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Spotlight Brand: Ave Maria Cigars

Ave Maria

Simply better.

Ave Maria is one of the most exceptional premiums we've seen come out of Nicaragua. This phenomenal blend is truly one of the finest made by cigar master AJ Fernandez. Coming packed in beautiful handmade wooden boxes of 20, this premium is masterfully balanced and can be enjoyed morning, noon, or night. Its hearty, well-aged fillers establish a steady, medium to full body profile and combine with the oily Habano wrapper to create a ton of classic, enjoyable flavors.

Ave Maria contains a massive amount of thick, Nicaraguan long leaves all masked by a premium, Ecuadorian-grown Habano wrapper, fermented to perfection. The result creates a bold burst of leather and wood with light spices that perfectly round out the finish. With an earthy aroma and some cedar notes on the finish, Ave Maria will certainly satisfy.

Q & A: Get What You Pay For?

Q.
With cigars, do you get what you pay for? Is price always a good measure of quality?

2/14/11 | by AG of Baltimore, MD

A.
​​Price will help determine the quality of a cigar but just like wine, it is not always a good measure of quality. There are individuals who will only purchase and enjoy high priced, rare, and ultra unique cigars. Yet, there are others who refuse to spend more than $2.50 per stick. It all comes down to personal preference. I've experienced cigars that retail over $100 apiece. Were they good? Sure. However, if you search through my humidor you won't find any of them as I've found many cigars retailing for less than $10 that are constructed just as well and taste just as good as those higher priced sticks. 

by Sean G

Review: Nica Libre

Bryan Nica Libre Potencia
Double Robusto (5.0"x54) Incredible. Super full and superiorly balanced. Burns cool while expelling thick smoke and maintains a fantastic aroma. Very complex with a ton of spice through the nostrils.

Torpedo (6.0"x56) Best way to describe this size compared to the others? Elegant. Instead of blasting your palate with robust flavors from head to foot, the blend seems to build in this 6"x56 frame. Past the 3-inch mark, you'll find a mellowing cedar flavor with an earthy finish. Perfect draw with a strong finish.

Double Toro (6.0"x60) We recommend this double toro for those who want to experience a true, well-balanced, full-bodied blend that could last 2 hours. This bulbous cigar releases an intoxicating aroma and a plethora of complexities. Definitely a jaw breaker, you may not be able to feel your lips when you're finished.

Churchill Extra (7.0"x52) Interested in strength, complete strength, and nothing but strength? If so, you'll love the churchill extra. This stick tastes about the same from head to foot: tons of pepper and tons of earth with light complexities throughout. Be warned, the last two inches may burn hot and create an incredibly hearty finish.

Belicoso (5.0"x54) Great 60-minute smoke in terms of flavor and balance. Not quite as strong as the churchill extra yet just as flavorful as the double toro. Don't cut too much off the head - you'll find yourself with a very loose draw and the stick could burn unevenly.
Interview With Pete Johnson

Article: Interview With Pete Johnson

Cigar.com (CC): Pete, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Let’s get right to it. You make all of your cigars with legendary cigar maker Pepin Garcia. How did you guys hook up?

Pete Johnson (PJ): We hooked up in 2003 at the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills, CA. We both had no idea who the other was and we had no idea what that meeting would create. 

CC: Will we ever see you branch out to make cigars at other factories in the future or are your loyalties strictly with the Garcia family?

PJ: I doubt you will see me branch out. I consider them family. They give me freedom in their factory. That means a lot for someone who constantly wants to create new things. 

CC: How soon after you launched your original Miami-made line did you see a surge in demand?

PJ: It took at least two years before anyone really cared about my product. We were doing well but it got crazy in 2006. 

CC: Your El Triunfador line has been very popular with our clients. In fact, it was rated as one of our top picks for mellow cigars in 2010. What is it about that cigar that makes it so flavorful yet so smooth?

PJ: I love this cigar also. This was a blend I put together on my own. I was looking for subtle strength but full flavor. I think the Seco tobaccos we used in the blend really just adds big flavors without too much strength.

CC: A big part of your following centers around your limited release style of cigar making. It seems you always have something new to offer the Tatuaje faithful out there. What can we expect from you this year?

PJ: Well, I will continue with my Monster Series and my La Verite Single Farm Vintage, but this year I'm concentrating on bringing some old favorites to full production. 

CC: What about the Monster Series you launched around Halloween? Are we going to see a sequel in 2011?

PJ: Well, you won't see the Face again but I'm thinking this year might be a tribute to the Wolfman. 

CC: What are you smoking these days? I remember in the days prior to you having your own brand, you used to love those old Henry Clay cigars. You still enjoying those?

PJ: I still smoke a little bit of everything. Now I'm enjoying a lot of samples for the new releases. 

CC: How many cigars do you burn through in a single day?

PJ: Depends on the day, but when I'm working in the factory it’s somewhere around 10. When I'm relaxing in my office, maybe only two.

CC: How do you see the future of the cigar industry and what role do you envision Tatuaje playing in it over the next five years?

PJ: I'm just hoping we survive these anti-smoking laws and taxes that are hitting this industry every day. Truthfully, this is my life. If I'm a part of this industry then I'm a happy person. If consumers will have me and continue enjoying my cigars, I'll do whatever the industry needs from me.

CC: Pete, it was great speaking with you. Is there anything you would like to add for our readers before we finish the interview?

PJ: Keep enjoying your personal freedoms and help us all fight to keep them free. A big thank you to Cigar.com for supporting the brand and a huge thank you to all of you for enjoying the results of what I love to do.