At the intertabac trade show in Dortmund Germany back in 2015 I met an Australian gentleman by the name of Gerard Hayes while hanging out at the A.J. Fernandez booth and almost a year later I see both names pop up again, this time with Gerard’s name as brand owner of the new brand Nicoya and A.J. Fernandez as his manufacturer. It turned out that Gerard had founded this new brand, and as far as I know the only Australian cigar brand, even though the name Nicoya pays tribute to the Nicaraguan people who use it as slang to refer to their origin although other sources say the word Nicoya refers to the peninsula in Costa Rica that once belonged to Nicaragua and that the Nicaraguan people use the word Nicoya for land and territory that was stolen from them. Now, even though I visited Nicaragua twice and love the country I don’t know enough about the culture, the people and the history to tell which explanation is the right one, so you decide for yourself ok?
Nicoya is quite simple in setup, just two blends, the medium bodied medios (also referred to as Nicoya Red) and the fuerte aka Nicoya Purple and both just in one size, a 5×52 robusto. I met up with Gerard again at his booth at intertabac 2016 and had the pleasure to smoke both cigars. I was looking forward to that since A.J. Fernandez makes some of my favorite cigars and the cigars didn’t disappoint. Luckily Gerard gave me an extra set of cigars so I can do this review. Unfortunately I can’t show pictures of the boxes but they were so classy I wouldn’t mind making a table out of empty Nicoya boxes.
The Nicoya Medios robusto that I’m smoking now for this review is made with an Ecuadorean Habano Rosado wrapper, a Mexican binder and fillers from Jalapa, Esteli, Ometepe and some Dominican Habano 2000. The cigar has a nice, simple yet tasteful band, silver and red and the back of the bands are like wings, which is a nice detail. The wrapper is a little dull, but not in a way I would pass it in a humidor. The veins are thin and the head of the cigar is a bit bumpy. The construction feels good, evenly filled everywhere. The aroma is very pleasant, deep and rich, earthy and like being close to a horse. I punched the cigar, the cold draw is just fine and leaves a spicy flavor on my tongue with some raisin.
I grabbed my vintage Ronson again to light this cigar, my favorite way to light a cigar inside (outside a jet flame is a better choice). Lighting is a breeze, and I taste a nice medium coffee flavor. The coffee is getting stronger with a little citrus. The flavors are quite sharp. After a centimeter i taste wood and a growing citrus.
After a third I also taste some sweetness with the wood and the citrus is almost completely gone. I also taste some mild herbs. The flavors are well balanced. After two thirds I finally taste a little bit of pepper but with a sweetness that makes it very pleasurable combined with the wood.
The ash is white and firm and the draw is flawless. The smoke is reasonably thick and white, I also get a nice amount of smoke from the cigar. The burn is quite straight, not razor sharp but not still not enough to correct. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is about an hour and thirty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes! It’s a great stick, Gerard and Abdel hit a homerun.