Cigar Review: Hoyo Amistad by AJ Fernandez
General Cigar Company
Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
Size: 6” x 50
Overall Rating: 8.9
General Cigar Company had a lot of big new announcements and anticipated cigars on display at the IPCPR in Las Vegas this year, in what should be a good year for them. Perhaps the biggest and most anticipated of any cigar featured at their booth this year was the Hoyo Amistad collaboration with AJ Fernandez. In fact the cigar was such a big deal that it was on display at the AJ Fernandez booth, as well as at the General one. The Hoyo Amistad is the kind of full bodied peppery Nicaraguan cigar that has caught on with many avid cigar enthusiasts. More than any cigar General has released in recent years, the Hoyo Amistad is likely to find an audience with the “cigar nerds” and general public.
Pre-Light: There’s a definite similarity to the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey band in shape and color, but the Hoyo Amistad features a very modern look to it. What is interesting is the secondary band which features not only the name AJ Fernandez, but also the AJF logo that appears on AJ’s own cigars. The dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has a appetizing earthy look to it, which really allows the red, white and gold band to stand out.
Barnyard and earth scents are easily detectible from the Habano wrapper. From the unlit foot of the Hoyo Amistad there are cocoa and leather aromas. An easy cold draw lets through earth, pepper, cocoa and dried fruit notes.
Burn: The draw on the Hoyo La Amistad by AJ Fernandez is near perfect, and allows through a good deal of flavorful smoke. This is a surprisingly even burning cigar. A grey ash has a tendancy to fall of unexpectedly from the cigar, so be sure to watch your shirt when smoking this cigar.
Flavor: The Hoyo La Amistad begins with some pepper and earth flavors right from the start. As the Hoyo La Amistad gets going there is a steady pepper that is backed up by notes of earth, cocoa, espresso and a slight saltiness. On the retrohale there is a pleasant blend of cocoa and pepper. Black pepper tends to be the dominant note as the cigar burns into the second third. Earth, spice, cocoa and coffee combine with pepper throughout the second third of the cigar. There’s a slight dried fruit note that occurs during the transition to the last third of the Hoyo La Amistad. Pepper really picks up during the final third of the cigar, though doesn’t quite become overpowering. There a slight anise note that briefly occurs before fading into cocoa, dark espresso, earth and subtle dried fruit.
Overall: AJ Fernandez has been one of the rising stars in the cigar industry, and his Tabacalera Fernandez factory is quickly becoming a place to go to for full bodied Nicaraguan cigars. Over the past several years, General Cigar has not been known for the full bodied peppery Nicaraguan cigars that have been gaining in popularity, so it makes sense that they’d decided to collaborate with Fernandez on several cigars. Of the collaborations, it was the Hoyo La Amistad that got the most press at the 2016 IPCPR, and deservedly so. Although, the Hoyo by AJ Fernandez is not extremely complex, the existing flavors are pleasant and different from what one would expect from a Hoyo cigar. For the price, which we don’t take into account in our Overall Rating, the Hoyo La Amistad makes for a good everyday cigar. I personally liked the new Hoyo, and have found myself picking it up from time to time.
Pairing: The Hoyo Amistad pairs very well with certain Highland/Island single malts such as the Jura 10 Original, Oban 14 or Bunnahabhain 12. The rum drinker will also find that the Hoyo Amistad by Aj Fernandez pairs nicely with a good sipping rum.
On a side note: This has abosolutely nothing to do with this cigar, but I gotten get it off my chest, because I think that I might be loosing my mind. Maybe hanging around Old White Steve and Headshrinker Gary is rubbing off on me to the point that where I’m forgetting thing, but I could’ve sworn that I had published this review months ago. Seriously, I even referenced this review in the review of the Foundry Time Flies. Apparently I did not. Here it is now, but it makes me wonder how many other cigars I think I reviewed that I did. Very odd.
Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)
Some cigars for this review were provided by General Cigar Company during the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas. Though the generosity is appreciated, it does not alter the Overall Rating of this cigar. At Toasted Foot LLC we remain committed to providing impartial cigar and product reviews.