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Staff Reviews

San Lotano Dominicano Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

I’m smoking San Lotano Dominicano in a 6.5 by 52 Torpedo, a cigar blended by AJ Fernandez and Jochy Blanco, for today’s review. The AJ Fernandez portfolio is stacked with top-selling Nicaraguan cigars, but San Lotano Dominicano is your chance to taste a Dominican-made blend from AJ in his collaboration with another legendary cigar-maker.

With plenty of summertime afternoons to smoke outside on my porch in the forecast, AJ Fernandez is a cigar-maker worth exploring. His cigars are consistent and affordable. They’re not over-the-top special occasion smokes, but they’re far better than your average utility yard ‘gars. San Lotano was one of AJ’s first commercial brands to hit store shelves. He primarily made cigars under contract for other big brands like Rocky Patel. The unusual shapes of the original San Lotano Oval cigars – oval-pressed sizes – caught the attention of cigar smokers. AJ went on to expand the line, though the other blends, like San Lotano Dominicano, are rolled in soft box-pressed formats. 

San Lotano Dominicano is handmade from an oily, reddish-brown Cuban-seed wrapper grown in Brazil and a hearty blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The Torpedo is attractive but shows several thin veins from head to foot. A pair of colorful blue-and-gold cigar bands depict a farmer hauling tobacco with a cart and horse in an old-world Cuban scene with “AJ & JOCHY” printed underneath. It’s a toothy cigar, perfectly packed with no noticeable hard or soft spots.

Out of the cellophane, San Lotano Dominicano gives off a strong aroma of barnyard with hints of sweetness. The foot is sweet and spicy and reminds me of Root Beer somewhat. After I clip the cap and take a few cold draws, notes of dark chocolate and sea salt mingle with hints of chili pepper and leather. My initial impression is thumbs-up.

A nice toasty blast from my Lotus Brawn table-top torch ignites the Torpedo within a few easy puffs. The pointed head concentrates the taste just right when San Lotano Dominicano gets cooking. A wild array of earthy and spicy flavor flows over my palate while a distinct aroma of crushed red pepper stings the nostrils with a good amount of intensity. Notes of charred meat and salt add complexity as the cigar heats up. Lacking is any sweetness throughout the early stages.

After roughly twenty-five minutes of smoking, I wish the cigar was sweeter, for more balance. Luckily hints of cocoa come into play in the second half, although there is also a floral and vegetal component in the retrohale. The Torpedo burns effortlessly. Despite the cigar’s tapering head, I’m surprised by how open and smooth the draw is. And the cigar’s bright white ash is on the flaky side.

About forty-five minutes have passed as I prepare to slide the band off. The cigar has burned flawlessly since I started smoking it, although I feel its flavor may be improved if the tobaccos were packed a little tighter. I anticipate more of the spicy, mesquite-like kick from AJ Fernandez. However, considering San Lotano Dominicano is a collaboration with Jochy Blanco, with tobaccos coming from the farms of both cigar-makers, it’s bound to be different. The medium-bodied finish is smoky, hot, and a touch bitter. 

The critics in Cigar Aficionado gave San Lotano Dominicano a solid review when it came out. I’ll revisit this cigar down the road. Smoke San Lotano Dominicano and see how it stacks up against other top-rated AJ smokes in our AJ Fernandez ‘El Cubano’ Sampler.

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