Brand: Joya de Nicaragua
Line: Antaño Gran Reserva
Size: Belicoso (6 x 54)
MSRP: ~ $9.90 to $11.15
Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
Cigars for review provided by: Joya de Nicaragua
Quick Note: For this review I used Cigar Federation's rating system
The Gran Reserva is the latest member of the Antaño 1970 family, introduced at IPCPR 2017. Joya's website says, "The process of creating the Antaño took over 50 samples in a period of 6 months to complete. The Antaño is exclusively crafted by hand and entirely of Nicaraguan harvested tobaccos. This cigar is an ultra robust, spicy smoke which showcases the authentic Nicaraguan “Puro”. “The main alteration that comes with the Antaño Gran Reserva is that we have added fillers that have been aged for up to five years. As a result, we have obtained a more refined and mature version of the Antaño 1970,”
The wrapper of this cigar was dark brown and had an oily sheen to it. One of the things I noticed when I first picked this cigar up, was that it felt heavy relative to it’s size. After cutting into the cap I was delighted to find that it had the ideal draw for me. Not too tight but also not too loose. The prelight draw had notes of black pepper, wood, and a sweet but also spicy quality with a hint of cinnamon.
The initial puffs brought a heavy blast of black pepper and immediately this reminded of the many Antaños I’ve smoked in the past. The Antaño line in my mind, is the classic full bodied/full strength Nicaraguan cigar. This first third of the Gran Reserva brought all of the things I’d expect from an Antaño, but it also had a creaminess and overall balance that is difficult to describe but unique to the Gran Reserva. Earthy tobacco flavors with some wood notes on the finish, backed by black pepper spice on the retrohale were the predominate flavors. As I reached the end of first third the pepper started to ease up and I noticed some cocoa qualities. There was also a very subtle sweetness coming and going that started to provide a great balance to overall flavor profile.
Going into the second third the Gran Reserva started to really show it's refinement and grace. The creamy quality kicked up a notch and the pepper continued to fade more into the background. I picked up some fresh baked bread qualities with a mix of baking spices. This made for a really nice contrast against the rich earthy profile, and was further balanced by the creamy texture and flavor of the smoke. As I reached the end of the second third the pepper started to come back and I picked up natural tobacco flavors with warm spice qualities that lingered on my palate. The subtle sweetness remained faint but made for a really balanced finish.
By the final third the pepper is back in the forefront but remained well balanced with the cream, earth, and wood flavors. I liked the gentle sweetness that was most noticeable on the finish. This had a very freshening effect on my palate. The cigar came to an end without any trace of bitterness or harsh flavors.
This cigar is unmistakably a member of the Antaño family, but it delivers those classic full body flavors in a more refined and well rounded way. It's almost difficult to quantify, the Gran Reserva still packs a punch, but it comes at you more like James Bond and less like the Terminator. The cigar required a few touch ups but this didn’t negatively impact my smoking experience at all. Overall construction was great; this was a slow and cool burning cigar, so make sure you have the time to enjoy it before lighting one up. I really enjoyed this cigar and look forward to smoking more of these.
Total smoking time was about 1 hour 45 minutes.
I think there are a many great pairing options for this cigar. Flor de Cana 12 or 18 immediately come to mind since this is a Nicaraguan Puro. This would work well with most bourbons and scotches because it has enough full flavors to not be overpowered. I also think any beer with a lower IBU would work well.
Jason’s rating: 92 AKA “Box Split”