Back in 2018, Joya de Nicaragua celebrated its 50th anniversary how many cigar companies celebrate anniversaries, with a new cigar line. This one was called Cinco Décadas, a new limited production line and it would become the company’s most esteemed offering.

But beyond just using the Cinco Décadas line to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, Joya de Nicaragua has been using it to celebrate and honor some key people and a key thing in the company’s history.

The first two releases in the line were named Diadema and El General. While Diadema refers to a type of figurado vitola, for Joya de Nicaragua it celebrated the first vitola ever made at the factory. The other vitola, a 7 x 50 Churchill named El General celebrated the pioneers of tobacco in Nicaragua. The line would go on to earn top honors in the 2018 Consensus, a compilation of end-of-the-year cigar lists.

The next year, the company released El Fundador, a 6 x 54 soft-pressed toro that was released as a tribute to the founders of the company. It would also make a second appearance on The Consensus, placing in the #6 spot.

In the summer of 2020, the company added the fourth size in the line, one that honored Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca, who purchased Joya de Nicaragua in the early 1990s and has shepherded it to the current day.

  • Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas Diadema (6 x 54) — $19.99 (Boxes of 10, $199.90)
  • Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El General (7 x 50) — $18.99 (Boxes of 10, $189.90)
  • Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Fundador (6 x 54) — $20 (Boxes of 10, $200)
  • Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Doctor (6 x 52) — $20 (Boxes of 10, $200)

“Giving identities to these special products is one of the most exciting things we do when we are about to release one of these gems that we have created at the factory,” said Juan Ignacio Martínez, executive president of Joya de Nicaragua. “With Cinco Décadas it hasn’t been easy, as we want to recognize all the important icons or milestones that have shaped our history in the last five decades. For me it was very touching when our agency and marketing team proposed to me to name this vitola after my father, because it was a realization of how much he has been an influence to all of us.”

The cigar is a 6 x 52 torpedo, and as with the rest of the line, the blend has not been disclosed, other than to say that is made up of primarily Nicaraguan tobacco, some of which comes from the company’s top inventory. It is also rolled only by the company’s most talented torcedores.

It is a very limited edition—with just 600 boxes of 10 cigars produced—and only available in the U.S. through Drew Diplomat Retailer Program member stores.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Doctor
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Not Disclosed
  • Binder: Not Disclosed
  • Filler: Not Disclosed
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • MSRP: $20 (Box of 10, $200)
  • Release Date: August 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: 600 Boxes of 10 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Doctor offers a much more red-hued wrapper than I remember from other sizes, almost brick-like in one sample but consistently in the same shade. The elongated head is also visually intriguing, a belicoso that goes beyond the norm, meaning a good bit of the shape remains after the tip is cut. There is also a decent network of veins to the cigar, a mix of more prominent ones running between the up and down while smaller ones run horizontally. Even with the box press, the cigar is still firm and consistently so, a reminder of how well the cigar is rolled, something the eyes also immediately notice. The foot is mild and a bit sweet while not overly peppery, with one sample reminding me of a basket of biscuits and another of the jams that might accompany them. The cold draw offers great airflow—something most affected by where the head is clipped–while the flavor is tame, a bit sweet, and delivers something that’s almost a bit of a plain bubble gum sensation on the taste buds.

The Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Doctor opens with a flavorful if restrained combination that picks up a bit of brick, damp cedar, subtle pepper and a binding texture that offers just a touch of oiliness. That final note reminds me a bit of Italian dressing, though only in texture and not in flavor. That oiliness fades as the burn line progresses, its departure bringing on a bit of dry woodiness and very light pepper. Just about an inch—25 minutes since lighting—into the cigar and the flavor is familiar but incredibly refined, showing balance and restraint while beginning to pick up some complexity as well. Retrohales are also worthy of that description, with tame but tingly white pepper emerging from a base of damp cedar and just the lightest touch of that oiliness from earlier. Flavor is medium in intensity, body is medium as well, while strength is medium-minus so far. Construction has been great in the first third, particularly when finding that sweet spot of how much of the cap to cut off.

The second third sees the flavor continue to slowly but steadily evolve, though I’m not quite sure exactly what to call the latest addition to the flavor. It seems to come from the cedar, yet it’s not more of it or a distilled version, but rather something that has a bit of waxiness to it yet is still palate-friendly. As the flavor evolves, pepper takes a step into the spotlight at the midpoint, particularly by way of retrohales, where it almost pulls the senses into the next step in the flavor progression. Still, the cigar is a refined medium in terms of flavor or aroma intensity. The second third then brings on a quick transition of flavors, shifting from a subtle woodiness to a more robust earthiness, a volley of the two profiles with seemingly each puff. Flavor is now medium-plus, body is not far behind, and strength is medium at most. The cigar continues to burn beautifully with no issues in draw, combustion or smoke production. 

The volley of flavors continues into the final third, with the earthiness eventually taking over and bringing about a bit more black pepper. Yet even with that, I’m hesitant to put the Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Doctor at much more than a refined medium-full in flavor intensity. It’s not long before the earthiness gives way and the woodiness returns, now maybe the most cedar-forward so far, and a bit more of a noticeable finish as a result. There is also the subtle addition of a bit of spice, something that seems almost the combination of pepper and wood as much as something new coming into the profile. Retrohales also pick up some of that spice, though it’s still more of the very clean black pepper that the cigar has offered throughout. Just enough heat comes into the profile in the final inch-and-a-half to sharpen up the profile, signaling that it is time to slow down and space out the puffs and that the end of the cigar is not far away. While the final third may not be quite as good as the second third for my palate, it does nothing to detract from the experience so far. Construction remains near perfect with no problems. Flavor and body both finish medium-plus, while strength is harder to pin down but feels closer to medium, imparting little physical reaction.

Final Notes

  • This is definitely a cigar that needs to be smoked with full attention, a clean palate, and preferably water or club soda as opposed to something with its own flavor.
  • Daniel Barrios, global commercial director of Joya de Nicaragua, added that the company plans to release a new size every year until its next big anniversary.
  • If the tobacco for this cigar is as limited as Joya de Nicaragua states, and this remains an ongoing annual release, I would be inclined to make note of the year when each box or cigar was purchased. This could be a fascinating example to use to see the effects of aging.
  • I really wish I knew just what the blend was for this cigar, but as has been shown before, when it’s a truly solid cigar, the details aren’t always as important as the finished product.
  • There is barely any strength to be found in the Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Doctor.
  • Joya de Nicaragua advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El Doctor.
92 Overall Score

When it comes to my more recent personal smoking choices and cigars from Joya de Nicaragua, my preference has generally been the No. 1, the 2018 Cigar of the Year and which went onto become known as the Número Uno L’Ambassadeur before adding a few other sizes. However, I recently smoked a Cinco Décadas El Fundador—before I knew I had this review—and it reminded me of just how good that blend is as well, a sentiment that the El Doctor vitola only furthers. Like the Número Uno, the Cinco Décadas El Doctor is incredibly refined and balanced, though has just a bit more edge to it thanks to the cedar, pepper and its subtle spice. The construction is nearly flawless and the finish on each puff is clean and satisfying with absolutely no irritation or harshness. When looking at those two lines along with the Cuatro Cinco, Joya de Nicaragua has created a truly special collection called Obras Maestras, each a testament to the company's capabilities. While the El Doctor vitola is limited, any of the sizes is a great option to explore Joya de Nicaragua's most premium offerings.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.