Villiger 1888 Nicaragua Robusto

Villiger 1888 Nicaragua Robusto

Today, we look at the Villiger 1888 Nicaragua in the Robusto size.  This is a companion offering to the current Villiger 1888 cigar. Villiger 1888 pays homage to the year 1888 – the year Villiger Cigars went into business.  The original Villiger 1888 release was created in the late 2000s at the ABAM Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic. As the Villager 1888 Nicaragua name indicates, it is another cigar commemorating the birth of Villiger Cigars. “Nicaragua” refers to the cigar being produced in Nicaragua – in this case, at Villiger’s Villiger de Nicaragua factory.

Villiger is a global brand in the cigar business. It’s known for its presence in the machine-made and cigarillo segment of the market. At the same time, the company has been working hard on its premium handmade segment of the business. For many years, Villiger has partnered with other factories to produce its handmade cigars and has subcontracted ABAM Cigars S.R.L. for much of its production out of the Dominican. We’ve recently seen Villiger also move to establish its own handmade production facilities, most recently with Villiger do Brazil and Villiger de Nicaragua.  When Villiger de Nicaragua opened its doors, the company moved some of its production from other Nicaragua factories to the factory. It also created some limited edition offerings. The Villiger 1888 Nicaragua line is the first regular production line originating from Villiger de Nicaragua.

Let’s break down the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto without further ado and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Villiger 1888 Nicaragua Robusto – Cigar Review


Blend and Origin

An Ecuadorian-grown wrapper highlights the 1888 Nicaragua blend. Nicaraguan tobaccos are used for the binder and filler. In addition, some U.S. Pennsylvania-grown tobacco is incorporated into the filler. As mentioned, production comes from the Villiger de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, U.S. (Pennsylvania)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Villiger de Nicaragua

Vitolas Offered

The Villiger 1888 Nicaragua comes in three sizes, each available in 20-count boxes. The Gordo and Churchill sizes made their debut at PCA 2024.

Coronita: 5 3/4 x 43
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
Gordo: 6 x 60
Churchill: 7 x 50

Appearance (*)

The Ecuadorian wrapper of the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto was dark brown with a slight Colorado tint, making it quite aesthetically pleasing. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the wrapper, but upon closer examination, some mottling could be seen on the surface. There were some visible veins and some thin, visible wrapper seams.


Pre-Light Draw (*)

A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of leather, wood, and baker’s spice. Overall, this was a lackluster pre-light draw experience. Since the pre-light draw is not incorporated into the overall score or value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer of the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto and move on to the smoking phase.

Tasting Notes

The 1888 Nicaragua Robusto opened up with notes of wood, fruit, natural tobacco, earth, and baker’s spice. The wood and natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront as the cigar burned through the first third. The fruit, earth, and baker’s spice settled into the background. A slight chocolate and some white pepper notes also emerged in the background. Meanwhile, an extra layer of white pepper was present on the retro-hale.

During the second third of the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto, the wood slowly crept toward becoming the dominant note. The baker’s spice and chocolate notes were gone past the midway point. The fruit sweetness also diminished. In addition, the natural tobacco sweetness also diminished. The pepper spice increased as the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto moved into the second half.

The final third saw the wood notes firmly planted as the primary note. This was countered by natural tobacco, earth, and pepper notes—with the pepper the main note. There was bitterness, and this was joined by an underlying harshness. As the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto came to a close, it finished with a soft and lukewarm nub.


The burn of the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto maintained a straight burn path and straight burn line, but it required frequent touch-ups. While the touch-ups did the trick, this cigar required more touch-ups than I preferred.  The resulting ash had a silver-gray color. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it was neither loose nor flaky. As for the burn rate, it was ideal. The burn temperature remained ideal until the final puffs when it became lukewarm. While I detected harshness before the lukewarm temperature, I cannot infer the two are connected.

Burn of the Villiger 1888 Nicaragua Robusto


The draw to the 1888 Nicaragua was open but not loose. I usually prefer a little resistance on my draw. I was unable to correlate the open draw to the harshness I got on the final third.

Strength and Body

The 1888 Nicaragua Robusto opened with medium strength and medium-to-full-bodied flavors. While the intensity slightly increased during the smoking experience, the cigar remained medium in strength and medium to full in body when the smoking experience came to a close.

Throughout the smoking experience, the body had a significant edge over its strength.


Villiger does not get the credit it deserves regarding its packaging. I really liked how their packaging is a nice intersection of classic and contemporary elements. The 1888 Nicaragua is no exception. The rich blue on the boxes and bands really stands out. I like the blue Villiger primary band as well.

Packaging of the Villiger 1888 Nicaragua line


Final Thoughts

When I looked at the 1888 Nicaragua cigar and its packaging, I immediately wanted to like it. The aesthetics were all there, and the $8.00 price point was also attractive. The problem is that aesthetics and price don’t guarantee a good score, and this is the case with the 1888 Nicaragua Robusto.

The 1888 Nicaragua Robusto was uninspiring at the start, and then, despite some glimmers of hope late in the first third, it slowly went downhill. The harshness and bitterness later in this cigar simply could not be overcome. I’ve had better from Villiger before, so I know Villiger can do better. While I’m open to trying the other sizes, the Robusto was a pass for me, and it’s not one I can return to. My advice is to stick to the original Dominican Villiger 1888 Robusto.


Key Flavors: Wood, Natural Tobacco, Earth, Chocolate, Baker’s Spice, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good


Value: Not Recommended
Score: 84


News: Villiger 1888 Nicaragua to Make U.S. Debut at 2023 PCA Trade Show
Price: $8.00
Source: Villiger
Brand Reference: Villiger

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop

(*) Indicates this is not factored into the score or value rating