I’ve been eagerly waiting for the Joya Red to come into retailers, so lucky for me I got a chance to weasel a few from the Joya de Nicaragua crew at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival last August. Poor Richard’s is getting these in, so if what I’m about to say sounds good to you, go pick some up at Bozeman’s best B&M.
-Country – Nicaragua
-Wrapper – Nicaraguan Habano
-Binder – Nicaragua
-Filler – Nicaragua
-Size – Robusto 5 1/4 x 50
-Price – $5.75, probably around $7.50 or $8 here in Montana
The Joya de Nicaragua Joya Red is a beautiful robusto. It is covered with a light brown, reddish wrapper that looks and feels like leather, and the tiny veins are spaced about an inch apart. The filler tobacco in the foot has an awesome brindle-like color to it, and it is very easy to pick out the ligero and viso primings of the leaves. When I sniff the wrapper I pick up hay and chocolate, while the foot smells of molasses. The molasses comes through on the cold draw, along with a light woodiness.
The first draw is woodsy, dusty, and slightly sweet. Some spice is apparent up front too, but there is no trace of pepper or harshness. About a quarter inch in I’m getting a lot of earthiness and more baking spice flavors. The earthiness is more apparent on small puffs, while the sweetness and spice come out with a bigger mouthful of smoke. So far all the flavor is detectable in the mouth, with the retro-hale serving to augment the overall amount of flavor. The finish is fairly clean, and the smoke has a certain presence in the mouth without coating it.
The earthiness drops off and returns sporadically in the second third. I’m picking up a sweet bit of twang, and there’s a fruity taste on the finish. At times I get an enjoyably dusty mouthfeel, but every now and then the earthiness gets overly strong. So far there is no hint of nicotine, and the white ash is holding on very well.
The final third is bringing some cinnamon and cardamom flavors, while the earthiness has moved to the background. On the finish there is a pleasant toast taste that lingers behind on the roof of my mouth. The first two thirds needed a couple of touch ups, but this last inch and a half is burning great. The smoke is getting warmer, but not bitter, and the cigar itself is getting a little squishy. This doesn’t seem like a major flaw in construction, so I would point to the lower priming of leaves in the bunch as the source of this softness. The baking spices are really picking up at the end, and I’ll keep smoking to the nub if they continue.
I have to be honest- earthiness is not my favorite flavor in a cigar. That said, the Joya Red had enough other flavors going on that I could look past that and enjoy the cigar. The burn was good and the room aroma was deliciously sweet, but I just wish more of that sweetness came through on the palate. If I didn’t know this was a Nicaraguan puro, I would have guessed there was a lot of Honduran tobacco in the blend simply because it was so earthy.
I personally don’t like earthy cigars, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good smoke. If you like earthiness, this would probably be a 4 on my rating system. The Joya Red is probably not for me, but it still scores well enough for a…
3.25 out of 5