Joya de Nicaragua was the first cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. It was founded 50 years ago and besides the production of their own line, it has been the “go-to” factory for numerous cigar brands to get quality cigars manufactured and to access select leaf. After 50 years of success, the company put on a celebration and part of that celebration included the launch of the Cinco Décadas (5 Decades).
The Cinco Décadas is a once in a lifetime cigar, you only celebrate your 50th anniversary as a company once and it deserves a cigar worthy of that celebration. But my oh my how time flies! I barely remember my 50th birthday just about 10 years ago, and before we know it Joya de Nicaragua will be talking about their 60th just like they celebrated their 40th, just a short 10 years ago.
The road to 50 was not easy for the company, they saw many trials and tribulations to get there. There was emigrating from Cuba, settling in a new land, living through political turmoil, revolutions, and finally a level of sanity in their adopted country, only to see things turn inside out again. They persevered through it all and are proud of what 50 years has produced.
Drew Estate, the US distributor of Joya de Nicaragua describes it best:
Joya de Nicaragua isn’t just a cigar company; it is lifeline, it is struggle, it is will to forge ahead and renew – it is Nicaragua itself. Since day one, Joya’s strength has lied in its people, who have always been committed to achieving the highest levels of excellence. JDN sets the standard for Nicaraguan cigar quality, showing consumers what it means to be the most Nicaraguan cigar.
The Cinco Décadas
The Cinco Décadas is is available in 2 distinctly different vitolas:
- Diadema (6 x 54) MSRP $19.99
- El General (7 x 50) MSPR $18.99
These vitolas were chosen as a tribute to the first formats to ever been rolled on the Joya de Nicaragua production floor back in 1968. For this review, I sampled two of the Cinco Décadas El General vitolas.
As for the blend, the company has not disclosed it, but some research shows a hint of what it may be. For instance, Cigars International puts it as a Nicaraguan Wrapper and Filler with a Mexican Binder, Corona Cigars puts it as a Nicaraguan Puro using a Nicaraguan Habano Wrapper, Atlantic Cigars agrees with Corona, and Neptune Cigars just notes that it is a Nicaraguan Puro.
As for me, I am going with the Nicaraguan Puro, as it is a celebration of 50 years in Nicaragua and I trust the Corona cigars team with their descriptions, so I am sticking with a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper.
- Wrapper – Nicaraguan Habano
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
Independent of the blend debate, one thing is sure:
“The Cinco Décadas is a cigar not only made with an exclusive collection of tobaccos but also with fifty years of accumulated knowledge, experience and resilience unique to the first tobacco factory to craft premium handmade cigars in Nicaragua. “
The Cinco Décadas El General is a gorgeous, dark chocolate brown and oily Churchill cigar. You might even say it has a bit of Colorado red tinge. It has a mild tooth (grit) to the wrapper and it is finished with a simple cap. The cigar is heavy in the hand and feels to be solidly packed.
The cigar is branded with a large band that proudly declares this as the Cinco Décadas with the Joya De Nicaragua logo printed on top. The year 1968 and 2018 are printed in gold on either side on top, representing the 50 years of operations. The side of the band declares it as the 50 Aniversario. The gold ink used is holographic. Once I removed the band the reverse side contains a collage of the factory and its operations declaring it as “The Most Nicaraguan Cigar”
I know that was a mouthful of words to describe the band, but the company put a lot of work into this band and it is beautiful. It was now time to look deeper at this special cigar. I ran it across the nose to see what enticing notes it had to offer. I picked up spice and chocolate aromas along the barrel and notes of cocoa powder and nut off the foot.
Enticing indeed, I should bottle this and use as an air freshener in the Stogie Press lounge. I will look into that later, but for now I continued with slicing the cap with my Lotus double blade cutter and gave it some cold draw puffs. The draw was just right and further intrigued the palate with notes of peppery spice and cocoa notes.
OK, this has my attention and I decided to give it the royal treatment it deserves for igniting it. I used a cedar spill to warm the foot with a soft flame and get it to a fine even orange glow as I took in the first flavor laden puffs of grass, pepper, butter, and earth. There is a lot going on in this, right off the light. Follow along as I continue to break down the Cinco Décadas El General.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial notes of grass, pepper, butter, and earth
- Cubanesque floral aroma quickly develops
- Salt and pepper ash begins to grow on a thin char line
- Spice picks up during the first inch of burn
- Coffee joins the mix as the pepper receded
- Dry leather rounds out the first third
- Refreshing fruit notes appear in the second third
- Ash fell after a long run revealing a flat but centered cone
- Earthy notes enter again approaching the midway point
- Smoke is extremely smooth at this stage
- Sweetness enters along with a syrupy aroma
- Woody (Cedar) note starts to emerge
- Sweetness continues through the final third with nuances of cedar, spice, and earth
- Barrel gets a bit squishy
- Medium Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 45 minutes
Overall, the Joya De Nicaragua Cinco Décadas El General was a splendid smoke that had a decent level of complexity through the first half and settled into a pleasurable, naturally sweet profile, with small nuances of additional flavor components in the remainder of the cigar. From a construction perspective it had a fine burn from foot to nub, though it did get a bit squishy in the final third. This is a cigar that I feel both experienced and sophomore level smokers would enjoy. With a price point in the high range, I would suggest picking a fiver as these are limited in production and you may want to set one or two aside to age. We rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Salt and Pepper Ash; (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Gets Squishy in the Final