In 2001, Joya de Nicaragua released what many have called a “game changer” cigar known as the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970. This is a cigar that made its mark because of the full strength it delivers. Over the past 17 years, it has become a staple of the company’s portfolio and continues to be a favorite among consumers. Back in 2005, Joya de Nicaragua released a special limited edition version of Antaño 1970 known as the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva. The Gran Reserva, features a blend containing fillers aged up to five years. The idea behind this cigar was to bring a more refined version of the Antaño 1970. Last year, Joya de Nicaragua announced the return of the Gran Reserva – this time as an ongoing offering in the Joya portfolio. Today, we take a closer look at the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva in the Belicoso.
The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva had its official re-launch at 2017 IPCPR Trade Show. Earlier this year, the company also announced that it was adding a box-pressed Toro size known as the Presidente that will be part of the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA)’s 2018 Exclusive Series. Concurrently, Joya de Nicaragua is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its factory opening. The name Antaño means “yesteryear.”
Without further ado, let’s break down the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva features 100% Nicaraguan tobacco. This is highlighted by not only the aged fillers featured in the Antaño 1970, but also a Nicaraguan Corojo Oscuro wrapper.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Oscuro
Filler: Nicaraguan (Condega, Estelí, Jalapa)
County of Origin: Nicaragua (Joya de Nicaragua SA)
The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva was originally released in three sizes- with two of them figurado shapes (Belicoso, Gran Consul). The third size was a box-pressed Robusto Grande. The fourth size, the Presidente size for the TAA is also box-pressed. Each of the four sizes is presented in 20-count boxes.
Belicoso: 6 x 54
Robusto Grande: 5 1/2 x 52 Box Pressed
Gran Cónsul 4 3/4 x 60
Presidente: 6 1/2 x 50 (TAA Exclusive)
The Nicaraguan Corojo Oscuro wrapper of the Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso had a cinnamon color to it. Upon closer examination, there was some mottling on the surface. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface of this wrapper. This was also a wrapper that had some thin visible veins, but the wrapper seams were well hidden. The belicoso tip of this cigar had a gentle taper that was a little over an inch.
There are two bands on the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva. The primary band is based on the band found on the Antaño 1970. The band features a mostly gold, red, green, and white color scheme. On the center of the band is a green leaf sitting on a white circular field. The circular field has a red ring around it with gold trim. On the ring is the text “JOYA DE NICARAGUA” in gold font arranged in a curved fashion. Below the ring is a black rectangular field with the text “Antaño” in gold cursive font. The remainder of the band has gold and red adornments.
Resting below the primary band is a secondary band unique to the Antaño Gran Reserva. This band is gold in color with red and white pin-striping near the upper and lower edge. The text “GRAN RESERVA” is on the center of the band in thin black font. There is a thin black pin-stripe flanking the left and right side of that text.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I do with all figurado cigars, I used a straight cut to remove the tip of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso. I used my Credo Special T cutter with the 36 ring gauge hole to get an ideal cut of the figurado. This allowed me to get a smaller ring gauge cut and to take advantage of the tapering of this cigar. After clipping the tip, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The dry draw delivered a mix of natural tobacco, cedar, and a baker’s spice. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At that point, I was ready to toast up the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso started out with more notes of natural tobacco, cedar, and baker’s spice. In addition, I picked up some notes of black pepper and classic wood. Early on the natural tobacco notes moved to the forefront. In addition to having a “tobacco taste”, there was a nice combination of brown sugar and Bing Cherry flavor that was mixed in there. Meanwhile, the cedar, baker’s spice, classic wood, and black pepper took a secondary role on the tongue. However, the cedar and black pepper were present on the retro-hale.
During the second third of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso, the natural tobacco notes remained grounded in the forefront. The brown sugar and Bing Cherry components started to dial back around the halfway point, thus reducing the overall sweetness. Around this point, earthy notes started to emerge in the forefront.
By the last third, the flavor profile of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso had a combination of natural tobacco and earth notes. There still were touches of brown sugar and Bing Cherry present with the natural tobacco. The background notes of cedar, black pepper, and classic wood were still present, but were quite subtle. This is the way the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
For the most part, the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso maintained a straight burn path and had a relatively straight burn line. This was a cigar that did not require a large amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was on the light gray side. This was a firmer ash that came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso also performed well. This cigar had a touch of resistance – which I have said many times is something I consider ideal. The tapered area of the Belicoso had no problems in smoke flow, enabling the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso to have a low maintenance draw.
Strength and Body
As advertised, the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso is not going to deliver the power and boldness found on its sibling blend, the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970. This is a cigar that was medium strength, medium-bodied. There was a slight increase in intensity of both attributes during the second half, but overall I still found the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Belicoso maintained its medium profile. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely and it made for an enjoyable cigar.
If there is an “under the radar” cigar for 2017, it has to be the return of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva. Simply put this is an excellent cigar. It succeeds in its goal of delivering a refined smoke and delivers some great flavor. I wouldn’t consider the Gran Reserva a “dialed back Antaño 1970”, but rather a whole different smoking experience that happens to have less strength than the Antaño 19709. I’ve smoked all three of the original three sizes, and the Belicoso is the one that stands above the rest. This is a cigar that I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is not only a cigar I’d smoke again, but it’s one worthy of a box purchase.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Bing Cherry, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Classic Wood, Black Pepper, Earth
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Purchase
News: Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Launching at 2017 IPCPR
Source: Drew Estate (Distributor)
Brand Reference: Joya de Nicaragua
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted