Joya de Nicaragua – Joya Red Cigar Review
Joya Red is the newest offering from Joya De Nicaragua cigars. The new release was debuted last week at this year’s IPCPR show in Las Vegas, and is the first release since the “Rediscover Joya” campaign.
The Good Stuff: Over the past few years Joya de Nicaragua, a company who has always prided itself on it’s history, has undergone some incredible changes. While I was in Nicaragua visiting the factory a few years back I was able to see the transformation from the ground level. The factory itself has undergone plastic surgery with a refreshed look, new branding, and even a change of hands. Here is what the press release has to say about the new blend:
Meet JOYA RED, a new and exciting side of JDN. Some might even call it unexpected. Developed for the modern smoker by the youngest executive team in the industry, together with the most senior Master Blenders of Nicaragua.
Juan Ignacio Martínez (31), President of JDN since 2013, led a team of contemporary executives and experienced Master Blenders such as Leonel Raudez (62), JDN’s Factory Manager since 1992, to create this beautiful new blend.
The result? A vibrant smoke you will enjoy anytime, anywhere; classy, as always, but also a lot more fun.
If you want to get technical, we created this blend with tobaccos from our beloved home of Nicaragua. This time, we moved away from our abundant use of ligeros and thick wrappers to a blend with more visos and lower priming Habano wrappers. The binder and filler leafs were also grown in the rich and fertile lands of Estelí, Jalapa and Condega.
This combination of premium tobaccos resulted in a balanced cigar with medium strength and captivating flavors, all of which allow for an extremely pleasant smoking experience.
The Joya red will be offered in 4 sizes: the Short Churchill: (4.75 x 48), the Robusto (5.25 x 50), the Toro (6 x 52), and the Canonazo (5.5 x 54). The Joya Red will come in boxes of 20, running between $5.75 and $8 a stick.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Condega, Esteli)
Pairing: Elevation Beer Company Apis IV (Belgian Quad 10.7% ABV)
Prelight: The Joya Red starts out with an absolutely beautiful wrapper. The leaf is a beautiful, blotchy medium brown with darker areas scattered throughout and lighter beige areas around the smaller veins in the leaf. The wrapper carries a good amount of tooth and a whole ton of oils which reflect every ounce of light it comes in contact with. The wrapper is laid seamlessly throughout the body of the cigar up to the round triple cap. As for just about any cigar that comes out of the Joya de Nicaragua factory, the construction is flawless. The Joya Red is tightly compacted, firm, and shows little signs of sponginess as I squeeze it between my fingers. The cigar is polished off with an absolutely beautiful, elegant, red gold and white embossed band with the words “Joya Red” spread across the font just above the gold Joya de Nicaragua emblem. The Band also states “Fabrica de Joya De Nicaragua S.A.” which of course is the factory in which these were made, “Hecho a Mano en Esteli” meaning “Made by hand in Esteli”, and “EST. 1968” which is the year the company was Established. When we were at the Joya De Nicaragua factory in Nicaragua 2 years ago they revealed to us the new marketing, design, color schemes, and direction that the company is headed in. I’m very pleased to see it all come together with this release.
Back to the cigar, the Joya Red’s wrapper smells of very strong honey, spice, and tobacco. So much so that I can actually smell this cigar from a few feet away as it rests on the table. The foot of the cigar has a more dormant spice along with more natural aromas. The cap cut very clean, and very easily using my double bladed Palio cutter. The cold draw was much of the same, lots of honey and sweetness with some scattered spice, and natural tobacco.
First Smoke: The Joya Red starts out with a nice blast of black pepper and spice. A few puffs in the pepper began to let up and some strong sweet honey, cedar, cinnamon, and natural tobacco flavors took center stage. The draw on the Red is absolutely perfect. Each little puff kicks out a mean cloud of thick, white smoke. The burnline is solid and razor sharp leaving behind a trail of solid white ash which held on for well over an inch before giving way. I have to admit, it was probably one of the most perfect samples of ash I have ever seen.
Halfway There: The pepper has finally dropped out of the flavor profile in this Joya Red while the cinnamon, honey, cedar, spice, and natural tobacco live on. Into the second third a really faint mint began to creep its way in along with some nice cocoa flavors. Both are pretty mild, but I pick them up from time to time. While the other flavors are pretty bold, I can’t get over how well they mash in together creating a incredibly creamy experience. The retrohale reveals a lot more spice than I was expecting along with a bold cedar coating. As I close out the second third the burnline is still dead even, and I don’t feel anything in terms of nicotine.
Finish: The Joya Red is still continuing very bold into the final third. The spice has nearly dropped out while the cocoa has ramped up along with the cedar and a great cashew flavor. The honey and cinnamon are still evident while that mint flavor hasn’t returned. The flavors are still creamy for the most part, but with the cocoa and cashew leading the way they have become a bit chalky at the end. Especially into the final inch. There was no harshness however and the cigar left me with absolutely no nicotine kick. The burnline got pretty wavy into the final third, but I never once had to break out my torch to touch it up, or relight. So win in that category.
Overview: Joya de Nicaragua’s blends are the epitome of a solid cigar. Each and every blend they produce is high quality and the Red is just another example of this. The cigar carries a flawless construction, great flavor profile, excellent experience, all at an affordable cost. The flavors in the Red are bold, complex, and enjoyable while not being overly powerful, nor so complex that they leave you dizzy. This cigar is perfect for the seasoned smoker who really wants a solid experience without the higher price tag, and I really thing the Joya Red is a cigar that most novice cigar smokers should really seek out as it’s the perfect example of a great, premium cigar that won’t break the bank. This cigar, as with most Joya de Nicaragua releases, is box-worthy and will always have a spot in my regular rotation.
Pairing: Having smoked the Joya Red, I knew the amount of honey, cocoa, and nutty flavors it carried along with it. With that in mind, I paired it with a beer that would not only compliment these flavors, but fill in a bit of the gaps as well. Elevation Beer Company’s Apis IV is a Belgian style Quadruple ale brewed with honey and spice. Coming in at 10.7% ABV this strong ale leads off with a ton of fruit and sweetness with a malty middle, and a great sweet honey aftertaste. The fruit really helped add a bit of complexity to an already box experience while the honey married in wonderfully with the already existing flavors of the Joya Red. The Joya Red is a pretty versatile cigar when it comes to pairing. Ideally, this would go great with tea, port, Marzen, a smoked porter, or any Belgian quad or dubbel.