If 2018 was a transformative year for Aganorsa Leaf—changing its name from the former Casa Fernandez and re-branding much of their portfolio—then 2019 solidified the brand’s presence moving forward. This was driven by the introduction of a new proprietary maduro-shade wrapper ingredient, featured on a suite of three cigars—each being maduro additions to pre-existing brands.
This included the Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch, complimenting the original 2016 cigar with a darker, “more intense” smoking experience. As with the natural-wrapped Guardian of the Farm (GOTF), Nightwatch is themed around the the American Bulldogs used to patrol the Fernández family’s renowned Aganorsa farms of Nicaragua, with each size in the collection being named after the dogs (Rambo, JJ, Campeon, and Orpheus).
Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch Rambo Breakdown
- Wrapper: Shade Grown Corojo Maduro (Jalapa, Nicaragua)
- Binder: Corojo (Jalapa, Nicaragua)
- Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo | Nicaraguan Criollo
- Factory: TABSA (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 4½″ × 48 (Rothschild)
- Price: $8.49 (MSRP)
Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch has been blended solely by Max Fernández, differing from the collaborative nature of the original, which was billed as combined effort between Max and Kyle Gellis of Warped Cigars. As with nearly all Aganorsa Leaf cigars, the blend is Nicaraguan puro, using the Fernández family’s own Aganorsa tobaccos exclusively throughout the blend. This includes a heavy influence of Jalapa tobaccos (featured in the wrapper, binder, and filler), which is known to produce sweeter flavor profiles than Nicaragua’s other major growing regions. Corojo and Criollo leaves (grown in Estelí and Jalapa) make up the filler, which are bound in a Jalapa-grown Corojo leaf and topped with the cigar’s signature ingredient: shade-grown Corojo maduro from Jalapa. The latter is a prized ingredient for Aganorsa Leaf, said to be under development for the last 20 years.
GOTF Nightwatch Rambo marks the smallest size in the Nightwatch collection, weighing in at 4½″ × 48 Rothschild. In terms of packaging, Nightwatch is familiar to the original, only swapping the color scheme of the primarily band, as well as the addition of a red sub-band that signifies the “Nightwatch” branding.
The wrapper is dark and dusty, only showing slight hints of oil when held to direct sunlight. There are barely any veins visible and toothiness is nowhere to be found; this gives the cigar a very smooth texture that is almost slippery in the hand. The overall construction is sturdy, having a papier-mâché-like rigidness when squeezed. As an added touch, the wrapper extends just beyond the cigar’s foot—not quite being a shaggy foot but instead only hugging the open end. There are light and tangy aromas on the wrapper, with more pungent notes of chocolate, mint, and pine on the foot. With a cut, the pre-light draw is slightly firm, bringing in notes of barnyard, cocoa, and musty basement.
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Cocoa, sharp earth, and black pepper lead the flavor experience upon lighting. It is a dry texture, lacking any of the expected sweetness from the cigar’s Jalapa influence. Within a half-inch the profile begins to settle, with cocoa morphing into a sweeter chocolate and added backing notes of pastry dough and cinnamon making a welcomed appearance.
The smoking draw is firmer than ideal (though more manageable than the pre-light experience suggested), giving a medium-light amount of smoke on each puff. Construction-wise, the Rothschild leaves nothing to complain about (at least in the first third), aside from a slightly flakey ash. Through the first third the profile ranks at medium-light in body and strength and medium-plus in flavor.
For the majority of the cigar’s first half, the pastry component is the driving force. With the addition of some cinnamon, this creates a cinnamon roll-like concoction that is perhaps the cigar’s best moment. This proves to be a pivotal moment for Nightwatch, shifting to offer unique flavors in rapid succession, including almond extract (like Dr Pepper or Disaronno), sugar-coated nuts (as you’d expect to find at a sports arena), and curry-like spice through the nostrils. The latter flavor is short-lived, evolving into a sharper spice of red pepper and jalapeño; this change also signals the end for the majority of the cigar’s sweet and creamy attributes.
Red pepper, manure, and clove make up the darker tone of the profile in its final stages. This area is perhaps too dark, at least for my liking, verging on harsh territory. There are notes of toasted bread crust, Hershey’s Syrup, and mole, proving the cigar still has some fight in it. Finally, as a last-ditch effort to muster something of interest, Nightwatch shows a coconut-chocolate sensation reminiscent of Albert’s Ice Cubes chocolates (à la the German-made melt-in-your-mouth chocolates often found at the convenient stores of your childhood).
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to do so, but I’ll smoke this now and again.
- Aganorsa Leaf proudly displayed this wrapper—Shade Grown Corojo Maduro—on each of their three major releases for 2019: GOTF Nightwatch, Signature Selection Shade Grown Corojo Maduro, and JFR Lunatic Loco.
- As Aganorsa Leaf has become well-known for the use of strictly their own tobaccos throughout the majority of their blends, the new shade-grown Corojo allows the brand to offer a similar puro experience from a new perspective. Formerly, the company’s maduro-wrapped cigars were typically wrapped in Mexican San Andrés leaves.
- As the Nightwatch is said to be a project by Max Fernández (not in collaboration with Kyle Gellis of Warped Cigars), the lonsdale size (6″ x 44) has notably been re-named to Orpheus. With the original release, this size was titled Apollo—named after Gellis’ dog.
- Interestingly, the new “Nightwatch” sub-band has a very similar appearance to the “Selección de Warped” sub-band, featured only on the Apollo size of the original GOTF (a sub-band that is seen on many of Warped’s limited cigars and preferred sizes within lines).
- The primary band still includes Max Fernández’s initials (right side) and Kyle Gellis’ (left side).
- Personally, I prefer the higher-contrast gold-on-black look of the original GOTF to the white layout of Nightwatch.
- Flavor: Medium / Medium-plus
- Strength: Medium-light
- Body: Medium-light
- Red pepper
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Horchata | Milk stout | Italian soda | Disaronno (neat)
- Purchase Recommendation: 5 to 10 cigars
- Brilliant, unique flavors throughout first half
- Focus is on flavor over strength
- Excellent price value
- Flakey ash only lasted around half an inch
- Two to three touchups
- Second half lets up