Cigar Reviews

Roberto Duran Cigars Neya

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So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.

-Tony


Neya is a line of cigars by the Roberto Duran, a cigar company that has been getting a lot of positive press over the past couple of years.  Founded by Roberto P. Duran, a native of Cuba (not the Panamanian boxer), the company follows a philosophy of producing cigars in the traditional Cuban way.  According to the Duran website, they use a method called “Evolution and Progressive Flavor (EPF)”, where the flavor of the cigar gains strength and intensity as it is smoked.

The Neya line utilizes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and includes aged ligero in its blend and is intended to be a great everyday smoke, which is reflected in the $4 to $7 price tag.  It comes in five sizes:  The Classic Petit Corona 5 1/8×42, Robusto 4 7/8×50, and Cañonazo 6×52 are medium bodied; while the F8 designated Toro 6×56 and Yankee 6×60 are meant to deliver a fuller bodied experience.  They are manufactured at Duran’s Nicatabaco SA factory in Estili, Nicaragua.

These Neya Petit Coronas came to me courtesy of the great folks over at Cuenca Cigars.  Thank you Ana!

Roberto Duran Neya

The Basics:

Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Habano
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Size:  Petit Corona 5 1/8 x 42
Price:  $4
Smoking time:  One hour
Pairing:  Weihenstephaner Vitus (7.7% ABV)

Pre-light:

The Neya by Roberto Duran comes in a medium brown wrapper with some natural darker spots and a few small but noticeable veins.  The roll is firm, with a slight bit of sponginess leading to a double cap.  It is nicely offset by a very traditional looking band in navy blue gold and cream with a portrait of a woman (the cigar’s namesake, perhaps?) in the center, and “Neya Cigar Co.” below the portrait and on the side of the band.  The scent off of the wrapper is a light tangy barnyard and wood, while the foot shows earthy natural tobacco.  Clipping the cap produces a snug, but tolerable draw, showing not much more than sweet tobacco  The cap, however, has begun to unravel, and I will have to be careful that the thin wrapper doesn’t follow suit.  Yes, I really can screw up a “perfect cutter” and somehow do a crooked clip, lol.

Roberto Duran Neya

First third:

The Neya immediately starts out with a blast of musty tobacco accompanied by earthiness, wood, and some sharp white pepper.  Retrohaling actually brightens the flavors and accentuates the pepper.  The draw, while not open, easily produces a good mouthful of smoke, and the burn line, which started out rather thick, is thinning out as the Neya burns at a bit of a slant.  The ash it leaves behind is a light tan tinged gray that taps off easily at ¾”.  At this point, the medium bodied smoke has become smoother, the mustiness and earth have stepped back, and cedar has come forward with some bread, bitter coffee, and musky notes.  The pepper has transitioned to a more pungent smooth black pepper.

Roberto Duran Neya

Halfway there:

Entering the middle portion of the Neya, some leather joins the mix, the bread notes are more apparent, especially through the retrohale, and the flavors have deepened, pushing the cigar past the medium mark.  The draw has opened to just the right amount of resistance for me, and while I did give the stick a quick touch-up, it was more about my picky self than something that was really necessary.  I’m finding that I have to be careful with the retrohale, as too big of one hits me with a wasabi-like stinging effect.

Roberto Duran Neya

Down to the finish:

Down the home stretch, the Neya continues to be a smooth mouthful with a bracing finish through the nose.  Flavors continue to deepen, and a bit of sweetness somewhere between spice and floral becomes apparent, along with a slight bit of wood char.  The pepper is now intensifying and causing some tingling on my tongue and lips.  With about ¾” left, it has gotten a little awkward to hold, and on the verge of medium-full, but not more than low medium in strength, I put the Neya down.

Roberto Duran Neya

Overview:

With this being the third Neya I have smoked over the past couple of weeks, I have really been impressed with this cigar.  The first one I smoked within a day of receiving them was very reminiscent of a Cuban Bolivar 2007 that I had a few months ago, but they have been evolving over the short time I have had them, perhaps showing a bit more of their Nicaraguan origins.  After my goofed up cut, I had no unraveling problems, just one minor and probably unnecessary correction, and no re-lights, so construction on this cigar is top-notch.  The flavors were enjoyable and reasonably complex, and the experience was very much in line with the Duran EPF target.  The previous two that I had actually lasted about ten to fifteen minutes longer than this one, so YMMV.  At four bucks, I think that this cigar is an absolute bargain, and I have no qualms about recommending it to someone who’s looking for a high-value medium-plus bodied stick.

Pairing:

I’m just going to go ahead and steal Tony’s write up on the Weihenstephaner Vitus that he paired with the My Father Smoke Inn El Hijo several years back:

“I decided to pair this cigar with a nice bottle of Weihenstephaner’s Vitus Wiezenbock. Vitus, is a light, wheat style beer brewed at the Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan brewery in Germany. With an ABV of 7.70% Vitus is a perfect summer beer. Light in color but rich in banana, wheat, malt, and clove favors Vitus pairs perfectly with a sunny day, and almost any cigar.”

Yep, that pretty much says it all for me.  I love this beer and the match was simply great.

Roberto Duran Neya

Tony Casas is a 32 year old Creative Managing/Webdesigning/Craft Beer Drinking Cigar smoker from El Paso, Texas. When he isn’t loving his wife he is either sleepy, hungry, or suffering from a headache.

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