Nicaraguan cigars

Todos Las Dias Toro

If you’re fluent in Spanish you might see the error in the name of the cigar, and brand owner/blender and industry legend Steve Saka explained in a facebook post a few months ago the story behind that name. Now I scrolled back on his Facebook posts but he’s so active that I couldn’t find it anymore, but it was a funny story about misunderstanding the language (which I, as a non Spanish speaker understand), trademarks and eventually using the wrong name as a tribute to a mentor and to bypass copyright laws.


Anyway, I was in Cigaragua in Amsterdam the day the cigars landed in The Netherlands and smoked one right out of the box. Since it was my third cigar of the day I could not do a review on the spot with my tainted taste buds but the next day Juan Martinez from Joya de Nicaragua gave me another cigar that I stashed away for a review, this one.


The wrapper is amazing, like dark coffee but with some sparkling minerals, oily and with only a few very thin veins, this cigar is a looker. That’s being magnified by the simple yet sophisticated rings, a diamond shaped ring in silver van black with a logo and beautiful decorations and a foot ring in the same colors with the Todos Las Dias name in a curly font. The cigar feels rock hard though, but without any softer spots so I figure that won’t be a problem. The head of the cigar is perfectly round. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of hay, grass and charred wood.


My Joya branded cutter is working overtime this week since it’s the 4th Joya made cigar in a row. The cold draw is on the tight side of good. I taste a sticky raw tobacco flavor with a little pepper. The cigar starts out smooth and a little sweetness and coffee. Slowly the flavors pick up, creamy chocolate with some pepper show up too. The cigar is smoother than I expected. After a third I still taste the creamy chocolate and pepper but now with a little splash of lime. Halfway I also taste an earthy flavor, still creamy. The final third starts woody with pepper and a mild salty flavor which is hard to describe. The pepper gets stronger and the dominant flavor.


The draw is great, the smoke is on the thin side though. The burn is straight. The ash is white with dark spots and firm. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored but still smooth. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Another winner from Steve Saka.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Todos Las Dias | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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: , , , , , | 1 Comment

La Sagrada Familia Maduro Robusto

Last year Tom Mulder, a cigar aficionado from The Netherlands, released his first cigar under the name La Sagrada Familia. I have known Tom for quite a few years and had we talked about his ideas years ago, and it was or is nice to see his dream come out. He partnered up with the oldest factory in Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua and released a three vitola series in The Netherlands, starting from there and will slowly but surely spread to other countries.


This year Tom will release a second line, the La Sagrada Familia Maduro and just as with the regular La Sagrada Familia there will be a small charity connected to the cigar, part of the proceeds go to projects in Nicaragua under the #bepartofthefamily hashtag. Last year it was a charity for single mothers that made a living by recycling paper, I don’t know what Tom’s next project will be. Anyhow, it’s good to see that some of the proceeds flow back to the people in Nicaragua that need our help most. If any of you out there want to help out in Nicaragua with a donation, please visit the website of my friend Asha who runs a charity in Nicaragua called Atrapa Suenos.


Back to the cigar, I smoked a pre-release but Tom told me the ring will be exactly the same as the ring on his core line, just black and gold, therefore I rate the ring the same as I rated the core line. The wrapper is dark and is leathery, both to the touch and to the eye. the triple cap is perfect but the cigar feels rock hard to the touch. Evenly hard though, so I don’t expect any problems with draw. The aroma is medium strong, earthy and leathery with something of a dark chocolate smell too.


I cut the cigar with my Joya de Nicaragua branded Xikar cutter which seemed appropriate considering the cigar is made there.  The cold draw is good and quite peppery. After lighting the cigar with my classic Ronson varaflame I taste peppery coffee, quite strong. After a few puffs it chances to chocolate with a little pepper though. After an inch the flavor is more toasty with a little cocoa. After a third I still taste some toast but with an earthy flavor and a very little lime. The final third is earthy with pepper. The cigar surely gets spicier, without becoming too spicy. The earthy flavor turns into something I would describe as carrot, that’s what comes closest.


The draw is great and the smoke is thick, full and white. The burn is straight as an arrow. The white ash is dense and firm. The cigar has a nice evolution. I would say this is a medium plus bodied cigar, full flavored. The smoke time is surprisingly long, almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, no doubt.

Score: 92
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your reviewer with Tom Mulder (La Sagrada Familia)

Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, La Sagrada Familia, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tatuaje Monster Mummy

It’s almost halloween, monster time, a yearly occurrence where grown ups dress up in scary or funny costumes, decorate their houses and where kids go trick or treat. It’s a typical American thing, thank god, although its spreading worldwide like an epidemic. And as you probably get from the intro I am not a big fan of Halloween. Here in The Netherlands we do have a similar thing called Carnaval, but again thank god, not in the area where I live but in the south of the country people dress up in weird costumes and get hammered for 5 days in a row, hold parades, cheat on their significant others and contract STD’s every year late winter and I hate it. Been there once to participate and didn’t like it at all. How about the kids you might ask? Well, on the 11th of the 11th, we call that Sint Maarten, they go trick or treat with little lanterns, singing songs and I love that.


But I found a good use for Halloween this year, since its about monsters I broke the seal on my Tatuaje Mummy, that’s the 2012 Monster Series version. I didn’t have the dress box, it comes from a plain box and it was the first year the Monster cigars officially made it to Europe, plain boxes only though. The only time a dress box made it to Europe was the Jekyll, the Tatuaje Monster of 2014 and we have only seen the 2012, 2013 and 2014 versions on the European market. This 7 3/4×47 long cigar is a Nicaraguan puro with a sun grown criollo wrapper and the blend is based on the Tatuaje Black Label, which is a cigar I love.


When I release the cigar from the cellophane wrapper I notice the closed foot and the brittle feel of the wrapper. The wrapper has a nice darkness to it and is rustic at the bottom half, the top half is more smooth and has a mild oily shine. The construction feels very good. The aroma is strong, a deep and dark manure smell. Then we come to the ring, Tatuaje always has very simple, slim rings and this cigar isn’t an exemption to the rule. Its gray with white lettering, the cursive Tatuaje as seen on all Tatuaje rings with thick letters MONSTER and HALLOWEEN on each side and the PHJ logo on the back of the ring.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is great, the right amount or resistance in air flow. I taste a medium strong pepper with a little lemon edge. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and I taste coffee, pepper and lemon with a little sugar like sweetness. The pepper slowly gets stronger. After an inch it’s all pepper with a lemon aftertaste but it’s not a super strong and overpowering pepper. After a third the peper does get that strong but with some cedar and a hint of cinnamon as a base flavor. The aftertaste is still a little lemon like acidic. Halfway the pepper mellows out a bit and the woody and cinnamon background gets more predominant. In the aftertaste I now get a little freshness. After two thirds i taste some nuts too, pecan and macadamia, with the pepper, a little lemon and the freshness.


The draw is perfect and the white smoke is thick and plentiful, like the Vatican when a new pope is elected. The ash is light gray with dark smears, dense and firm. The burn is almost straight. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is a little short for a long cigar, only an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? It was a limited edition from 2012 so that would be impossible. The cigar lost some points on esthetics but flavor wise I loved it.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Da Byrdman Boys Club

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Da Byrdman Boys club

 


The november edition, and unfortunately the last of the one Wild Bunch series I have, is named after Ashley Byrd, co-founder of the B&B cigar club in Washington. It’s a 6×54 Toro Gordo with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan tobaccos. The wrapper is dark, I can see some stripper glitter from the minerals but also two thick veins. The construction feels good and the ring is consistent with the rest of the series, I like them very much, all of them. The aroma is a strong stable aroma with ammonia like the hay is drenched in urine and is in dire need of replacement.

 


I punched the cigar and get a great cold draw with a sultana flavor. After lighting I taste a spiced coffee. After a few puffs the cigar is floral and vanilla sweet. After a third the cigar changes, now I taste dry herbs with still vanilla. The cigar stays dry and turns to dry wood, mild spicy, cumin and peppery.

 


The draw is fantastic. The firm ash is light gray. The white smoke is thick and full. The burn is straight as can be. This cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? Again that would be impossible.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Gearhead Gary Crankshaft


September brought us the Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft, a 6×52 torpedo with a Habano Maduro wrapper from Ecuador over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The wrapper has the color of autumn leaves and is oily. The ring fits the rest of the series and the cigar feels well packed, the shape of the torpedo is flawless. The cigar doesn’t only have the look of autumn leaves, it even smells like a forest in the fall, I imagine an early morning hike and smelling this.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is a little on the loose side. I taste a mild spicy hay with a peppery aftertaste. After lighting I taste a full coffee with cedar and some sweetness. The sweetness is getting stronger quickly. After a third I taste spices and herbs with a little metallic aftertaste. Halfway the cigar gets a nutmeg and fennel flavor. The final third starts sweet again but with cedar and spices. Near the end I get a dry feeling in my mouth with dried herbs as flavor with some floral notes.


The draw is a little easy but within margins. The smoke is thick and full. The light colored ash is quite firm. The burn is straight. I would call this cigar medium full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, but I would like to.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Fast Eddie Eight Ball

Ortega Wild Bunch
Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Fast Eddie Eight Ball


Is it a faith or just a stroke of coincidence that the Fast Eddie is released in August? I mean, August is my birth month and Fast Eddie is a 6 1/2×38 Lancero, my favorite vitola. Made with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler this cigar is the thinest of the series. The ring is in the same style as the others and has an 8 ball between Fast and Eddie on the banner. The wrapper has a sharp vein on the top half, a beautiful pig tail and a beautiful dark chocolate color with a leather look. The cigar feels well packed. The aroma is medium full, a little ammonia with dry grass and a hint of barnyard.


Due to the thin ring I could not punch the cigar so I cut it. The cold draw is fine, I taste spicy sultana. After lighting I taste a nice medium strong spice mix with a little pepper in the aftertaste. The flavor is smooth and slowly turns to toast, chocolate with nutmeg and a little pepper. Halfway the cigar gets a floral flavor with some toast and a mild pepper. Near the end the pepper grows.


The draw is good and the ash is white, dense and firm. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness.  The cigar is medium bodied and medium to full flavored, subtle and complex with a good burn. The smoke time of this smooth cigar is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? If only that was possible

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Wild Bill Cheroot

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

 

Wild Bill Cheroot


Wild Bill Cheroot is a 6×46 Corona Gorda with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan filler and binder. The ring is in the same style and with an ace of spades between Wild & Bill at the bottom banner. The wrapper is nice dark with a thin vein, quite oily and a velvet feel. The cigar feels well packed and the little pig tail makes the cigar a looker. The aroma is quite strong and smells a lot like a spice mix that you smell when you’re walking passed Asian street food in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is flawless and mild spicy. After lighting I taste a nice spiced coffee. The flavor changes to a pleasant toast with spices, pepper and vanilla. The flavors are very smooth and balanced. Halfway the pepper grows in strength. Slowly a mild acidity shows up too. The pepper becomes really strong and overpowering, that it disturbs the balance.


The draw is amazing and it results in a thick full smoke. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The burn is good. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a nice cigar and if I would be able to get a few I would, but would smoke them in the morning.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Dandy McCoy Empire State

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Dandy McCoy Empire State


The may release of the Wild Bunch is the Dandy McCoy, a 6×48 box pressed toro with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler from Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua. The wrapper is dark, has clear veins and a lot of tooth, it feels like leather and looks a bit like it too. The ring has a cartoon of Mr. McCoy, and I have to admit, I have no idea who this is based on, in the same style as the other releases. The cigar feels a little under filled to be honest but the smoke time should tell of it is or not. The aroma is medium full, slightly acidic and woody.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is great. I taste floral flavors, mild and fresh. After lighting I taste a mixture of coffee, hay and toast. Soon I taste toast with sweetness, like sugar water. The second third the cigar starts to feel dry with sweetness, nutmeg, carrot and straw. Halfway I taste coffee again with some dark chocolate. There is a honey like sweetness.


The draw is amazing and the smoke is thick, full and white. The firm ash is gray and leans to the side. The burn is even. The medium bodied, full flavored cigar has a smoke time of an hour and fifteen minutes.

Ortega
Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, not the best Wild Bunch.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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