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Cigar Review: Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Toro

20 Aug 2015

A few years ago, Joya de Nicaragua released Cuatro Cinco to celebrate its 45th anniversary. The limited production cigar was a Nicaraguan puro with tobaccos from Estelí and Jalapa, including aged Ligero that had been resting in oak barrels.

Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial ToroOnly 4,500 boxes of 10 were made in a single vitola: a large, semi-box-pressed smoke that measured 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 54. In addition to earning an exemplary rating at StogieGuys.com in November 2013, Joya reported Cuatro Cinco sold out in just a few short weeks.

Flash forward to 2015. A few months ago, Joya announced Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial, which started shipping the last week of June to selected members of the Drew Diplomat Retailers program. Reserva Especial, which is a regular production line, features a “carefully modified recipe,” including barrel-aged, Grade A fillers and a shade-grown Habano wrapper from Jalapa. Four softly box-pressed vitolas sell in the $8 to $12.50 range: Torpedo, Double Robusto, Petit Corona, and Toro.

The Toro (6.25 x 50) is a dark, oily specimen with few noticeable veins and a loose cross-section of tobacco visible at the foot. Its band is very similar to the original Cuatro Cinco, except the newer version says “Reserva Especial” across the top, and there’s more white than gold as a secondary color to the black. The pre-light notes remind me of dried fruit, especially green raisin. The triple-cap clips easily to reveal a smooth cold draw.

Once lit, the Reserva Especial exhibits a gritty, leathery profile with hints of red and black pepper along with espresso. The body is full from the get-go, coating the palate with thick smoke and leaving plenty of spice on the aftertaste. After a half inch, some cocoa sweetness joins in, rendering the profile a little more balanced and interesting. The cocoa is a most welcome addition, though it can be elusive, especially if you smoke too quickly.

As I’ve come to expect from Joya de Nicaragua, the combustion qualities are excellent, including a straight burn line, solid ash, easy draw, and good smoke production.

The original Cuatro Cinco—known as “Edición Limitada”—may be the best cigar Joya has ever produced, so perhaps it’s unfair to compare the Reserva Especial to it. On the other hand, Joya is certainly inviting that comparison by maintaining the Cuatro Cinco name (assuredly trying to capitalize on the former’s success). In my humble view, judging by the Toro size alone, the Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial is quite tasty but not up to the high standards set by Edición Limitada. That said, kudos to Joya for releasing more than one Reserva Especial size; I particularly look forward to seeing how the Petit Corona stacks up. For now, the Toro should be on your watch list. It’s worthy of an admirable rating of four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

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