In April of 2016, AJF Cigar Company introduced the Last Call cigar; offering a short and inexpensive smoke, intended to be enjoyed as a sort of “night cap” smoking experience. This was a somewhat surprising release, differing from the consistant look of vintage and ornate designs used on AJF cigars over the past few years. But the concept resonated with hobbyists, and Last Call quickly became a successful launch for A.J. Fernández.
SEE ALSO: A.J. Fernández Last Call Cigar Review
The brand was quick to offer a followup maduro variant, announcing the Last Call Maduro shortly before the 2016 IPCPR trade show—where the new blend made its first appearance. The blend debuted in the very same 4½″ × 48 “Geniales” size used on the original Last Call cigar, swapping the Ecuador Habano Rosado wrapper for a Nicaraguan-grown, Pennsylvania Broadleaf maduro leaf.
In the fall of 2016, it was announced that both the Last Call and Last Call Maduro cigars would be receiving line extensions, expanding the lines to five vitolas each. This expansion later hit retail shelves in November, offering identical sizes for each blend.
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Last Call Maduro Flaquitas Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (Pennsylvania Broadleaf-Seed Maduro)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernández Cigars de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ × 46 “Flaquitas” (Torpedo)
- Price: $6.00 (MSRP)
When the original Last Call cigar was released, it was listed as the first blend under a new series dubbed “Portfolio Series,” where Master Blender A.J. Fernández could showcase fun and experimental blends he’d worked on over the years. Not only this, but the series was intended to be sold primarily in brick and mortar stores only. This remains true for both the original and the newer Maduro blend.
All sizes within the Last Call collection attempt to retain the original “last call” spirit, showcasing lengths no longer than six inches and diameters no larger than a 52 ring gauge. This, the torpedo-shaped Flaquitas, is the biggest of the bunch; weighing in at 6″ × 46.
The cigar is quite dark, having a twisted and gnarled wrapper that extends past the cigar’s foot (always a fun touch). The wrapper carries a good amount of tooth, showing tight seams and covering an overall solid construction—around medium-firm bunch—complete with a sturdy and well-placed cap. The band is simplistic, mirroring the original but swapping cream/gold/red for white and gold—which seems lacking compared with the original (something about the red and cream added an old-school vibe that fit the cigar’s concept very nicely).
The cigar offers only subtle aromas, with mineral and musk on the wrapper and cherry cola on the foot. Through a medium-firm pre-light draw, notes of cedar can be detected.
Lighting a cigar with a covered foot often leaves the smoker in a conundrum. You’ve scrupulously trained yourself in the proper etiquette of toasting thoroughly before lighting, creating the proper burn for the experience to come. But the covered foot introduces an enticing alternative: take draws while lighting (as you would with a cigarette) and experience the raw flavor of the cigar’s wrapper leaf; or disregard the extended leaf and toast as usual. When posing this question to most manufacturers, they’ll almost always admit the shaggy foot is primarily for looks and that they simply burn it away before taking a draw. Myself? I usually fall prey to curiosity and take a few tastes before toasting. In the case of Last Call Maduro, this offers a heavy spice of freshly cracked black pepper with little complexity.
The spices continue as the embers ignite the following binder and filler leaves, showing a dry smoke texture in the mouth and additional complexities of chili powder in the retrohale. The draw maintains a medium-firm resistance, despite being freed of the covered foot; this brings out medium to low amounts of smoke, requiring double puffs most of the time. There is a soft vanilla finish as the ash reaches one inch, reminiscent of vanilla-forward root beer. At this point, the profile clocks in at medium-plus flavor, medium-minus strength, medium body.
Further into the body of the cigar, flavors begin to darken, showing notes of chicory, molasses, and smoked hickory. The smoke has a cooling sensation reminiscent of menthol, and there is a sharp zest in the nostrils. The construction is satisfactory, with a wavy burn line and soft chunks of ash that last around an inch. The cigar holds a profile in this range for the duration, providing a fiery zest near the end, as the body and strength approach full, sending the flavor back a notch—around medium.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Probably not. In the end, it just didn’t agree with my palate, though with the attractive price point, I’m sure this will find a comfortable position amongst many hobbyist’s regular rotations.
- Smoke Time: 1 hour
- Pairing Recommendation: stout, French press coffee (chicory coffee for bonus points), root beer
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack
- Great price point
- Fun spice and woodsy flavors
- Low smoke output
- Fast burner
- Lacks complexity