Joya De Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo La Pesadilla
Yet another cigar that I have been on pins and needles anticipating shipments hitting local shops is Joya De Nicaragua’s Antano Dark Corojo.
The Antano has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. It’s bold flavor, and massive strength spelled out love at first smoke. Naturally, when I heard that Drew Estate was in the process of pushing out a “Dark Corojo” version of the Antano I was all over it.
The Good Stuff:The Antano Dark Corojo is the newest line to hit the market from Joya De Nicaragua. It was introduced at this past year’s IPCPR in New Orleans. At that time I believe they handed out quite a few “sample” banded sticks. The Antano Dark Corojo is blended using 75% Ligero leaf. Knowing this fact alone, you know you are in for a powerhouse-hell-of-a-treat when lighting one up. Just make sure you had a meal prior to taking on this guy. The size that I got my hands on is called “La Pesadilla” which simply means “the nightmare” in spanish. If that’s not taunting I don’t know what is. The Antano Dark Corojo comes in 4 other sizes ranging in price (from what I’ve seen locally) from $5.89 to $10.49.
Size: 4.75 x 60 – Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo – Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan – Body: Full
Prelight: The first item that caught my attention with the Dark Corojo was the band. I’m not 100% sure on what the deal is between Joya De Nicaragua and Drew Estate, but JDN has definitely taken on the Drew Estate persona in every aspect, including it’s artwork. The band is black, with extremely subtle grey swirls ( I seriously didn’t notice these until I took a look at the first picture above, almost invisible to the naked eye ). It’s crested with embossed Gold Metallic print stating “Antano, Dark Corojo” on the head accompanied by a similar foot band ( the picture I shot was way too embarrassing to post ) that reads “Doble Fuerte” or “Double Strong”. Secondly, the darkness of the wrapper on this cigar is intense. Seriously, maduros don’t have anything on the Dark Corojo. The wrapper itself is extremely oily, silky, and almost sticky. It reminds me a lot of CAO’s La Traviata in toothy texture. The Dark Corojo is extremely tough to the touch and gives almost no push once you squeeze on it. The tough wrapped body bleeds into a stubby, triple wrapped belicoso cap. The construction on this cigar is suburb, with no soft spots, very little veins, and no other visible flaws of any kind. I’m impressed with how consistent not only the color, but the texture of this cigar is. The wrapper gives off a very spicy, leather scent, as well as the foot of the cigar.
I clipped a pretty large portion from the head of this cigar using my trusty Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw resembled much of what I pulled from the aroma of the cigar. Spice, leather, and a bit of bitter chocolate.
First Smoke: WOW, just…wow. It’s like being kicked in the mouth with a foot full of pepper. The initial spice is quite overpowering, but after a few strong puffs it begins to simmer down. Backing the spiciness of the Dark Corojo is a strong leather taste with hints of bittersweet chocolate. The Dark Corojo produces a massive draw, be ready for it. The draw probably has a lot to do with the larger ring gauge of this particular vitola. The pepper flavor is so strong the aroma of spice is even carried through the tons of stationary smoke this cigar produces. Don’t smoke this guy around people who may be offended by cigar smoking, unless that’s your intention. The burn line is a bit wider than I’d like, but I’m sure that, as well as the waves early into the smoke, have a lot to do with the massive amounts of ligero in this cigar. I’ve found in the past, that any cigar with high amounts of ligero that I personally have ever smoked have some type of burn issue. This only creates a higher level of appreciation for cigars packed with ligero leaf that burn through without a hitch. The ash produced is a dark grey, with spots of white and black. The ash is extremely flaky, and only held on for for about the fourths of an inch before giving way. A quarter of the way in and the nicotine is already starting to hit me, and hard.
Halfway There: I’m halfway through the Dark Corojo and surprisingly the pepper is still present, and in full force. The backing flavors are still that of leather and bitter chocolate, only now I’m picking up a bit of a cedar taste as well as what I can only describe of raisin. The burn on this cigar is ridiculously slow. I figured with its short stature that I would tear through it in about an hour, an hour and a half tops. But I am already over an our in and I am barely halfway through. Another characteristic of Ligero leaf is the tendency to extinguish themselves. This particular cigar hasn’t completely gone out on me yet, but I am having to pay special attention to it, hitting it hard and often to ensure that it stays lit. After the third round of ash I had to do a slight touch up on the wavy burn line, but after that point it seemed to have completely straightened out.
Finish: Towards the end of the cigar the pepper finally started to taper off a bit. Not to say that it wasn’t still there, only that it has taken a back-burner to the more prominent cedar, and bitter chocolate flavors. Outside of having a nicotine kick from hell, the Dark Corojo is starting to get a bit harsh towards the final stretch. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with how hard I had to go out this cigar to keep it burning. On a good note, it never fully went out. Outside of the touch up needed halfway through the Dark Corojo needed no further assistance in the burn area, and finished dead even. After all was said and done the Dark Corojo took about two and a quarter hours to finish….really.
Overview: The Joya De Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo isn’t for the faint of heart. This is an extremely powerful cigar, and even gave me a run for my money. Would I smoke it again? I sure would, but I don’t see this cigar making it into my regular rotation. It’s just too strong for an everyday smoke. Would I recommend this cigar to others? For sure, as long as it is someone who is game to get their ass kicked. At a price tag of about $10 this cigar was sadly a bit more than I would normally pay. In my honest opinion there are far too many full bodied cigars out there with similar value, and lower price tags.
On a side note, keep a look out for a special contest launching later this week/weekend sponsored by the wonderful team at Bonita Smoke Shop!