In 2018, Joya de Nicaragua celebrated its 50th anniversary in business and released some cigars to mark the occasion.

One of those cigars was not, rather it’s a cigar that the company makes as a diplomatic gift, but has never released to the public. The Joya de Nicaragua No.1 is a 6 5/8 x 44 lonsdale that Nicaraguan ambassadors use in their missions around the world. Based on the Clasico line, the blend is made up of an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder as well as Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler.

In 2018, the company quietly brought it to the U.S. at select Drew Diplomat events between June and the end of July last year. The cigar was given away at some of those events, wearing a blue version of the older Joya de Nicaragua event.

While most publications never wrote about the cigar, Patrick Lagreid reviewed it and it ended up winning halfwheel‘s Top Cigar of 2018 award.

Last year, the company decided to actually sell the cigar. Following the #1 ranking, the company gave the cigar new packaging and changed the name to Número Uno. It decided to produce 1,500 boxes of 25, with the cigars priced at $15 per cigar.

In almost as quiet fashion as the release in 2018, it also decided to release a second size of the blend.

Named Numero Uno L’Attaché is a noticeably smaller 5 1/2 x 42 petit corona vitola and has been a store-exclusive release for Chicago-based retailer Up Down Cigar since October 2019. The newest incarnation is priced at $11.50 and is currently sold in 25-count bundles.

Up Down was one of the first stores to host an event with the No.1 in 2018 and was one of the more passionate fans of the cigar before its widespread release in 2019. L’Attaché remains a store exclusive currently, though Joya de Nicaragua says that will change at some point in 2020.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Joya de Nicaragua Número Uno L’Attaché
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Vitola: Petit Corona
  • MSRP: $11.50 (Bundle of 25, $287.50)
  • Release Date: Oct. 8, 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

As is the case with the original release, the Joya de Nicaragua Número Uno L’Attaché is covered in a golden brown wrapper, although the latter’s cover leaf is noticeably more rough to the touch. The pigtail is a nice touch—I am very glad they carried that part over—and the cigar is just a bit firm when squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet manure, hay, vanilla beans, cocoa nibs and cinnamon while the cold draw brings flavors of nuts, creamy cedar, leather tack, earth, espresso beans, sweet bread, white pepper and a very slight vegetal note.

I am a bit surprised—and a bit concerned—as the first third of the Joya de Nicaragua Numero Uno L’Attaché starts off with fairly muted flavors consisting of a dominant combination of creamy peanuts and leather notes, interspersed with flavors of cinnamon, cedar, bitter espresso, earth and lemon citrus. The sweet bread note from the cold draw is present in the profile on the retrohale, but it is not strong enough to really affect anything yet, and the finish is full of coffee notes. While the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, the burn gets a bit out of hand early forcing a touchup  and the overall strength is almost nonexistent, barely hitting a point halfway between mild and medium by the time the first third comes to a close.

I know big changes are in store right around the start of the second third of the Número Uno L’Attaché, when I taste a blast of caramel sauce sweetness on my palate and retrohale that is so strong I literally sit up in my chair. Although the note is that strong for only about five puffs, it has a net effect of increasing the distinctness of the other flavors quite a bit, including the still dominant creamy and now salty peanuts and leather combination. Lesser flavors of espresso beans, lemon citrus, sweet hay, earth, cinnamon, aromatic cedar and cocoa nibs flit in and out, while the caramel sauce sweetness has invaded the retrohale, where it plays very nicely with the white pepper that is also present. The finish continues to be dominated by a rich coffee note, albeit less than in the first third. Construction-wise, the burn has evened up nicely to the point where it needs no more attention and draw continues to impress, while the strength jumps a bit and comes close to the medium mark by the end of the second third. 

Thankfully, the final third of the Joya de Nicaragua is on par with the preceding third, with pretty much the same profile that includes a combination of dominant salted peanuts and creamy leather, followed closely by notes of milk chocolate, hay, vanilla, cinnamon, earth, lemon citrus and cloves in various amounts. The caramel sauce sweetness remains quite distinct on the retrohale, but the white pepper has been replaced by a mint flavor that reminds me of chewing on mint leaves. In terms of construction, both the burn and draw continue along their excellent path until the end while the overall strength does barely manage to hit a solid medium by the time I put down the nub with less than an inch left.

Final Notes

  • Speaking of cigars (supposedly) given out as diplomatic gifts, I reviewed this as something of a joke on April Fools’ Day back in 2013.
  • The new vitola smokes much faster than the original, even when taking the obvious size and ring gauge differences into account.
  • While the burn was never overly problematic—I only had to touch up two samples once each—it was almost never very attractive either, with jagged lines common.
  • Joya de Nicaragua advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged 58 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Joya de Nicaragua Número Uno L’Attaché, the only place you can buy them at the moment is Up Down Cigar by calling 312-337-8025.
91 Overall Score

Having been absolutely blown away by the Joya de Nicaragua No.1 when I smoked it to rate it in our 2018 Top 25, I had just one question going into this review, will this new vitola taste as good—or really, anywhere close to as good—as the original? Having smoked three of them, the answer is yes, with a mild caveat. The profile is just as complex as the larger version—albeit with wildly different flavors—but unlike the No.1, it takes a little while to get going, meaning I had to concentrate quite a bit harder to discern the flavors during the first third. In the end, the L’Attaché is a worthy follow-up to the top cigar of 2018.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.