Posts Tagged With: Juan Martinez

Cigar of the month November

It’s the end of the month again, so as in every month before this year I will rank the cigars I reviewed this month from best rated to lowest rated. This month I rated 14 cigars, some old, some very new and with a spread of the four most prominent cigar countries.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Joya Red Half Corona with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Joya Red Half Corona (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Tatuaje RC233 Figurado (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Long Live the King my style is jalapeño Lancero (Dominican Republic) 93 points
4) Alec Bradley Lost Art Robusto (Honduras) 92 points
4) La Sagrada Familia Maduro pre-release Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Todos Las Dias Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserve Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserve Torpedo (Nicaragua) 90 points
9) Viaje Zombie Antidote (Honduras) 90 points
10) A. Flores El Trovador Petit Belicoso (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Davidoff 702 #2000 (Dominican Republic) 88 points
12) Partagas Serie D#5 (Cuba) 87 points
13) San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador Robusto (Dominican Republic) 87 points
14) San Pedro de Macoris Brazil Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points

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Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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