Cigar Review: Man O’ War Virtue

Size: 5×50, Robusto

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut (2002)

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Strength: Mild/Medium

Price: Box of 22, $124

Grade: 8.8

The Man O’ War from Abdel “AJ” Fernandez has been well received, but those that enjoy medium bodied cigars have been left in the dark – thus, the Virtue, or Man O’ War light. The mixture for this cigar still contains both Nicaraguan and ligero, both of which AJ is well known for, but it is tamed by adding both seco and viso tobaccos. The wrapper also mellows the blend – an Ecuadorian Connecticut cultivated in 2002.

The Virtue is available in six sizes and sold in boxes of 22 – Churchill (7.5×52), Lonsdale (6×44), Robusto (5×50), Salomon (5.7×54), Toro (6×50), and Torpedo (6.5×52).

We reviewed the original Man O’ War some time back and you can view it here. Now, on to the toast.

Pre-light, 1.6:
The Man O’ War Virtue is a stout looking cigar and is fairly well constructed. The foot is spongy, but otherwise there are no soft spots and it is well rolled along seams. Of note, three of the five samples had sporadic green spotting on the wrapper, but it didn’t penetrate into the binder. The Virtue is topped by a well constructed double cap, and the band is a nice touch and, if not careful, it can draw your attention away from other potential flaws, as it is large and flashy. The aroma has sweet and crisp wood notes with a tickle of pepper in the nose. The wood notes are primarily of pencil wood, and the aroma is muted as you move toward the head – there are also some barnyard notes toward the foot. On the cold draw, there is a slight resistance to the pull and subtle flavors that most closely remind me of an apple core.

Burn, 1.9:
The burn on the Virtue is excellent – firm ash, straight burn line, consistent color, and an open draw with just the right amount of resistance. These factors all help create a nice, slow burn with ample smoke production and a cool temperature throughout.

Flavor, 2.7:
The initial burst on the Virtue is of cream and fruit, with a slight bit of pepper on the front of the tongue. The finish is very crisp up front. Moving through the first third, the cream fades and the smoke becomes drier, the fruit detected is apple and creates an interesting profile. Transitioning into the middle third, some cream reappears along the edges alongside nutty notes of hazelnut. The final third continues the profile of the middle with no real dominating profile. Overall, there is a nice marriage of various flavors throughout the smoke and they meld well, offering a smooth and gentle finish to the Virtue.

Overall, 2.6:
If you’re forced to pay MSRP for this one, it’s going to be overpriced in my opinion; however, if you can find it on a daily deal like I did, and pay around $4 a stick, it is well worth the price. The Virtue is an enjoyable smoke with a solid construction and engaging flavor profile, and it provides a step up from other Connecticut wrapped cigars out there.

(Total: 8.8)