The Fonseca Nicaragua is a new line launched by Quesada Cigars in 2016. Fonseca is one of the oldest brands in the Quesada Cigars portfolio; but prior to the release of the Fonseca Nicaragua the brand had not seen a new release since 2013’s Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo. With the Fonseca Nicaragua, it marks a very different release for the brand as it is the first Fonseca branded cigar to come out of Nicaragua and to feature all Nicaraguan tobaccos. In terms of packaging, the Fonseca Nicaragua features an all-new contemporary look. In addition, the cigar is positioned as a value-priced cigar – falling into the $4.95 to $5.99 range. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Fonseca Nicaragua in the Petite Corona size. Overall, not only did I find this cigar delivered great value, but it also delivered an excellent overall smoking experience.
While Quesada Cigars owns a factory in the Dominican Republic, making cigars in Nicaragua is nothing new. In 2008, company patriarch Manuel Quesada teamed up with Nestor Plasecnia to create the first Casa Magna cigar. Casa Magna is produced at Placencia’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Since then Casa Magna has grown into a full-fledged brand (and arguably the most successful collaboration in the history of the cigar business) with most of its offerings coming out of the Placencia factory. In addition, Quesada Cigars such as the Quesada Keg and select offerings from the Quesada Oktoberfest 2015 and 2016 have also come out of Placencia.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned the Fonseca Nicaragua is a Nicaraguan puro. The cigar features all Nicaraguan tobaccos and is highlighted by a Criollo 98 Oscuro wrapper. The blend also incorporates tobaccos from the Ometepe, Jalapa, and Esteli regions.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo 98 Oscuro
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Placencia SA)
Fonseca Nicaragua is available in three sizes – each packaged in 20 count boxes. The Petite Corona offering is box-pressed.
Petite Corona: 5 x 42
Robusto: 5 x 54
Toro: 6 x 50
The Nicaraguan Criollo 98 Oscuro wrapper of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona has a dark wood color to it. Upon closer examination, some darker marbling can be see on the surface. There was a light coating of oil on the wrapper. There were also some very thin visible veins. While there were also visible wrapper seams, in general this wrapper has a smooth surface. The box-press of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona had more of a square-press shape. This was a firm box-press with no soft spots.
The band of the Fonseca Nicaragua is very different than most of the other offerings under Quesada’s Fonseca brand. There was definitely an effort to make this a more contemporary design. The band features a beige background. On the front of the band is the text “Fonseca” in a modern-styled white script with black trim. Just below that text is the text “Nicaragua” in a smaller white font. A bunch of brown and black leaves surround that text. There are also additional brown leaf designs and red adornments. On the far right is a beinge nameplate design with the text “HAND MADE” in black font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I typically do, I used a straight cut to remove the cap of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of cocoa, earth, and citrus notes. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be excellent. At this point I was ready to light up my Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona started out with notes of cocoa, earth, citrus, and cedar. The cocoa and earth notes moved into the forefront early on. Meanwhile the citrus and cedar moved into the background. On the retro-hale, I picked up an additional layer of cedar.
Thoughout the first half; while the cocoa and earth alternated in intensity in the forefront, it seemed like the cocoa had more of the edge. At the same time, the citrus and cedar varied in intensity in the background – although neither of these two notes seemed to have an edge over the other.
Once the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona crossed the midway point, I found the earth notes started to have more of edge over the cocoa in the forefront. Simultaneously, the cedar seemed to now have an edge over the citrus.
Toward the latter part of the second third Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona, the notes of cedar and earth moved into the forefront. There still were some notes of cocoa and citrus in the background adding some nice sweetness. This is the way the cigar experience of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
I found the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona to be a well-constructed cigar and this was reflected on both the burn and draw of this cigar. The burn maintained a straight path from start to finish. The actual burn line at times had a slight curvature, but this was easily remedied with a touch-up. I didn’t find the amount of touch-ups the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona needed to be excessive. Meanwhile the resulting ash had a salt and pepper color – and on the samples I smoked, leaned toward being a darker ash. This was an ash that was on the firm side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona produced a draw that was not too tight, nor too loose. This was a cigar where it was quite easy to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
With a few exceptions, most cigars under Quesada’s Fonseca brand have been skewed toward the milder side. As for the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona, many fans of Fonseca might find this to be bolder than most. Strength-wise, the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona was a solid medium. At the same time, the body of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona also started out medium. As the cigar experience progresses, the body built up in intensity and by the second half, it progressed into medium to full territory.
When looking at strength versus body, I found the body to have the edge – particularly in the second half.
While I didn’t find the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona to be the most complex offering, I did find this a cigar that produced great flavor. These flavors kept me interested from start to finish. I’ve smoked this cigar in each of the sizes, and overall I found the box-press format of the Petite Corona to be the “Belle of the Ball” for this line.
Taking price aside, I found this to be an excellent offering. However, it’s hard to ignore the $4.95 price point of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona. In the end, adds a significant value component to this cigar Still I found this to be a great cigar for all cigar enthusiasts – whether experienced or novice. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again – and it’s easily worthy of a box purchase.
Key Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Cedar, Citrus
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (Second Half)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
News: Quesada Cigars Announces Fonseca Nicaragua
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufactuer (Prior to Aug 8, 2016); Additional cigars purchased
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
Brand Reference: Quesada
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted.