Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Cigar Review

September 20, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I’ve reviewed a few lanceros lately so I figured that I might as well do another. But before I get on with the review I would like to say a little about trying different vitolas. So, here it goes. Try different vitolas and you might be surprised in a good way. The more you know.

Rustic looking darkish brown wrapper with some oils on it. I do have to note that none of these (this is my fifth) have looked very good. Actually, each one of these I’ve smoked looks like it has gone through the ringer a few times. Veiny, bumpy, feels a bit soft and a couple of these cigars, including the one that I am set to smoke shortly, has had a crack at the foot. And there’s a pigtail on the cap.

One last thing: I have reviewed a Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 before and I loved it, making it one of my Top 10 Cigars of 2012. Wow, I should start thinking about my Top 10 for 2013 soon….

Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970

Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 (click picture to go to Joya’s site)

Cigar Stats
Vitola: lancero
Length: 7 ½”
Ring Gauge: 38
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habana Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $110.99/Box of 20 | $31.99/Pack of 5

Walking Dead Spinoff Conflagration!

The draw is loose and, even though I like my draw to be a bit on the loose side, this is much too loose. It takes too much effort for me to get the smoke going but, when it finally reaches my taste buds, it’s pretty good. Very much like the other vitolas but with more of a moistness to the flavors. Spice, a cross between oak and cedar and leather make up the flavor profile at this point. It’s an aggressive flavor profile but, probably because of the extra effort I have to go through to get the smoke to come through, the flavors don’t stick around for very long.

I like the flavors, especially the powerful spice (with an edge of oak) but it’s just not as strong as it normally is in the other vitolas. The only conclusion I can draw is that since this is a lancero it’s having an affect on how much power is actually able to come through. In and of itself, less power is not a bad thing but, unfortunately, it’s also affecting how good the flavors are.

With the final third comes a better draw and a return to the spicy, dry earth flavor profile that I’ve come to expect from the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970. It’s a good ending.

Medium-full bodied with a loose draw but a good burn; the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 starts out unspectacularly but finishes well. And I’m not just saying that I didn’t like the first two thirds because I was expecting one thing and got something else. The draw was just too loose and that significantly affected my enjoyment of this cigar and this happened with each one I tried.

87 points

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Cigar Review

August 6, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

At the end of last year I was looking for a small cigar that can be smoked in about an hour and have enough strength to stand up to walks in the park with a pair of wild chocolate Labradors. After trying a couple small cigars I came across the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Machito.

Here’s a little about the brand from the creators:

Antaño, in Spanish, means “yesteryear”, a word that perfectly expresses the soul of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970.

Crafted as a tribute to recapture the power and essence of the puro that made this legendary brand the most sought after cigar in the United States in the post Cuban Embargo 1970′s.

Made exclusively by hand and entirely of Nicaraguan harvested tobaccos, this cigar is an ultra robust, spicy smoke with unbridled body and aroma that is best suited for the most experienced of cigar connoisseurs.

It has a dark brown wrapper with a lot of oils on it. There aren’t very many imperfections; just a couple of small veins and some other tiny blemishes. Let’s find out how it is.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: short corona
Length: 4 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 42
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $140.00/Box of 50 | $16.95/5 Pack

Even More Expendable Flame!

When I first smoked one of these I was expecting something more menacing but what you do get from this cigar is quite different and very good. Spice, earth and rich wood. It’s a very gritty cigar and while it is definitely strong it’s not just about the strength. Flavors are well rounded and it definitely stands up to the elements.

The burn line does go a little awry at the beginning of this third but that wasn’t something I usually ran into… even when I would smoke one whilst walking. I’m thinking that the burn went wonky because it has been sitting in my humidor for about 10 months.

It’s still a spicy cigar during the second third and the other flavors – earth and wood – are still there but in less force. I like this mix. Also, there’s a leather flavor coming on strong during this third.

There isn’t much change during the final third, which isn’t a putdown because I like them immensely. One thing that has caught up to me is the strength. It’s fine for me but it is still a strong cigar.

Good draw with a decent burn this full bodied cigar is great and is even better if you’re looking for a cigar that takes 45 minutes to an hour to smoke. While it won’t be right for everyone, fans of stronger cigars will love this cigar.

93 points

Driving in my Car, Smoking my Cigar

February 22, 2012 · Posted in Cigar 101, Deep Thoughts · 2 Comments 

Allison Krauss’s haunting voice is singing Trampled Rose, the windows are down and the speed of my car is increasing. It may be sunset but this is Southern California where the yins and the yangs are extreme opposites. Sure, the taxes are murder but the weather is amazing.

If I lived in Minnesota or some other place that is in the running for a scenic “White Christmas” photograph I couldn’t do what I do most days after work: smoke in my car. It may be a little impractical and I definitely am not getting the best out of the cigar but that misses the point. Smoking a cigar on my drive home from work is pleasurable; a ritual that brings a little bit of joy to my heart.

This certainly isn’t for everyone. If you have a nice car that you do not want to despoil or you have to chauffeur people who cringe at the mere thought of the smell of finely aged tobacco then you probably shouldn’t be smoking in your car. People with short commutes, an inability to multitask and those who “feel a need for speed” may also want to think twice about lighting a cigar before they start their car. Oh, and those poor bastards who start their mornings by scraping ice off their windshields may also be excused from smoking a cigar in their car.

I’m not going to BS you and say that I’m smoking great cigars while driving, far from it. There’s no reason to do that because your mind should be at least nominally on the road and not on your cigar. Why smoke an Opus or an Avion 11 when you can’t dedicate more of yourself to it? It just doesn’t make sense emotionally or financially.

By no means am I suggesting seeking out crappy cigars to satiate your vehicular smoking habit because there are some very respectable cigars that are very cheap. Recently I’ve been smoking a lot of Diesel Unholy Cocktails, Nestor Miranda 1989s and Joya de Nicaragua Antano Machitos on rides home from work (and while walking the dogs, but that’s another story). These are solid cigars that are a joy to smoke sitting at home while listening to music or reading a book. They are also strong enough to withstand the elements.

Even though this is Southern California and the weather is great it can still get a little cold. Some nights it feels like the temperature drops all the way down to the high 50s when I have my windows rolled down! Weak, pathetic cigars won’t offer much under ideal circumstances but when you add in the wind, the (relatively) cold temperatures and the fact that you are driving a vehicle they just aren’t worth the trouble. By all means, if you accidentally came by some really awful cigars that you dread smoking then you can smoke them while driving or, better yet, “gift” them to somebody you don’t like.

Another tip I have for this would be to smoke a cigar that you are familiar with. Familiarity is great in this circumstance because you won’t have to devote much brainpower to deciphering the flavors of the cigar; you already know the recipe. It’s also a good idea to smoke cigars with good smoking characteristics: i.e. a good draw and burn. It takes a modicum of skill to correct a recalcitrant burn line while cruising down the 5. (Alright, it takes more than a little skill to do that and doing just that almost ended up with me rear ending somebody. Incidentally, the smell of burnt rubber doesn’t go well with cigars.)

Driving in my car while smoking a cigar is a ritual I have come to really enjoy. It may not be for you but, then again, you may find out that you really like it.

Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta Serie Cigar Review

November 7, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

This cigar is part of a sampler that I received from Drew Estate – my reviews are my own.

My first reaction upon seeing this cigar is that it has a serious identity crisis. It has a light wrapper visible all the way from the foot to the band, which is Ecuadorian Shade (and it actually runs the whole length of the cigar), and then it inexplicably changes to a darker wrapper from the cap to the other side of the band, which is Nicaraguan Criollo.

There may be something to this whole “identity crisis” motif for this cigar. It’s from Joya de Nicaragua and its cigar cousin, the Antano, is a full bodied powerhouse. This is not. But it is a good looking cigar with no serious imperfections. Yes, it has a couple of veins and is a little dry to the touch but they have all (by “all” I mean the other four samples) performed well up to this point.

Cigar Stats
Length: 6″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Shade and Nicaraguan Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $140.00/Box of 24

Ron Washington Inspiration (Expletives) Flame!

It’s a cross between burnt and sweet nuts. I usually go for the full bodied cigars but this medium bodied flavor piñata is very nice.

In addition to those nutty flavors there is a dry, grassy flavor. Lots of smoke from this one and I should mention that unless you are going to retrohale this cigar you are going to miss out on a lot of the flavor.

Not exactly a smooth cigar this Joya de Nicaragua. Honestly, when I first received these cigars I didn’t want to like them. The double wrappers scream of gimmickry but with each successive cigar I am being won over.

After about the first third of the cigar creaminess comes into the flavor profile. It has also smoothed out a good amount.

At around the two thirds mark a mildly sweet floral flavor enters. The nuttiness is still the major flavor and it reminds me of a mild nut, like a cashew. It is a medium bodied cigar with a good draw and burn.

Once the burn line crosses over to the darker wrapper it takes on an earthy flavor. Unfortunately, this new flavor is too fleeting.

Fortunately, on the whole this is a great cigar. Very good flavors and the technical aspects of the cigar are spot on. Definitely give this cigar a try.

90 points

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo Cigar Review

October 4, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I have had one last Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo sitting in my humidor for about a year now. Looking back on my notes I can see that I generally liked the ones that I had before so let’s see what a year’s worth of aging has done to this cigar.

For whatever reason, probably a combination of the dark wrapper and the torpedo shape, this looks like a menacing cigar. It looks like it is just going to kick you in the butt the second that you touch foot to torch. Beyond the fact that if this cigar were a person you would probably cross the street if you saw it coming your way, it is a good looking, well made cigar. Not very many veins, sufficiently packed from tip of torpedo to foot and the wrapper is fairly oily.

Cigar Stats

Vitola: Torpedo
Length: 6″
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $10.00/Single | $150.00/Box of 20

Marauder Torch!

After a year or so in the humidor this cigar is somewhat better than it was before. There is more nuance to the flavors, which, by the way, are led by chocolate followed by bitter coffee and generally earthy flavors. After a while the body gradually increases into the full bodied spectrum. One nit to pick is that the draw is a bit too loose and I think that is muting the flavors to a degree or two.

Gosh, this is an extremely slow burning cigar. I think it’s been nearly an hour, probably more like 45 minutes, and I can just now see the second third around the proverbial bend. At this point there has been some evolution in the cigar and that evolution is more towards the spicy side of the flavor spectrum. It’s a good twist because the main flavor other than the spice, which is fiery and long lasting (it never really leaves your palate actually), is chocolate. It’s a nice milk chocolate that goes well with spice.

The transition from the first third to the second third gets firmly set in and lasts through most of the second third. The final third is much the same with one notable departure. Chocolate becomes less of a leader and in its place there is this sweetness accompanied by toast. Almost as if you were smoking toast with a little bit of sugar sprinkled on top. And then….

It takes an unexpected turn and the sweetness becomes floral. Fortunately, it is not that fruity kind of floral flavor but it is the heartier kind, the deep, flavorful kind rather. And the spice has gone away. It’s a great way to (slowly) end a cigar that could have otherwise become too heavy on the spice.

If you were to gently prod me into saying something negative about this full bodied cigar I would quickly respond with this: the draw is too loose, which leads to the cigar being a bear to keep lit. This is all weird to me since there is a copious amount of smoke when it is lit and the flavors are excellent. It’s a pain but it’s got to be like the pain one feels when trying to keep a classic car up and running. Sure, there is a lot of maintenance required but it’s more fun than bagging your limit of yetis.

93 points

Next Page »