The Enclave was unveiled by A.J. Fernandez Cigars at IPCPR 2015 in New Orleans and began to hit store shelves shortly thereafter. Check out the press release for ll the details behind the blend.
The Enclave, which was a collaboration between A.J. and his father Ismael Fernandez, is available in four sizes at very reasonable price points.
Robusto: 5 x 52 - MSRP $6.44
Toro: 6 x 52 - MSRP $6.32
Churchill: 7 x 52 - MSRP $6.38
Figurado: 6 1/2 x 52 - MSRP $6.51
I spoke with A.J. at IPCPR and he talked about the Enclave is the kind of cigar you can smoke every day.
A.J. Fernandez Enclave
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Filler: AJF Select Nicaraguan and AJF Nicaraguan Piloto Cubano
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez, Esteli, Nicaragua
Cigars smoked for review: 1 per reviewer
Cigars for review provided by A.J. Fernandez Cigars
Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system
Pre-Light: There is a lot to like about the look of the Enclave. What I like most is that the Enclave is priced to be an "everyday" cigar, but it doesn't look like one. The cigar features two bands and a closed foot. The band design is eye catching, but maintains a classic look similar to the AFJ New World.
The Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper was beautiful. There were no veins to be found and it was smooth to the touch. The wrapper gave off distinct notes of wood and barnyard while the cold draw offered notes of chocolate, cherry cordial and hay. In short, there was a wide range of flavors present before a flame touched this cigar.
Beginning: Welcome to the house of spice! Black pepper dominated the early portion of the Enclave (spoiler alert: it came back to dominate later portions too). The retrohale was HOT. With all that being said, there was still some nuance to the first third. The black pepper mellowed a bit and notes of chocolate, cream and oak were allowed to shine. The balance was a bit out of whack to begin with, but things evened out as the first third came to a close. The strength was in the medium range, but trending up.
Middle: This is where the Enclave got interesting. The flavor profile took on a richness that wasn't present in the first third. The smooth notes of cream, chocolate and oak were balance out nicely by the black pepper spice. The retro cooled a bit and this really let the profile shine. The strength was creeping up to the medium-full range, but it never got our of control.
End: Its BAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaack! The black pepper spice started gaining some momentum after the midpoint and was in its full glory by the time we hit the final third. The balance was again thrown out of whack, but I found myself enjoying it. I anticipated big spice in the end and I wasn't disappointed.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the Enclave in spite of myself. This cigar is a long way from my wheelhouse, but I really enjoyed it. The transitions and complexity commanded my attention and I got a kick out of the up-and-down balance. Simply put, the Enclave is a damn good cigar. Throw in the fact that it's priced to fit just about any budget and you have another winner from AJ.
Rob's Rating: 90 AKA "Box Split"
Great cigar at a great price. That pretty much says it all.
Surgeon's Rating: 90 AKA "Box Split"
The nose on the AJ Fernandez Enclave is faint spices and hay. I'm not able to get much else here.
I used a v-cut and found the draw to be absolutely perfect. This is a good sign.
My first few draws and I'm able to get light cedar, spices, with a more light+ strength of spice on the retrohale. The spice continues to pick up strength reaching almost medium plus level with a pepper chaser thrown into the mix. It becomes quite the spice and pepper bomb once it is settled in. Tons of smoking production off of this cigar.
About 20 minutes in there's a bit of evolution on the profile with sweetness cutting down the spice levels. There's a smooth vegetal note that sort of pokes its nose in and then drops out. Halfway through the first third all of the flavors reach a good balance.
As the Enclave transitions from first to middle third there's some cocoa coming through.
The middle third is sweet, with a medium strength spice and a cocoa chaser. The spice is actually milder on the retrohale and offset by a creamy mouthfeel. Over time the retrohale spice does pick up to a light plus.
As the Enclave moves towards the final third there's some leather notes. I also get a light barbeque smokiness coming through on the retrohale.
Total smoking time 2 hours 11 minutes.
The AJ Fernandez Enclave is really quite tasty. It fades for a bit in the middle third but then recovers and finishes rich and complex. The Enclave is a no brainer box split for me.
You're going to want something quite sweet to balance out the spices here. Cream soda, sweet tea, root beer, port, ice wine would all be great options.
Cigar Federation Group Rating: 90 AKA "Box Split"