Joya de Nicaragua – Cuatro Cinco – Cigar Review
Here we are, my first full review of the year. Needless to say I am almost 100% recovered from bronchitis and the flu. It was nasty and it’s been going around. Stay healthy. That being said, let’s kick the year off right with a Limited Edition Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco.
The Good Stuff: The Cuatro Cinco is one of the first, if not the first limited edition cigar to come out of the Joya de Nicaragua factory. The cigar commemorates 45 years of cigar manufacturing for the company. The Joya de Nicaragua site carries a great explanation about the cigar, blend, and details behind the creation:
Esteli, Nicaragua- 1968 was the year when it all started: the first Premium Nicaraguan cigar was hand-rolled in Estelí under the Joya de Nicaragua seal. With it, the Nicaraguan cigar industry was born and a new era for Premium hand-rolled cigars began. JOYA DE NICARAGUA S.A is proud to honor this achievement with Cuatro Cinco, a Limited Edition cigar.
Cuatro Cinco has been especially crafted to commemorate four and half decades of history of Joya de Nicaragua, its people and the city of Estelí, where it all started. Cuatro Cinco is an authentic Nicaraguan puro, hand rolled in Estelí with tobaccos grown in the region and in Jalapa, with a special 5 year-old ligero that the factory had been saving in its bodegas for this special occasion. As if time wasn’t enough, the filler tobaccos have been specially aged in oak barrels for more than a year to give them distinctive and sophisticated notes, and the silky smooth wrapper and binder are Nicaraguan grown in the Jalapa valley.
“We are very excited about Cuatro Cinco, for this is one of the few Limited Editions we have produced. With this cigar we are capturing the true Nicaraguan Spirit, rich in the tradition that embodies our cigars and that defines us as the archetypal Nicaraguan cigar maker, because before Joya, there was no Nicaraguan cigar. While this cigar promotes our heritage, it is also a celebration of the future and the many years we still have ahead of us. It’s been 45 years already, and we are just getting started!” stated Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, Chairman of JOYA DE NICARAGUA S.A.
Leonel Raudez, General Manager and Head of Production of Joya remarks: “this is also a tribute to the people of Joya, the ones that went and the ones that are still with us, even after 45 years. We Estelianos are proud of contributing to make Nicaraguan tobacco among the best in the world, and to celebrate that, we have made one of the most exceptional cigars we have rolled, using our finest local tobaccos and rolled by a selected few of our talented tabaqueros. The profile of this cigar is nothing like what we’ve produced, although the richness and complexity of the Nicaraguan grown tobaccos still predominates”.
Cuatro Cinco will be available in a single vitola: a 6 x 54 semi-box pressed in 10-count boxes. As a Limited Edition, only 4,500 boxes of Cuatro Cinco are being produced each one numbered to guarantee exclusivity. The initial batch will start shipping in the first week of November 2013 to special Joya customers in the United States and around the world.
That pretty much sums it up. I’ve always been a huge favor of JdN. The blends, the tradition, and the flawless construction we have grown to expect from the company always makes for a treat. Thanks goes out to our friends and Drew Estate for shooting a few samples of these my way. Let’s dive in.
Size: 6 x 54
Wrapper: Jalapa Nicaraguan
Binder: Jalapa Nicaraguan
Filler: Jalapa and Esteli Nicaraguan
Pairing: Ommegang Adoration (Belgian Strong Dark Ale 10% ABV)
Prelight: The Cuatro Cinco carries such a beautiful wrapper. The wrapper is a medium brown/dark brown/orange calico looking thing. It really shows off the character of the leaf with the color patches as well as some dark webbing and only the smallest of veins. The wrapper is silky smooth to the touch, but quite thin and fragile. Each of the samples I received had a tiny bit of wrapper damage around the foot. Nothing worrisome in the least. The cigar is packed very firm with a soft-box-press technique that is almost unnoticeable. It makes for a really comfortable feel in both the hand and the mouth though. The Cuatro Cinco is polished off with a round double cap and a beautiful black, white, and gold band with the Joya De Nicaragua logo, a “Cuatro Cinco” crest as well as the words “Edicion Limitada” and “1968 – 2013” and a sketched print of hands rolling a cigar on the back. The whole presentation is just killer, I love it.
The wrapper gives off a bit of natural tobacco and spice while the foot of the cigar screams of strong spice aromas with a bit of earthiness mixed in. The cap took a bit of extra pressure from my Palio to clip through, but the cut was clean. The cold draw was really flavorful kicking out a great deal of spice, sweetness, and berry notes.
First Smoke: Joya de Nicaragua’s Cuatro Cinco started out with some soft black pepper which caught me off guard as I was expecting there to be much, much more. The pepper faded pretty quickly and I was left with a very strong natural tobacco flavor with some spice, leather, and a nice black cherry flavor. The draw is incredible. Each tiny, little puff pumps out a massive cloud of thick, white smoke. The cigar pours out a whole mess of stationary smoke as well as it sits in my ashtray. The burnline is a bit jagged, but not concerning while the ash left behind is very compact, and bright white in color. It held on for a little over an inch before giving way.
Halfway There: As I enter the second third of the Cuatro Cinco a really strange acidic flavor started to come off the wrapper and onto my lips. It’s not off-putting, just not something I have ever experienced before. Along with the acidic flavor there is also a slight citrus zest I am picking up from the wrapper as well. All that is secondary to the strong natural tobacco, black cherry, and earthy flavors. The sweetness has since dropped out of the mix. The draw is still spot on and the burnline has completely corrected itself and is now burning dead even. The retrohale is very sharp and although I can’t pick up any more pepper in my draws it’s clearly evident and up front in the retrohale. I am feeling a bit of the nicotine as I close out the second third of the Cuatro Cinco, but nothing too heavy.
Note: As I peeled off the band on the Cuatro Cinco I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually a complex double band. The bottom band being a beautiful, elegant gold band with a beautiful pattern of small Joya De Nicaragua Logos, and the cover band being the black portion with a nice old, black and white photo of the Joya De Nicaragua Rolling floor with the words “Handmade by Nicaraguans, joyacigars.com” on the inside:
Finish: Wow, the body of the Cuatro Cinco really ramps up in the final third and this is where the cigar really starts to shine. While the spice has been pretty modest in the experience it takes front and center in the final third with strong cinnamon, and nutmeg notes mixing in with some strong cedar, berry, all laid over the natural tobacco and earthy notes. The cigar has been great, but the final third is fantastic and really puts it over the top. The burnline had it’s share of inconsistencies, but I never had to pull out my lighter so I’m not complaining. The cigar finished very strong, and very smooth leaving me with a bit of a nicotine kick.
Overview: Joya de Nicaraguan is celebrating it’s 45th milestone right. The Cuatro Cinco is a great cigar that really showcases Nicaraguan tobacco as only Joya de Nicaragua can. I loved the construction, flavors, burn, and pretty much everything about the experience. The mix-ups in the flavor profile really kept me on my toes and got me really invested in the experience. The final third just brought the cigar to a whole new level. While the price is a bit steep for some, I could justify spending $13 on this cigar all day considering the experience it delivered. I wish it wasn’t limited, and in my case very hard to find. But the cigar is very box-worthy (I think I will be seeking a box of these out very soon) and something that I think just about anyone would enjoy.
Pairing: Ommegang’s Adoration has quickly become my winter go-to beer. Brewed at the famous Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York this Belgian Style Strong Dark ale comes in at a whopping 10% ABV. IF that wasn’t enough, I can find four packs of these fairly easy locally for about $10 a pop. $2.50 a bottle is unbelievable for the amount of alcohol and flavor you get from these bad boys. Ommegang is one of the very few American Breweries that I feel do Belgian style ales well. And they do them VERY well. The Adoration is a winter beer, staying true to form it leads in with a ton of spice, sweetness, orange peel, cinnamon, and caramel while finishing sharp with a bit of alcohol and a lot of fruit left on my palate. You can see why this made a damn good pairing with the Cuatro Cinco. Be careful though, this beer carries so much flavor it’s easy to pair with a cigar that it would overpower and wash out the cigar experience. Make sure whatever cigar you smoke with the Adoration has a good amount of body or all you will taste is the beer.