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AJ Fernandez Enclave Broadleaf Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

A while back I reviewed the original Enclave blend from AJ Fernandez, and today I’m smoking the dark and toothy Maduro version called Enclave Broadleaf in a 6.5-by-54 Toro. What I like most about AJ’s cigars are their consistency and their price. His production has exploded over the past decade, blending cigars for his own portfolio as well as making several lines under contract for the likes of Foundation, Southern Draw, and Cuban-legacy brands, including Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo. There is no end in sight to AJ’s growth as he continues to buy more farmland and expand his factories in Nicaragua to keep up with the demand.

The Enclave line is a cornerstone in AJ’s vast portfolio. The original blend is finished in a Cuban-seed wrapper, while Enclave Broadleaf boasts a dark-brown Connecticut Broadleaf. The dark-red boxes the blend comes in house 20 cigars apiece, and AJ produces them in a handful of traditional sizes. Enclave Broadleaf was the first cigar AJ blended in his eponymous portfolio to be finished in a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Underneath it is a formidable recipe of premium Nicaraguan long-fillers AJ grows and ages himself. In 2019, the critics in Cigar Aficionado ranked Enclave Broadleaf in their annual ‘Top 25 Cigars of the Year.’ Let’s find out if it lives up to the hype.

First, a box of AJ Fernandez Enclave Broadleaf Robustos costs in the vicinity of $160, but you can get them for around $135 when they’re on sale. That’s a pretty reasonable value for a box of high-quality premiums by today’s standards. When I pluck a Robusto from a fresh box, I prefer to take one from the center row in the middle – to taste a cigar that’s fully absorbing the oils and aroma of all the other cigars surrounding it.

Right away, Enclave Broadleaf is appealing. Its deep complexion is the same shade as a bar of dark chocolate, and it glistens under the light when I spin it around. The gold and red cigar bands on the cigar depict a Native American on horseback, and the sweet and earthy aroma of Enclave Broadleaf draws me in as I take a deep sniff of the foot and inspect the cigar closely. It’s perfectly firm from head to foot.

Once I clip the cap, the cold draw introduces tasting notes of anise, cocoa, and black pepper. Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers reveal a distinctively sweet taste, almost bitter sweet, which is why the makers of many of the best Maduro cigars prefer Connecticut-grown wrappers. Hints of earth and salt mingle when I toast the foot of Enclave Broadleaf, but a creamy wave of malted chocolate and black licorice soon engulfs my palate. The flavor lingers in every puff as I gently expel the smoke into the room.

The Robusto produces bountiful clouds of dense, white smoke courtesy of its effortless and consistent draw. Sweet and smoky notes of dark chocolate and raisin meander over my palate in conjunction with a persistent but agreeable spice. This is a solid smoke to pair with a vintage rum or bourbon.

The ash forms with an orderly shape, and I can knock it off at my leisure thanks to the cigar’s stable construction. Over the course of forty minutes, Enclave Broadleaf reveals a nice sequence of coffee bean, dark cocoa powder, and baking spices. It’s got some backbone without being overly peppery. A dense, chewy finish develops throughout the nub, which brings the full duration of this tasty Robusto to just under an hour.

Like many cigars in AJ’s portfolio, Enclave Broadleaf is a step above your basic everyman cigar, but it’s not so expensive or precious you should save it for a special occasion. That makes the cigar accessible and an easy decision when you want to buy a full box. It’s also complex for the price. Put it on your radar, or add ‘The Franchise’ Monster Deal from AJ Fernandez to your next order, and get acquainted with Enclave Broadleaf along with the full range of AJ’s finest today.


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