- Vitola: JJ (Robusto)
- 5.25” x 50 ring gauge
- Purchased at Burns Tobacconist
Guardian of the Farm is billed as a “collaboration between Warped Cigars and Casa Fernandez.” The first such collaboration was Futuro and was distributed by Warped; this time the cigars are distributed by Casa Fernandez. As to how this differs from Flor de Valle, La Hacienda, Maestro del Tiempo, or Corto is a mystery to me…all those cigars were just billed as Warped products, but were made by Casa Fernandez, too. Perhaps it is the close working relationship between Kyle Gellis (of Warped) and Max Hernandez on the Guardian and Futuro projects.
Guardian is a brand dedicated to the dogs who literally do roam and protect the Aganorsa farms and TABSA factory in Nicaragua…at least in the JJ and Campeon sizes named after Fernandez family dogs. Gellis’ pooch is Apollo and he gets his own “Selección de Warped” size. All sizes are created using 100 percent Aganorsa tobacco from Nicaragua: the filler is Criollo 98 and Corojo 99, the binder is Corojo 99 and the wrapper is Jalapa Corojo 99.
These officially made their debut in US cigar shops in the second half of 2016, but I didn’t get to try one until my Orlando trip…and I have to honestly say I wasn’t impressed with the one I picked up. About a month after the trip, our new rep for Casa Fernandez came into the shop and gave me another to try…this time it was much better and I wonder if something might have been wrong with the one I got in Florida. I’ve smoked a couple more since then, both in JJ and Apollo vitolas and opted for the JJ size for review. I purchased this cigar at Burns Tobacconist. I got some background information from a Cigar Aficionado article about the cigar’s release.
The boxes are simple wooden cabinets that work with both the Warped and CF look. The band features a dog’s head with “Guardian of the Farm” in curved type around it. Either side of that you’ll find the stylized initials of the blenders: KG for Kyle Gellis and MF for Max Fernandez. And finally on the arms of the band, one side says Nicaraguan and the other Aganorsa.
The wrapper leaf was a peanut butter brown in appearance with a little oiliness to the eye, but much more under my fingertips. Construction appeared very good with flat seams and a tight triple-cap, along with a relatively clean closed foot. The wrapper leaf had aromas of natural tobacco and cedar mostly, with just a touch of earthiness. The foot was much earthier, with a touch of sweetness in the mix.
The cold draw was excellent and featured notes of cedar, sweet hay, and natural tobacco.
Firing up the Guardian of the Farm ignited flavors of cedar and pepper spice up front, followed on by notes of hay, citrus and roasted nuts. The retrohale was nutty and very peppery. The flavor profile continued to be balanced and medium in body during the first third. I got plenty of cedar while the pepper died off quite a bit after the early fire. There was tons of natural tobacco goodness, as well as just a tiny bit of a floral note.
Deep into the second third, I was experiencing a wonderful mix of tobacco, floral and nutty flavors when the wrapper popped and split on me. Hopefully it wouldn’t cause the rest of the cigar to become unsmokeable.
The split didn’t progress any further than the band, even when I removed it. The last third featured more natural tobacco flavor as well as a subtle sweetness and a little bit of pepper spice.
Aside from the previously mentioned wrapper split, I had no construction problems with any of the Guardian sticks I’ve smoked. They’ve all had a good draw, strong ash and even burn line.
Like other Warped Cigars that Casa Fernandez makes, the price on these is right in the middle of the sweet spot…so excellent value.
This is the second “natural” Casa Fernandez-built cigar I’ve given a high rating to in very rapid succession, after the Particulares (distributed by Sindicato). Guardian of the Farm is simply the best Warped product I’ve had so far, and that includes La Colmena, El Oso, and Don Reynaldo, as well as Futuro. This is an excellently blended cigar with tons of great flavors and enough complexity to please from end to end.