Cigar Reviews

Quesada Reserva Privada

Quesada Reserva PrivadaStrangely enough living in south Florida and having what should be a close proximity to Quesada I had found it very difficult to locate their cigars in a shop. Sure I could have ordered some online but I’m far too lazy for that. Finally I ran into some Reserva Privadas at a shop in Miami and grabbed a few knowing I wanted to write about them. There’s a great story behind this particular blend. You see the story for this cigar starts all the way back in 1997 when the Quesada harvest of San Vincente happened at a uniform height with even the middle leaves growing to be the same size indicating that the nutrients from the soil spread evenly through the plant, “Cosecha pareja” they called it. Rather then blend it up and put it out at that time Quesada persuaded his father and brother to store and age the tobacco for a special blend in the future. So the tobacco sat aging and waiting to be used until 2015 when Quesada’s daughters (the fifth generation of Quesadas to be in the cigar industry) found the aging tobacco and came to their dad with an idea for its use. After some experimentation a blend was found and production began. After it was rolled it was aged for an additional year to let the old tobacco rest with the newer tobacco giving it “the chance to mature and add nobility” according to Quesada.

A visual inspection of the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper shows a nearly perfect roll. The wrapper is very smooth with very little to no veining, it is the color of tanned leather with a matte light oily finish. You have to search for the seams as they are nearly invisible. The over all feel is full but gives well when pressed between the fingers with no dead spots that could be found.

The smell from the body is light and somewhat grassy and sweet, from the foot there are hints of plum, leather, ceder and a touch of floral. The cigar cuts easily with no damage to the body. The pre-light draw is easy with little resistance, the flavor is sweet with a hint of pepper.

The first half of the cigar is slightly mellow with a that is mild and dry. It has a bit of bit of sweetness and a splash of spice on the finish. It burns evenly and the ash hangs on for about an inch at a time. The ash is dark grey in color with tight rings, the burn is razor sharp and it has excellent smoke production they is light on the tongue.Quesada Reserva Privada

In the second half the flavor begins to increase and becomes more spicy. The mild flavor becomes more complex with leather and sweet tobacco becoming more prominent. These flavors mixed with the lighter weighted smoke leaves the impression of fresh baked bread that ends with black pepper. The burn remains consistent and the cigar holds its form until I can no longer hold the cigar in my fingers.

I am pleased to say that my first experience with Quesada has been a great one. While I normally gravitate towards a “heavier” cigar the Reserva Privada was very enjoyable. While it started off a bit mellow it grew to be very complex with the newer Pennsylvania ligero added to the blend giving it just that little extra punch. This cigar could be smoked by anyone and appreciated. While I smoke mine with bourbon this would pair very well with coffee or sparkling water with a lime. This was a limited production so it could be tricky to find now but I would have to suggest that you search it out and stock up, it’s a cigar you don’t want to miss.

Wrapper: Equadorian Connecticut

Binder: Dominican San Vincente (1997 Vintage)

Filler: Dominican San Vicente (1997 Vintage selected from Cosecha Pareja crops) | Pennsylvania Ligero

Vitolas: Robusto 4.7 x 52, Toro 5.6 x 54, Toro Gordo 6.5 x 56

Price: $12.95 – $14.95 per stick depending on size.


Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints

Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas

Cinoc DecadasNow that Joya de Nicaragua is turning 50 they had to do something to commemorate the occasion. For the occasion they are releasing the Cinco Decadas, which if you weren’t completely sure, translates into 5 decades. (You know 50 years.) Made from a undisclosed blend and wrapper the only thing we know about the Cinco Decadas is that is a Nicaraguan puro that was made with some of the best and most well aged tobaccos the company had. According to Juan Martínez, executive president of Joya de Nicaragua. “This is, without a doubt, the most spectacular cigar to ever come out of Joya de Nicaragua. We are not disclosing the detailed blend, but I can tell you that it’s Nicaraguan tobaccos all-around.” Cinco Decadas is going to launch in two sizes: a 7 inch by 50 ring gauge Churchill called El General and a 6 by 54 double-tapered figurado called Diadema, which is the vitola I chose for this article. Martínez says the company chose these vitolas because they were the most popular cigar sizes in the early years of the company.

Getting to the nuts and bolts of this thing, the construction seems superb, it is well filled but gives when pressed between the fingers. The wrapper is the color of dark roasted coffee beans with very light veining, the seams are tight and even and it has a subtle oily sheen to it.

The smell from the body is cocoa, cedar and the brackish smell of the ocean. From the foot the smell is the same but with an addition of the sweat smell of raisins. The cigar cuts easily and the body is not damaged. The pre-light draw provides just the wanted amount of resistance and delivers the desired full tobacco flavor. Because it’s a figurado vitola it takes a small amount of effort to get it lit but it’s the only effort you’ll have to put into this cigar.

The first half has a nice mellow flavor that includes slightly bitter dark chocolate, along with white pepper on the finish. There is a fair amount of smoke production that is of medium weight on the tongue, it burns nice and even and requires no touching up.

In the second half the flavor becomes fuller with leathery notes coming to the front along with a bit of sweetness and a overwhelming feeling of creaminess. While there is still a hint of the white pepper that lingers on the back end. The smoke production becomes more ample during smoking and begins to feel heavier which adds to the overall creamy feeling of this cigar. The burn remains consistent and even, producing thin rings of nearly white ash that hold on for over an inch until I chicken out and knock it free.Joya de Nicaragua

For a company that’s been around for 50 years you would expect them to be good at what they do and with the Cinco Decadas, Joya de Nicaragua proves it. Everything about this cigar screams quality and experience. This cigar was completely enjoyable from start to finish and is a perfect blend for anyone, whether it be a rookie or a seasoned smoker. The flavors are full but are with such a great smoothness it smokes like a well aged port or the way a great cooked fillet melts in your mouth. Since this is a limited production of only 25,000 of each vitola I strongly suggest that when you see these guys hit the shelves you grab as many as you can.

Wrapper: Unknown

Binder: Unknown

Filler: Unknown

Vitolas: 7 X 50 Churchill “El General” and a 6 X 54 double-tapered figurado “Diadema”

Price: $19.00 – $20.00 per stick depending on size.


Rating: 4.9 out of 5 pints

Joya Silver

Joya Silver ReviewI first heard about the Joya line (distributed by Drew Estate) in 2014 when a buddy of mine, at the smoke shop I frequented, tried to talk me into buying the Joya Red that had just been released. For some reason I was hesitant to try it, I don’t know what made me feel that way I just wasn’t interested so he gave me one and said “Just try it”. So it sat in my humidor staring at me for weeks every time I walked by asking me “Why don’t you want me?” Finally one day I knew I had a long drive so I grabbed because I knew I could give it some attention while smoking it. Half way into the cigar I called my friend to thank him for giving it to me because it was great and I don’t know why I took so long to smoke it. In 2016 when Black and Cabinetta were released they introduced two more great cigars to the line. Now here we are in 2018 and we have the release of the Joya Silver and when I was able to get my hands on one of each of the vitolas I was obviously excited to try it out.

Joya says “Silver is a box pressed cigar that delivers a dynamic complexity of fresh spice, chocolate and cherry notes. Its oscuro upper-priming wrapper showcases the perfect complement between the richness of the Nicaraguan fillers and the refined sweetness of the Ecuador grown wrapper and Mexican binder. The result is a medium to full body smoke that achieves an indulging

Joya Silver Review

This photo courtesy of @adw52pix

matching of flavors.”


Looking over the cigars it is an obvious box press, the wrapper is espresso in color and has a light oily sheen with some veining but is still fairly smooth to the touch. The seams are nice and tight and it feels firm between the fingers and does not yield much when pressure is applied.

The smell from body is very mild with light cedar notes and nuts. The smell from the foot has much greater odors including vanilla, hay, tobacco and dark chocolate. I’ve tried both cutting and punching the cap and found that for these a punch gives the best draw. With a punch the cold draw feels a bit snug but not so much so that it is unpleasant where as with a cut it felt a little too snug for my personal preference. The flavors are rich tobacco and sweet dried fruits.

The cigar lights with no issues and starts off burning evenly. It gives lots of smoke production that has a good weight on the tongue and the flavor is a mild earthy tone.

The first half of the cigar had a medium body flavor that reminded me of cured meats and white pepper. The burn remains even and the smoke production remains nice and heavy.

Joya Silver ReviewThe second half the cigar really begins to pick up it’s intensity and the flavors become fuller. There is a spicy sweet flavor mixed with leather that comes rushing to the front and finishes on black pepper. The flavor continues to grow throughout the remaining last half and finishes as a nice full bodied cigar. The smoke production is plentiful throughout the entire smoke and the burn is sharp and even without the need for re-lighting or touching up during smoking.

Considering all of the variety that Joya has offered since 2014 and the difference in their profiles I would have to say that this is the most complex and the most bold. Although it starts off a touch on the mild side by the time you reach the second half it really comes into its own and lets you know it’s there. With its full and intense flavor profile I wouldn’t recommend this to someone new to cigar smoking unless they started off liking a bold flavor. Because of it’s nature it can stand on it’s own with just a glass of sparkling water or could pair nicely with a scotch, bourbon or even coffee. Coming in at a very modest price point this could easily be added to your daily rotation without feeling a huge dent in your wallet. If you like a lot of flavor make sure you pick up a bunch of these Joya Silver you see them.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Oscuro

Binder: Mexican

Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas: Ultra 6 ¼ X 46, Toro 6 x52, Corona 5 ¼ x 42, Robusto 5 x50

Price: $6.30 – $7.80 per stick depending on size.


Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints