Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua

Joya de Nicaragua, Esteli, Nicaragua

Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas Diadema

That’s one of the two vitolas that Joya de Nicaragua released of this blend. And the Cinco Decadas stands for the 50th anniversary of the factory. Opened in 1968 and still standing. It’s the oldest factory in Nicaragua and carries a lot of history. Even though the factory has been renovated and restored after the revolution, there are still bullet holes in the building. During the renovation, those were preserved. To remind everybody about that era, from 1979 to 1990. Esteli was one of the epicenters of the revolution. And the Joya de Nicaragua factory was the highest building in town. So it was used as a sniper outpost, and therefore being shot at a lot too. Yet the building survived, and Joya de Nicaragua is bigger and stronger than ever.

Last year, at the 50th birthday of Joya de Nicaragua, the company released a book. And this line. Both called Cinco Decadas, five decades. The book was written by Nick Hammond, click here for an interview. Joya de Nicaragua did not reveal much about the cigar. They only said that some of their best Nicaraguan tobacco is used in the blend. But not what kind of tobacco. Or if it’s a 100% Nicaraguan cigar. There are only two vitolas, this diadema, and a 7×50 Churchill. Again with a link to history, as these are vitolas rolled back in the day as well. The cigars have been received well, with scores high in the 90 by several established magazines and blogs.


The cigar is dark. And oily. With a beautiful wrapper, smooth yet intimidating. The shape is fantastic with a beautiful pointy head. The creme colored ring with golden details and the name in red is classic yet modern, it fits the brand and the blend. The construction feels good. The aroma is medium strong, And it smells like hay or straw in a musty shed.


The cold draw is great, even though only a small part was clipped. There are some leather and some sweetness in the cold draw. As well as a raw tobacco flavor. From the moment the cigar is lit, it’s all coffee. Strong, dark roast coffee. Then it turns to coffee, pepper, leather, and chocolate. This cigar starts strong. There are subtle hints of hay, sweetness, wood, and spices, that all come and go with each puff. The flavors are well balanced. After third, dark chocolate with coffee become the main flavors. Supported by leather and pepper. And sweetness best compared to dried fruits. All balanced by nice citrus acidity. Slowly a little mustiness shows up, but it’s not a Connecticut Shade mustiness. It’s different. The last third starts with a balanced, complex, dark chocolate flavor and pepper. The mouthfeel is creamy. There’s a hint of vanilla in the smoke too. There’s also that citrus acidity and some hay. A mild salty flavor is there as well.

The draw is fantastic. The smoke is good, but a little thicker and more voluminous would have been fitting. The ash is white in color. Unfortunately, it’s not very firm. The burn is straight and slow. Keep puffing though, to keep the cigar lit. This is not a cigar you can rest and come back to a few minutes later. This cigar is full bodied, full flavored. Joya wanted to create something special for their 50th anniversary and clearly succeeded.

Would I buy this cigar again? Even though it has a high price, I want a box.

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Categories: 95, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tobacco Lords Speirs

Alexander Speirs was one of the biggest tobacco traders from Glasgow. And Glasgow was once the epicenter of the European tobacco trade. During the mid of the American revolution, approximately half of all tobacco in Western Europe was stored in Glasgow. And Alexander Speirs owned twenty percent of that. Most of it came from his own plantations in Virginia. He was not only influential in Europe, but his brother in law was nobody less than George Washington. He married the sister of George Washington’s wife.


The Scottish cigar and liquor shop Robert Graham 1874 created this cigar. For that, they worked with Joya de Nicaragua. And they came up with two blends. One Maduro and one Natural. With their Scottish blood, they used the Tobacco Lords history to create the name. The cigars don’t carry the name of the size, but the name of one of the tobacco lords from the 1770s. The Maduro robusto is named after Alexander Speirs.

The wrapper is matt. The rings look good. Red with silver lettering and a black circle with a sailing ship. The foot ring is red with the name of the tobacco lord in white. The cigar looks good, feels good and smells good. The aroma is strong. And it’s a mixture of dark chocolate with straw and wood.


The cold draw is perfect. The flavor is weird, pleasant but weird. Black licorice with some raw tobacco and soil. Unusual. Once lit, it’s an instant ground coffee, leather and soil flavor mix. With a dry mouthfeel. On the background, there’s a little milk chocolate sweetness. After a few puffs, it’s all coffee with marzipan. After a centimeter, the cigar turns to green herbs and hay. The cigar evolves into more grassy with green herbs. And the mouthfeel is more buttery. After a third, its a creamy, grassy, wooden, and leathery taste. A little chocolate shows up too, very faint. And walnuts. There’s also a little bit of pepper. In the final third, the nuts pick up in strength. The flavors are all nuts, leather and a bit of citrus.

The draw is phenomenal. Just the right amount of resistance. And that helps to create thick smoke. The burn is a bit off but manages to correct itself each time. The ash is light colored. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. Well balanced and smooth. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, they are worth it.

number93

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

Charatan Robusto

Tor Imports is one of the several distributors of premium cigars in the United Kingdom. Probably the most important independent distributor of New World cigars. They carry a whole range of well-known brands, but they also have a private label blend. Not just cigar, but also pipe tobacco. The name of the brand? Charatan, house of Edgeworth. Tor Imports owner Scott Vines shared some samplers with Ministry of Cigars during the 2018 Intertabac Trade show. A few were saved for review purposes.

The cigars are made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. And there’s a similarity with the Tobacco Lords for Robert Graham 1874. Not coincidentally, as Tor Imports is a supplier of Robert Graham. And imports and distributes the Tobacco Lords cigars in the United Kingdom. Tor Imports didn’t reveal a lot about the blend. After online searches, we believe that this cigar is a Nicaraguan puro.

The first thing that stands out is the ring. White with gold and a very Davidoff feel to it. Which was copied by MBombay’s MQBA as well. And because of the dots around the logo, there’s some Rocky Patel in there as well. The Colorado colored wrapper is a bit dry. The different color of the fillers can be seen clearly in the foot of the cigar. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong. It’s strong hay and straw smell.

The cold draw is a bit tight, with a grass and hay taste. A little spicy as well. From the start, the cigar is nutty, earthy, and toasty. Some sweetness shows up too and there is also some grassiness. The flavors are smooth, not very outspoken. But they are there and they are good. After a third, some pepper shows up. It’s earthy, mildly spicy, with some sweetness and nuts. The nut flavor is mild though. The flavors are all well balanced. The nuts disappear halfway, it’s now mainly earthy with pepper and some acidity. Near the end, the nuttiness returns.

The draw is on the tight side of good. The smoke is decent. The ash is light colored and firm. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The cigar is nice, yet not very exciting. The smoke time is an incredible two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I will. A single every now and then

number90

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

Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer

Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer. Last February, Ministry of Cigars broke the news that Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust would make their first international store exclusive for Cigaragua. He would make 200 boxes of 13 Bullet Head Gordos called Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer. The name of the cigar is a tribute to the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, where Cigaragua is located. And citizens from Amsterdam are Amsterdammers. The cigars were released yesterday at a launching event, which was Steve Saka’s first-ever international event for Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust.

The wrapper for this cigar is grown in Mexico in the same way as Japanese fruit growers grow their crops. The bottom leaves are removed, forcing more nutrients to the top. That creates bolder wrappers. The binder comes from Ecuador and the fillers from Nicaragua. The cigar is made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

The cigar has a Celtic looking ring and a cedar sleeve. The cedar sleeve says Sin Comprimoso but that’s all the info. If you don’t know anything about this cigar, the ring and packaging won’t tell you anything either. The bullet head looks great and the wrapper is dark and smooth. It’s actually quite intimidating to see. The cigar is also slightly box pressed. It feels good, with the right amount of bounce. The aroma has hints of charred wood.

The cigar starts out with a very unusual wooden flavor, with some sweetness. And some barnyard flavors, soil. The flavors evolve to more wet soil with some orange peel. It changes to burned wood. It burns a little on the tongue, a slight harshness but it’s not unpleasant. Some dark chocolate shows up too, and it makes the mouthfeel a bit creamy. The burned wood stays the predominant flavor in the first part. After a third, I taste some peanuts with the burned wood. Halfway it’s all soil with almond paste or marzipan sweetness. Rustic is a great word to describe this cigar. The sweetness gets stronger. The burned wood remains the main flavor, but now with nuts. Walnut and hazelnut. And finally some pepper too. There’s some vanilla in the retrohale.

The ash is beautifully white and firm. The burn isn’t quite perfect but doesn’t need correcting yet. The draw is amazing, perfectly rolled. The smoke is good. This cigar is full-flavored, heavy flavors but in fact, this is a medium-bodied cigar. The smoke time is one hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it, it’s unique for sure. But I don’t like the size, so no.

number92

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

Joya Silver Robusto

I always had a soft spot for Joya de Nicaragua. Ever since I smoked my first Antaño 1970, which was one of the strongest cigars available back then. And that soft spot grew once I got to know the company better when we became the official distributor for The Netherlands. I even visited the factory in Esteli twice.

Now, this Joya Silver is the latest release. Nicaraguan filler, Mexican binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper make up this box pressed cigar. It’s the third installment of the ‘color’ series which started with the Joya Red, followed by the Joya Black and now the Joya Silver. I have not smoked this cigar prior to the review.


The box pressed cigar looks nice. The Habano wrapper has a nice color, even though the wrapper doesn’t seem very oily. The ring has a fresh, modern design. A white ring with silver letters and the Joya logo in red. Classy yet contemporary. The cigar feels well made. The aroma is strong, deep and complex. I smell leather, horses, soil and those kinds of aromas.


The cold draw is good, the flavors are pepper on the lips and raisin on the palate. I immediately taste cedar, leather, spices with a dash of citrus. There’s also some salt. The spices remind me of a bit of gingerbread. After half a centimeter I taste some sweetness too, mild though, with the gingerbread and the cedar. Halfway I also taste some pepper, wood, leather, and soil. The final third still has that nice gingerbread spice, with some leather and mild pepper. Later on, some spiced sweetness shows up too with some toast.


The smoke is incredible, so thick, so full. The draw is good. The ash is light colored but not firm. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, always good to have them around
number91

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

Tobacco Lords Cunninghame

Robert Graham 1874 is probably the oldest liquor and tobacco shop in Scotland. And in 2017, they decided to have their own cigars made. They reached out to Joya de Nicaragua and together they created two blends. The Tobacco Lords Maduro and Tobacco Lords Natural. The name refers to the historical tobacco merchants from the 1770s, who were all based in Glasgow. And they were important. At a certain moment in time, half of all the tobacco in Western Europe was stored in Glasgow. And owned by the tobacco lords.

 


One of those lords was William Cunninghame. And he was a man or low morale. Born in 1731, he went to the USA as an apprentice at the age of 15. He quickly climbed the ranks and when he went back to Glasgow in 1762, he was the manager of a huge tobacco plantation. He became a partner in the company. But in his megalomanic world, that wasn’t enough. So he changed the name of the company to his name. Their huge sailing ship was named Cunninghame as well. He wanted his name on everything. Besides tobacco, he bought and sold human slaves. And he bought tobacco cheap by squeezing the growers dry. He sailed luxury items to the United States, sold them on credit to the tobacco farmers. And then used that credit to purchase the tobacco way below market value. He retired at the age of 49. And 218 years after his death, he has another thing with his name on it. The Robusto size of the Tobacco Lords Natural

 

The cigar has a dark shade for Connecticut Shade. The cigar is well-formed, with a nice rounded head. The wrapper has some veins, it’s not the prettiest wrapper around. The construction feels good. The cigar has a strong aroma. It’s like standing in a hay shed, but at the end of winter. Not a fresh hay smell, but hay from a few months old.

 

The cold draw is fine. And I am certain it is a Connecticut shade wrapper now because of the musty yet spicy flavor. The first flavor is musty sweetness, classic Connecticut Shade. It changes to spice sweetness with the classic mustiness. After a centimeter, the flavors are still musty with sweetness, but now with added leather. And a mild creamy mouthfeel. After a third, I taste faint milky chocolate. That fades away quickly and it is sweet and musty again. With sometimes some leather, sometimes some wood. But all mild. Near the end, I suddenly taste a very floral flavor.

 


The draw is good. The ash is white and firm. The smoke is good. The burn is flawless. This is a medium bodied, medium flavored cigars. There is some evolution, but it’s not a lot. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? Nope!

 

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Categories: 86, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Tobacco Lords | Tags: , , , , ,

Merciless Toro by JdN

Up until recently, I had never heard of this cigar even though I’m a fan of Joya de Nicaragua. I had never heard of it because it’s a house blend for the American based online retailer Famous Smoke. But I ran into them when I was browsing the website of Malaysian retailer Borneo Cigars. I was placing an order anyway, so I added these.

The cigars utilize Nicaraguan fillers with a Dominican binder and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The only vitola Borneo Cigars was selling was the 6×50 Toro. The price was really good, around 5 euro per cigar, so I decided to pull the trigger and get myself a few. I mean, I was placing an order anyway so why not add a few from one of my favorite factories?

The wrapper is dark, rough and intimidating. With the reputation of Joya de Nicaragua producing strong cigars, the name, and the looks, this cigar is intended to strike fear. The wrapper feels like fine leather. The construction is flawless and the ring is gorgeous. Black with silver and a popping red. The aroma is strong, manure is what I smell.

The cold draw is fine, with a spicy and dry raw tobacco and raisin flavor. Right from the start, I taste dry leather with coffee. I also taste mushrooms and oak. After a few puffs, the cigar gets more of a soil and cedar flavor, with a little salt. The mouthfeel is dry. The cigar leans very much to the wood, earth, and vegetal spectrum of the flavor wheel. After a centimeter, I taste some nutmeg and cumin, with some milk chocolate sweetness. I also get some metallic flavors. The milk chocolate gets stronger and finally, I taste some pepper too. After a third, I taste some toast with roasted almonds and sugar. The pepper is still there. The second third starts sweeter, but it’s aspartame sweetness. I also taste some citrus. Halfway the cigar is earthy, woody with milk chocolate and citrus. The cigar has some butter creaminess to it now. In the final third, the chocolate is getting stronger supported by some leather. The mouthfeel is creamy yet dry. In the final puffs, I taste some thin mints too.


The draw is great, the ash is like a stack of coins. Firm and dense. The smoke is decent, could be a bit thicker. I would call this cigar medium-full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want more

number90

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

Sin Compromiso Intrepido

Even though I smoked and reviewed some expensive cigars, I am quite cheap. Whenever I go to a lounge to buy some cigars, I pick medium priced cigars at most since there are some fantastic cigars under 10 euro or dollar. So getting a 16 euro cigar is something I rarely do. Yet for this cigar, I made an exemption, just because it’s made at Joya de Nicaragua by no other than Steve Saka.


The wrapper, Mexican, is grown by removing the bottom leaves time after time making sure that all the nutrients go to the top leaves. And the filler and binder are grown on farms, specially selected by Saka himself. Those farms only grow tobacco for the Sin Compromiso line. Those four factors combined made me pull the trigger.

The cigar comes without cellophane, pretty unusual for Nicaraguan cigars. But the bottom half is wrapped in cedar with the text ‘sin compromiso’ printed on it, The ring is a Celtic looking cross in black and white. No mention of which company is behind it, no country, no names whatsoever making it a cigar for the in-crowd. I like that. The dark leathery looking wrapper is intimidating. The cigar comes with a little flag tale and it’s slightly box pressed. The wrapper feels like velvet. The aroma isn’t very strong, it reminds me of cow poop and charred wood.

The cold draw is flawless, with hints of red pepper on the top of my palate and a dry flavor that I know, recognize but can’t remember what it is or how to describe it. After lighting, I’m hit with coffee, sweetness and some bitter young wood. After a few puffs, I taste some lime with green herbs. There is pepper on the background, still a sweetness up front with some leather and cedar. After an inch its slightly bitter, a combination of wood, leather, mushroom, and sweetness. Halfway it’s the nice sweetness with pepper and leather. There’s some earthiness too. This is a much more subtle cigar than I expected, but halfway the pepper picks up by a lot. The final third is sweet leather, cedar, and quite some pepper.


The draw is phenomenal. The ash is almost bright white but not very firm. The smoke is thick enough, but for my liking, it could be a bit thicker and more in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, not as a daily smoke but yes.
number94

Categories: 94, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Sin Compromiso | Tags: , , ,

Joya Black Toro

Earlier I wrote a review on the Joya Black Robusto and it scored a decent 89 and with that score it won’t make my top 25 of 2017, that’s for sure. I did smoke a few other Joya’s too this year like the Red Half Corona, original release Cuatro Cinco and the Rosalones Reserva plus La Sagrada Familia, Fratello and Sobremesa that are made at the Joya factory and they all scored good ratings from 89 and up. And I must say, from all the factories I visited in Esteli I like the peace and quiet at Joya best, the place has a tranquility and an atmosphere that is unique and that I haven’t found at any of the other factories I visited (including Oliva, Padron, La Zona, My Father, Drew Estate, Rocky Patel, A.J. Fernandez, Plasencia and Aromas de Jalapa). Now I’m not saying the other factories aren’t nice, every factory has their own vibe and charm, but to me Joya stands out.

 

 


The cigar is the first Joya de Nicaragua cigar with a Mexican San Adres Negro wrapper and the rest of the cigar is Nicaraguan. According to Mario Perez the idea behind the blend is to mix the Nicaraguan filler and binder with the specific characteristics of the Mexican wrapper without the cigar becoming overpowering and be like a little stronger version of the so popular Joya Red, the cigar that broke with the classic tradition of the Joya brand to catch a new, younger & hipper crowd and succeeded so well.

 

 


I smoked the 6×52 toro that I got at Intertabac 2016 and once I unwrap the cigar from the cellophane I smell dark chocolate with some pepper, very unusual but nice. The construction is beautiful although at the back of the cigar the triple cap is a bit uneven.  The dark wrapper is shiny from the oil and has a long vein running along the side of the cigar. The ring is modern, just like the Joya Red ring actually and they remind me of each other, except for the color, which is pitch black with a silver lining and Joya logo, blue lining to break the black and white letters saying Joya Black. Modern, sleek, clear, simple, I like it.

 

 


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is just fine. I taste some mild mixture of hay, dark chocolate and raisin. After I lit the cigar with the last bit of butane I had left in my Ronson I taste a mild acidic and sweet coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste coffee with pepper. The cigar name is black but the flavor is also dark. Slowly the cigar gets a little spicier with earthy flavors. After a thirds it’s still a very earthy cigar with a little lime, some salt, pepper and peanuts. The pepper slowly gains some strength and I also taste a faint hint of dark chocolate. Halfway the pepper slows down again, the peanuts have gone and I’m back to earthy and citrusy flavors with a hint of dark chocolate. After that the cigar slowly get more sweetness. At the end I taste nuts again.

 

 


The smoke is medium thick and a bit grayish. The ash is beautiful, white, dense and firm. The draw is great. The cigar is medium plus bodied and flavored. The burn is slow and straight. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe, but only in the fall or winter.

Score: 89
number89

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

MUWAT KFC Fat Molly

Early 2014 I flew to Nicaragua to visit some factories and to get to know the country a little. I went to visit Joya de Nicaragua, My Father, Oliva and we visited Drew Estate too. It was a memorable trip, we went to Condega with Gilberto Oliva, partied at the hotel with Jose Ortega (My Father Cigars) and had a great time in Esteli. During our visit to Drew Estate Jonathan asked me if I had tried the then quite new Kentucky Fire Cured and I said no, since they weren’t available outside the USA and I didn’t have time to visit a cigar shop during my transfer to Nicaragua.


Jonathan said to me “don’t give your opinion after one cigar, smoke a few before you say you like it or not, because it is something special, something different” and he handed me a hand full of the 5×56 cigars, that are actually made for Drew Estate at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. I smoked a few while in Nicaragua and smoked another one at the sun deck of my hotel in Fort Lauderdale a week later and made up my mind, this is not my cigar. A year later JD gave me a Pappy van Winkle cigar at Intertabac, and said “light it in front of me, I want to see your reaction” and the moment I lit the cigar I yelled “you MF, this has that fire cured leaf in it”. Why are you still reviewing this cigar you might ask? Well, it was a gift, it’s a few years later now and maybe my preferences have changed, I might find it enjoyable now. I used to hate Connecticut Shade, now I like some, maybe my palate tolerates fire cured tobacco now too.


The wrapper is dark, thick, leathery with some tooth and a few veins that fit with the dark and mean theme. The construction feels good with a nice cap, that has a darker smear on the wrapper. The ring is simple yet effective, brown paper, simple and clear black lettering which, again, fit the theme. And then the aroma, ultra strong the moment you release it from its wrapper. Hickory, barbecue, meat, smoke, fire, tar, those kinds of aroma come from the cigar and that makes the looks of the cigar, the simplicity of the ring and the aroma all fit together. Big points for that.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste barbecue, smoked ribs with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. After lighting I taste barbecue, like the cigar has been dipped in a barbecue spice rub. After half an inch I taste sweet boiled peanuts with some barbecue spices. Halfway I taste wood, pepper and the typical smoke flavor of fire cured tobacco. The pepper grows in the final third, the wood and barbecue flavors are still going strong too. Near the end I taste peanuts again with a hefty dose of pepper.


The draw is just great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and a smokescreen big enough to hide a house from satellites. The white ash doesn’t hold very well. The burn is okay but needed one touch up halfway. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I might for after a barbecue, I guess my preferences have changed.

Score: 91
number91

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

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