Back in January, MoyaRuiz Cigars announced its third limited edition cigar project, and sixth blend overall called Pickle Juice. What makes Pickle Juice different than any other MoyaRuiz release is that it is a candela wrapper cigar. Not only is Pickle Juice the first candela wrapper cigar released by MoyaRuiz, but it is also the first candela production to come out of Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory (MoyaRuiz’s manufacturing partner). Given Candela wrappers are green colored, these releases are common around the St. Patrick’s Day holiday and (at press time) MoyaRuiz has recently shipped this cigar in time for this year’s celebration. Today I take a closer look at the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice. Overall, this is a special candela release, and one that succeeds in breaking the mold of traditional candelas.
Back when we reported on the announcement of Pickle Juice, we gave a little background for how this project came about:
The project started when MoyaRuiz co-owner Danny Moya was reading an article about the strange drinks and pickle juice was one of them. The name stuck with Moya. A little over a month later, Moya learned that La Zona Director of Factory Operations Hector Alfonso, Sr. had developed some blends with a candela wrapper. Moya saw an opportunity to do a cigar project with this theme. The blends were then sampled and the wheels for the Pickle Juice project were put in motion.
As a disclaimer, this cigar assessment was based on a single smoke of the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice. Without further ado, let’s break down the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice and see what this cigar brings to the table.
In addition to the Candela wrapper, the binder and filler use Nicaraguan tobaccos. As mentioned, the cigar is produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona SA)
MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro.
Keeping to the theme of Pickle Juice, the cigars are packaged in a green jar resembling a pickle jar. There are thirteen cigars packaged in each jar. The total production is 500 jars with each jar hand-numbered. The 500 jars were distributed to 50 select retailers with each retailer receiving 10 jars.
The candela wrapper is not going to be what I call the bright green “Kermit the Frog” green wrapper. For lack of a better term, this was more of a “dill pickle green-colored” wrapper. There was a light coating of oil on the wrapper. While there were some visible wrapper seams and visible veins, this was quite a smooth candela wrapper.
One thing that was a bit of a surprise when this cigar arrived was the cap. There is a darker oscuro-like tobacco leaf that is used on the cap – something we did not see when details of the cigar first came out. Not only does it give this cigar a unique look, but it serves a purpose. MoyaRuiz co-owner Danny Moya informed us that it was put on there to offset some of the heavy grassiness associated with candela wrapper.
The band is a brighter green color with black font that is shaped like a pickle (complete with a pickle stem). The text “Pickle Juice” in a very contemporary font is on the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighing up the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. My cut took off most of the natural tobacco section of the cap, but I still left a small segment on the cigar. It was then on to the pre-light draw. The portion of the natural tobacco on the cigar did exactly as advertised as it definitely offset the grassiness on the pre-light. I detected notes of coffee, natural tobacco, and a bit of cedar spice. I still got some grassy notes, but they were not as prominent as I normally get on a candela pre-light draw. Overall I considered this an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
Once I lit up the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice, I definitely got more of the candela effect, however the raw-ness of candela grassy notes were definitely mitigated. The notes I got were more of a sweet herbal grass. There also was a cream component and white pepper note. The sweet herbal notes went primary early on while the cream and white pepper notes moved to the background. The retro-hale was more subtle than pungent as I got a combination of wood and light white pepper notes.
As the Pickle Juice moved through the first third, I found the sweet herbal notes remained primary. The cream and white pepper remained in the background. I also found a black tea note emerged in the background. Overall, there was a definite smoothness to this cigar that I have not found on many candela cigars.
During the second third, the sweet herbal notes remained primary, but the black tea notes moved into he forefront from time to time. The herbal and black tea notes were quite distinct (i.e it was not an “herbal tea” note). The cream and pepper remained in the background.
The last third saw the flavor profile remain the same except for a slight increase in white pepper. The pepper never got overpowering and the cigar never became spicy. This is the way the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice finished up. There was a little bit of harshness at the end, but by this point I had enough of a nub to put the cigar down. The nub itself was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice performed quite well. The burn path remained straight from start to finish with the cigar never in danger of tunneling or canoeing. There was a slight curviness to the burn line, but this was remedied with some touch-ups and the number of touch-ups was not excessive. I found the resulting ash to have a salt and pepper color. While it wasn’t a loose ash, there was some occasional flaking along the way. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw had a slight amount of resistance – which is something I like. What I was really surprised about was the amount of smoke production the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice produced. Not only did this surprise me because it wasn’t a loose draw, but it was probably the most smoke production I’ve gotten on any candela. I do like a lot of smoke production, so this worked in favor of the Pickle Juice.
Strength and Body
Most candelas are going to be in the mild / mild to medium range when it comes to strength and body. The MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice is going to be a little bolder than most candelas. I found that this was a cigar that was on the lower end of medium for both strength and body. I found the medium profile worked quite well with the cigar. In fact, I found the strength and body to balance each other nicely from start to finish.
While I do enjoy a traditional candela cigar from time to time, I also like it when a manufacturer pushes the boundaries of what a candela smoke can do. Cigars such as the RoMa Craft Tobac Formorian, Viaje WLP Candela, and Illusione Claro have done a good job at creating a candela outside the traditional boundaries. From my initial smoke of the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice, this not only pushes those boundaries, but it delivers an upper echelon candela cigar. This cigar does a very effective way at not having the candela wrapper overpower the blend. The result is a cigar that is excellent.
This is a cigar I can recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. This is also a cigar I could recommend to someone who might not normally smoke candela. As for myself, this is quite an impressive cigar. It’s one of the best candelas released in quite some time. It’s easily worthy of a box (or in this case jar) purchase.
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
News: MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice Coming for St. Patrick’s Day
Source: Cigar Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 179
Stogie Feed: MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice