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Commentary: My Cigar Safari Blends Revisited (Part One)

8 Jun 2015

In the spring of 2012 I journeyed to Estelí, Nicaragua, to participate in Drew Estate’s unforgettable Cigar Safari adventure.

There, in addition to touring the factories where some of the world’s best cigars are made, I got the awesome opportunity to blend two cigars: one at Joya de Nicaragua, and the other at Drew Estate. I chronicled both creations in an article that was published on September 10, 2012. The roll date on both cigars was May 24, 2012. Somewhat miraculously, I have one cigar left from each blend—both of which are just begging to be smoked. So I thought I’d revisit the two cigars to see how almost exactly three years of age have changed them.

Today I’ll examine the Joya de Nicaragua Blend, and later on this week I’ll revisit the Drew Estate Blend. As a reminder, please note I did not grow, cultivate, ferment, or actually roll any of my cigars. All the hard work was done by the fine folks at Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate, respectively. My role consisted of selecting a wrapper, a binder, and a filler blend from available tobaccos.

Here’s what I had to say about the Joya de Nicaragua blend back in 2012:

Joya de Nicaragua Blend
Wrapper: Connecticut Ecuador
Binder: Habano Volado
Filler: Condega Seco (30%), Estelí Viso (40%), Condega Ligero (30%)
Size: 5.5 x 48

My objective with this cigar was to produce a mild, creamy smoke that would be excellent with a morning cup of coffee. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. This beautiful, golden cigar burns like a champ and yields a nice flavor of cream, butter, almond, and just a bit of spice. I got ten of these from Joya de Nicaragua and I’ve almost completely blazed through the entire stash. I may have to fly back down to Nicaragua to see if I can get more. While Joya de Nicaragua isn’t known for making mild smokes, this one turned out wonderfully.

I felt a little queasy setting a wooden match to the foot of this cigar, knowing it was the end of the samples from the first cigar I ever blended—and assuming I’ll never be able to smoke this exact concoction ever again.

Despite the nostalgia, my expectations were rather low. Right out of the gate, this was already a pretty mild creation. I expected three years of time to have mellowed it further, perhaps rendering it papery or (worse) utterly flavorless.

Instead, I was pleased to find a smooth, buttery profile that was mild- to medium-bodied with notes of almond, white pepper, and sweet hay. Perfect construction. And, yes, it still pairs really well with a cup of black coffee.

Again, in case it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn, the wonderful qualities of this cigar are completely a testament to the fine folks at Joya de Nicaragua, not my own (somewhat) educated guesses coupled with some trial and error. Joya sourced and cared for the tobacco, and Joya rolled the samples. I’m just thankful for the experience and opportunity to learn.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Commentary: My Cigar Safari Blends Revisited (Part One)”

  1. Reggie Monday, June 8, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    The most impressive thing about this was your ability to not smoke a cigar you blended–and liked–for three years. I don’t have that patience.

    Can’t imagine many other ways to better learn about blending. Jealous you got this experience.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Commentary: My Cigar Safari Blends Revisited (Part Two) | The Stogie Guys - Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    […] once with a milder Connecticut Ecuador-wrapped cigar made at Joya de Nicaragua (see my article from Monday), and once with a bolder Brazilian Mata Fina Oscuro-wrapped cigar made at Drew […]