Sometimes a cigar will take me by surprise. Some that I thought were going to be great, ended up being just ok; and others I anticipated would be subpar turned out to be fantastic. Joya de Nicaragua’s 2014 IPCPR trade show release, the Joya Red, falls into the latter category.
Joya Red is a Nicaraguan puro with the wrapper leaf a Nicaraguan Habana (what the JdN website calls it), the binder Nicaraguan and the fillers consist of tobacco from Jalapa, Condega and Estelí. The Joya Red comes in four sizes—short churchill, robusto, cañonazo, and toro. For this review I smoked the 5-½” X 54 cañonazo.
The cigar is well constructed. It has a nice, firm, even pack – wrapped in a beautiful reddish-brown wrapper that shows only minor veins and barely noticeable seams. The nose off the foot has a bit of cocoa and sweet tobacco aroma, while the wrapper has hints of dried fruit. Before I put a torch to it, I took a couple cold draws and was hit with an anise explosion!
Freshly lit, the Joya Red starts out smooth and creamy – very creamy. There is a light spice accent and a touch of vanilla in the background. I guess I expected a bold spice up front, but it was nothing of the sort. Just a light, clean spice in my mouth as well as in the retrohale.
Past the initial light the cigar really took off. There was a wonderful sweetness that I really couldn’t pin down. I loved it but just couldn’t put a name to it. I finally decided it was kind of a nougat flavor, sweet with a faint caramel back note. I noticed a subtle apricot flavor too. Interestingly, when it started to burn more filler than wrapper, that flavor disappeared. I gave it a quick once over with the single-flame, just to help the wrapper along, and that apricot flavor came right back.
Getting toward the middle of the stick, the cigar changed somewhat. Though there had been a spicy note from the first light, it had been very subtle and in the front of my mouth and on my lips. Now the spiciness enhanced. It became more obvious and developed with a white pepper bite. This pepper filled my mouth from my lips across my palate and actually into my throat. I honestly can’t think of another cigar that had so fully encompassed every part of my mouth. It enriched the experience for sure.
Winding down past the band, the spice kept building, adding a cinnamon nuance to the white pepper. It wasn’t overpowering. The sweetness of the tobacco helped to mediate and balance it.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Yes. Is it box-worthy? Definitely! Right now I’d have to say it’s the best cigar I’ve smoked from this year’s releases and is my front runner for cigar of the year. I liked it that much. Grab a handful ($5.75 – $7.05 a stick), purchase a box ($80 – $110 a box of 20), Dojo Family. You will not be disappointed in Joya de Nicaragua’s Joya Red.
– Until next time, Dojo Mojo, ya’ll!!!
- No burn/construction issues whatsoever
- Full, easily enjoyed flavors
- Very affordable
- Low complexity