Bite Size Review: Man O’ War Armada
Lately, you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit a cigar to which AJ Fernandez has extended his Midas touch. Almost 10 years old, the Armada, along with the Ave Maria line, is produced at Fernandez’s new San Lotano factory in Ocotál, Nicaragua; however, Cigars International now owns both super premium lines. The Armada is produced in limited runs of 10,000 sticks per year (or at least was at one time) and coupled with the premium tobacco, is considered a high-end smoke in the $20/stick range. Unfortunately, these sticks are exclusive to online icons Cigars International and its subsidiaries like Cigar.com.
The good news is you can squirrel 5-packs of these rare beauties from Cigar.com using their Cigar Sprint Sale promotion where you can low-bid during a timed price countdown. They offer them regularly so I’ve been lucky enough to get these babies at less than $10 a stick. Booya! The Spartan gold-on-black band is eye-catching. While considered full strength, it smokes like a medium-full thanks to a wonderful flavor palette and superb complexity.
The oily, whiskey-colored Sumatra wrapper has a good firmness throughout although cap application looks a little wonky. Seams are barely visible along the semi-veiny and toothy wrapper. My Armada has been aging almost a year, so aromas were somewhat subdued. Only one touch-up was required on this bad boy and I enjoyed almost 2 hours of rich, flavor-packed smoking bliss. I only recommend a 5-pack due to the price and size. Settle in and enjoy one of AJF’s hidden gems! – In Fumo Pax!
- Profile: Full
- Vitola: Toro Grande
- Length/ Ring Gauge: 6.5″ / 56
- Purchased: Online retailer
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Cutter: Colibri V
- Lighter: Colibri Firebird 3-jet
- Price: $8 – $20
Build: Uniform firmness without any soft spots
Draw: Very good
Aromas: [subdued] leather, tea, dark fruit and chocolate
Flavors: Spice varies; leather profile, earth, oats, nuts w/toasty finish; floral and caramel retro; pepper and cream; cedar and chocolate
Balance: Very Good
Touch ups: One
Combustion: Very good
Recommend: 1. Go-to 2. 5-packer 3. 3rd stringer 4. Smoke a banana instead