I didn't plan it this way, but it turned out to be an A.J. Fernandez day.
According to the write-up:
I had one or two of these out of the 5 that were in a sampler ages ago, and wasn't super fond of them, so I figured I'd let them age a while, and then promptly forgot about them for a couple years."The La Herencia Cubana line started as an experiment by AJ Fernandez to capture a new audience in the boutique market by showcasing an affordable premium cigar. In Spanish, La Herencia Cubana translates to “Cuban Heritage,” which pays homage to AJ’s focus on creating premium handmades that are similar in complexity and flavor to those from Cuba’s glory days."
Ageing did improve them, but they're still not really my cup of tea, hence my rating.
That said, it is not a bad cigar at all - just not one I particularly like, so if you like this sort of flavour profile and experience, you may well love them.
Appearance: Sleek, dark, lightly veined wrapper with a nice, satiny sheen. A very nice looking stick.
Construction: well built, solid, with just the right amount of "give" with a gentle squeeze. No imperfections noted.
Pre-light: Smell was rich and earthy, in a dry, crisp sort of way, taste was less crisp and gave a hint of the supple leather notes, with definite pepper evident on the lips.
Light & Cut: As usual, I did a light and cut. It lit quite easily and evenly, and immediately started producing quite a bit of white, creamy looking smoke, which, with the promises of smoke that is "creamy
on the palate" seemed to bode well. I did a V cut, and there was no unravelling or tobacco getting in my mouth, so another plus there for construction.
First Third: The main flavour was very earthy, with the slightest trace of grass, with warm notes of well oiled leather coming into play about halfway through. Toward the end of the first third, the pepper started becoming more apparent, though it was more a sensation than actual flavour, giving it a bit of heat and that spice on the lips and tongue tingle.
Second Third: Lots more pepper, coalescing into more obvious black pepper flavour, rather than the earlier "generic pepper/spicy" feeling. The ligero piquancy really started coming through here as well, amping up to meet the full bodied rating in the description. The retrohale proved even stronger - almost harsh, rather than the "smooth through the nose" in the advertising, and with very slight hints of toast only showing up in the exhale.
Last Third: Even stronger than the previous, and finally, some of the claimed creamy notes crept in. My "creamy" experience was nothing like I expected, based on the advertised description, and didn't have any of the chewy traits I usually expect with the more full bodied smokes either. Unfortunately, it started tasting more burnt than strong just over halfway through the last third, so I didn't even get to enjoy the best bit for long.
All in all, rather a disappointment to me based on expectation and hype, but it was still worth finishing, which is why it gets a 5/10 from me, rather than something lower.
I'll probably trade or give away the remaining ones, cause I think someone with a different flavour profile preference will appreciate them more, which I suspect they actually DO deserve. As stated right up front. I don't care for it, but I think it is a good cigar within that profile.