Cigar Review: Joya Black by Joya de Nicaragua

  • JoyaBlk_straightVitola: Nocturno
  • 6.25″ x 46 ring gauge
  • $6.99
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since the Joya Red signaled a new attitude and spirit—a modern face—for the Joya de Nicaragua brand. The Joya Red was a Nicaraguan puro with a medium body and a very attractive price tag. Strangely, they did not follow up on it within the first year, instead releasing the Cuatro Cinco as a regular release at the 2015 IPCPR show and waiting until this year to continue the modern theme.

The modern Joya theme has roped in the erstwhile Cabinetta blend, with some minor tweaks and now the Joya Black has been released as a direct partner to the Joya Red. Joya Black was officially announced in early July and utilizes Nicaraguan fillers and binder leaves, along with a Mexican San Andres Negro wrapper.

I’ve frequently been a critic of Mexican wrapper leaf, but I have found quite a few I’ve liked, as well…this time around, I really had no idea what to expect. When they showed up at Burns last week, I selected a size and lit it up…and enjoyed it. So I bought a couple more so I could share the experience through a review. (Some background info came from Joya de Nicaragua’s website.)

Prelight

The packaging and banding for the Joya Black uses a striking combination of Black, white, silver, gray and blue. Black and silver seem to be a fairly common combination in cigar bands (apparently lots of Raiders fans in the industry), but the thing that really sets this apart is the blue foil. It catches the eye, while keeping the overall “dark” theme going on.

The wrapper leaf was a dark chocolate brown with an oily sheen and a bit of veining along the length of the stick. It smelled of earth, along with touches of strong, dark roast  coffee beans and leather. The foot was richly earthy with a touch of cocoa powder. The cold draw was excellent and had notes of strong, bitter earth and unsweetened cocoa, with just a little peppery burn left behind on the lips.

JoyaBlk_labelFlavor

The Joya Black lit up easily and evenly, the small ring gauge definitely helping achieve that. Initially, I definitely got the bitter, slightly chalky earth notes that I have come to expect from Mexican wrapper leaf. In the presence of that bitterness, though, was a balancing sweet note of dark chocolate and dried fruit, along with touches of cedar and pepper on the palate. The smoke was thick and oily with a full body and the retrohale was surprisingly smooth, with notes of coffee and just a little black pepper.

As I burned into the second third, the earthier flavors built up to prominence, with just enough sweetness left in the mix to still provide balance. The pepper on the palate continued as a steady, low-level burn and the smoke was still full-bodied and thick.

The last third continued on earthy with an increase in pepper spice and cedar notes. Any sweet notes had faded way into the background, not completely gone, but really just the thought of sweetness rather than the real presence of it.

Construction

As with many Maduro wrappers, this one needed a little touching up to the burn line to keep it straight, but nothing of any real concern. The ash was solid and the draw was great.

JoyaBlk_ashtrayValue

This is a very good full-bodied cigar for a great price.

Conclusions

The Joya Black is a great addition to Joya de Nicaragua’s “modern” lineup. It was full-bodied and full-flavored, keeping my interest from end to end. While there are a good number of cigars on the market with this basic makeup (Nicaraguan filler/binder, Mexican wrapper—Jericho Hill, Norteño, La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor, Padron 1964 Maduro) this cigar ends up feeling unique among them, with more sweetness at the front and an excellent balance in the blend. It should be sure to please fans of Joya’s stronger cigars.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

You may also like...