At the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Joya de Nicaragua released Joya Red, a medium-bodied blend that incorporates Nicaraguan tobacco in the binder and filler and is wrapped in a habano leaf also from Nicaragua. The new cigar was launched in four different vitolas, all of which are sold in boxes of 20: Joya Red Short Churchill (4 3/4 x 48), Joya Red Robusto (5 1/4 x 50), Joya Red Toro (6 x 52) and Joya Red Cañonazo (5 1/2 x 54).

Here is what I said in my original review back in July 2014:

The JOYA RED tastes almost nothing like any of the rest of the cigars that Joya de Nicaragua makes, and that is most assuredly a good thing. It is exceptionally well balanced, with a great dark cocoa core to the profile that meshes well with the plum-like sweetness that is prevalent throughout the final two thirds and an interesting citrus tartness that shows up every once in a while. Add in the excellent price point and the wonderful draw on all samples, and this is a winner for Joya de Nicaragua no matter how you look at it. A lot of people are going to be very pleasantly surprised by this cigar, and I think that is exactly what Joya de Nicaragua was trying to accomplish.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Joya Red Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $5.75 (Boxes of 20, $115)
  • Date Released: Aug. 20, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

Visually, the Joya Red seems very close to the ones I smoked for my first review, which is not surprising considering they came from the same box. The wrapper is a dark brown, and quite smooth to the touch, with almost no tooth at all. There are very few veins present, but a noticeable amount of oil, and the cigars has some nice give when it is squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of dark cocoa, leather, manure and cedar, while the cold draw brings a very strong flavor of hay mixed with barnyard and leather, almost like I was sucking on an old saddle that just came off of a horse.

The Joya Red Robusto follows the scent and cold draw quite a bit, starting off with a dominant creamy leather note, interspersed with other flavors of dark cocoa, hay, earth, barnyard, peanuts and earth. I am picking up some very distinct vanilla bean sweetness on the retrohale at first, along with a  slight cinnamon note on the finish. There is a touch of spice on the tongue, although it does not last very long, dissipating totally by the tenth puff or so. About a third of the way into the cigar, I begin to notice the vanilla bean sweetness is changing, morphing into a small but district sweet cherry flavor that only gets stronger as the burn reaches the halfway point. The black pepper on the retrohale stays fairly consistent and at about two-thirds of the way in, the dominant flavor shifts to more of a combination of dark cocoa and peanuts, and continues that way until the end of the cigar.

Joya Red Robusto
The overall construction is fantastic, with an excellent draw and a burn line that stayed mostly straight despite not being touched up once. Although far from being overwhelming, the smoke production is quite high, and the ash is well formed, falling off in nice, solid chunks every inch or so. Strength-wise, the Joya de Nicaragua product hits the medium mark right around the halfway point, but stalls there, never threatening to go any higher.

Disclosure: Joya de Nicaragua advertises on halfwheel. Samples for this review were sent to halfwheel by Joya de Nicaragua.

Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) JR Cigar, Lone Star State Cigar Co. (972.424.7272), Serious Cigars and STOGIES World Class Cigars carry the Joya Red.

92 Overall Score

I was impressed with the Joya Red the first time I smoked it, and I have to say, I am even more impressed after it has aged for eight months. The time has allowed the profile to smooth out quite a bit, with noticeably less pepper on the retrohale and spice on the tongue, although both are still present throughout the smoke. The cherry sweetness on the retrohale was a new note, but really bumped up the complexity of the profile and I hope that sticks around as it continues to age. New or aged, the Joya Red is a winner.

Original Score (July 2014)
Redux Score (March 2015)
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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.