Neya Classic Cañonazo by Roberto P Duran Cigars

Neya is one of three new brands launched by Roberto P. Duran Cigars at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. It was a year ago where the company made its debut and released three blends under the Azan brand of cigars.  The addition of these new brands has been one part of an aggressive expansion effort by the company. Over the past month, the company has also expanded its sales force including adding former Toraño Family Cigar employees Miguel Schoedel (as National Sales Manager), Jack Toraño (as Florida / Caribbean Sales Manager and Marketing), and Frank Cuden (Sales).  This expansion will no doubt expand distribution on some very good products being produced by the company. The Neya brand is positioned as a premium offering in the portfolio. It has two blends, Neya Classic and Neya F8. Today we take a look at the Neya Classic in the Cañonazo. Overall I considered this to be an excellent cigar and one that provides some great value to the consumer.

Roberto P. Duran Cigars is named for its owner and founder, Roberto Pelayo Duran. Originally from Cuba, Roberto started out as a cigar production supervisor in that country. He then went on to assemble and manage all Cuban cigar brands for The Pacific Cigar Company, Ltd. He has also served as consultant to British American Tobacco working on their global brand strategy.

As for Duran’s company, he has established a vertically integrated model.  The company owns their own factory in Nicaragua called Fabrica NicaTabaco.  The company also owns a plantation in Ecuador called Finca Azan.  This puts the Roberto P. Duran Cigars in a unique position where they grown much of their own Ecuadorian wrapper as opposed to sourcing it.

The three new brands by Roberto P. Duran Cigars are targeted to different market segments.  In addition to the Neya, the company launched its super-premium eponymous cigar, the Roberto P. Duran cigar and its value-priced Baracoa.  The Neya falls in the middle positioned as a a premium cigar.

 Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Neya Classic Cañonazo and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile and Vitolas Available

There are two blends under the Neya brand – the Neya Classic and the Neya F8.  While they both contain a Habana Ecuador wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler, the difference is the F8 is designed to be stronger and fuller – a product of extra fermentation and a ligero leaf used in the filler.

Wrapper: Habana Ecuador
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

There are three sizes in the Neya Classic:

Petite Corona: 5 1/8 x 42
Robusto: 4 7/8 x 50
Cañonazo: 6 x 52

There are two sizes in the Neya F8:

Toro: 6 x 56
Yankee: 6 x 60

Appearance

The Neya Classic Cañonazo contains a very classic medium brown colored Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.  There is a light amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper.  While there are some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams, I considered this to be a smooth wrapper.

The band to the Neya features a Cuban style portrait of a woman in the middle.  The portrait is surrounded by a gold and white wreath with a gold crown at the top.  The wreath sits on an indigo-blue background.  On the lower portion of the wreath is a light yellow ribbon with the text NEYA CIGAR CO. in indigo font.  Both the left and right side of the band feature gold pinstripes over the indigo background.  On the left side of the band is the text “NEYA CIGAR CO.” in gold font.  On the right side of the band is the text “HAND MADE IN ESTELI” – also in gold font.  The band itself has gold trim around the edges.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up the Neya Classic Cañonazo I went with a straight cut to remove the cap.  After clipping the cap, I commenced with the pre-light draw.  The cold draw provided notes of nut and light  spice.  I also picked up a slight floral note.  Overall I considered this to be a very good pre-light draw.  At this point I was ready to light up the Neya Classic Cañonazo and awaited what the cigar experience would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Neya Classic delivered notes of nut, fruit sweetness, and pepper.  The pepper seemed to be a combination of black and white pepper on the tongue, but more of a white pepper note on the retro-hale.  As the Neya Classic moved through the first half, the nut flavors became primary and were joined by natural tobacco flavors.  The pepper became a secondary note. Meanwhile, the fruit sweetness diminished slowly in the first half.

At the midway point, the nut flavors remained primary.  The natural tobacco notes recede slightly and were a close secondary note with the pepper.  By this point the fruit notes were more subtle, but still provided just eno

Toward the latter part of the second third, the pepper notes increased and joined the nut flavors in the forefront. There still was some natural tobacco in the background.  This is the way the flavor profile held until the end.  The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.

Burn and Draw

The burn for the Neya remained relatively straight.  While it didn’t require an abnormal amount of touch-ups, I did find that the wrapper tended to blister very easily when  touched-up.  This happened on each of the three samples I smoked.  This involved more maintenance to make sure this blistering did not get worse.  In the end, I found there wasn’t any negatives on the flavor profile and the burn line did remain straight.  It was mostly a cosmetic issue on the burn line.

The resulting ash was a silvery gray.  This was not an overly firm nor a loose ash.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

 

Burn of the Neya Classic Cañonazo

The draw performed very well.  It was not too loose, nor not to tight.  This made the Neya Classic a low maintenance and enjoyable cigar to smoke.

Strength and Body

Roberto P. Duran Cigars has talked about a philosophy called EPF (Evolution and Progressive Flavor).  EPF is based on an old Cuban tradition where the flavor gains strength and intensity from beginning to end.  This was reflected in the intensity of the body of this cigar.  The Neya Classic started out medium-bodied, but in the last third it had progressed into medium to full-bodied territory.  As for the strength level, the strength also started out medium.  As the smoking experience professed, there was a slight increase in the nicotine level, but for the most part the Neya Classic remained a medium strength cigar. In terms of strength versus body,  I gave a slight edge to the body.

Final Thoughts

Since the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, I’ve had an opportunity to sample many of the cigars from Roberto P. Duran Cigars – and I have been pretty impressed with them. The Neya Classic continues the excellent track record from this company. The Neya line is priced between $4.00 and $7.00 depending on the size. I found this to be one of the best value priced cigars out there. With the Neya Classic, I found this to be the kind of cigar that can be enjoyed any time of the day. I particularly liked this cigar’s nutty flavor and how the other flavors complemented it. This is also a cigar I would recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again, and it’s one I’d recommend a box split.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last third)
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 91

References

News: Neya by Roberto P. Duran Cigars (Cigar Preview)
Price: $4.00 – $7.00 (Depending on vitola)
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufactuer
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