The Joya Red is the most recent cigar release from Joya de Nicaragua, following their limited release of the Cuatro Cinco. For those who aren’t aware, Joya de Nicaragua was originally established in 1968, making it Nicaragua’s first and oldest premium cigar manufacturer.
The blend itself is entirely Nicaraguan, with a combination of Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa tobacco in the filler. Available in 4 vitolas; a short Churchill (4 3/4” x 48 ring gauge), robusto (5 1/4” x 50 ring gauge), cañonazo (5 1/2” x 54 ring gauge) and last a toro (6” x 52 ring gauge).
I'm excited for the new offering from Joya de Nicaragua, but I have no idea what to expect as this is being marketed as a medium cigar - a bit of a novelty for Joya. At first glance, the cigar looks immaculate. The red band with gold trim and a white 'Joya Red' bounces off the picturesque tan wrapper. Once I clip the cap, I take a pre-light draw, and my brain immediately says 'graham cracker'.
Immediately on the light, I find the cigar to be a bit powerful in the typical Joya sense, but this quickly dissipates and mellows out. The first inch is extremely complex - I get more of that graham cracker flavor with some wood/earth notes and a very subtle citrus sweetness on the finish along with a bit of mild pepper on the retrohale. The draw on this sample has just the slightest bit of restriction which is perfect, and while the burn isn't poker straight, it is solid.
As I enter the middle, the cigar has totally mellowed out. For a full-bodied smoker like me, I'd argue this is just barely medium. A truly vast departure from typical Joya offerings. The graham cracker still remains the flavor I get the most with the cinnamon flavor taking center stage, but the complexity remains as I still get those cedar flavors along with a bit of spice on the retrohale and the slightest of chocolate notes. I find the flavors remain into the finale with the chocolate becoming a bit more pronounced and pairing with a nutty flavor.
When I first heard of this cigar, I questioned if it would be a tweak of the Cuatro Cinco blend. That cigar just seemed too good to be a limited edition. It is not that, but I may like it better. I usually prefer fuller smokes, but this is a full-flavored, medium-bodied cigar that I could see myself smoking (and enjoying) at any time of day. Definitely one to keep in the humidor.
Joya de Nicaragua cigars hold a special place for me. Having visiting their factory twice in Nicaragua I have a better understanding of their approach to cigars. I would say I have almost all of their cigars sitting somewhere in my humidor waiting for me to light one up. At the time of this review, the most recent Cuatro Cinco release, sits at #3 for my top rated cigars of 2014.
On the nose the Joya Red was much lighter than I find their other releases. Heavy cedar, spices, and hay mixed in with light tobacco.
The first lead predominantly with hay and a little bit of linger white pepper on my lips. There is some slight sweetness and light leather at the end of the draw that develops. I can’t identify any more complexity on the retrohale. My understanding is that JdN intended this to be a lighter cigar than many of their full bodied powerhouses, and it would appear they have succeeded.
The second third still has the hay profile but there is an additional spice note here that I’m not able to identify. Some dry cedar develops and the sweetness from the first picks up in intensity here.
In the last third I found the flavors largely dominated by leather and I wasn’t able to single out anything else developing here.
The Joya Red is definitely a lighter cigar than most of the Joya de Nicaragua offerings. It is listed as a medium bodied cigar, but I would put it in the light-medium category. I feel like it would be an excellent option for a new smoker, or anyone who tends to gravitate towards the subtle and lighter end of the flavor profile spectrum.
For me personally I am inclined to reach for the JdN Antano Dark Corojo or the more recent and amazing JdN Cuatro Cinco.
First third was light, nutty, with dry cedar on the finish and retrohale. There was a defined creamy nutty thing going, almost latte like in finish. Most interesting, was I likened it at times to vanilla wafer.
Second third I got mint through the nose, which led into the final third.
Final third I got some custard like flavors, along with a long coffee finish with the mint floating in the background. My opinion is this is a medium-bodied smoke that I think folks like me will enjoy.
For me I would easily buy a fiver, and probably more over time, so it lies on the bottom end of a box split considering the price could be had for a little over $4 a stick if you found a sale.