In July, Quesada Cigars and the Placencia family announced they were teaming up for a new release under the Fonseca line which would feature all Nicaraguan tobacco for the first time in the brand’s history. Appropriately named Fonseca Nicaragua, the new blend is made up of tobacco from three of Nicaragua’s four different growing regions—Estelí, Jalapa and Ometepe—and was formally released at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
“Because this is the first time we will make a Fonseca outside of the Dominican Republic we wanted it to create a special cigar that everyone can afford to smoke and so we approached this project with the concept of creating a $10-12 cigar for $4-6,” said Terence Reilly, general manager of Quesada Cigars, in a press release. “The result is a complex, nuanced cigar that we believe will be the best value on the market.”
Internally, the blend features a Nicaraguan criollo ’98 wrapper from the Jalapa region, while the binder and filler tobaccos hail from the Estelí and Ometepe regions of the county. The new line was introduced in three vitolas, all of which are being sold in 20-count boxes, and is being produced at Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Estelí. Two of the vitolas—the Robusto and Toro—are round, while the Petite Corona features a sharp box press.
There are three different vitolas of the Fonseca Nicaragua:
- Fonseca Nicaragua Robusto (5 1/2 x 54) — $5.79 (Boxes of 20, $115.80)
- Fonseca Nicaragua Toro (6 x 50) — $5.99 (Boxes of 20, $119.80)
- Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona (5 x 42) — $4.95 (Boxes of 20, $99)
- Cigar Reviewed: Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan criollo ’98
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Petite Corona
- MSRP: $4.95 (Boxes of 20, $99)
- Release Date: August 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona is visually distinctive with a combination of both a relatively small vitola and extreme box-press. The dark mocha brown wrapper has less tooth than I expected when I inspected it, and the cigar is quite spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of barnyard, dark chocolate, hay, manure and leather while the cold draw brings flavors of dark chocolate, cedar, ground coffee, peanuts, leather and black pepper.
Starting out, the Fonseca Nicaragua features a dominant flavors of both powdery cocoa and hay, followed by flavors of aged oak, leather, tobacco, earth, and charred meat. There is some nice vanilla sweetness on the retrohale, as well as a significant amount of black pepper that seems to be decreasing as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, while the burn is pretty close to consistently razor sharp so far. In addition, the smoke production is about average while the overall strength hits a point between mild and medium by the time the first third comes to an end.
The sweetness in the profile of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona morphs into more of a marzipan note during the second third, while the dominant flavors shift to a combination of both dank earth and creamy peanuts, while lesser flavors of grass, cedar, leather, dark chocolate, dried plums and a touch of citrus. While the burn has wavered just a little bit, it is still non-problematic, and the draw continues to impress. The overall smoke production has increased just a touch, and while the strength level has increased as well, the second third ends with it still far from the medium mark.
Sadly, the sweetness that was present during both the first and second thirds of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Corona disappears almost entirely during the final third, leaving behind a profile dominated by peanuts and dark chocolate notes. Other flavors of bitter espresso beans, earth, charred meat, hay, cedar and yeast flit in and out, while the black pepper on the retrohale has seen some major reduction as well. The draw remains excellent through to the end, and while I do have to touch up the burn a couple of times at the end, it is nothing major, and does not compromise my enjoyment one bit. Strength-wise, the Fonseca Nicaragua finally comes close to the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch to go, and the smoke production has never let up from its high point that it reached during the second third.
- If you are wondering, the final growing region in Nicaragua that is not represented in this blend is the Condega region, which is located just a bit to the northwest of Estelí.
- Quesada and Plasencia are known for collaborating on another cigar, namely the Casa Magna brand.
- I can’t say enough about the construction on these cigars. While I did have to touch up each of the three samples once or twice, it was never close to bad enough to cause me problems, and the draw gave me no issues at all. In addition, the ash stayed on for more than half of the cigar before falling for the first time.
- The band is not only well designed—especially the font that is used—it is distinctive and really blends well with the color of the wrapper on the cigar.
- You can see halfwheel’s coverage of the Quesada Cigars booth at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just under one hour.
- The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by Quesada Cigars, which advertises on halfwheel.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Fonseca Nicaragua Petite Coronas, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and JR Cigar have them in stock.
I was a bit shocked at how much I liked this cigar, considering its fairly inexpensive price point and how I feel about most other Fonseca cigars I have tried in the past. In fact, along with the price point, the Fonseca Nicaragua seems to have quite a bit going for it, including excellent construction, a decently complex profile and some nice balance overall. Yes, I would have preferred more sweetness in the profile—especially in the final third, where it really seemed to fall off a cliff—but that is a relatively minor squabble in the grand scheme of things. An amazing value for a high quality cigar in almost every aspect, and one that I think most people would really enjoy if they gave it a shot.