For those of you who like dates, anniversaries, and milestones, I have some relevant fun facts for you in thise week’s cigar review. As noted in the press release (more of that below), the introduction of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente TAA 2018 coincides with the 50th anniversary of both Joya de Nicaragua and the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA). You really don’t have a choice with a dual milestones like that, you just have to release a special cigar. But that isn’t all. It has also been five years since Joya de Nicaragua released their last TAA exclusive, the CyB Lancero Fino. And as icing on the cigar milestone cake, 2018 also marks the 10th anniversary of Joya de Nicaragua’s distribution partnership with Drew Estate. Sorry, I probably should have warned you at the start to grab your party hat.
But more about the cigar itself. And to cover those details, here’s an excerpt from the Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente press release:
The Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente is Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca’s favorite vitola. The Presidente, is an elegant 6 3/4 x 50 box pressed cigar, an extension of the Antaño Gran Reserva.
It uses 100% Nicaraguan tobacco matured to perfection for 5 years. It’s a full body and complex cigar similar to the Antano line, but due to the age of the proprietary filler leaves it’s a much smoother smoke. It showcases the unique character of Nicaraguan tobacco with refined notes of spice, leather, and wood. The brand was originally launched in 2005 as a limited edition. It was reintroduced to the market in 2017.
“When I requested the Gran Reserva blend in the Presidente size, it immediately became my private smoke. This is by far my personal vitola and the one that I request the factory for my daily smokes,” stated Dr. Martínez Cuenca, Joya de Nicaragua’s Chairman and CEO.
He continues: “I decided to share it only for special occasions. I can’t think of a better opportunity than this shared celebration of five decades of perseverance and companionship between TAA, its members, and Joya de Nicaragua.”
The Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente will be available exclusively for TAA Members and it will retail at US$12.50 per stick. It will also be available in three sizes Robusto Grande Box-Pressed (5 1/2 x 52), Belicoso (6 x 54), and Gran Consul (4 3/4 x60). The 20 count box will begin shipping in May 2018.
Numerous anniversaries, and the CEO’s favorite blend- no pressure Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente. Let’s see how it burns.
Size: 6 3/4 x 50, box-pressed
Source: Samples provided by Drew Estate
Price: MSRP $12.50
The Pre Light
The Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente is a good looking smoke. The wrapper leaf is a mix of deep reddish browns and darker streaks, giving it a pretty rustic appearance. I didn’t notice it on most the cigars I burned for this review, but at least a few had some nice tooth as well. The cold draw tasted chocolaty, with some mild sweetness like dark dried fruit.
The First Third
The first third generally burned and drew well, producing earth and clay notes and subtle red pepper initially. As it warmed up aromatic cedar, nougat, leather and some raisin sweetess made appearances. The cigar I smoked while writing up this review was flawless in terms of construction, some previous sticks had some slight issues with the ash, but it was mostly cosmetic at this stage.
The Second Third
I only had trouble with one stick when it came to combustion characteristics, and the second third is where it came to a head. It was so obviously different than my other experiences, that I discounted it as a bum stick. For the rest, they continued to burn more or less here as in the previous third, with maybe a little unevenness here and there. The earth, wood, and to a lesser degree, the pepper of the preceding third continued here and were joined by occasional lingering sweet notes. I noted here that there was a enjoyable mouth coating quality to the smoke as well, which help prolong the flavor into a long finish.
The Final Third
Minor burn issues experienced in earlier parts of the cigar mostly disappeared at this point. Wood, earth, leather, and pepper where joined by a growing creamy nuttiness here. Though present initially, wood and leather notes began to fade as the cigar progressed.
I took a little extra time putting this review together, in part because a slow-smoking cigar of this size is a big time commitment. That’s both good and bad. It’s always a shame when a cigar you’re enjoying ends before you’re ready for it to be over, but it’s also hard to fit in the appropriate number of review smokes in a very busy schedule. The point is, this is not a cigar you want to rush. Find the time, or make the time. With that out of the way, I like this blend. In nearly all cases, it burned well and delivered plenty of rich and pleasurable enjoyable flavor with a little subtlety. I’d buy more in the future, and think fans of Joya de Nicaragua will be pleased with this smoke.