Among the surprisingly large amount of cigar companies celebrating their milestone 50th anniversaries in 2018, Joya de Nicaragua was notably the only to originate from Nicaragua. This is because the Joya de Nicaragua factory—officially named Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A.—is the first and oldest cigar manufacturer in Nicaragua. Joya de Nicaragua (JDN) did not let the occasion go unnoticed, reviving vintage brands from the company’s past and churning out a slew of critically acclaimed new releases with unflinching precision.

But not all significant releases rolled at Joya de Nicaragua fell under the JDN brand. Of all the cigars reviewed on Cigar Dojo throughout 2018, eight originated from Joya’s factory in Estelí (tied for the most frequent factory reviewed for the year). These cigars ranged from Joya’s own brand, to Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, and Fratello Cigars—maintaining a median average score of 90.5 throughout all eight cigars reviewed!

Cigars rolled at the Joya factory are traditionally known for highlighting Nicaraguan-based profiles; while this holds true to this day, there was certainly a more dynamic feel to the many cigars coming out of the factory in 2018. This included a multi-national blend from Joya itself (Joya Silver), as well as working with industry guru Steve Saka to showcase an extremely unique wrapper on Dunbarton’s Sin Compromiso, and Fratello’s tri-country Navetta Inverso blend.

To cap off Joya’s exciting year, the company introduced a hardcover book detailing its impressive journey over the past 50 years. The factory, featured throughout the book, is among the world’s most recognizable, being perhaps the most popular tourist destination of Estelí—an operation that continues to employ some of the original factory workers from its inception in 1968.

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