Joya Red (Robusto) by Joya de Nicaragua

The Joya Red is a soon to be released regular production offering from Joya de Nicaragua. It also marks the first new regular production offering since President Juan Ignacio Martinez has assumed the duties of company president. While this is a traditional cigar in a lot of ways, this is a very different cigar for Joya de Nicaragua. This is because the company has established a reputation as an innovator for making strong and bold cigars. With Joya Red, this is a dialed back cigar in terms of strength and body making this a true change of pace cigar for Joya de Nicaragua. Any time a company makes a cigar that is outside of their usual profile there is some risk. However with the case of the Joya Red, this cigar comes through with flying colors – namely this is one outstanding cigar.

Last year, we did a feature story outlining changes happening at Joya de Nicaragua.  A theme the company adopted was tying its rich history of the past to today’s contemporary culture.  In a lot of ways, Joya Red was a reflection of this theme. This cigar effort has also bridged the gap between past, present and future as it was a collaborative effort of industry’s youngest executive team (led by company President Juan Ignacio Martinez, age 31) and a team of experienced Master Blenders (led by Leonel Raudez, age 62).

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Joya Red and see what this cigar brings to the table.  Since this assessment is based on a pre-release cigar, we will default to our pre-review format.  This will allow us to share our thoughts and perspectives.  Once the Joya Red is released, we will revisit this cigar and provide a formal assessment rating and score.

Blend Profile

Joya Red is an all Nicaraguan puro. To accomplish a tamer blend, the company said they moved away from their abundant use of ligeros and thick wrappers and made use of more viso leaves. The company also says the wrapper is a lower priming habano. The binder and filler come from Esteli, Jalapa, and Condega.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

Joya Red is being launched in four sizes:

Short Churchill: 4 3/4 x 48
Robusto: 5 1/4 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Cañonazo: 5 1/2 x 54 (**)

** Due to a name conflict, this vitola had been renamed to from Cardinal to Cañonazo.

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the Joya Red Robusto. I can see why Joya Red got its name. The Nicaraguan Habano wrapper has a rosado tint and almost a light cinnamon color. There is a light amount of oil on the wrapper and the surface of the wrapper is on the smoother side. There are some visible veins, and there are some thin wrapper seams that are visible. 

The band reflects the theme of bridging the past and present together. It has a very traditional color scheme of red, gold, and white, but the design of the band is more on the contemporary side. The band has gold trim across the top and bottom. Most of the band has a red background with a gradient effect where the red gets darker across the top and bottom. The band says “JOYA” in large white font. Just below that is the text “Red” in white cursive font with a small gold stripe. Below that text is a gold Joya de Nicaragua leaf logo. Across the top is the text is the text “FABRICA JOYA DE NICARAGUA SA” in small gold font. Toward the bottom is the text “HECHO A MANO en ESTELI” – also in small gold font. On the far right side of the band is a group of gold medallions and adornments in landscape mode with the text “EST 1968”..

The back of the band has the text “REDISCOVER JOYA!” along with some social media icons and the Joya de Nicaragua URL – www.joyacigars.com.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Joya Red Robusto, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap.  It was then on to the pre-light draw.  Sweetness was the name of the game with this cigar’s cold draw.  The sweetness I detected was a cross of natural tobacco, cedar, and sugar cane.  The cedar notes also put a touch of spice on the cold draw.  While normally I don’t like a lot of sweetness on the pre-light draw, I found these flavors to work beautifully.  At this point, I was ready to light up the Joya Red Robusto and see what the overall smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The sweetness on the pre-light draw continued in the early stages of the Joya Red Robusto. The start to the cigar provided a mix of sweet natural tobacco and some black pepper. The black pepper was subtle and quickly receded into the distant background. At the same time some notes of toast and citrus emerged. The citrus notes added a touch of additional sweetness to the natural tobacco and did not have any sour or acidic qualities. Meanwhile I detected a subtle pepper spice on the retro-hale.

Later in the first third, I saw the sweet natural tobacco diminish somewhat. It still was a primary flavor, but some notes of nut along with the toast notes were now present in the forefront. Meanwhile the citrus was in the background and the pepper was pretty much a tertiary flavor.

In the second third, the primary flavors shifted to more of a earthy and grassy profile. The secondary notes were the citrus, sweet natural tobacco, toast, and nut. At times the sweetness from the natural tobacco and citrus made its way to the forefront, but the sweetness as a whole was definitely diminishing.

By the last third, the sweetness had diminished greatly – leaving the earth and grass notes primary. The pepper increased slightly, but was never more than a secondary note. This is the way the flavor profile held until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

The Joya Red is a well constructed cigar and this was reflected on the burn and draw.  The burn was low maintenance from start to finish.  The burn line pretty much stayed on auto-pilot from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups.  The resulting ash was not the tightest one, but it was not problematic in terms of flaking or flowering.  The ash itself had a classic salt and pepper color.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Joya Red

The draw was also low maintenance.  It was not too tight and not too loose.  This made the Joya Red a real pleasure to smoke.

Strength and Body

This is where the Joya Red is going to be very different from most of Joya de Nicaragua’s line.   This cigar is not a strength-bomb.  The strength pretty much stayed mild to medium spectrum from start to finish.  I thought the strength might approach medium in the latter stages, but this did not occur.  As for the body, this also isn’t going to be a cigar that leans full.  I also found the body of this cigar to be in the mild to medium range.  In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balance each other very nicely – and neither overshadowed the other.

Final Thoughts

I mentioned up front that this is a cigar that is dialed back considerably from most of Joya de Nicaragua’s profile, yet I found the milder strength and milder body worked extremely well with this blend.  The tobaccos almost seem to come together in a perfect storm.  Add some great construction and balance, and this cigar has all of the makings of a winner.  This is definitely a cigar I’d recommend to a novice cigar enthusiast.  As for experienced cigar enthusiasts, I would recommend it, but for someone who leans toward fuller cigars, this one will probably fall a little short.  As for myself, this is a cigar I would reach for – and definitely smoke again.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Mild to Medium
Body: Mild to Medium
Finish: Excellent

References

News: Joya Red by Joya de Nicaragua
Price: $5.75
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 103
Stogie Feed: n/a

* Cigars for this assessment was provided by Joya de Nicaragua. The samples were received in order to provide feedback.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.