Back in 2001, Joya de Nicaragua introduced a bold and strong cigar which they named the Antaño 1970. From it’s first incarnation it has been a well received brand garnering high marks throughout the two decades on the market.
The company’s website notes:
“Antaño in Spanish means ‘Yesteryear’, a word that perfectly expresses the soul of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño. It was released over 15 years ago as a tribute to the power and the essence of the “The True Nicaraguan Puro” that made Joya de Nicaragua the most sought after cigar in the United States in the 1970’s during the post Cuban embargo“
Time certainly has flown by, and Yesteryear is now 20 years past with various blend iterations and vitola extensions added to he Antaño lineup. In fact there are now 24 varieties in the line including the latest to join the party – the Antaño Gran Reserva GT20 – which was released this year celebrating the past two decades of the brand.
The Antaño Gran Reserva GT20, is described as a more select version of the already-select Antaño Gran Reserva line. It incorporates leaves that the company says are more refined selections than those on the standard Antaño Gran Reserva.
Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, Chairman of Joya de Nicaragua noted in the press release this year:
“When anybody thinks of Nicaraguan powerhouse cigars, they undoubtedly think of Antaño. This is the cigar on which cigar legends are inspired.
When we first tried the blend in progress, it was a bomb! Everybody in the room became so excited because it was exactly what we wanted: it was full-bodied and really hit your palate in all the places where we wanted it to hit … and we knew it was to become a game changer.”
The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva GT20 is expressed in a single (6 x 52) Box Pressed toro and comes packaged in 20-count boxes with and MSRP set at $9.50 per cigar.
The company describes this Nicaraguan puro blend as:
- Wrapper – Corojo Oscuro (used in the original 1970 blend)
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan (aged 5 years)
So what do you get when the oldest cigar factory in Nicaragua extends an already successful brand like the Antaño blend? Let’s break it down.
The Antaño Gran Reserva GT20 is a visually appealing boxed pressed cigar with its oily, reddish brown, smooth wrapper. The wrapper leaf has some mild marbling running through it and practically veinless. It has a well formed box pressing with slightly rounded edges and feels firm to the touch from head to foot. The presentation is finished with a well applied triple cap.
Three bands adorn the cigar. The primary and secondary bands are the same as on the rest of the Antaño Gran Reserva line, displaying the Joya de Nicaragua logo in the center of the primary band and the name Antaño printed in gold on a black background on the bottom. The name GRAN RESERVA is displayed on the secondary band just under the primary. The GT20 variety is easily distinguishable by the bright red footer band with the name GT20 printed in gold. It would be hard to miss this one on a shelf in the humidor.
The pre-light aromas intrigued the nasals with notes of sweetness, spice and nut along the barrel joined with enticing notes of baking spice with a hint of raisin and nut off the foot.
Having smoke many Antaño cigars over the years, I was chomping to get to the cold draw. They always have a great cold draw, one you can cold puff for quite a while before lighting it up. The GT20 did not disappoint, as I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder and started the ritual. The draw offered notes of savory spice and slow growing pepper with hints of earth and leather – all delivered through a well constructed restriction.
After a few minutes of cold puffs to warm up the palate, I turned to my double flame torch to slowly warm the foot of the cigar, and begin to draw in the first puffs of this journey. Follow along as I burn the Antaño Gran Reserva GT20 to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Right off the first puff my palate is greeted with savory spice and light earth
- Pleasant walnut aromas immediately waft off the foot gracing my nasals on each each puff
- A light grey ash forms on top of medium thick char line
- Dark chocolate notes begin to develop swirling with the spice and walnut
- Leather notes join the mix
- A mild wave forms in the burn but does not need the attention of a touch-up
- The solid ash keeps growing, puff after puff
- So far this is a smooth smoke
- Gentle black pepper notes grace the palate
- Cream notes enter in the second third to balance out the pepper
- Light earthy notes join the profile – much like a sweet mushroom sauce
- Chocolate continues in background
- The early wave finally requires a mild touch up
- Spice increases on the retro midway and cedar notes develop
- Ash fell after a long burn and revealed a well formed burn cone
- Spice starts to take control deep in the second third
- Slight off burn
- Strength is moving up nicely
- Cream swirls back in on top of a dry fruit note which takes me down to the end
- Finished at a medium to full strength and full body
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
As I noted, I have always enjoyed the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño brand ever since they hit the market two decades ago. The evolution of the brand has kept me intrigued from original Antaño 1970 through the Antaño CT, Antaño Dark Corojo, and Antaño Gran Reserva. The GT20 once again has treated me to a complex array of flavors and aromas with additional nuances of flavor to keep the balance in the blend. The construction was decent with just a mild wave and a small off burn deep in the second third, but it never needed to be touched up though the 90 minute plus journey. As Dr. Cuenca stated, it hits on all parts of the palate. This is a box buy and I rate it a 95.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Slight Off Burn
Bonus Points: (+1) Extreme Ash; (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Extremely complex smoke