In a year of some milestone anniversaries in the cigar industry, a handful of cigars stood out, but only one rose to the top of this year’s list, the Joya de Nicaragua No.1.
The uniquely banded cigar, which was released as an event-only offering is the same as one the company makes for ambassadors of the country to use in their work, with one notable difference: it does not bear the same band. While the No.1’s band is inspired by the colors of Nicaragua’s flag, ambassadors get one bearing the country’s coat of arms.
The cigar is, at least on paper, the same the company’s Clásico line, meaning an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper on top of a Nicaraguan binder and filler. Whether this gets some special treatment or the cigar simply turns magical in this 6 5/8 x 44 lonsdale vitola, the result is simply magnificent, earning high marks from our reviewers in every category.
While Joya de Nicaragua is well known for its fuller-bodied offerings, the company earns the top spot on our list with elegance, complexity, balance and refinement, while still delivering some of the signature pepper for which many of its other blends are known. It is a true shame that this cigar was so limited in its availability, but for those that got to enjoy it, it may well have been the highlight of the summer, if not the year. Thankfully the Clásico line offers a similar vitola as well as several other sizes to explore. — Patrick Lagreid.