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Staff Reviews

AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Maduro Toro Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

We’ve reviewed more than a few AJ Fernandez cigars, and that’s because they’re super popular these days. I’m offering my humble appraisal of another blend from our official list of the best AJ Fernandez cigars you can smoke right now: Bellas Artes Maduro in a classic 6 by 54 Toro. In my earlier staff review of the original AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes, I rated the Robusto 91 points, so let’s see how the Maduro stands up to my discriminating palate.


AJ’s Bellas Artes line is named for the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, a historic art museum in Havana, Cuba. A visit to the museum inspired AJ to blend a cigar in its honor. Fittingly, there’s no question Bellas Artes Maduro is an attractive smoke – it’s finished in a hearty Brazilian Maduro wrapper with the seamless sheen of a fine chocolate bar. The band is loaded with ornate crests, flying cupids, and a pair of colorful figures in the center. Inside the cigar is a complex blend of long-fillers from Nicaragua and Mexico’s San Andrés region, best known for growing premium wrapper crops.

Bellas Artes Maduro is also an ideal cigar to smoke in cold weather because it’s well made and the wrapper is particularly resilient, so I’m doubling down on my duties by smoking while I salt my long suburban driveway since snow is in the forecast. I rarely have to shovel or fire up the snow blower, though, because my block is full of fellas who are more than eager to clear my sidewalk in exchange for a few good cigars. The second they catch me smoking out front, a line of good Samaritans with their shovels in hand magically forms at my front door.  

Bellas Artes Maduro layers the taste buds with lots of luscious flavor as soon as I snip the cap and start pulling air through it. Notes of roasted espresso and wood mingle with hints of cherry. After I blast the foot with one of my favorite utility lighters, a Jetline Hurricane II Triple Torch, the chunky Toro I’m indulging in dispatches wafts of rich and creamy smoke into the air like clouds from a chimney. I can taste an enticing medley of almond, dark chocolate, and vanilla notes.

A zesty backbone accompanies the dark and malty texture of Bellas Artes Maduro as well. AJ Fernandez blends a number of spicy cigars, but Bellas Artes Maduro is balanced with a succulent sweetness throughout the first half. A few brisk gusts of wind fail to interfere with the burn, confirming my Toro meets AJ’s high standards for construction. Hints of anise and pink peppercorn weave in and out while consistent flavors of cocoa and wood characterize the cigar’s overall profile.

As I prepare to strip off the band to smoke the final third, a bittersweet note emerges, common in cigars rolled with Brazilian wrappers. I detect black pepper and baking spices prominently as I gingerly puff away. I would readily pair this blend with a frothy pint of Guinness or even a steaming cup of Dick Taylor’s gourmet organic hot chocolate, sourced from Mayan cacao beans in Belize. I’m confident both would complement the cigar’s creamy taste perfectly.   

The final minutes of Bellas Artes Maduro are peppery and sweet. Hints of molasses and hickory characterize a marvelous finish that bathes the palate with a savory, woody zest. If that sounds tempting, score a box of Bellas Artes Maduro today, or consider adding one of our bestselling AJ Fernandez assortments to your humidor: the ‘El Cubano’ Sampler or ‘The Franchise’ Monster Deal. Inside each, you’ll find Bellas Artes Maduro alongside AJ’s highest-rated cigars for a generous discount from your pals at Holt’s!


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