AJ Fernandez Viva la Vida Cigars
The 94-rated #16 cigar of 2020!
You can’t paw through a humidor without running into an A.J. Fernandez blend these days, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, there was a time when A.J. was like any other just-launched cigar brand. He was struggling to find retailers and distributors who would carry his product and had to hustle to gain a foothold in the industry. One of the early believers and supporters was the Cigar Inn in New York City, which carried A.J.’s San Lotano brand before the hype train had left the station.
The Cigar Inn, if you’ve never visited, has at least two locations. It’s the huge one on 2nd Ave (between 53rd and 54th) that used to be the home of the Cigar Aficionado lounge. After Cigar Inn was purchased by Imperial, a huge tobacco company, the lounge had to be rebranded to avoid a conflict of interest. You can still visit, though. Look for “Casa de Montecristo by Cigar Inn.” It’s an outstanding cigar spot with a number of old-school amenities.
Anyway, with the Viva La Vida cigar, A.J. is able to return the favor. He’s lent his name, skills, and tobacco to the Viva la Vida brand of cigars, and the first blend is as tasty as you might expect, especially in the Jester Vitola.
The main Viva la Vida blend has a flavor profile that we think is perfect for the cold weather. It’s a Nicaraguan puro that puts out smoke with the flavors of caramel, toffee, apricot, and chili pepper. These aromas are nice and bright – a good antidote to bracing wind and subzero temperatures, making Viva la Vida a great winter cigar. It’s got that medium-full strength fiery spirit that helps you fight back when the world is cold.
Cigar Aficionado found it to be a worthy smoke, awarding it 94 points, which also puts this brand on our radar as one to keep an eye on. The Fakih brothers, former owners of Cigar Inn and now founders of Viva la Vida have a few decades of experience in the cigar business. Drawing on that wealth of knowledge, it’s quite possible that they’ll be finding their way to creating excellent blends and making their mark as cigar makers.
Until then, we’ll enjoy these Viva La Vida cigars.
Please browse our selection of Viva La Vida cigars at your leisure.
Shop All AJ Fernandez Viva la Vida Cigars Products
Viva La Vida FAQ's
What are the flavors like?
Caramel, toffee, apricot.
What’s the strength level?
Who is this cigar for?
The Viva La Vida, including the Viva La Vida Jester, is a great cigar for fans of AJ Fernandez blends and Nicaraguan tobacco in general.
Will I want to smoke it to the nub?
It didn’t get those high ratings for nothing!
What’s a good pairing with it?
A nice brown ale would probably work here. Heavy Riff Brewing makes a Vanilla Coffee Underbrown that we bet is a solid pairing for a cigar like the Viva La Vida Jester.
What’s the best time/place to smoke this cigar?
When you’re feeling mischievous.
Halfwheel remarked on a lack of balance, so it’s possible that the blend can tend to display particular notes too strongly.