In the world of cigars, there are many different and similar types of smokes out there. There is no doubt individual cigar makers have certain styles and some similar characteristics can be found among their different blends. One of our loyal customers at our 8 to 8 cigar lounge believed that the newly released Hoyo de Monterrey La Amistad, blended by AJ Fernandez and sold by General Cigar Company, was an identical cigar to AJ’s own Enclave release. Having the chance to smoke both cigars numerous times, it did spark some curiosity of my own, as I remembered the blends to have similar profiles. It was time to put it to the test…
Aesthetically, there are a couple of differences. The Enclave is about 1/4 inch longer and has a closed foot. Both wrappers are a very similar reddish brown color, however they are about a shade apart, the Hoyo being the lighter shade of the two. The sheen of the oils is very similar as well. I cut them both with a straight guillotine, and the cold draws were identical. Closing my eyes and randomly taking a draw, I could honestly not tell them apart other than one being a much looser draw than the other.
It was now time to light them up. The first few puffs on the Hoyo brought an intense spicy note to the palate, while the Enclave was a lot more subdued and had a tighter draw. This surprised me a bit, because I remember the Enclave to have a spicy start to it, but it was much less prevalent than on the Hoyo Amistad. In no way do I believe that the Enclave lacks in spice, but in a side by side comparison the Amistad had a lot more spice on the forefront. For the first part of the smoke, the Amistad maintained the spice, with a nuttier flavor on the backend, while the Enclave had a very crisp taste with citrus notes. The Enclave was sweeter in comparison.
Towards the middle of the smokes, the Spice in the Amistad stayed fluent while the backend nutty notes, turned more into coffee and earthy notes. The Enclave started to pick up a bit in strength. Still not as intense as the Hoyo, but it was definitely getting more similar. The citrus notes turned more into a creamy sensation. At this point it was just not quite as bold as the flavors I was getting from the Amistad.
As the smokes reached their finish, The Amistad’s complexity faded along with the spice. It ended with some general earthy tones and smoothed out quite a bit. The Enclave continued to get a bit stronger as the smoke progressed, and a spice began to pop out a bit. Nowhere near to the level that the Amistad previously had, but definitely a spice that I remembered from smoking it in the past. It just became a lot more noticeable now that the Amistad’s spice has faded.
Conclusion: They are not the same cigar. However, they are extremely similar cigars. Smoking these separately, I could definitely see how someone could confuse one for the other. Smoking them side by side really drowned out the similar flavors, and let the strengths and unique notes be discovered by the palate. Both are great cigars from AJ’s factory, and I highly recommend trying both of them to see for yourself.