MoyaRuiz Cigars, creators of such fun-loving releases as La Jugada Nunchuck (2014) and The Chinese Finger Trap (2015) have been teasing their 3rd limited edition cigar for the past couple months—MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice.

The brand caught a fair amount of buzz last summer for their packaging of The Chinese Finger Trap, with critics accusing the cigars of being gimmicky and some even going so far as to suggest the cigars brought (or could bring) negative and unwanted attention from the likes of the FDA. Nonetheless, MoyaRuiz pushed forward, releasing 1,000 boxes to retailers—gimmick or no.

Now, with St. Paddy’s Day on the horizon, MoyaRuiz has gone green! Manufacturers have long-since released limited edition cigars draped in the abnormal Candela shade for the season. But MoyaRuiz isn’t one to simply blend in… bucking the trend of four-leaf clovers and leprechauns, the brand has provided their usual flair—packaging the cigars in jars made to resemble, you guessed it, pickles…

Pickle Juice Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Candela
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Limited Edition (500 jars of 13 cigars)
  • Vitola: 6″ x 50 Toro
  • Price: $7.75 ($99.95 per jar)

My first thought: “Oh boy, they’ve lost it…”

  • Atlantic Cigar Sale

My second thought: “Okay, this is pretty clever. And it’s just zany/oddball enough to work.”

The packaging is ridiculous, let’s get that out of the way. But you know what, for a limited-run project of this sort, it feels fun and refreshing—and that’s the point. From the outside looking in, the smokes appear to be floating in a jar of ooze that looks to be straight out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film (ah, my childhood…). On closer examination, it’s a plastic jar with a green tint. The label works great here, fonts of every variety are splattered in every which way—I get the feeling these would be some “kooky” pickles, with a surprising, Asian, tangy zing! But let’s not forget, these are cigars…

Unscrew the bright green lid and take in a whiff that smells about as green as the cigars look! You may think “These pickles have gone brown,” and that’s an interesting touch—a fully fermented Habano oscura leaf is used to cap the primarily green wrapper—as to provide a more pleasant flavor on the lips and tongue while smoking. For the band, a gnarly, warty pickle is wrapped around the cigar’s circumference. I love the bright green of the band against the cigar’s lighter, muted green. The design reminds me of early ’90s Nick toons, à la “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” (i’m getting lots of throwbacks here).

The cigar itself has a light, muted and dusty green hue with a few darker green streaks. The roll feels about medium and the size is nice—a lot thinner than your average toro, almost like a corona gorda. On the nose, you’ll find grass and hay on the wrapper and fresh mountainous pine on the foot—this translates perfectly to a very grassy pre-draw.

Smoking Experience

The first flavors are surprisingly not grass—rather cedar and pepper, having a nice white pepper quality in the retrohale. The smoke is light and airy, but abundant enough to let you know you’re making progress. I’m pleased with the white pepper notes in the retrohale, which linger long in the nostrils with a light tingling sensation.

The Habano cap gives a good sweetness on the tongue, which I feel was a good call—avoiding a potentially monotonous situation of too much grassiness. The palate is fairly creamy, with dusty hay and peppery grass clippings. The body is medium-light and the flavor is a tad under medium, with a predictably light strength that seems to be gradually increasing. With a very open draw (slightly too easy), the smoke is very delicate, producing a dry mouthfeel of butter, corn nuts, and grass.

MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice 2016 cigar review

The flavor ramps up nearing the midway point, with a light caramel and a very noticeable buttered popcorn flavor that keeps things interesting. On the down side, I have had to touch up the burn line a few times, but I’ll let this one slide as the cigar had little time to rest in the humidor. The smoke can be fully retrohaled, having very little intensity that most smokers are used to from the Nicaraguan intensity in the nostrils. On the tail end, there are delicate notes of green tea and honey, as well as heavier notes of roasted veggie stew.

Would I smoke this cigar again?

Given the right circumstances, sure. Hey, we all know a candela smoke isn’t going to make a run for our daily choice—the point is to switch things up, expand our palates and have a little fun in the meantime. As far as the style goes, this was one of the more interesting candelas I’ve tried, having a fuller body than most you’ll find, with a little La Zona kick to keep your attention. To boil it down, think creamy Connecticut with more grassiness and pepper sprinkled on top.

As far as gimmicks go, my opinion is that the term “gimmick smoke” is a bit misleading, as if there’s not a premium cigar involved. Gimmick is just a slang term for a product that has more creative packaging, in my opinion. Sure, a product that is all flair and no quality would fit the gimmick label, but that’s not what you have here. This is a legit candela, one that I wouldn’t hesitate recommending in the candela arena. And if MoyaRuiz somehow forces us to have a little fun in the process—well if gimmicky is wrong, maybe I don’t want to be right.

MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice cigar review and rating

MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice
Unlike the early 20th century, most smokers are mostly unacquainted with the Candela-wrapped cigar. But brands like MoyaRuiz keep the tradition alive during seasonal releases, usually around St. Paddy's Day, a time to experience this unusual breed. And while the cigars can often be too grassy, Pickle juice takes advantage of the La Zona factory's knack for full-flavored smokes, providing a little extra white pepper and fuller body than usual. A fun chance to expand your palate and switch things up.
  • Fun concept/delivery
  • Long burn time
  • More lively than average Candela
  • Touchups
  • Draw is slightly too easy
  • Needs frequent puffs to keep smoke output up
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