There are a lot of best of/top cigars lists that appear at the end and beginning of each calendar year, I’d like to think one serves as a model a bit more than any other, The Consensus. It’s a list we’ve curated for the past two years, but an idea tried hundreds of times over in nearly every type of comprehensive ranking system: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This past year, the winner of the Consensus 2012 was CyB by Joya de Nicaragua, formerly known as Cuenca y Blanco. The cigar was introduced by Joya de Nicaragua last July at IPCPR 2012 in Orlando, Fla. It was the first Joya de Nicaragua line to debut since the arrival of José Blanco after decades at La Aurora and described as a collaboration between Blanco and the company’s owner and head Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca.

The initial press release described it:

Departing from Joya de Nicaragua’s traditional puros of all Nicaraguan tobaccos, the Cuenca y Blanco had been blended to be a cigar comprised of air-cured black tobaccos from four different countries of origin. This unique recipe is handmade with aged filler tobaccos including Habano Seed lead from Nicaragua’s Estelí Valley and the volcanic isle of Omtempe, Piloto Cubano from the La Canela region of the Dominican Republic and an aromatic visa from Peru’s famed Tarapoto region. The cigar is expertly finished in a beautiful Grade 1 Ecuador Habano wrapper. This complex blend is the fruit of nearly a year of ceaseless experimentation and has resulted in a very flavor smoke with a tantalizing aroma.

In October, Joya de Nicaragua announced the name of the cigar was changing because of a trademark dispute in Nicaragua. The new cigar is known as “CyB by Joya de Nicaragua.”

Earlier this year, after much fanfare, Joya de Nicaragua confirmed it would be adding a Lancero vitola to the line as a special edition for members of the Tobacconists Association of America. The cigar was shown off last month in the Dominican Republic and will ship this month.

Says Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca:

The Lancero is a size that brings out the best in a blend, a size for true connoisseurs. We have chosen TAA as the perfect place to introduce this vitola because we know TAA members understand this format very well. What better place than the Elite retailers of our business?… in what better hands can this product be? This CyB Lancero is also a tribute to all the members of TAA who have for years worked so hard in favor of promoting premium cigars, and deserve that recognition with something truly special.

Says José Blanco:

CyB has done extremely well and consumers for months have been asking for this size. Finally, after a year of going back and forth with one of the most difficult sizes to make and blend, we are very proud to present the CyB Lancero, a medium to full, very complex smoke, with spicy and sweet notes; a great balance that delivers a smoke that is memorable. In this blend you can enjoy the full flavor and richness of tobaccos that have been nicely aged, to deliver a complex and very aromatic smoke.

There are now six vitolas as part of CyB.

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Robusto Delux Corona Real Toro Supremo Torpedo Especial Lonsdale Club Lancero Fino

  • CyB Robusto Deluxe (5 1/4 x 50) — $8.35 (Boxes of 21, $175.35)
  • CyB Corona Real (5 1/2 x 46) — $7.25 (Boxes of 21, $152.25)
  • CyB Toro Supremo (6 x 54) — $9.35 (Boxes of 21, $219.45)
  • CyB Torpedo Especial (6 1/4 x 52) — $10.45 (Boxes of 21, $215.25)
  • CyB Lonsdale Club (6 1/2 x 44) — $8.45 (Boxes of 21, $177.45)
  • CyB Lancero Fino (7 x 38) — $10.25 (Boxes of 21, $212.25)

The cigar is the only release of the line to feature dual bands, a secondary footband for the TAA. The versions we received were prereleases without final printing, so the formal release should have higher quality versions. The boxes themselves feature no additional logos signifying this as a special release. As with the rest of the releases, the Lancero Fino will be packaged in boxes of 21, which look like this:

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino Box 1

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino Box 2

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino Box 3

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino Box 4

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Dominican Republic Piloto Cubanao (La Canela)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Ometepe and Esteli) & Peru (Tarapoto)
  • Size: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $10.25 (Boxes of 21, $215.25)
  • Release Date: May 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Release
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 6

On top is a triple cap, which is how things should be. There’s a crispness to the dark brown wrapper that I’ve come to enjoy, particularly with the strong reds in the band. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper smells of leather, aged nuts and cocoa. From the cold draw, I get an intense powdered cocoa, leather, some roasted nuts and a touch of red pepper. Even for a Lancero, the draw is slightly tight, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to force a recut.

The CyB Lancero Fino begins with cedar, nuts, some leather fruitiness. There’s a touch of grass, a note that quickly moves into the retrohale along with some bread-like flavors. Smoke production is okay and the ash only manages to hold on for a half-inch, neither setting records even as far as Lanceros go. The flavor settles to cedar, leather, fruitiness and a little bit of creaminess. There’s a slight tingle on the lips, which is a worthwhile addition to say the least. Aroma-wise, the Joya de Nicaragua puts out lots of cedar.

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino 2

Into the second third and the grassiness has moved to the front of the flavor profile. Elsewhere the cedar remains while there’s hints of leather and some red pepper. The draw is still tight, the ash is still not great and the smoke production could use some improvement. What is added is a lot of meatiness on the retrohale, a great ode to the complexity of the young Joya. Strength is medium-plus, slightly above where it was in the first third, but only slightly.

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino 3

The final third is a bit harsher, once again, perhaps something about the youth. There’s still creaminess, cedar, earth and grassiness with coffee now on the retrohale. While the construction remains unchanged, there’s a significant increase in strength, now getting into the medium-full range. Toward the one inch the cigar goes out and I decide it’s been enough of the CyB Lancero Fino. 

Joya de Nicaragua CyB Lancero Fino 4

Final Notes:

  • According to Blanco, these will be available to TAA members as they order. There are no plans to release these to non-TAA members at this time.
  • While I understand the move for a lot of reasons, it’s going to be interesting. There are retailers like this one, who are clearly excited for the cigar, but cannot carry it because of their non-TAA member status.
  • This cigar will probably improve with time in the humidor. These were rolled back in January and when I first started smoking them a month ago, the first half of the cigar was incredibly harsh. There’s more on this topic below, but the cigar is either still showing signs of this youth or cigar-to-cigar, there are consistency issues. Time will tell.
  • You may be confused by the score, the tasting notes and my comments. The tasting notes are based off of cigars that displayed no harshness, the score is based off of the samples smoked in the past week, which were all not without harshness. My comments about where I like this compared to the rest of the line also assume a lack of harshness.
  • This is one of three Joya de Nicaragua Lanceros on the market. Interestingly, the other two—the Antaño 1970 and Cabinetta No. 13—are both 7 1/2 x 38, the traditional El Laguito No.1 vitola. While I think the half-inch is crucial to the tradition, it can make a difference in terms of flavor.
  • The footbands are loose enough to slide them up the cigar, which is what I did.
  • Speaking of the Cabinetta Lancero, it’s one of the best light Lanceros on the market.
  • The construction leaves a lot to be desired. None of it is particularly bad, but none of it is great. The ash could hold on longer, albeit it burns straight, the smoke production could use help, the draw could be a bit better. I think dryboxing might actually solve some of this.
  • Strength-wise, this is medium plus to medium-full with the latter definitely in the final third.
  • The pricing of the CyB line is classic. It’s not about how much tobacco is in each cigar, it’s about how hard it is to roll. As such the Belicoso and Lancero are most expensive.
  • In formal press releases, Joya de Nicaragua refers to the release a “CyB” on its website, “C y B.”
  • Both Joya de Nicaragua and its U.S. distributor Drew Estate are sponsors of halfwheel.
  • I tried to slow down, I did. It didn’t work. The CyB Lancero Fino will go out. Final smoking time is only one hour and 35 minutes, a real quick Lancero for me.
  • None of our site sponsors are TAA members, but Atlantic Cigar Co. and Cigar King both carry CyB by Joya de Nicaragua.
88 Overall Score

We've had the CyB Lanceros for nearly a month. The first few I smoked were hash, really harsh. I chalked it up to the cigars being young and figured some additional time would help. It did, sort of. Of the last few I've smoked, two have been very good—it's what the above notes describe—but the last one I smoked was not. The score below takes into account the bad with the good. I'm interested to smoke more, and to redux this in six months, because it's still somewhat unclear to me whether these are just young or inconsistent. For those wondering, I think this is a push against the Lonsdale Club, perhaps a little bit better, but I'd probably take the Corona Real on flavor alone. I think this is a good cigar, at times a great one, but it's definitely far from perfect.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.