You never hear A.J. Fernandez’s name mentioned in the cigar world. But you will. Fernandez is the founder, co-owner, and master blender at Tabacalera Fernandez, a small cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. You may not have heard of

A.J. Fernandez, but you have surely smoked his stunning work if you have ever tasted a Rocky Patel Fusion, Rocky Patel Signature Series, Park Avenue by Gurkha or Sol Cubano Artisan. (The Signature Series, in my personal opinion, is nothing short of perfection). A.J. Fernandez is the proverbial “Wizard of Oz”. He blends some of the best cigars in production today, yet he receives little mention in the cigar community and few realize he is the blender behind some of these masterpieces. Just as A.J. Fernandez is unknown to many, so is the nature of the cigar itself. From the development of the perfect seed to the dedication required to properly ferment the tobacco, cigar blending is not an easy task and there are so many people today that have little real knowledge about the life of a cigar.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust:The Life of a Cigar

Thanks to the endless generosity of the owners of Tabacalera Fernandez,

A.J. Fernandez and Kris Kachaturian, I’ve been given a personal tour of their fields and facilities in Esteli, Nicaragua – I’ve been able to delve firsthand into the subtle mastery required to create a truly extraordinary cigar. So, if you’re clueless as to how a cigar comes into being, this article will help you understand just how long it took to perfect those cigars in your humidor. But even if you know the process, you’re bound to learn something new – so light up, sit back and enjoy the article, and when you’re done, hopefully you will have a better understanding of just how much dedication is required to perfect that Churchill you have burning beside you.

Learn more about "The Life of a Cigar" and how tobacco is grown from Cigar Seeds