Exploring the Rich Legacy of AJ. Fernandez in the Art of Cigar Crafting

Exploring the Rich Legacy of AJ. Fernandez in the Art of Cigar Crafting

Posted by Ana Cuenca on Nov 29, 2023

Have you ever wondered what makes a cigar truly exceptional? It’s not just the quality of the tobacco, but also the skill, passion, and artistry of the person behind the blend. In the world of premium cigars, one name stands out among the rest: H. Fernandez, also known as AJ Fernandez. With deep roots in Cuba’s legendary tobacco-growing region and a relentless dedication to his craft, H. Fernandez has risen to prominence in the cigar industry and crafted some of the most extraordinary cigars on the market.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a thrilling journey through the rich legacy of H. Fernandez, exploring his life, career, and the art of cigar crafting. From his early days in Cuba to his mastery of Nicaraguan puro cigars and his influence on popular cigar brands, we’ll discover what makes H. Fernandez a true legend in the world of cigars.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the rich legacy of AJ Fernandez, a titan in cigar crafting!
  • Experience his masterful blends featuring Nicaraguan tobaccos from four regions and collaborations with renowned brands.
  • Enjoy his commitment to innovation that is revolutionizing the industry with unique flavors and techniques!

The Journey of AJ Fernandez in the Cigar World

AJ Fernandez working in his early years

AJ Fernandez, born in 1979 in Cuba, was meant to leave a significant imprint on the cigar industry. His father, Ismael Fernandez, was a seasoned veteran in the cigar world and initiated young AJ into the craft of tobacco farming early on. His tenure at Cigar Rings, a Dominican Republic-based graphic design firm that manufactures bands for cigars, helped him rapidly develop a keen eye for detail and an intense passion for the craft.

AJ’s unwavering passion and dedication propelled him to prominence in the cigar industry as a leading figure in the New World tobacco market. Owning the largest cigar factory in Central America and producing his own eponymous cigar lines, AJ has garnered recognition and acclaim for his artistry, cementing his position as a true titan in the cigar world.

Early Life and Inspiration

From a young age, AJ Fernandez was steeped in his family’s long-standing tobacco tradition, growing up in Pinar del Río, Cuba, a region abundant in tobacco. His grandfather, Andres Fernandez, was the founder and pioneer of a top cigar brand in San Luis, Cuba. This family connection to the tobacco industry instilled in AJ a deep appreciation for the art of cigar making, fueling his passion and dedication throughout his career.

The influence of his family’s tobacco business on AJ’s childhood was significant. He spent countless hours learning to grow, harvest, and process tobacco in the fields of Pinar del Rio, developing a deep understanding and appreciation for the Cuban cigar tradition. This upbringing laid the foundation for AJ’s future success in the cigar industry and ignited a fire within him to continue his family’s legacy.

Entering the Cigar Industry

AJ Fernandez entered the cigar industry at a young age, eagerly following in the footsteps of his father, Ismael Fernandez. He initially established himself as a manufacturer of cigars for other companies, such as Rocky Patel, before launching his own brand and becoming a household name in the premium cigar world. Despite facing challenges such as establishing brand recognition and competing with established cigar manufacturers, AJ persevered and honed his design skills.

Throughout his career, AJ had the privilege of being mentored by some of the biggest names in the cigar industry, including Riccardo Ledezma, Eladio Diaz, Henke Kelner, Erik Espinosa, and Isaias Santana of D’Crossier. With the guidance of these industry giants, AJ opened his own factory in Estelí, Nicaragua in 2002 and went on to create private label cigars for other companies, work with the legendary Godfather of Cuban tobacco Alejandro Robaina, and establish the brand A.J. Fernandez Cigars.

The Art of Crafting Nicaraguan Puro Cigars

Nicaraguan tobacco leaves

Nicaraguan puro cigars exemplify the rich and varied flavors that Nicaraguan tobaccos can offer. These cigars are blended using Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler and binder, along with a rich and flavorful wrapper. AJ Fernandez has masterfully honed his skills in crafting these exquisite cigars, combining his Cuban roots with an in-depth understanding of Nicaraguan tobacco to create the perfect blend of flavors and aromas.

The influence of AJ Fernandez’s Nicaraguan puro cigars on the cigar industry has been incredibly significant. Showcasing the richness and complexity of Nicaraguan tobaccos, AJ has helped establish Nicaragua as a prominent region for premium cigars. His dedication to quality and craftsmanship has earned him the respect and admiration of cigar makers and enthusiasts alike.

Nicaraguan Tobacco: Richness and Complexity

One of the key factors that sets Nicaraguan tobacco apart is its incredible richness and complexity. Each of the four main tobacco-growing regions in Nicaragua - Estelí, Condega, Jalapa, and Ometepe - boasts distinct soil and growing conditions that contribute unique qualities to the tobacco grown there. The fertile volcanic soil in Nicaragua is rich in minerals, giving the tobacco its signature notes of strength and spice.

AJ Fernandez’s affection for Nicaraguan tobaccos is clear in his cigar blends. He meticulously selects the highest-quality leaves from the various regions of Nicaragua, adding tremendous richness and complexity to his cigars. This deep appreciation for Nicaraguan tobacco, combined with his Cuban heritage, has allowed AJ to create truly exceptional cigars that are enjoyed by aficionados around the world.

Mastering the Craft

Leveraging three generations of family knowledge and expertise, AJ Fernandez has become an expert in crafting Nicaraguan puro cigars. His unique skills set him apart from other cigar makers, as he has:

  • Learned to grow and harvest fine tobacco from his time in Cuba
  • Developed innovative fermenting techniques
  • Created exceptional blends for various well-known cigar brands

AJ’s commitment to innovation, quality, and tradition has allowed him to overcome challenges and craft cigars that are highly regarded by both industry experts and cigar enthusiasts. His mastery of the craft, combined with his passion for creating exceptional cigars, has influenced the cigar industry and popular brands alike, setting a new standard for premium cigars.

Collaboration Highlights: A.J. Fernandez's Most Renowned Partnerships

Collaboration between AJ Fernandez and Jochy Blanco

Many significant accomplishments in the cigar industry are rooted in collaboration, and AJ Fernandez’s work is a prime example. Over the years, he has partnered with some of the most renowned cigar brands in the world, creating exceptional blends that showcase his unique skills and expertise. Some of his notable collaborations include:

  • Diesel Whiskey Row with Rabbit Hole Bourbon
  • H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez
  • Montecristo Crafted by AJ Fernandez
  • Romeo San Andrés by Romeo y Julieta

These collaborations have not only expanded his influence in the industry but also resulted in truly remarkable cigars that have been celebrated by cigar enthusiasts worldwide.

Some of AJ Fernandez’s most notable collaborations include:

  • San Lotano Dominicano
  • Romeo y Julieta House of Montague
  • New World by AJ Fernandez
  • Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua (with Rafael Nodal)

Each of these partnerships has allowed AJ to explore new flavors, blends, and techniques, further cementing his reputation as a master of his craft.

San Lotano Dominicano

The San Lotano Dominicano is a prime example of a fruitful collaboration between AJ Fernandez and fellow cigar maker Jochy Blanco. This partnership resulted in the creation of a truly unique cigar that showcases the talents of both cigar artisans. The San Lotano Dominicano features a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos, with a rare Cuban seed ligero wrapper grown in Brazil by the Fuego family, adding a complex and full-bodied flavor profile to the cigar.

Highly praised by the cigar industry and connoisseurs alike, the San Lotano Dominicano offers a stunning array of flavors, including:

  • Notes of cocoa
  • Citrus
  • Damp earth
  • Red pepper
  • A delightful mix of spicy, sweet, and slightly bitter notes

The collaboration between AJ Fernandez and Jochy Blanco has produced a cigar that stands out for its one-of-a-kind character and exceptional quality.

Romeo y Julieta House of Montague

Another standout collaboration is the Romeo y Julieta House of Montague, a partnership between AJ Fernandez and the iconic Romeo y Julieta cigar brand. This collaboration allowed AJ to showcase his blending skills, using Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper to create a cigar that offers a rich and smooth flavor profile.

The House of Montague cigar has been well-received by both the industry and cigar enthusiasts, who appreciate the blend’s balance of heavy flavors, such as chocolate and wood, with more subtle notes of spice and cedar. This collaboration has further solidified AJ Fernandez’s reputation as a master blender and innovative force in the cigar world.

H. Fernandez's Influence on Popular Brands

AJ Fernandez’s impact on popular cigar brands extends beyond his collaborations. His expertise and craftsmanship have revitalized classic Cuban cigar lines, introducing new blends and wrappers that have captured the attention of cigar enthusiasts worldwide. Some of the popular brands that have benefited from AJ Fernandez’s influence include:

  • San Lotano
  • New World
  • Last Call
  • Diesel
  • Ramon Allones
  • Enclave

Collaborating with these brands has allowed AJ Fernandez to:

  • Broaden his impact in the cigar industry
  • Challenge traditional cigar making norms
  • Raise the bar for other brands, inspiring them to explore new possibilities in their own creations

His commitment to quality and innovation, like that of Matt Booth, has made a significant impact in the industry, particularly in the movement disorders society.

New World by AJ Fernandez

The New World by AJ Fernandez is a prime example of his ability to create exceptional cigars that stand out in the market. This highly-rated cigar blend features a filler mix of Ometepe, Jalapa, and Estelí leaves, a Jalapa binder, and a Nicaraguan Oscuro wrapper, resulting in a unique and complex flavor profile.

The creation of the New World by AJ Fernandez showcases his commitment to quality and craftsmanship, as well as his passion for blending the finest tobaccos from different regions of Nicaragua. This cigar has become a favorite among aficionados for its delicious notes of:

  • chocolate
  • creamy sweetness
  • spice
  • black cherry
  • sweet cedar
  • floral notes
  • leather

Rafael Nodal and Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua

AJ Fernandez’s collaboration with Rafael Nodal on the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua is another testament to his skill and expertise in cigar crafting. This highly acclaimed cigar features a blend of premium Nicaraguan tobaccos, including the binder, filler, and wrapper, offering a medium-to-full-bodied smoking experience.

The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua has been praised for its impeccable construction, beautiful triple cap, and slightly toothy appearance. The blend is celebrated for its heavy flavors of chocolate and wood, balanced spices, and good draw, making it a highly sought-after cigar among enthusiasts and industry experts alike.

The H. Fernandez Humidor: A Selection of His Finest Creations

H Upmann Nicaragua Heritage cigar

As a master blender and cigar maker, AJ Fernandez has created some of the finest cigars in the world. His humidor is filled with exceptional blends that showcase his skill and expertise in cigar crafting. Among his finest creations are the H Upmann Nicaragua Heritage and the Montecristo Nicaragua, both of which have been highly acclaimed for their quality, flavor, and construction.

These cigars represent the pinnacle of AJ Fernandez’s craft, as well as his commitment to creating exceptional smokes that are enjoyed by cigar enthusiasts who appreciate the finest blends and flavors. Each of these cigars is a testament to AJ Fernandez’s dedication to quality, innovation, and tradition in the world of premium cigars.

H Upmann Nicaragua Heritage

The H Upmann Nicaragua Heritage is a remarkable collaboration between AJ Fernandez and Altadis USA, combining the expertise of both cigar visionaries Rafael Nodal and AJ Fernandez. This cigar features a unique blend with a zesty Brazilian mata fina wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan filler, offering a rich and complex smoking experience.

The H Upmann Nicaragua Heritage is highly regarded for its captivating flavor profile, which includes notes of:

  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • oak
  • sweetness
  • spice

The use of a Brazilian mata fina wrapper adds a distinct character to the blend, making this cigar a true masterpiece and a testament to AJ Fernandez’s skill in crafting exceptional cigars.

Montecristo Nicaragua

The Montecristo Nicaragua is another prime example of AJ Fernandez’s expertise in cigar crafting. This highly-rated cigar features a complex blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos, offering a rich and full-bodied smoking experience that has been celebrated by cigar enthusiasts and industry critics alike.

The Montecristo Nicaragua boasts a taste profile that includes:

  • Notes of chocolate
  • Wood
  • Spice
  • Cedar

With a smooth and balanced finish, this cigar is a testament to AJ Fernandez’s ability to create unique and exceptional blends that captivate the palates of cigar aficionados around the world, offering a remarkable smoke experience.

The Future of AJ. Fernandez's Cigar Legacy

As AJ Fernandez persists in crafting outstanding cigars and broadening his impact in the cigar industry, it’s evident his legacy is far from finished. His commitment to quality, innovation, and tradition has established him as a true master of his craft, and his collaborations with other brands have expanded his reach and impact on the cigar world.

In the future, we can expect to see AJ Fernandez:

  • Continuing to collaborate with some of the most renowned cigar brands in the world
  • Innovating in cigar crafting
  • Exploring new possibilities in the field

With his unparalleled passion, dedication, and expertise, AJ Fernandez’s influence on the cigar industry will no doubt continue to grow and thrive.

Continued Collaborations and New Partnerships

AJ Fernandez’s ongoing and prospective collaborations with other cigar brands demonstrate his enduring commitment to the craft and his eagerness to impart his expertise to others in the industry. Some recent collaborations include:

  • Nicaraguan New World Dorado line
  • H. Upmann
  • Montague (in collaboration with Romeo)
  • Gispert (spin-off collaboration)

Potential future partners in the cigar industry could include other manufacturers or brands who are interested in collaborating with AJ Fernandez to create unique and high-quality cigars. As the industry continues to evolve and expand, we can expect to see AJ Fernandez at the forefront of these exciting new partnerships and collaborations.

Innovations in Cigar Crafting

Throughout his career, AJ Fernandez has been known for his incredible innovations in cigar crafting. Some of his notable achievements include:

  • Incorporating modern techniques and processes into traditional cigar making
  • Creating complex and unique flavor profiles
  • Pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of cigars

While specific ongoing projects for improving cigar crafting by AJ Fernandez are not mentioned in the knowledge base, his collaborations with other brands and the introduction of new blends and wrappers indicate a continuous commitment to innovation in the cigar industry.

As AJ Fernandez continues to explore new techniques and advancements in cigar crafting, we can expect to see even more remarkable cigars and blends in the future.


From his humble beginnings in Cuba to his rise as a master blender and cigar maker, AJ Fernandez has left an indelible mark on the cigar industry. His passion, dedication, and innovation have created some of the most exceptional and highly-acclaimed cigars on the market, and his collaborations with other renowned brands have expanded his influence and impact in the world of premium cigars.

As we look to the future, we can expect AJ Fernandez to continue pushing the boundaries of cigar crafting, exploring new techniques and partnerships, and creating even more extraordinary cigars for enthusiasts to enjoy. AJ Fernandez’s legacy is a testament to the power of passion, tradition, and innovation, and his impact on the cigar industry will no doubt continue to be felt for generations to come.

What is a Nicaraguan puro cigar?

Experience the unique flavor of a Nicaraguan puro cigar, made with only the finest Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler and binder, plus a delicious wrapper!

How did AJ Fernandez enter the cigar industry?

From an early age, AJ Fernandez ventured into the world of cigars, following in the footsteps of his industry-savvy father and their esteemed family, the Plasencia. Today, he stands as a prominent figure in the realm, carving out his own distinguished reputation.

What are some of AJ Fernandez's most renowned partnerships?

AJ Fernandez has had incredibly successful partnerships, collaborating with some of the best cigar brands such as San Lotano Dominicano, Romeo y Julieta House of Montague, and New World by AJ Fernandez.

What makes Nicaraguan tobacco so special?

Nicaraguan tobacco stands out for its unique flavor and aroma, all thanks to the distinct soil of its four main regions - Estelí, Condega, Jalapa, and Ometepe - with their fertile volcanic soil, providing the perfect mix of minerals for a bold and spicy experience.