Posts Tagged With: Juan Martinez

Mi Querida SakaKhan

When I met Steve Saka at the Intertabac Trade show he gave me two cigars, the Sobremesa Short Churchill, which I reviewed back in January and rated 93, and this 7×50 Mi Querida Churchill nicknamed SakaKhan. Now I’m looking forward to smoke this beautiful looking cigar with the Connecticut River Valley broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos but for this review I decided to google some background information and I glad I did otherwise I would have been writing some wrong information here, for example naming the wrong manufacturer.


I know Steve has tight connections with the guys at Joya de Nicaragua, I know Juan Martinez pretty well and he always praised working with Steve. When Steve Saka was CEO at Drew Estate they started working together with a distribution deal in the USA where Drew Estate up till today is distributing Joya as well and Joya producing some cigars for Drew Estate at their facilities, and once he started his Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust he went to Joya for the Sobremesa. So I was surprised to find out that the Mi Querida isn’t produced by Joya but by NACSA, a manufacturer that produces for more companies, for example they also produce Asylum for Christian Eiroa & Tom Lazuka’s Asylum Cigars. I asked Steve why and he explained that he picks the factory that suits the best for that specific blend, and in this case it was NACSA.


The cigar looks majestic, the combination of the length, the dark smooth wrapper with the flattened veins, the beautiful triple cap and the simple yet tasteful ring just scream elegance yet power. This is a cigar I would pick at the cigar shop if I didn’t know anything about cigars and just shopped on appearance. The ring is dark blue with thick golden outline and a swirly font saying Mi Querida in gold as well. The ring has gear wheel like edges that set it apart from all other simple bands and can only be done on thick paper. The construction feels great, evenly filled, not too soft or too hard. The cigar has a mild ammonia and forest aroma. I punched the cigar and get a good cold draw with a peppery flavor. My trusted Ronson varaflame lit the cigar.


Right from the start i taste a very pleasant coffee flavor with sweetness, like espresso with a sugar cube. After a centimeter the flavor is woody, with some caramel and some pepper. Slowly i start to taste spices too. After a third the cigar gets sweeter. The flavors are not strong but so beautifully balanced, it’s amazing. Halfway I taste chocolate with a little cayenne pepper. There is also a honey like sweetness along with the other flavors. The sweet chocolate is getting stronger. After two thirds I taste some dark wood again, mild spicy, honey and a very mild citrus. Near the end the flavors all grow in strength with a nice, balanced dose of pepper. The last centimeter is pepper and nuts.


The smoke is medium thick at the start but is slowly gets thicker. The draw is great. The white ash is beautifully layered with some black smears. The burn is slow and just a little bit off. This medium full bodied and full flavored, extremely well balanced cigar gave me two and a half hours of cigar enjoyment.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt, I thought there wasn’t much room for improvement at the Sobremesa but this Mi Querido is even better.

Score: 94

94
edit: Steve Saka responded to the review on Facebook: “The manufacturer is NACSA – a very well known factory in our industry for producing value priced cigars. About 2 years ago they decided they really wanted to step up their game which included a total retrofit of their facility, a wholesale change over of their top and key personnel and the decision to work with a total pain in the a$$ – me. Many people in the industry said I was crazy, but imo they are just lazy and do not understand potential or what is needed to push a factory into being its best. I got the wacky-tabacy factory to make Liga Privada, while JDN has been a great factory on their own merits I was able to get them to expand their horizons flavor and blending wise, so working to improve an economy factory into becoming a factory that could craft true premiums was a walk-in-the-park particularly since they wanted to change, to do more and they took aggressive action to do so… many people forget that master cigar makers like Fuente and Padron originally started out as bundle cigar operations. And through hard work and dedication to the craft they have become two of the very best in the world. IMO, Mi Querida is the finest cigar every produced at NACSA, but it will not be their last – they have the right people and practices in place now to make exceptional handmade premiums in addition to maintaining their value priced production cigars.”

Categories: 94, Mi Querida, Nicaragua American Cigars S.A., Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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