Around March 2019, a mysterious jester-faced cigar began cropping up on the various social media timelines in craft-smoking cigar circles. The cigar—dubbed Viva la Vida—began gaining traction in the months to follow, being praised for its usage of choice tobaccos courtesy of industry darling A.J. Fernández. The brand is the first offering from Artesano del Tobacco, a company created by Billy and Gus Fakih, creators and former owners of the popular Cigar Inn tobacconist locations in the NYC area. During their time as tobacconists, the brothers formed a strong relationship with Abdel Fernández, eventually leading to the development of Viva la Vida over a three-year period following the sale of their retail locations in 2015.
Being Fernández-backed, Viva la Vida’s blend is unsurprisingly Nicaraguan puro, showcasing Fernández’s own Nicaraguan leaves throughout each portion of the cigar. This includes highly specific selections such as a Habano Oscuro 2000 wrapper, Corojo ’99 binder, and Criollo ’98 filler. Being constructed from some of the most premium ingredients available from Fernández, Viva la Vida is priced higher than most companies’ inaugural releases. However, the proof is in the pudding, as Viva la Vida leeches onto the palate from first puff to last, inundating the senses with rich and spicy qualities of black coffee, woodsy earth, sweet Cuban pastries, butter, licorice, and cola syrup. And despite only being distributed to roughly 75 retailers across the country at launch, the brand has more recently gained a distribution partner in A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co., hinting that this hidden gem may soon be uncovered by the masses.
Viva la Vida Breakdown
- Wrapper: Habano Oscuro 2000 (Nicaragua)
- Binder: Corojo ’99 (Nicaragua)
- Filler: Criollo ’98 (Nicaragua)
- Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitolas: 6
- Price: $10.50–$14.50 (MSRP)