Ave Maria Reconquista ~ An Amateur's Point Of View (Bumped for today's March Madness Deal)

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WTF is that? That, my friend is an Ave Maria (Hail Mary) in Cyrillic.What does that have to do with a cigar review? Nothing, but Cyrillic looks cool and I never knew that Ave Maria was Latin for Hail Mary. Anyway… AJ Fernandez is constantly coming up with a ton of new blends and each one seems to be better than the one before it. When is the madness going to end?

One of the more recent creations is the Ave Maria Reconquista.

First off, there’s the packaging and presentation. I purchased a box of three and each cigar comes in its own individual coffin. The coffins are placed into a bed of scrap tobacco in a beautiful box. The presentation is elegant and first-class.

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The cigar itself is a huge 7 x 54 torpedo and is wrapped in a flawless Brazilian Habano Oscuro leaf. Supposedly, this wrapper is really rare and apparently it’s the first time it’s being used.
The binder is Honduran and the fillers are Nicaraguan from the "big three” (Jalapa, Condega, and Esteli).
The wrapper is dark with minimal veins and glistens with oils. Smelling the wrapper and the foot of the cigar only hints at its complexity with damp earth, leather, and sweet spices.

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After a careful torching, the cigar lets you know that you’re in for a treat.
The flavors are rich and complex right from the start with oak, well-oiled leather, coffee notes, and black pepper up front.
The smoke is thick and creamy, almost to the point of being chewy.
The draw is flawless and the burn is as straight as can be.
The first third is definitely full bodied.

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The strength seems to taper off a bit during the second third, but the flavors and complexity still boggles my mind.
The initial flavors are still there and caramel-like notes add to the taste.
During the final third, the flavors seem to intensify and it’s hard to focus on anything else. At this point, black cherry and vanilla make their appearance.
Normally, I’ll sit out on my recliner and read a book while smoking. I found myself putting the book down this evening and focusing solely on the cigar.
The strength kicks back up to the lower end of full and by the time the cigar is nubbed I felt like I was physically and emotionally drained.
Strong, yet eminently refined.

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How good is this cigar? After some serious reflection, I honestly have to say that this is one of the more refined cigars I’ve smoked. Easily a Top 10 smoke, and if you look through my Photobucket, you'll know that for me to call it a Top Ten-er is saying something.

The Ave Maria Reconquista is the complete package and AJ Fernandez has reset the standards for what a super- premium cigar should be.
I believe they maxed the production of these out at 16,000 boxes.
For those that thought this is “just an Ave Maria with a different wrapper” – wrong.
I’ve heard an analogy from another reviewer that seemed to fit: It’s like the Ford Mustang. You have your basic V-6, the GT, The Boss, and the Shelby. Not to mention the others like Roush, etc…Same basic starting package, but different looks and definitely different under the hood. Think of the Ave Maria as the V-6 and the Reconquista as the Shelby.
So what exactly is a Reconquista?
I had no idea, so after Googling it, I found out that it was a period from about 722 AD to the late 1400s when several Christian kingdoms retook the Iberian Peninsula, the Pyrenees, and part of today's southern France from the Muslims.
The box of three retails for $45 but since price versus value is subjective, I truly believe that for the experience that I just went through, the Reconquista is a bargain at $15 each. Obviously not an everyday smoke, but for a special occasion, you'd be hard-pressed to find something better.

Comments

  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    Hey Steve... Nicely done. I don't have any of these in my humidor so I will have to enjoy it through your review.
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    Thanks. It's a shame that the 3-packs aren't available right now, and it's hard to pony up almost $200 for a box of 12...but this is one smoke that's worth it.
  • szeligaszeliga Posts: 32
    Awesome review, I definitely want to try this now.
  • jj20030jj20030 galveston islandPosts: 5,772 ✭✭✭✭✭
    smoking one now and it is a great smoke, im almost halfway thru it
  • If this stick is better than the Ave Maria, then it will be one good stick because the original was great. $20 price tag puts it on my wish list of cigars that I may never get the opportunity to try.
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    Ion_Warp_Drive:
    If this stick is better than the Ave Maria, then it will be one good stick because the original was great. $20 price tag puts it on my wish list of cigars that I may never get the opportunity to try.
    ////// Nothing else has come close. It's expensive, but 3 for $45 is still less expensive than any of the Opus Xs, and it's definitely cheaper than Cubans (which run the equivalent of $25-$30 each over here).
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    Bumped for those on the fence about today's March Madness deal.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    Steve2010:
    Bumped for those on the fence about today's March Madness deal.
    nobody is on the fence. the deal sold out by the time i woke up at 6am.


    rightfully so.
  • skweekzskweekz PAPosts: 2,279 ✭✭✭
    Great review. I'm curious though...does anyone know about when these hit their "prime"? As in, what's the optimal time to let them rest before smoking? I have 4 currently with more coming from the MM deal today. I'm looking forward to having one of these..
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    skweekz:
    Great review. I'm curious though...does anyone know about when these hit their "prime"? As in, what's the optimal time to let them rest before smoking? I have 4 currently with more coming from the MM deal today. I'm looking forward to having one of these..

    I smoked the first one with a week's rest and the one I reviewed had a month. I smoked one the other day that had 5 months on it and didn't notice any perceptible change. So to answer your question, I would say: fire it up.
  • skweekzskweekz PAPosts: 2,279 ✭✭✭
    Steve2010:
    skweekz:
    Great review. I'm curious though...does anyone know about when these hit their "prime"? As in, what's the optimal time to let them rest before smoking? I have 4 currently with more coming from the MM deal today. I'm looking forward to having one of these..

    I smoked the first one with a week's rest and the one I reviewed had a month. I smoked one the other day that had 5 months on it and didn't notice any perceptible change. So to answer your question, I would say: fire it up.
    Sounds like a plan to me! Thanks for the input brother!
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    kuzi16:
    Steve2010:
    Bumped for those on the fence about today's March Madness deal.
    nobody is on the fence. the deal sold out by the time i woke up at 6am.


    rightfully so.

    Indeed.
  • ToombesToombes Posts: 4,489 ✭✭✭
    Dammit, Steve! Now I'm gonna have smoke mine when I get home...
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    Toombes:
    Dammit, Steve! Now I'm gonna have smoke mine when I get home...
    Do it...they are unreal. IMO, I think they have smoothed a bit with age but they are excellent ROTT. I'll let you know in a year or so if signifcant age made a difference ;)
  • ToombesToombes Posts: 4,489 ✭✭✭
    Mine has a month or so on it, so it should be purty good!
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Damn, wishing I had bought 4 of the MM deal after reading this. This was a great review; I wasn't much of a fan of the original Ave Maria, but after reading this, I'm stoked to try the Reconquista :D
  • JDHJDH Posts: 2,107
    Steve2010:
    Thanks. It's a shame that the 3-packs aren't available right now, and it's hard to pony up almost $200 for a box of 12...but this is one smoke that's worth it.
    At that price, I can get the Padron '26 maduro #2. With all due respect, I don't believe the Reconquista is in the same class as the Padron '26 maduro. Besides, the Brazilian Habano is the same wrapper used on the San Lotano Habano (one of my top 5 favorite cigars), but at considerably less cost than the Reconquista. I think there's more marketing than value going on here. Just my opinion.
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    Great, thanks for looking. I value your input.
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    JDH:
    Steve2010:
    Thanks. It's a shame that the 3-packs aren't available right now, and it's hard to pony up almost $200 for a box of 12...but this is one smoke that's worth it.
    At that price, I can get the Padron '26 maduro #2. With all due respect, I don't believe the Reconquista is in the same class as the Padron '26 maduro. Besides, the Brazilian Habano is the same wrapper used on the San Lotano Habano (one of my top 5 favorite cigars), but at considerably less cost than the Reconquista. I think there's more marketing than value going on here. Just my opinion.
    At that price yes....at $4.50 there is no comparison... To each his own, and I have plenty of Padron in all of my humi's. Personally, I do not believe it is a $20 stick...but it is definately one of the best and most complex smokes I've ever had and I keep it in the same category for special occasions. Would I buy a box of 45's first? Yes...but you never see Padron FR or anny for the deal we had this weekend. The complexity of this smoke is unreal IMO, especially as they age.
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    Last night we did an Uzi herf, with this purchase given the price...we are doing a Reconquista herf in the near future as Vinny and I both got some, and I already had a few aging. Had I not lost my job, I would have bought 4...
  • JDHJDH Posts: 2,107
    catfishbluezz:
    JDH:
    Steve2010:
    Thanks. It's a shame that the 3-packs aren't available right now, and it's hard to pony up almost $200 for a box of 12...but this is one smoke that's worth it.
    At that price, I can get the Padron '26 maduro #2. With all due respect, I don't believe the Reconquista is in the same class as the Padron '26 maduro. Besides, the Brazilian Habano is the same wrapper used on the San Lotano Habano (one of my top 5 favorite cigars), but at considerably less cost than the Reconquista. I think there's more marketing than value going on here. Just my opinion.
    At that price yes....at $4.50 there is no comparison... To each his own, and I have plenty of Padron in all of my humi's. Personally, I do not believe it is a $20 stick...but it is definately one of the best and most complex smokes I've ever had and I keep it in the same category for special occasions. Would I buy a box of 45's first? Yes...but you never see Padron FR or anny for the deal we had this weekend. The complexity of this smoke is unreal IMO, especially as they age.
    Yea, it really was a shame the eastcoasters missed out on that deal. $4.50 for those cigars was really incredible, but what the hell, there will be another good deal just around the corner. All you gotta do is keep your eyes open and hit it while it's hot.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Steve2010:
    Thanks. It's a shame that the 3-packs aren't available right now, and it's hard to pony up almost $200 for a box of 12...but this is one smoke that's worth it.
    Just read through this and it was an excellent read and review on the stick, really like the extra info like where Reconquista term came from and the production numbers.. way cool! I had this once before myself and had nearly the same experience and very similar flavors as well, your review was right on!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • asianbiker8asianbiker8 Posts: 551
    I'm finally having my first reconquista, and it is damn good! Spicy, earthy, peppery, a bit sweet aftertaste. Worth every penny! But even better since I got them on the march madness deal and didnt have to pay their premium price.
  • AugustWestAugustWest Posts: 62
    Just smoked one last night that I had in my humidor for about 6 months. It's a good cigar, but not great. The flavor was very one-dimensional all the way through - no complexity like I would expect from a cigar in this price range. For the money I'm sticking with an Ashton VSG.
  • Just ordered some cant wait....look at the price like this...most good sticks at the shop are gonna be 10-15 bucks...so for 45 u gt 3 grrreat sticks....and u dnt have to deal with traffic..lol
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    2013's March Madness!!!
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