I was thinking the other day, that over the past six years, I have sampled and reviewed a boat load of cigars on Stogie Press. So I decided to start a small series of the “must try” cigars in different categories. Today I will focus on Nicaragua, the largest exporter of cigars to the United States and the evolved flavor palate of many American cigar enthusiasts.
As I scanned through my archive of reviews, I picked out those cigars I enjoyed and I feel you may also. You have not had them or maybe you did and perhaps agree with me (or not)… it’s all good. You may also notice, as look at some of the older articles, how Stogie Press evolved the review format. Wow, even I see a difference. You can click the header of each cigar summary and it will take you to the full Stogie Press review.
Have fun and check them out, I am sure you may have some others to add to the list, so comment on this article and you may win a care package from yours truly – Boston Jimmie
In no particular order or ranking here are some of the must try Nicaraguan cigars we reviewed.
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A well balanced array of flavors and aromas from foot to nub including fruit, butter, floral, natural sweetness, cinnamon spice, cocoa, and maple syrup. Construction was solid with just a mild wave in the first half followed with a fairly crisp burn after.
The Rock A Feller Cigars Vintage Nicaragua Maduro Lancero was better than I expected with an outstanding burn and flavors that would please the most discerning palate. Expect a plethora of notes including; pepper, vanilla bean, sweetness, cocoa, espresso, roasted acorn, spice, and citrus. The ash held longer than most lanceros I have smoked. I even let it rest for a few minutes and it was still lit when i picked it up, which is uncharacteristic of a lancero.
The Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta Serie is simply an elegant smoking experience and a break from the bolder offerings of the company. This is a cigar that can be enjoyed anytime of the day and would certainly pair very well with a rich cup of sweet espresso or possibly an aged dark rum. The burn and ash were pristine throughout the experience. Expect notes of; fruit, leather, orange, sweetness, coffee, cedar, and spice. With a price in the sweet spot this is an easy buy and one you should try if you have not already.
The AVO Synchro Nicaragua was an elegant cigar to smoke. It is certainly one that any cigar enthusiast would enjoy with its sweet and zesty spice notes. It had a medium level of complexity but certainly offered outstanding flavor transitions through a pristine burn and creamy smoke texture. Expect notes of: pepper, sweetness, nut, wood, cinnamon, and touch of sea salt. I would love to pair another one with an aged rum or bourbon.
The Black Label Trading Co. Santa Muerte 2019 Short Robusto was exactly what I expect from James Brown and Fabrica Oveja Negra. This gem of a cigar was simply awesome in its delivery of balanced flavors, aromas, and excellent construction. I really enjoyed the notes of caramel, cocoa, and mint that moved in and about through the burn. This is a cigar any seasoned enthusiast would enjoy and may well be one I would offer a newer cigar smoker that wanted to expand their palate.
The revamped Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man was an outstanding smoking experience. The journey was stoked with balanced flavor transitions and the burn was pristine and error free. This new blend is uniquely different from the original. It was a much smoother smoke with the pepper only appearing near the end. It fits my palate perfectly and I highly recommend adding it to your rotation . Expect notes of coffee latte, dry leather, cedar, sweetness, woody, spice, cocoa, cream and finish of peppery spice.
Overall, I found the Dapper Cigars El Borracho Edmundo to be a pleasurable smoke and a fine addition to the company’s line up. It offered a unique set of notes and aromas that were a break from many cigars I enjoy. Expect notes of: toasted caramel, cream, pepper, fruit, spice, bitter sweet chocolate, and maple syrup. A solid medium in strength, the El Borracho had a decent burn with only a small jag and wave now and then, that never needed to be touched up.
The Asylum 13 Pandemonium 52 Ring Gauge was an amazingly constructed cigar that provided 3 hours of pleasantly well balanced flavor and aromas from foot to nub. Expect a enticing array of complex notes including: pepper, buttery sweetness, spice, cedar, toasted caramel, fruit, dry leather, coffee, and cocoa. It had minimal burn issues with just a mild jag in the burn here and there and offered a perfect draw and full volume of smoke off each puff. The ash held for good chunks before falling. This is one that the finest of palates would enjoy and perfect for watching a long baseball game. The price point is spot on, especially when considering the length of time you will enjoy this.
The Aging Room Bin No. 2 Nicaragua was one fine Nicaraguan puro cigar. It had a smooth and complex flavor profile which transitioned as well as an expertly composed symphony. Expect palate pleasing notes that include: fruit, butter cracker, pepper, spice, coffee, earth, sweetness, nut, and cocoa. The burn had just a small wave and required only a mild touch up. This is one I would enjoy anytime of the day.
The Amendola Family Cigars Habano 2000 Toro was a great cigar that offered enticing notes and aromas from foot to nub. A medium strength smoke with a full body of flavor including such notes as: plum, cocoa, coffee, spice, earth and cedar. There was a slight off burn midway but it eventually fixed itself with out any touch up.
The Perdomo Barrel Aged Maduro was a well constructed cigar that carried an amazingly long ash before falling. The flavors, though not overly complex, were enjoyable and well balanced with enticing notes like malt, dry-fruit, cream and citrus. I find this a box worthy cigar, so go get some and enjoy a Perdomo Cigars journey.
I have to say, Ventura Cigars knocked it out of the park with The Master. This Nicaraguan puro was stunning from pre-light down to the nub. The Masters at Joya de Nicaragua, where these are made, truly shine in this blend. Complex and smooth with delicate and shifting aromas make this cigar one you should consider buying a box of. Expect balanced flavors and aromas of: cream, baking spice, cinnamon, wood, nut, amaretto, coffee, dark chocolate, and sweetness.
The Joya De Nicaruagua Número Uno was a spectacular cigar which I can understand why it was given to world leaders by Nicaraguan ambassadors. It started with an intriguing pre-light set of aromas and flavors and once the flame was set to the foot it only got better with swirling and shifting aromas and flavors that took you on a journey that only the best can do. Considering this was a Connecticut shade, there was no discernible bitterness at all. Expect notes of: herbal, cinnamon, cream, fruit, leather, spice, and cedar. There was even a core of sweetness that added to the pleasure in various stages of the burn.
I found The King Is Dead – Nicaragua to be an extremely pleasant smoke with well developed flavor and aromas from foot to nub. This is an extremely well balanced cigar that the finest cigar enthusiasts would certainly enjoy. You can expect notes of: cinnamon, sweetness, graham cracker, dry fruit, cream, savory spice, cocoa, and yes – caramelized meat. The burn was spot on through most of the journey with just a slight wave along with a mild off burn deep in second third but did not require any touch ups. A.J. Fernandez and Robert Caldwell have teamed up to make a spectacular cigar with this one.
What would a list be without a candela and the Illusione “88” Candela was a very well balanced and flavorful cigar that provided easy transitions and a smooth full volume of smoke. Sweetness and cream notes provided for a perfect background through the journey as additional nuances of pepper, earth, citrus, tangy fruit and light coffee add to the pleasure. The burn was excellent with just a slight jaggedness in the final third.
I felt both the Mi Querida Triqui Traca 648 and 552 were flavorful cigars from the foot to the nub. The profile of each was quite similar with rich syrupy sweetness, cocoa, pepper, and finished with a cinnamon sensation. The 552 also offered a floral aroma early in the burn. Both were medium to full in strength and offered a full volume of smoke through the journey.
The Crux Epicure Maduro is a cigar that was not rushed to the market and patience has shown through. The aged leaf in this blend shines in the delicious flavors and enticing aromas that appear through the smoking journey. Expect pleasant notes of; fruit, sweetness, dark chocolate, spice, espresso, and cinnamon. From a construction perspective, there were just some minor deductions.
One of the highest rated cigars on Stogie Press and #1 ciagr of the year in 2019, the Southern Draw Kudzu LUSTRUM was a spectacular cigar. I had to smoke through 5 of them just to be sure I was getting this one right. Each one was spot on with zero issues in burn, flavor, and aroma. Never overbearing and offering pleasant transitions of flavor. This is what an anniversary cigar should be. Expect a balanced book of notes in this one, including; cream, coffee, pepper, savory spice, sweetness, floral, cocoa, sweet BBQ sauce, salty butter, and sweet cherry.
The A.J. Fernandez Días De Gloria was a cigar that offered the spicy and floral notes which I imagine hark back to those glory days in pre-Castro Cuba. The cigar developed additional flavors and aromas like coffee, cream, and fruit, even a slight sweet nut appeared for a moment. There was a slight off burn in the beginning that never required a touch up and bit of a wave later in the burn.
The ACE Prime M.X.S. Dominique Wilkins was a slam dunk. This is a cigar that both an experienced or new cigar enthusiast would enjoy. Deeply complex in flavor and aroma with a medium strength it was a pleasure to smoke. There were some minor burn issues and it did have moment here and there when it got a tad astringent. Starting off with a rich red pepper shot, this one settles quickly into a flavor bomb, including floral fruit, sweet malt, citrus, sweetness, cocoa, earth, caramel, herbal, nut, and even a touch of grapefruit.
The Espinosa Laranja Reserva Escuro was a spectacular cigar that was yin to the yang of the original Laranja. The choice of leaf used in this blend allowed just enough citrus notes to come through without being overpowering so as to allow some of the more subtle notes to grace the palate, through the journey. Expect to enjoy notes of; pepper, buttercream, citrus tang, toasted caramel, earth, cocoa, and natural sweetness. There were a few waves in the burn but never needed a touch up.
The Black Star Line Cigars “War Witch” was a fine smoking journey with nice flavor transitions and delicate aromas. I especially liked the spicy honey and toasted caramel notes in the first third. It did start a tad harsh, but settled in well for a pleasant experience, delivering enticing notes of: coffee, floral fruit, dry fruit, spice, pepper, and of course spicy honey and toasted caramel. There was a bit of an early wave and it started a small off burn moving into the final third.
The Isabela Pepper-Head was a magnificent corona that delivered a cornucopia of flavors and aromas throughout the one hour journey. With tobacco sourced from 13 different farms in Nicaragua, the core of this cigar was pepper, spice, and sweetness but the nuances are what really keeps your interest, with notes of berry, cocoa, coffee, maple syrup, wood, cedar, and even licorice. From a construction perspective it did start with a tighter draw that eventually opened up and the early phase had a mild wave in the burn.
The My Father Cigars LA ANTIGUEDAD is certainly one of favorite cigars from this iconic company. Every time I have had this, it offered a consistent array of flavors and aromas and the burn was also clean and the draw smooth. This is the PERFECT after dinner , early evening cigar that you can enjoy to take the edge off at the end of the day . You can expect notes of: leather, spice, walnut, pepper, and earth.
There are plenty of RoMa Craft cigars to choose from, but my personal favorite is the RoMa Craft Intemperance EC XVIII. It is an excellent performing cigar that started with delicious flavor notes and evolved into a dance of flavors. You will find quire the array of notes including: sweetness, cinnamon, roasted nut, floral fruit, citrus peel, sweet butter, cedar, and leather. Though some may not find the mild bitter citrus peel notes appealing, I liked how it balanced with the sweetness. I would enjoy this as a morning cigar with a sweet cup of coffee. Intemperance indeed, I need to smoke more!
The Crowned Heads, Jericho Hill, was the first cigar from this company that I had the pleasure of reviewing so many years ago. Over the years I have had this numerous times, and each experience offered me the pleasure I experienced that first time. With a beautiful burn and long ash, the Jericho Hill offers a complex set of notes. including; pepper, citrus, wood, coffee, currant, and almond.
The production version of the Viva La Vida Toro was even more pleasing than the pre-release when it comes to flavor and aromas, which evolved in a pleasing and refined manner through the journey. This blend was the start of some amazing vitolas that were to follow under the line. You can expect notes of; earth, pepper, cooking spice, wood, dark chocolate, light citrus, butter, dry fruit, licorice and savory spice. As with the pre-release, there was a bit of a jaggedness early that did correct eventually, without a touch-up. If you have not tried it you are missing out on an amazing cigar.
Off all the “pigs” out there, the Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig is just simply an amazing cigar delivering a complex blend of flavors through a pristine burn from foot to nub. Steve Saka no longer works for Drew Estate but his Legendary Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig lives on still delivering an amazing experience that includes notes of: earth, pepper, syrupy sweetness, crushed red pepper, malt, exotic spice, fruit, floral, wood, plum, cocoa, licorice, toast, and chocolate. Yes this is the definition of a flavor bomb for the most discerning palate.
The Stogie Press 2018 Cigar of the year was the Foundation Cigars Wise Man Maduro and rightfully so. What more can we say, other than what an outstanding job Nick Melillo (Nick-R-Agua) did with the second incarnation of the El Gueguense (Wise Man). As my Stogie Press associate at the time, Zach Riley, said in his first ever review on the site:
“The huge amount of variety was fantastic, the strength was wonderful, and it had a great burn from top to bottom. It has incredible flavors from the initial light all the way down to when you’re barely able to hold on to the cigar anymore.”
After reading his review, I immediately went to my local shop and purchased one and I totally agreed. If your palate is not fired up with sparks of flavor notes with this cigar then I suggest you see your doctor, as there may be something wrong with your taste center.