Flor de Gonzalez Cigars, more commonly known as simply FDG Cigars, saw its humble beginnings in 1993—producing cigars out of founder Arnaldo Gonzalez’s home in Hialeah, Florida. Arnaldo had grown a passion for cigars from his youth, working in his father and grandfather’s tobacco fields in Santa Clara, Cuba. Of course, this was quite the opportune era for a cigar manufacturer—entering the business in the midst of the great cigar boom. Flor de Gonzalez saw a massive influx of demand for their product and in 1995, moved operations to Nicaragua, opening their current Agroindustrial Nicaraguense de Tabacos factory in Condega.
But as with every great boom comes the inevitable crash. In 1997 FDG moved nearly their entire operations to Nicaragua, making affordable products in an attempt to survive the declining market. These are the years that defined many of today’s most successful brands—weeding out the imposters from the true craftsmen.
Rather than celebrate 20 years from FDG’s inception, the brand has chosen to honor the year of their esteemed Nicaraguan factory. In 2015, FDG debuted the 20 Aniversario, utilizing both a Connecticut shade and Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper varietals. The blends chosen are a subtle nod to FDG’s original cigars—the Gold Series—featuring the same two wrapper styles (though having different overall body and flavor profiles).
20 Aniversario Maduro Breakdown
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Ecuador Havana
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: Agroindustrial Nicaraguense de Tabacos S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited Edition (30,000 cigars per size)
- Vitola: 6½″ × 54 Toro
- Price: $10.10
For this special release, FDG has produced a limited number of cigars—with three sizes in both Maduro and Connecticut (5.5×50 Robusto – 6.5×54 Toro – 6.5x 52 Torpedo), total production reached 180,000 cigars. At the time of this writing, brand runner Yadi Gonzalez-Vargas (Arnaldo’s daughter) states there are less than 200 boxes remaining.
FDG has done a fantastic job displaying a luxurious appearance for this celebratory, luxury cigar—easily their best design/packaging to date. The bands take on a sophisticated look, using a gold, red, and cream color scheme, complete with a fitting sub-band; they feel premium, yet classic. The cigars themselves show the true colors of the Connecticut Broadleaf, with clearly visible, gnarled veins throughout—as well as a light, fuzzy tooth. On the nose, I found light notes of coffee, tobacco, and barnyard. The construction looks top notch, with a soft box-press and sturdy feel—my only concern would be that the draw may be equally dense. And with a pre-light draw, it is noticeably on the firmer side, though it doesn’t seem to be anything troubling.
The cigar starts with a silky smooth profile, producing a light and delicate mouthfeel. Sweet nuances of chewy raisons are most noticeable and there is a small amount of spice in the retrohale. As the smoke progressed, added notes of white pepper form on the palate, having a light strength, medium-light body, and medium flavor output.
The cigar progressed nicely, without sudden or drastic changes. The sweetness began to transform away from dried fruits and more towards sweet coffee and and brownie batter. There was also a nice complexity growing in the backdrop, with woodsy qualities, sawdust, and an occasional note of earth.
Construction-wise, 20 Aniversario was a dream to smoke—a chalky, white ash formed in tightly stacked segments of 2.5″ or more. There was not a touchup to be found and the foreshadowed tight draw worked its way into a much more comfortable resistance by the second half. The mouthfeel was very nice, having a soothing, cooling feel. Later flavors evolved into powdered sugar sweetness, a peanut shell-like dustiness, and creamy vanilla on the finish. Finishing the smoke out, the body and strength ramp up to a medium+, with the flavor topping out at medium/full, just before pulling back again at the very end.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Yes I would. This was a much different experience than I’m used to with today’s average Broadleaf maduro, replacing strength and in-your-face, pepper-infused body with refinement and silky smooth creaminess. For me, the sweet spot was right at the end of the second-third, having a much more open draw and the most vibrant flavors of the smoking experience. Everything just seemed to balance out perfectly for an impressive 10 minute span.
For a limited edition cigar, the price feels about right—I think most craft smokers are used to spending around $8 per cigar, so a dollar or two more for a more luxurious smoke nearly feels like a bargain. I feel comfortable recommending a 5-pack purchase here, or a box-split if you’re a maduro nut.
- Long smoke time with fantastic construction
- Very balanced
- Easily enjoyable flavors of sweet/creamy nuances
- Tight draw at start
- Could use a bit more oomph at times