When it comes to master blender AJ Fernandez, nothing stands out more than the San Lotano line of cigars as far as his creations are concerned. However, he’s also the man behind the other great cigars such as the Ave Maria and the Man O’ War series of cigars. We’ve reviewed the Ave Maria Lionheart and the San Lotano Maduro Toro before, and now it’s time to try something from the Man O’ War line: the Man O’ War Virtue Robusto.
At first blush, the Virtue nearly has all the traits that I’m looking for in a cigar: An oily and toothy wrapper that’s free from any natural or man-made imperfections, no big veins, and a seamlessly wrapped body. Holding it adds more confirmation that this is a high quality stick due to its hefty feel and lack of soft spots. There’s a pungent aroma of cocoa powder on the foot, body and through the perfect draw.
An initial blast of coffee and spice greets me through the first few puffs which then settles down into a smooth and complex smoking experience. There’s a hint of cocoa powder once the burn hits the middle of the first third with the spicy element of the flavor becoming less apparent. This powdery cocoa then becomes slightly bolder during the second third of the cigar, with leathery notes joining in with the coffee flavor base. So far, the Virtue is delivering a mild bodied, mild strength smoking experience on a short finish. The leather-coffee-cocoa flavor tandem essentially becomes the staple throughout the rest of the cigar.
I believe the photo below speaks volumes as far as this stick’s burn qualities are. What you don’t see is the creamy smoke that starts rich and thick from the beginning and continues all the way until the last puff, providing a very pleasant experience.
In a nutshell, the Man O’ War Virtue is the kind of cigar that delivers a light, understated sophistication and complexity. It’s definitely not a good choice for someone who’s looking for a bolder and stronger smoke, but preferences aside, there’s nothing to really not like with this stick as far as its intrinsic qualities are concerned. The only thing that I would give a little caution to would be its price. At nearly $8.00 a stick, it might not be your everyday smoke, but it can certainly be part of your rotation of mild to medium-bodied cigars. It’s a classic fourth-drawer cigar for people looking for something light and smooth to enjoy.