Joya de Nicaragua

Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco

When I was working for the largest independent cigar importer & distributer of The Netherlands one of the brands we handled was Joya de Nicaragua, and the best sellers were the very inexpensive Clasico, Rosalones and Cabinetta series, way better than the still very affordable Antaño and Antaño Dark Corojo lines. So when Joya de Nicaragua released their Cuatro Cinco to celebrate their 45 years in the industry my employer just looked at the prices and said “an 8 euro Joya, lets not do that, that price is way off compared to the 3 euro Clasico of 5 euro Antaño.”. Now a few weeks later I went on my first trip to Nicaragua and one of the factories I visited was Joya de Nicaragua. Juan Martinez welcomed me, we sat down in the conference room where a box of each of their offerings was displayed and asked “do you want to smoke something?”. I said “I don’t see the cuatro cinco, I would love to try that one and I would love a sample for my employer”. Juan got me a box, and the day I got back home, I drove to my employers shop, handed him the box, he smoked one and ordered every box that Joya still had in stock, not that that was a lot, only 80 boxes of the 4500 made were left so I handed him that sample right on time. Today is The Sandinista Revolution day, and since the factory has so much history with the rise of the Sandinista’s, it feels like a good day to publish this review today.


The cigar is a 6×54 toro extra, slightly box pressed and made completely from Nicaraguan tobacco, a true puro. The cigars were so popular that the company tweaked the blend a little, going from a all Nicaraguan cigar to a mostly Nicaraguan cigar with barrel aged ligero fillers, a Dominican volcano binder and the same wrapper as the original release. The new cuatro cinco reserva especial isn’t a limited edition, but will be produced in low numbers on a continues basis and is available in four vitolas instead of the just one in the original cuatro cinco release. I will be reviewing one of the reserva especial too in a later stage.


The ring is something special, they are actually two rings but on top of each other. The bottom ring is a bit bigger than the upper ring so you can see the golden ring with the white Joya de Nicaragua logos stick out on both the top and bottom side of the black ring. Now in the reserva especial this has changed to a silver bottom ring. The black ring has a golden Joya de Nicaragua logo with 4 horizontal lines on each side, one side says 1968 and the other one 2013. Above the logo is says edition limitada in cursive letters and underneath the logo it says cuatro cinco in big letters. This also changed with the reserva especial into white letters and a white logo with some golden details. This is how you can tell the difference when you see the cigars in the shop, and if you find the golden one, get it! On the inside of the ring, and I know this from previous cuatro cincos I smoked, you will find a drawing of either some vulcanos as a tribute to Nicaragua, hands as a tribute to the rollers or the factory. The clark wrapper feels silky and looks amazing with no visible big veins. The construction feels very good and the barnyard aroma is quite strong.


I punched the cigar and got a great cold draw with a pretty strong raisin flavor. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste some earthy flavor, leather, coffee and cocoa. After half a centimeter I taste cedar, spices and a little chocolate. After half an inch it’s cedar with a little nutmeg and pepper. After a third I also taste a mild sugar. Halfway I taste walnut with pepper. Slowly the pepper is getting stronger. At the end I taste cedar with the pepper.


The draw is close to perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is dense and firm, dark gray in color. The burn is good although I needed a touch up halfway. The smoke is thick and great in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, well balanced and plenty of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible but I’ll settle for the reserva especial instead.

Score: 92
92

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Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Lancero

When I was in Nicaragua in 2015 our group, consisting of journalist Marcel Langedijk, photographer Jesaja Hizkia, my then employer Sasja and me, visited Joya de Nicaragua. Marcel and Jesaja were there for the Cigaragua book while Sasja and I were just visiting our partners. And while we were walking through the factory I noticed boxes of Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 lanceros. I’m a huge lancero fan, Sasja hates them, I look at them from a cigar geek point of view and Sasja looks as a salesman and lanceros are hard to find but I managed to convince him to order 50 boxes anyway with the promise I would sell them all. And I did, but I kept 1 box for myself.


The Antaño 1970 once was the official cigar of the Nicaraguan government and it was considered one of the strongest cigars in the world before the rat race in the early 2010’s to make the strongest cigar possible. Its a Nicaraguan puro with filler from three important tobacco regions, Jalapa, Condega and Esteli and an Habano Criollo wrapper. This 7 1/2×38 lancero is one of the 10 vitolas in which this blend is used.


The wrapper is dark and has a few scars, but thats cool for a mean and strong cigar like this. The ring is simple yet clean, golden with a red and white circle with the Joya logo and a small black banner saying Antano. The cigar feels good, has a nice pig tail but the shape looks a little rough. Again, that fits with the whole “damn strong cigar” motto so I don’t mind. The aroma is strong, floral notes with pepper and manure is what I smell.


I used my Joya de Nicaragua branded cutter, a gift from Juan Martinez, to remove the cap of this skinny cigar. The cold draw is a bit tight with a nice nutmeg and mild peppery flavor. After lighting I taste cinnamon and spices, with a little sweetness. It’s almost like a gingerbread cookie. The flavor then slowly changes to more earthy with some spices. I also taste some very dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. The pepper is getting stronger. There is a mild burning sensation on the top of my tongue. Halfway the flavors remind me of rucola with a bit of a charred barbecue taste. Soon after there’s also lemon. The dark chocolate is subtle yet dominant in the aftertaste. The final third starts with an unusual flavor I never tasted before, salty French fries, just for a few puffs though, then the cigar turns to lemon again. The end of very peppery and strong.


The draw is good. The smoke is thick and full. The light ash is dense but not firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have almost a full box left.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Joya Red Half Corona

You might think “hey, its not a Sunday, not a Wednesday nor the 15th of the month, why a review today?” and here’s why. Today my beautiful and lovely wife turns another page and celebrates her birthday, so a great opportunity to review her favorite cigar, the Joya Red Half Corona. When I met my wife she had never smoked a cigar, she’s a cigarette smoker, but open minded enough to try a cigar as she wanted to share my passion with me. She smoked a few cigars, but even a robusto is too big for her as a cigarette smoker so once I gave her this Joya Red half corona it hit the spot, not too big so she can finish it, not too strong that she can’t handle it and still very flavorful. So last year, as a gift, I gave her a box of her own and she bought another box for herself too.


Joya de Nicaragua is the oldest still operating cigar factory, they have a great history and it is a true Nicaraguan company, every employee has a Nicaraguan passport. They have always been big on the international markets, especially eastern Europe due to the Nicaraguan embargo that took place during the reign of the sandinistas and Joya had a very classic, traditional way of doing things and their reputation was also one of tradition. It came to much of a surprise that they partnered up with the least traditional cigar company in the world, Drew Estate, for distribution in the USA and that new style of doing things rubbed off on Joya a bit with the creation of the modern, hip look of the Joya Red, a medium bodied Nicaraguan puro that got released in 2014.


this 3 3/4×46 Half Corona wasn’t included in the original release but became the first and so far only line addition. I smoked several vitolas of the Joya Red but always liked this one best. And its a nice small cigar, perfect for when you don’t have a long time but if you happen to have plenty of time, they are afforable enough to smoke two. The cigar has a smooth mocha colored wrapper with a mild lacquer shine. The construction feels good and the triple cap has been applied perfectly. The aroma surprises me every time, I smell some licorice but also chocolate instead of a barnyard aroma. And then the ring, such a contrast with the traditional Joya de Nicaragua rings, this one is modern, quite large, red (do’h) with golden lining on the bottom and the top, golden lettering saying Joya de Nicaragua on top and Hencho a mano en esteli at the bottom and centre in big white letters and golden shading JOYA red. On the back, that doesn’t end straight but with an arrow there’s the Joya logo in gold. On the inside of the ring it says Rediscover Joya.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste some dry raisins, a little bit of hay and some pepper. After lighting the cigar with my Ronson varaflame I taste coffee with some leather. The flavors have just the right amount of bitterness. After a few puffs the coffee disappears and the flavors are now a mixture of different spices like nutmeg, cumin and cinnamon with a lemon aftertaste. Halfway I still taste all the spices but now with a little sweetness and a little cocoa bitterness. A strong pepper shows up in the aftertaste.


The smoke is thick and white, I get a nice amount of it too. The draw is close to perfect. The ash is light gray and you can see all the layers while the burn is straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored with a nice evolution and a great strength flavor ratio. The smoke time is 45 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I love them, my wife loves them so there will always be a box in stock.

Score: 93
93

Categories: 93, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Reserva Robusto

Yesterday I published my review of the 2005 limited edition Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 Gran Reserva, a name that surfaced again in 2017 as a new release by Joya de Nicaragua, not as a limited edition this time but as a full, three vitola, line with an updated blend and updated artwork. The blend is all Nicaraguan tobacco, all aged for a minimum of five years.


A week before the Intertabac trade show I ran into Juan Martinez at the Cigaragua store in Amsterdam, a shop that sells only Nicaraguan cigars, a concept that in my opinion can grow bigger than the La Casa del Habano franchises and Juan handed me the new Joya Antano 1970 Gran Reserva and a Todos Las Dias by Steve Saka, which is made at the Joya factory too. I will review the Todos Las Dias in a few days.


There is a difference in rings, the new version has a slightly clearer picture but the Antano name is easier to read and the sides of the ring are cleaner, the secondary ring is golden with red and white line and black letters and looks so much better than the old ring. The dark wrapper, with a vein running over the front, feels velvet like to the touch. The cigar is evenly packed and beautifully finished. The cigar has a strong aroma, hay, straw and some smokey barbecue aroma.


I cut the cigar and how else than with my Joya de Nicaragua branded cutter. The cold draw is great, it’s a little peppery. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste coffee, pepper and herbs. After a few puffs the flavor changes to an earthy chocolate with some creamy sweetness. After a third I taste a strong pepper bit a vanilla cream background and a minty aftertaste. Halfway it’s pepper, cream and a little earthy flavor, smooth but strong. With little over an inch to go I taste a nice charred wood, with a mellow pepper and the flavors are creamy.


The draw is good and the smoke is plentiful but only medium thick.  The color is grayish. The burn is straight as an arrow. The ash had a yellowish glow but its firm. Even though this is a strong cigar, full bodied and full flavored, it’s balanced so the strength isn’t out of range with the flavor. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a treat, new to the market and I have no doubt it will do great.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Reserva Torpedo

I love Joya de Nicaragua and one thing I like is the different way they are perceived by different continents. In Amerika they are known for their strong cigars yet in Europe their mild Clasico blend is the one they are famous for. Yet they cover the whole spectrum, from mild with the Clasico and Cabinetta, to strong with the Antano and Antano Dark Corojo, from classic with the old lines to modern and fresh with the Joya Red and Black, from budget friendly with the Rosalones to ultra premium with the Cuatro Cinco and all without breaking the bank.


Back in 2005 Joya de Nicaragua released a limited edition of their acclaimed Antano 1970 line, the Antano 1970 Gran Reserva, don’t ask me how but I have one in my humidor, a 6×54 torpedo. And when Juan Martinez handed me the new release, which is a different blend as he said, I decided to review both the old one and the new one back to back, two days in a row, starting with the vintage one.


The wrapper is dark, oily and has a few veins, it looks like an Antano wrapper should look, intimidating. The ring is the recognizable Joya de Nicaragua ring yet an older version, the new line has an updated ring with some minor changes. The secondary ring is simple, red with black outlines and black letters. As always with Joya de Nicaragua, the construction is flawless. After 12 years most of the aroma is gone I guess, I smell a mild minty and peppery aroma.


How else can I decap this cigar than with my Joya de Nicaragua branded Xikar cutter? The cold draw is perfect, spicy but also fresh. After lighting the cigar with my soft flame lighter I taste a pleasant smooth roasted coffee flavor. After a centimeter the cigar gets peppery and strong, just like expected. After a third the cigar is earthy with pepper and herbs. A very nice, balanced pepper, string but not overpowering. Halfway the pepper tones down, I taste an earthy dark chocolate. The final third is earthy, with a little pepper and some lime, very balanced and pleasant.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick, it’s full and bright white. The burn needed a touch up, and the light gray ash is firm after it broke off at the start. The cigar is full bodied, very full bodied, yet very balanced and then strength isn’t too much of an issue. The flavors are full too. The smoke time of two hours is very long.

Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible since it’s a 12 year old limited edition.

Score: 90
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your reviewer with Juan Martinez (Joya de Nicaragua)

Categories: 90, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Rosalones Reserva Robusto

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!

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Joya Black Robusto

Joya de Nicaragua is the oldest factory in Estelí, Nicaragua with a huge history. I’ve been blessed and had the opportunity to visit the factory several times (including a trip for the Cigaragua book by Marcel Langedijk and Jesaja Hutubessy). In 2014 Joya de Nicaragua tried to rejuvenate their look to attract a new group of aficionados with the release of the Joya Red, a cigar with a modern look and feel and it was very well received. The next step is the Joya black, a little stronger version of the Red with a Mexican San Andres Negro wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers and binder with the same sort of artwork as the Joya Red but in black of course. I smoked a few pre-releases at an event in the Netherlands a few months prior to the release at the ipcpr 2016. The 5¼x50 robusto that I’m smoking for this review I got from Juan Martínez at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund. And to keep it all in theme I’m using my Joya de Nicaragua branded Xikar cutter and my Joya de Nicaragua stinky ashtray painted by Subculture Studios.

Let’s start with the band, that has certainly the look and feel of the successful Joya Red. The band is modern but in a way that also honors the history and the historic artwork of the older Joya de Nicaragua blends. The wrapper is dark and have a few veins, it’s evenly dark. The construction feels good, no soft spots or plugs. The cigar has a distinct aroma, barnyard but with a burned wood finish. The cold draw is good, a little of the tight side of good. I taste some dry dark chocolate.

Since I don’t have a Joya branded lighter I used my trusted vintage Ronson varaflame to light the cigar, which was pretty easy. I taste a bit of a smoky barbecue flavor, not fire cured barbecue but still. There’s also a little sugar like sweetness. The sweetness gets stronger while the barbecue fades away and makes place for a grilled chili pepper flavor.

After a third I taste the sugary sweetness (which is mild and balanced) with some wood and toast. Halfway the wood gets stronger and there is a tangy citrus flavor on my tongue. After two thirds I also taste a minty freshness in the aftertaste. The mild sugar returns near the end too.

The smoke is white, thick and abundant, 100% score on the smoke and it makes my air cleaner work overtime. The burn is good, a little crooked at the start but it corrects itself. The ash is white and quite firm. The draw is better after lighting than in the cold draw. The smoke time is about 90 minutes. I would call this cigar medium plus to full.

Would I buy this cigar again? I think I prefer the Joya Red, especially the half corona which is an amazing cigar.

Score 89

89

Categories: 89, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Clasico Toro

This review is part of a challenge, normally I wouldn’t review this cigar as it has a Connecticut shade wrapper and that wrapper and I just don’t get along.

The wrapper is beautiful, light and thin with a few veins. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is that of a barnyard. The predraw is fine, and I taste pepper.
I taste a classic Connecticut shade mustiness with some pepper. After three puffs I taste sweet wood with some pepper on the background. The mustiness stays but gets company from citrus after a centimeter.

After a third I taste pepper with some wood, halfway the cigar gets spicier but the mustiness stays. After two thirds the cigar gets sharp with pepper, wood and the mustiness. It gets better but it’s still not my cup of tea.

 

The draw is fine and I get a nice amount of smoke. The light gray ash is reasonably firm. The burn us beautiful. This mild cigar lasted me an hour and 45 minutes

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Would I buy this cigar again? No, I just don’t like Connecticut shade. If you do, I would buy it as the quality is great and the price is amazing.

 

Appearance: 7
Construction: 8
Draw: 9
Burn: 9
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 5
Aroma second part: 6
Aroma third part:  7
Categories: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Petit Corona

In last weeks review I explained how I got these pre release cigars, and the double robusto blew me away. Today I decided to light the petit corona from the same blend to see if it’s just as good the double robusto.

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I like smaller ringed cigars but I must admit, the appearance of the double robusto looks more impressing than this petit corona. This cigar still looks awesome, dark, not much veins, beautiful and big band, triple cap. The stable smell is amazing. Predraw is perfect and I taste raisin.
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I taste coffee with pepper and some sweetness, lots of coffee. The sweetness is replaced with a citrus sourness, nice and fresh.After a third its wood and pepper, amazing how different a blend can taste in another vitola. Pepper slowly gets stronger with a herbal aftertaste. Halfway the nutty flavor I tasted in the double robusto shows up.
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It’s mostly pepper from this point, with some wood and some nuts. Wood grows in strength, nuts are gone, pepper is still there. Cigar can’t be nubbed like the double robusto. One last blast of pepper and it’s done
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The draw is fine and the smoke is thick. Not as white and thick as the double robusto, but still more than acceptable. The ash is silver gray and reasonable firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar lasted me 55 minutes.

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Would I buy this again? Yes, for the shorter smoke opportunities, but when I have plenty time I’ll go for the double robusto, which surprises me because of my love for smaller ring gauges.

Appearance: 8
Construction: 9
Draw: 9
Burn: 9
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 8
Aroma second part: 7
Aroma third part: 7

Categories: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Double Robusto

If you’re hanging with someone in 4 countries, share stories and invite them to your home for a barbecue and a smoke, you can consider him a friend. I had the pleasure to hang with Juan Martinez from Joya de Nicaragua in my home country of The Netherlands, in his home country of Nicaragua and in Germany & the USA and last Sunday we barbecued at my place. He gave me a few of the yet unreleased cuatro cinco reserva especial cigars from Joya de Nicaragua that will be released at the IPCPR next week.

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The cigar is a tweaked blend of the limited edition cuatro cinco from 2013. The main difference is a Dominican binder instead of the Nicaraguan binder used in the original blend. I smoked a torpedo in the car, that was awesome so I decided to review the 3 vitolas I have gotten, only the toro review will have to wait.
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A dark wrapped box pressed cigar that looks like a candy bar with a stylish and big black band, actually 2 bands over each other, with subtitle Joya de Nicaragua logos printed on the bottom band. The cigar has a strong barnyard aroma and a nice predraw, little bit spicy and some raisin.

There is honey like sweetness and plenty white pepper straight from the get go, but the pepper isn’t too strong or unbalanced. I also taste toast and cinnamon.
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After a quarter of an inch I taste wood and toast with a little sweetness. Plenty of flavor, so far I love this cigar. A quarter of an inch later I taste nutty flavor, I love that, I love nuts but I’m sensitive to them so can’t eat them often, this cigar gives me the flavor without the side effects of real nuts.

After a third nuts with green spices and some pepper. Soon there is also a little citrus flavor joining the nuts, spices and pepper.
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The last part is nutty with pepper, citrus is almost gone. Toasty flavor is back. Pepper slowly gets stronger, this cigar is smokable to the nub

The cigar gave me lots of thick white smoke. The ash is silver gray and firm, when it breaks it still stays firm. This cigar is full flavored, medium plus bodied. Draw is perfect, as is the construction. Burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke time for me was an hour and 20 minutes.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, boxes and boxes of them.


Appearance: 9
Construction: 9
Draw: 9
Burn: 10
Smoke & ash: 9
Aroma first part: 9
Aroma second part: 9
Aroma third part: 8

Categories: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , ,

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