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Staff Reviews

New World Puro Especial Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

In 2017, the critics in Cigar Aficionado ranked New World Puro Especial by AJ Fernandez in their annual ‘Top 25 Cigars of the Year,’ and I’m smoking a 6.5-by-52 Toro for today’s review. AJ Fernandez has been among the fastest-growing cigar-makers in Nicaragua over the past decade, and his New World series has evolved into a major cornerstone in his portfolio.

New World Puro Especial cigars originally came in shiny red boxes with matching bands, but AJ introduced new packaging with an aged motif in 2021 to reflect continuity with the other New World blends. The boxes and bands on New World cigars depict the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Bahamas where he discovered natives smoking tobacco, which he, in turn, took with him back to Spain, which led to the spread of tobacco smoking across Europe. 

New World Puro Especial is blended entirely from premium Nicaraguan tobaccos, and the term “Puro” refers to cigars crafted from tobacco that is grown in a single country. In the case of New World Especial, not only is all the tobacco grown on AJ’s farms in Nicaragua, but the blend is grown entirely in Estelí, which is just one of Nicaragua’s premier tobacco-growing regions. A Cuban-seed wrapper leaf conceals a Cuban-seed binder and additional long-filler tobaccos, all of which hail from a trio of different farms in Estelí.

AJ Fernandez cigars fill a big niche in the cigar industry: hearty and affordable Nicaraguan blends you can find in premium cigar stores everywhere today. New World Puro Especial is a dark and succulent smoke, and when I cut the cap on a Toro and take a few cold draws, vibrant notes of cocoa, earth, and pepper create an appealing first impression. It’s clear the cigar is well made when I gently pinch it from the foot to the cap, and the draw reflects superior construction with the right amount of resistance.

The Toro fires up evenly as I rotate it over my soft-flame lighter a few times. The smoke is peppery and woody when it hits my nasal cavity. On the palate, the spice settles while an undercurrent of nuts and dark cocoa powder comes into focus. After a few minutes, New World Puro Especial shifts from zesty to creamy. It’s got the kick you would expect from a cigar exclusively made with Nicaraguan tobaccos inside and out, but it’s also refined because the tobaccos are aged for three to five years for greater smoothness.

Nutty notes of leather and coffee bean develop after twenty minutes. Although New World Puro Especial is a straightforward smoke, it’s nice to taste new dimensions of flavor as the cigar progresses. Hints of anise and molasses mingle over the cigar’s woody and malty foundation. The spice amplifies in the second half of the Toro but not enough to overwhelm the cigar’s smooth and creamy texture.

I’ve tapped the ash off about four times now that I’m savoring the last third of the cigar. The Toro is an ideal size to explore New World Puro Especial. I like that the cigar’s ring gauge is 52, as opposed to an inflated 54 or 56 ring. It’s a comfortable size for the mouth, and the ratio between the binder, filler, and wrapper tobaccos doesn’t erode the influence of the wrapper leaf on the cigar’s taste. After fifty-five minutes, the band is off and I’m happily pinching the nub to glean the cigar’s lavish and chewy finish.  

New World Puro Especial is a blend you can pair with bourbon, rum, or coffee because it possesses an excellent balance of nutty and darker, sweeter flavors. For around ten dollars apiece, you don’t have to save it for a special occasion either. When it comes to taste, quality, and price, New World Puro Especial is another versatile smoke from AJ Fernandez. Add a few singles to your next order and decide if it makes your list of the top AJ Fernandez cigars. If it does, buy a box at a big discount during one of our weekly deals on New World cigars from AJ.


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