Brand: Ave Maria Country: Nicaragua
Size: St. George 6 x 54 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
The Label Factor:
I have an idea for all of you creative types who collect cigar labels; make a custom chess board and use the Ave Maria label as the knights. The problem is trying to find equally awesome labels for the rest of the board. Maybe the Man O’War Ruination could be your pawns? Consider this a push in the right direction. I’ll let you figure the rest out.
What We Liked:
It was immediately apparent that these sticks were well constructed. It felt sturdy in the hand and, as is seen in the photos, the burn was solid with strong white ash that held on for an inch or more before diving off into my lap. I trusted the ash too much I guess.
It’s not often that we make mention of the pre-light draw. Our reaction is typically, “Yep, tastes like tobacco.” The Ave Maria, however, surprised us with a distinct dried fruit flavor before lighting. It really got us excited to light these knights up to see if the flavor carried through to the smoke.
To start things off, expect a blast of spicy pepper that lingers for less than an inch before tapering off. From there, the dried fruit from the pre-light begins to show in the form of a raisiny aftertaste. This was a nice change, as I don’t typically get raisin from cigars. It certainly made things interesting.
Along with the sweet raisin, there is a strong, wood flavor that takes hold. If I had to guess, I would say Spanish cedar. Perhaps it was even German cedar. Or Canadian. I’m just naming countries now. Strangely enough, I have never eaten Spanish Cedar but this cigar tastes like my humidor smells. Oh, and make sure you have something to drink with the Ave Maria, this is a very dry smoke. I recommend a raisin and cedar smoothie to pair with the Ave Maria.
What We Didn’t Like:
While the Ave Maria certainly keeps things interesting with flavors not often found in other cigars, it definitely doesn’t fall into what I would consider my “flavor wheelhouse”, or the “fleelhouse”, if you will. What I am trying to say here is that I don’t really like raisins. I’m sorry.
Should You Try/Buy It:
The flavors here are certainly interesting but at MSRP, this is a tough sell. However, keep an eye on CigarBid and you can find these for much cheaper. If you really like raisins, knights or simply keeping your humidor interesting, you should definitely give the Ave Maria a try.