A few years ago, during one of the Intertabac trade shows, Juan Martinez from Joya de Nicaragua offered me a Rosalones. It was a cigar I had heard of, I had seen pictures of, but never seen, touched or smelled as the only information I had came from Poland where they were being sold. Now it is important to know that I was working for the Joya de Nicaragua distributor for The Netherlands at that time. I was at the Joya de Nicaragua booth, I lit the cigar up, looked at the price sheet, did my calculations and placed an order right there and then. I was the sales representative, I wasn’t the one doing the purchases or at liberty too but the price quality was out of this world. I took another sampler, went to my employer, said “light this” and after he did that I said, “these are the prices per size, and this is how much I ordered”. He just looked at me, took another puff on the cigar and said: “go back and double the order”.
So at the last Intertabac trade show, in September 2016, I ran into Juan, Mario and Ivan from Joya de Nicaragua in their booth, which they shared with Steve Saka from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and Omar de Frias from Fratello and even though I parted ways from that distributor they will welcomed me like an old friend. Juan handed me a spin off from the Rosalones serie, the Rosalones Reserva, a Nicaraguan puro with the same very affordable price range according to them (I didn’t ask for prices as it’s none of my business anymore). Since Juan knows that I prefer smaller ring gauges he gave me a 6 1/2×46 Corona instead of the Robusto or Toro.
After I release the cigar from the cellophane I instantly smell a nice aroma, woody with a little raspberry vinegar. The construction feels good and when I take a good look at the velvety feeling wrapper I se that its medium dark, quite dry looking with a few small veins. The double ring is brown and gold, quite simple. The bottom ring is brown with golden outlines and golden text saying reserva in bold letters while the top ring is golden with a brown flower, thin brown letters saying Rosalones and Nicaragua with a brown outline.
I cut the cigar with the Joya branded Xikar cutter and to keep it all in theme I’m using my Stinky ashtray that has been hand painted by Subculture Studios with Joya logos. The cold draw is perfect and I taste raisin and a little citrus. Since I don’t have a Joya lighter I used my vintage Ronson and straight up I taste a nice coffee with chocolate in the retrohale. After a few puffs it’s a little bitter coffee with some spices and cocoa. After a third the bitterness is gone, just like the coffee. I now taste wood, nutmeg and a little cocoa. The cocoa is slowly growing stronger towards the midst of the cigar. The chocolate is a great partner for the mild pepper and the hint of cedar. Near the end I taste nuts with a mint freshness.
The smoke is full, thick and white. The ash is dark gray, layered and firm. The burn is a little off, but not too much to grab the lighter to correct. The draw is just perfect. The cigar is medium to medium plus bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, great budget cigar!