Cigar Review: Guardian of the Farm Cerberus Toro from Aganorsa Leaf

Aganorsa Leaf (formerly Casa Fernandez) has introduced a new doggo in their Guardian of the Farm line. For those not in the know, the Guardian of the Farm lines are named after the dogs who guard the Aganorsa Leaf farms. The one that has garnered the most attention is the Guardian of the Farm Apollo, a collaborative effort with Kyle Gellis’ Warped Cigars. The Cerberus is different than the other Guardian of the Farm blends in two regards. While they’re all Nicaraguan puros, the Cerberus uses a Nicaraguan Corojo ’12 wrapper.

The other distinction is that the Cerberus uses some medio tiempo leaf in the blend. Medio tiempo leaves have gained in popularity through the years with both consumers and manufacturers. Medio tiempo leaves are the top two leaves of the tobacco plant and part of the ligero leaves. They’re also somewhat rare to find on tobacco plants, adding to their demand. The use of medio tiempo leaves may have played a part in naming the cigar Cerberus. Cerberus is a mythical “hound of hades” who possessed great strength. 

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Toro
SIZE:   6-1/4″ x 52

ORIGIN:   Nicaragua
FACTORY:   Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)

WRAPPER:   Nicaraguan Corjo ’12
BINDER:   Nicaraguan
FILLER:   Nicaraguan

STRENGTH:   Medium-full to Full

SOURCE:   
Oxford Cigar Company

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
The garage.

WHEN:   
April 2 @1:00pm

DRINKS:   
Ice Mountain bottled water

WEATHER:   
42° and 87% humidity

HOW MANY CIGARS SMOKED:   
3

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Regular Production

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  February 2022

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Boxes of 15
Production Totals:  Unknown

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
o  Toro  (6-1/4″ x 52)
Robusto (5″ x 54)
Lonsdale  (6″ x 44)

BAND DESIGN

The band design is nothing short of a work of art. There is no comparison to the other bands in the Guardian of the Farm line. The Cerberus features the mythical creature that the cigar is named after, instead of the face of a dog as with others in the Guardian of the Farm line. A beautiful black background with gold accents and “Cerberus” in white, make this band stand out in any humidor. The sides have “Nicaragua” and “Aganorsa” written on them. There is an almost ferocious elegance to the band. 

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION

The Cerberus is a beautiful shade of milk chocolate. It has a bit of tooth to it and lots of veins crisscrossing the wrapper to add to its character. I’d almost describe the wrapper as being “rustic.” The Nicaraguan Corojo ’12 wrapper seems a bit delicate and I would advise handling with care. The last Cerberus that I smoked for this review ended up with two small tears on the wrapper that did not have an effect on the smoking experience. However, I still felt that it was worth noting.

AROMA

Straight barnyard coming off the wrapper, and just hint of nuts. The foot is an intoxicating mix of fruit, barnyard, nuts, and floral notes. There’s a bit of something that reminds me of whole grain bread…that’s a new one for me.

COLD DRAW

The cold draw reveals notes of salted nuts, bread, and a hint of what is either a fruit or floral note. It’s hard to tell which it is.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut: Les Fines Lames LE PETITE cigar knife
Fire: ST Dupont Hooked

The initial light has big notes of black pepper on the retrohale. Salted nuts and fruit notes dominate. Cedar and chocolate linger on the finish, along with a nice amount of baking spices. The flavor notes are bold and easily recognizable, but not off-putting. 

SMOKE

The smoke is creamy and satisfying. It billows from the foot with each draw, and immediately slows to a steady trickle when at rest.

FIRST THIRD
>> Chocolate, Salted Nuts, Floral, Black Pepper

Black pepper still rules the retrohale. Salted nuts are the dominant flavor, while cedar and baking spices linger on the finish. Chocolate lurks beneath the other flavors, propping them up and adding depth to the flavor profile. A bit of red pepper joins the party. There’s a richness to this first third that is remarkable. It’s not overpowering or off-putting, but it is full of bold flavors. A mushroom note comes along, and I’m not complaining at all. The ash isn’t flakey, but not quite compact. The burn line is straight. The smoke continues to be creamy and satisfying, coating my palate completely. I have no real complaints thus far. The floral note from the cold draw is coming through on the retrohale that cuts through the richness. An almost sour note comes through.

SECOND THIRD
>> Caramel, Baking Spices, Avocado Oil, White Pepper

Caramel, wood, baking spices, and coffee start the middle third. White pepper and baking spices on the retrohale. There’s a bit of spiciness that stings the nostrils in the best possible ways. Is…is that nougat I’m tasting? The Cerberus is hitting my palate just right. The flavors are coming together and melting together, none outshining the other. The ash is a bit more compact in this middle third, and the burn line is even. Again, I have no complaints. Salted nuts make a return. Avocado oil on the finish.

FINAL THIRD
>> Charred Wood, Coffee, Caramel, Baking Spices

Heavy notes of charred wood, salt, and coffee mark the beginning of the final third. The Cerberus’ floral note from the cold draw finally finds it’s footing on the finish…and it’s brilliant. There’s a sweetness now that has been missing from the first two thirds. It works well with the charred wood note. The flavors arrive and they melt together. It’s like taking the perfect bite of a meal prepared by a master chef. The burn continues to be straight, though not razor sharp. The ash in the final third is a bit more flakey than the previous thirds. Caramel and earth return the party. The buttery finish is amazing. Baking spices seem to stick to my palate.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION

The Cerberus begins its flavor progression with the cold draw and it only picks up from there. Big and bold flavors from initial light to the final draw, the Cerberus delivers a nuanced experience while still leaning into the boldness provided by the medio tiempo leaves in the blend. A touch of sweetness runs throughout the cigar and compliments the savory and bitter flavors through the progression. It all kind of melts together almost seamlessly. 

BURN EXPERIENCE

The pictures speak for volumes to the burn experience of the Cerberus. An almost flawless experience in each of the three cigars that I smoked for this review…and that includes the one that developed small tears in the wrapper. 

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.70 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.40 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.95 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.48 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

THIS DOG HUNTS.

Any time a cigar manufacturer advertises the use of medio tiempo leaves, I immediately take a moment before deciding to light up. Medio tiempo leaves, part of the ligero leaves, are very strong. My concern was that this Guardian of the Farm was going to be on the strong side. I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, the Cerberus is definitely full of bold flavors, but it also possesses depth, complexity, and nuance. Nothing ever overwhelms you like the mythical Cerberus would. I would instead interpret it as a “hound of hades” that someone has domesticated. Is this a morning cigar? Probably not. Is it an afternoon cigar? Yes. And it could certainly stand up after a nice steak dinner. The flavor progression of the Cerberus weaves notes of chocolate, nuts, wood, baking spices, pepper, and a wonderful earthy note together almost seamlessly. The hints of floral accentuate the sweetness and tone down the bitterness. The Cerberus is more than worthy to be a Guardian of the Farm.

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  9.03 / 10.0

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