Isn’t it strange how life has a soundtrack? Something will trigger lyrics in your head to go off at a glaring volume and all of a sudden, you’re hit with a wave of nostalgia. Most of the time, the situation is appropriate. For instance, sitting around the Christmas dinner table and, no matter what, you can hear the soft tones of Bing Crosby. Or how that first sip of a cocktail on a beach has Jimmy Buffet kissing your eardrums. And then there are times that a song will pop into your head for no earthly or related reason. Hearing Dean Martin sing “That’s Amoré,” for instance, while eating fried chicken, or you may be singing a lullaby to your child, but your head has Metallica running through it. All that to say this, every time I smoke the Joya Black by Joya de Nicaragua, I hear Manfred Mann’s Earth Band at full volume.
Blinded by the light
Revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night
The Joya Black was originally released at the 2016 IPCPR trade show in conjunction with the re-packaging that the Joya Cabinetta and Joya Red lines went through. Originally designed as a complementary blend to the Joya Red brand (released in 2014), the Joya Black was blended to contrast the milder Red line, but while still only being a medium-bodied offering.
Joya Black Nocturno Breakdown
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Negro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6¼” × 46 “Nocturno”
- Price: $6.70 (MSRP)
Despite Joya de Nicaragua’s tendency to have fun with different tobaccos, the heart and soul of their brand and cigars is Nicaraguan tobacco (with no surprise). The Joya Black features Nicaraguan tobaccos throughout the binder and filler. However, it is encapsulated by a gorgeously dark San Andrés Negro wrapper from Mexico.
While the Joya Black collection originally debuted with four sizes (20-count boxes), the brand has since expanded to include a fifth petit size, packaged in tins of 10 cigars:
- Tin: 4″ x 32 | $1.30
- Nocturno: 6¼” × 46 | $6.70
- Robusto: 5¼” × 50 | $7.50
- Toro: 6″ × 52 | $8.20
- Doble Robusto: 5″ × 56 | $8.20
Joya Black’s label fits nicely in JDN’s Joya Series. Like the Cabinetta, Red, and Silver lines, the three-tobacco-leaf logo is featured in silver foil—this time placed over a black background. The label is accented with additional blue and silver foil stamped lines. And, of course, the words “Joya Black” are in white type above the leaf imagery. I’ve always been a fan of these labels—simple, yet artistic. Not overbearing, but luxurious. The wrapper, as previously mentioned, is very dark, with a lot of oil and a sheen that could reflect direct sunlight. I cut the cap with a guillotine cutter, but not before taking in the aromas off the foot and wrapper. Leather and pepper dominate, with contrasting flavors on the dry draw. After the cap is removed, the dry draw produces sweet flavors reminiscent of dates, caramel , and a savory beef stock component.
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The toasted foot puts off earthy aromas with roasted root vegetables. The initial puffs of the cigar bring forth a lot more welcoming and complex flavors. Spicy pepper and leather notes on the retrohale were balanced with the returning flavors of dates and caramel. As the cigar progresses, notes of coffee and oak creep into the fold, adding to the cigar’s complexity.
As I’ve noted in previous reviews, I don’t tend to complain about having to touch up a cigar; in fact, when reviewing, I try not to touch up at all. Towards the middle of the cigar, this became an internal battle. The cigars smoked for this review—specifically in the middle of the cigar—burned noticeably uneven. Spoiler alert: I smoke the Double Robusto vitola in this blend consistently and I do not recall having this issue with that vitola, which not doubtfully made an impression on my taking notice of this occurrence. The oak notes become more prominent in the middle, but the sweetness of dates is still noticeable.
The final portion of the cigar continues to have burn woes, but the draw throughout the cigar has been solid and consistent, producing a good amount of smoke. The oaky notes have dissipated, being replaced by an onslaught of earthiness that dominates the palate, but the pepper on the retrohale compliments it quite well. The pleasantness of these complimentary flavors ends the cigar on an enjoyable note.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I would. Although, as I alluded to, I personally would gravitate to another vitola. However, I would reach for this vitola as well in the future, but not as eagerly.
- Flavor: Medium / full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Smoke Time: 45 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Coffee porter | Añejo rum | Sautéed shiitake mushrooms | Caramelized figs and apples with vanilla ice cream
- Purchase Recommendation: Grab a handful
- Gorgeous appearance
- Solid price point
- Complimenting flavor combinations
- Inconsistent burn
- Intruding muted finish
- Dropoff of flavor