Last week I was on El Oso Fumar, a podcast hosted by Bear Duplisea. Pretty early onto the show—which you can watch here—Duplisea asked if I had gone back and smoked the Joya de Nicaragua No.1 recently, a cigar that won our Top 25 in 2018. I told him that I hadn’t and then realized that I hadn’t formally reduxed last year’s #1 cigar on our Top 25 list, the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño CT Robusto.
The Antaño CT—as the name implies—is a Connecticut version of the company’s Antaño brand, which is said to be one of the company’s stronger lines. It uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers, including those found in the regular Antaño line.
It was released in July 2019 and offered in four sizes.
- Joya de Nicaragua Añtano CT Robusto (5 x 52) — $8.45 (Box of 20, $169)
- Joya de Nicaragua Añtano CT Corona Gorda (5 1/4 x 46) — $8 (Box of 20, $160)
- Joya de Nicaragua Añtano CT Toro (6 x 50) — $9.70 (Box of 20, $194)
- Joya de Nicaragua Añtano CT Belicoso (6 x 54) — $9.90 (Box of 20, $198)
I found it to maybe not be exactly what I had in mind, but right in between being a very strong Antaño and the milder profile most Connecticut cigars are expected to deliver:
This is one of the best Joya de Nicaragua cigars I’ve smoked and certainly the least expensive of that esteemed tier. For me, the question with this cigar is would it be more Antaño or more Connecticut? As it turns out, the answer—from start to finish—is a very politically correct both. It’s never unhinged, but it’s also pretty full. It’s relatively balanced from start to finish, but it changes in fairly dramatic ways. Joya de Nicaragua has routinely made good cigars only to have them lost in the massive portfolio that is Drew Estate, but I think the Antaño CT has a chance to be different. It’s got a bit of a story, it’s better priced and it’s also just better than most.
Given the question from Duplisea and the fact that it’s been almost exactly one year since I reviewed the Antaño CT, I figured this would make for a great redux.
- Cigar Reviewed: Joya de Nicaragua Añtano CT Robusto
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $8.45 (Box of 20, $169)
- Release Date: July 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
While this might be have been our top cigar of 2019, it was not because of how pretty the wrapper is. The wrapper is a very muted mustard color that gets overwhelmed by the brightness of the band. This is the last cellophaned cigar from the box I smoked for the original review, a testament to both how good the cigar has been and how approachable it is for lots of smokers. The aroma from the wrapper is medium with some almonds, a sweet coffee sensation and leather. The foot has a lot more intensity and some very odd smells. At times it reminds me more of gasoline, another smell shows more black licorice and after about five smells I’m left thinking that it’s actually a very peculiar wood flavor that I just can’t place. Whatever it is, I taste a bit of it on the cold draw but it’s overwhelmed by cinnamon and orange peel.
Once lit, the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño CT Robusto starts with a dry nuttiness, leather, a bit of a gasoline flavor and some mild creaminess. I’ve never had a peanut butter liqueur before, but I imagine this is what it would taste like. The finish is pleasant enough with dark chocolate and peanuts. After about an inch, the flavor has gotten drier with earthiness, creaminess, nuttiness and grains fighting for the top spot. Retrohales have boubon, vanilla, creaminess and leather. Midway through, which happens after I take off the secondary band, the profile has become a lot earthier. Behind an array of that earthy flavor is white pepper, cinnamon, lemon and beef jerky. It finishes with earthiness, lemon and some toastiness. I find that the finish in the second third is decidedly sharper than any other characteristics at this point.
The final third gets both sweeter and earthier with both milk chocolate and earthiness isolating themselves a bit more from the pack. Behind those two flavors are grains, leather, white bread and a bit of a salt. From start to finish the flavor is full and the body is medium-full. Strength starts medium, peaks at a medium-full and then quickly trails off to a more medium-plus range for the latter half of the cigar. Construction is excellent from start to finish. Smoke production is hefty from the first puff and never really trails off. The ash builds to nice inch-long even chunks and the draw is fine, albeit just slightly loose.
After just one year, there are some notable changes for the Antaño CT Robusto. First, while the intensity of the flavor and body are more or less the same, the cigar is milder in terms of strength. What I found a year ago was a cigar that started nearly full and then stayed steady in the medium-full range. I really don’t think this cigar ever got as strong as the mildest point of the three cigars I smoked when this was fresh. It certainly wasn’t medium-full for that long and never got close to being full. Second, the flavor profile is a bit less bright and forceful. It’s still a full profile, but the flavors are a bit more grouped together than before and a bit less distinct. After a year, the Antaño CT Robusto is still an excellent cigar, albeit one I enjoyed better fresh. I’ve got at least one more cigar—albeit one that is not in cellophane—that I plan on revisiting in a few years for a more long-term age report.