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Cigars: The Prestigious San Lotano Oval from AJ Fernandez

AJ Fernandez has been in the cigar business a long time, even if the cigars carrying his name haven’t. He recently hit a milestone when his initial
San Lotano Oval release earned the #25 spot on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigar of 2012. At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, he unveiled a slew of new cigars including Pinolero Maduro, the highly-anticipated El Mayimbe and the San Lotano Oval Connecticut, not to be confused with the San Lotano Connecticut, which features a different blend of tobaccos.

The San Lotano name comes from the cigars that AJ Fernandez’s family produced in Cuba. Both the San Lotano and San Lotano Oval each feature a Habano, Maduro and Connecticut line.

The Oval line gets its name from the squashed oval shape of the vitolas that are like box-pressed cigars that are only pressed on the top and bottom. Much like
Litto Gomez’s chisel, the Oval shape improves the cigar’s overall smoking ergonomics.

The San Lotano Oval Connecticut features a Connecticut wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras. There is a third undisclosed filler that AJ Fernandez refers to as the “AJ Fernandez Secret Filler.” The Oval Connecticut is sold in 20 count boxes or bundles in 6 vitolas: Corona (5 x 44), Double Corona (7 ½ x 54), Gordo (6 ½ x 60), Robusto (5 ½ x 54), Toro (6 ½ x 54) and the Torpedo (6 ½ 54). I smoked the Toro for this review.

If you are interested in purchasing the San Lotano Oval Connecticut, you can check them out here.


The San Lotano Oval Connecticut features a golden brown wrapper that’s a shade darker than the more blonde Connecticut shade wrappers. The wrapper is flawless with very minimal veins. The vitola is well-formed and oval shape makes the cigar feels much wider than a standard toro.


Before the light, the cigar has aromas of barnyard, cedar and hints of leather. The cold draw provides flavors of mild tobacco, nuts, toast and raisins.

1st Third:
There was a hint of peppery spice on the light that fades after a few puffs. The cigar had a great draw. There were flavors of cinnamon, cedar and dried fruit once the cigar warmed up.

2nd Third:
During the middle of the cigar, there were flavors of mild cedar with just the hint of spice. Caramel appears on the finish with interesting floral notes. The cigar has a great draw and a remarkably steady and even burn.

Final Third:

Heading into the last third of the cigar, the flavors grew a bit more intense. While the first two-thirds of the cigar were mild, the cigar finished closer to medium-bodied. A light toasty, leathery profile emerged with notes of honey, nuts and cedar.


Putting a Connecticut wrapper on the Oval is an interesting twist. This cigar doesn’t quite taste like a traditional Connecticut shade cigar, due mostly to the Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. The Oval shape is noticeable while smoking, especially considering the ring gauge is 54. The profile was slightly under medium-bodied overall and featured some nice flavors including the cedar, caramel and floral notes.

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