Allow me to paint some perspective on the year 1968. Yes, the obvious, it was 50 years ago. The same computer power that you now hold in your hand took rooms to house. The Ford Torino rolled off the assembly for the first time in 1968, instantly becoming a dream car for many domestic car collectors. Two iconic American leaders—woven deep into our national fabric—Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, are assassinated only two months apart. American astronauts orbited the moon for the first time, 60 Minutes and Mister Roger’s Neighborhood debuted, and the first Boeing 747 took flight. Before Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest, two Olympians named Tommie Smith and John Carlos lifted gloved fists in a pro-civil rights protest. And finally, before 1968, calls to 911 would more than likely have received a dial tone—yes, the 911 Emergency Phone System celebrated its 50th birthday this year.
All of this seems like a lifetime ago, and for many of us, it is. Fifty years is a long time for anything. It’s enough time for an infant to become a few short years from retirement. It also happens to be the length that Joya de Nicaragua has been making cigars for the world. This company has been through fires, government overthrows, social and economic change, and much more. For half a century, the world has progressed and advanced—at Joya de Nicaragua, they are still rolling cigars by hand and making some of the finest premium cigars in existence. Tradition and artisanship meet the modern world with a foundation of fifty years of doing things the right way.
Early in 2018, Joya de Nicaragua (JDN) made it clear that the company would be celebrating its monumental 50th anniversary throughout the year; this would include special releases, re-releases, limited editions, a commemorative book, and a new addition to the modernized Joya brand. This cigar was first announced in July of this year as the Joya Silver, which was quick to become one of the prized releases for 2018. Joya Silver represents both the roots of Joya de Nicaragua and an adventurous side to their blending tradition.
Joya Silver Toro Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuador Oscuro
- Binder: Mexico
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ × 52 (Toro)
- Price: $7.80 (MSRP)
As previously stated, the Joya Silver line is showcasing a more modernized blending expression, as compared to the historically traditional approach throughout Joya de Nicaragua’s portfolio. The four-vitola, box-pressed line features an Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper. The blend continues its unique characteristics with a Mexican binder. And, of course, it is all tied together with the foundation of JDN—Nicaraguan fillers.
While this review focuses on the Toro format, the full collection of sizes is listed below:
- Ultra: 6¼” x 46 | $6.30 (MSRP)
- Toro: 6″ x 52 | $7.80 (MSRP)
- Corona: 5¼” x 42 | $6.30 (MSRP)
- Robusto: 5″ x 50 | $7.10 (MSRP)
The label design for the Joya Silver fits nicely into JDN’s core Joya series of Cabinetta, Red, and Black. The pearl background of the label features a diamond-like texture. All the words and letters are silver foil-stamped and the traditional JDN three-tobacco leaf logo is showcased in ruby-like foil. My description does not do it justice, as this label stands out as the most elegant and royal of any in the Joya collection.
The box-pressed wrapper is without veins or any tooth. The milky brown and Colorado-tinted wrapper is almost velvety to the touch and is sans any sheen from oil. The aroma coming off the unlit foot and cigar is one of complex nature—rich, sweet notes of cream, caramel, cinnamon, and almonds overwhelm the nose. Additionally, there are savory notes and balance of earthiness, black pepper, and cedar that call to the palate on the dry draw.
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The cigar lights quickly and nearly effortlessly through an optimal draw resistance. The dominant sweet notes on the pre-light aroma move to the back, as the core flavors that rest on the palate are savory, with a touch of newly introduced leather and lemon zest. The sweet, creamy caramel, although subtle, balances the spice, earth, and savory notes beautifully. The cinnamon and citrus from the lemon zest, while it may not work in a culinary application, are just subtle enough to click with the list of growing flavors wonderfully. In previous experiences, with many box-pressed cigars, poor initial lights often lead to inconsistent smoking experiences. That is not the case with Joya Silver; I was quite impressed with the cigar’s correction.
As is often advertised with box-pressed cigars, there is a cool temperature of the smoke—even after the cigar burns into its midsection—but the quicker pace that the cigar smokes at may be off-putting to some. The sweetness, rather than dissipating, remains and creeps more and more into the forefront, as does the pepper spiciness. The ash is not firm, but that does not interfere with the construction or the flavor, in my opinion. I’m not a fan of messy ashes or frequent ashing of a cigar, but the complex flavors have me distracted to the point that I actually didn’t realize the brittle nature of the ash until considering it on a second sampling.
The almond flavor that started on the nose in the pre-light—and remained present in the beginning of the cigar—disappears during the middle of the cigar nearly completely. However, it returns during the final third as a welcome accompaniment to the cornucopia of flavors and notes of this cigar. The finish on the retrohale is long and consistent, providing a lingering dose of pepper, citrus, and cream. The cigar smokes with little progress by way of body and intensity, remaining a medium in body, yet full in flavor.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
If this isn’t obvious by my review, I feel like you may not have been reading too closely… I have and will continue to smoke this cigar often and consistently. The cigar’s very agreeable price point is only an added bonus (considering I’d be smoking it regardless), as my wallet won’t suffer as a result.
- Since its national release this past summer, I have smoked dozens of this blend divided almost equally across all vitolas. The toro, which I assume is a favorite, because of its dominance across the industry, was smoked twice for this review.
- For the purpose of this review, I used a Xikar guillotine cutter to prepare and set the smoking experience, lighting the cigar with an S.T. Dupont miniJet lighter.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Lemon zest
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Espresso, Stout, Dark rum, Mixed nuts, Sharp cheddar & Asiago cheese
- Purchase Recommendation: At this price—multiple boxes (try a couple of vitolas to determine preference)
- Complex, varied palate
- Long and satisfying finish
- Supremely balanced
- Brittle ash
- Smokes quickly