Today we review the Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco. As the name might imply, this cigar commemorates the 45th anniversary of Joya De Nicaragua. Announced just several months ago, the Cuatro Cinco officially launched November 1st. Before we start however, I’d like to take a step back in history and revisit an old story, but one worth mentioning due to it’s role as the catalyst in making this cigar we’re reviewing today exist in the first place.
Sixty years ago Cuba found itself in political turmoil; ruled by Fulgencio Batista, a dictator notorious for his strict censorship and violent punishment for those who stirred unrest. Eager to stop the spread of Communism, Batista’s regime received political, financial, and military support from the United States, both from the government and the mafia.
Eventually dissension among the populace grew beyond Batista’s control, and a group of rebels known as the “26th of July Movement” began to gain traction. Spearheaded by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the ‘M-26-7’ eventually overthrew Batista’s regime and gained control of Cuba. Upon seizing control, the M-26-7 and several other rebel groups formed the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution. The UPCSR then made a pivotal movement; officially announcing that the newly formed government would be one that adopted a Marxist-Leninist system of government and economics. This move, as we all know, would be the breaking point of relations with Cuba and the United States, and led directly to the Cuban Embargo.
So, why did I choose to re-tell such a well known story, particularly in the cigar industry? I chose to do so because these events are what directly necessitated the need for wide-scale production of cigars in countries outside of Cuba. Without these events brands like Joya de Nicaragua and countless others may never have existed. Countries such as the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua were identified as prime candidates for cultivating large amounts of tobacco for export to the American Market.
Cultivation in Nicaragua initially began as early as 1964, but it wasn’t until 1968 when the first cigar manufacturer launched their brand. That brand was none other than Joya de Nicaragua, the “Jewel of Nicaragua”. Despite hiccups such as a temporary relocation to Honduras during the Reagan Administration’s embargo against Nicaragua and several ownership changes, Joya de Nicaragua has remained steadfast in producing great flavored, great quality cigars. Known mostly for their Antano lines, Joya de Nicaragua has stuck true to their roots in producing primarily Nicaraguan puros.
The Cuatro Cinco is no exception, and features oak-barrel aged 5 year old Jalapa grown ligero tobaccos. Joya de Nicaragua has typically refrained from limited releases, leaving the Cuatro Cinco as one of the few that they’ve done. Enough back story and information though, let’s get to smoking this mythical beast.
Full Name: Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Belicoso
Wrapper: Nicaraguan, Jalapa
Binder: Nicaraguan, Jalapa
Filler: Nicaraguan, Jalapa and Esteli
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
The first thing to note is that this cigar looks fantastic. I can’t quite articulate why, but something involved with it’s ‘aura’ radiates elegance. The wrapper is a rich brown milk chocolate color that is positively glowing with oils. The roll is visible, but near seamless. There are a number of dark veins, but they visually blend into the rest of the wrapper.
The Cuatro Cinco’s band is classy and well done. I feel that a fair amount of limited release cigars can come off as a bit ostentatious, but the band of the Cuatro Cinco comes off as simply humble and proud.
Aromatically the cigar has a balanced profile of barnyard and blueberry. Charlie Minato of Halfwheel noted the Blueberry in his analysis, and I concur 100%. It’s quite distinct. I get soft hints of espresso and leather, but they’re tightly intertwined with the barnyard notes. The leather and espresso are much more present in the the dry draw.
Wow, the first thing to note to about the Cuatro Cinco is the body. It’s rich, bold, and balanced; a great combination. Pepper and leather pervade on the front of the palate through the first few puffs, with the blueberry emerging soon thereafter. The profile quickly mellows, but not very far. Both the body and strength still qualify as well in.
Retro-haling places the spice at the forefront, with bits of leather and blueberry as well. The oily wrapper is shining through at this point, with the wrapper oozing off gallons of smoke. Very similar to a Liga or an Undercrown in the way it puts off smoke, which I suppose is fitting, given the relationship between Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate.
The Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco remains delicious into the second third, with the profile further balancing itself. The classic ligero spice shines through as one of my favorite nuances thus far. It’s somewhere between red and black pepper. No need to argue semantics here, just know that it’s delicious. Smooth leather and earthy notes remain at the front, with the sweet blueberry only really present in the finish. I’ll be honest in saying that I would have liked the blueberry flavor to be just a tad more present, but ultimately that’s a fairly mild complaint. I’m not quite into the final third yet, but the creaminess has definitely become a prominent characteristic at this point. As of right now I am in love with the Cuatro Cinco.
I find myself lamenting my entrance into the final third. I just don’t want this cigar to draw to a close yet, but alas, all good things must come to an end. The Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco has gotten a bit of a second wind here, as I felt the second third was a bit more mild than the first. It’s back to full force in the final third, and I get the assumption the Cuatro Cinco intends to go out with a bang. All the flavors have come out for one last final hoorah. The blueberry has finally picked up to a point of perfection, with a bit of orange acidity in the mix as well. The Cuatro Cinco still retains it’s balance beautifully despite the increase in body and strength. Polishing off this cigar leaves me with a sense of satisfaction, and a joy of experience that only truly special cigars leave in their wake.
Burn and Construction:
The Cuatro Cinco is expertly crafted. Joya de Nicaragua has always come off to me as a brand more concerned with flavor and form rather than aesthetics. Drew Estate is known for this as well, and with both companies I feel that their cigars take on a natural beauty in their rugged looks. As I mentioned earlier, the Cuatro Cinco’s wrapper is lined with thin veins, but remains very smooth. The Cuatro Cinco had a bit more give while squeezing it than anticipated, but I wouldn’t qualify it as under-filled by any stretch of the imagination.
The draw was perfect, again very reminiscent of a Liga or an Undercrown in the way it delivers smoke to the palate. A smooth firm pull that yields a monstrous cloud of smoke. I did have a bit of trouble maintaining an even burn line, but it wasn’t anything major.
Just a few touch ups here and there.
I am self-admittedly a huge Joya de Nicaragua fan. The Antano Dark Corojo is an absolute powerhouse that delivers a ton of flavor, and the smaller ring sizes offer an incredible bang for the buck. Needless to say, I was quite excited when I saw the press release for the Cuatro Cinco. I’m generally pretty good at not judging things based on hype, and I will genuinely say that the Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco exceeded my expectations. There was an intangible sense of passion in this cigar; it delivers a sense that you are smoking a cigar that is filled with the well-deserved pride of the company.
I smoked the cigar and wrote this review while working in our retail humidor. The Cuatro Cinco accentuated my conversations with customers, as well as served as a conversation piece in and of itself. When things were quiet in the humidor, the Cuatro Cinco stood by as a faithful companion that delivered all the depth and nuance I could
hope for. This cigar blew me a way, and truly is a ‘Jewel of Nicaragua’.
We have a good supply of Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco in stock. Be sure to get some of these incredible limited edition cigars before they are gone!
4.5 out of 5.