybrid tobacco from Estelí.
It will come in four sizes: Robusto, at 5 1/2 inches by 50 ring gauge; Toro, 6 by 52; Churchill, 7 by 50; and Torpedo, 6 1/2 by 54. They will retail for $12 to $15 and come packaged in boxes of 20.
Ramon Allones AJ Fernandez is made in Nicaragua at the Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory.
This article first appeared in the April 3, 2018 edition of Cigar Insider.