I finally got my business cards in today, after a week-long battle with USPS, who supposedly delivered them on Monday, but probably to the wrong mailbox. In any case, I'll just say it: I chose today's cigar based on color scheme alone. The Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta No. 4, with its dual wrapper, looks quite nice next to the new cards, so, of course, I'm going to set fire to it and smoke it until there's nothing left, and only the cards remain.
Cigar: Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta No. 4
Vitola: Robusto (5” x 52)
Price: UNK (from the $30 JdN sampler I bought at Tobaccos of Hawaii)
Wrapper: Ecuador Shade Grown / Nicaraguan Criollo
Rating (out of 10): 9.6
This thing is pretty unique in appearance. Normally, dual wrappers are done in a “barber-pole” or “candy-cane” pattern, that is, spiraling along the length of the stick. La Flor Dominicana is known to use dual wrappers to create elegant artistic patterns on some of its sticks, as well. But this one is simple in design: The first two thirds of the cigar (up to the band) are wrapped in an Ecuadorian Shade Grown leaf, and, above the wrapper, in Nicaraguan Criollo. The shade grown leaf is somewhat veiny, and shows a bit of discoloration. I notice that shade grown wrapper leaf tends to exhibit more discoloration than most other wrappers, for whatever reason.
This baby is as well-constructed as any JdN cigar; by which I mean, perfectly so. Perfectly rolled, perfectly capped, and a perfect cut (I used my wide gauge punch).
Not much of an aroma along the length of the cigar, but a rich, sweet, fruity scent at the foot. Smells like wild cherry.
Cold draw is nice and open, and tastes of cherry and sweet leather. Gave it a light, and got some black pepper and cedar almost right away, but that cherry and leather sweetness is still unmistakeable. Already, I can see this cigar going quite nicely with one of my favorite Sam Adams drinks, a nice, cold Cherry Wheat.
The burn is off to a nice, even start, leaving a column of white ash, that appears a bit on the flaky side. It's definitely a mild body, which is a bit less to my liking. The flavors are great; I just wish they were bolder.
Then again, it's been a couple days since I've gotten around to a review, for a variety of different reasons. Maybe a mild smoke to get back into the swing of things isn't so bad.
There's a wonderful charred cedar flavor on the finish, which rounds things out quite nicely after the initial sweetness of cherries and leather. The black pepper has withdrawn to the retrohale.
The ash dropped off just at the start of the second third. The burn got a bit wavy, but not out of control. It looks to be self-correcting nicely. Oh, yes. Right back to a perfect burn line in just seconds.
The flavor takes on slight notes of cashew, which meld with the cedar on the finish and aftertaste.
Unfortunately, the smoke takes on a slightly harsh smell here. It's only for a moment, but it certainly burned the nostrils a bit.
I'm considering my scoring system as I track this cigar, and I'm giving some thought to adjusting the weight of my categories, so that the flavor impacts a score slightly less, and the burn qualities have a bit more of one. Reason being, flavor preferences are so unique to each individual smoker. But construction and burn are universally important. These should be the areas that make or break a cigar. That's mostly reflected in my current system, but I think I could do better with it. Maybe I'll make that change soon, I'll have to keep on thinking on it.
I suppose calling the start of the Criollo wrapper the “final third” was maybe not entirely accurate. It's close, but the last third actually starts maybe ¾ of an inch ahead of that. But the flavor is consistent with the second third, so maybe I'll just ignore conventional measurements based on length, and call the Criollo section the last third anyway.
There's a definite uptick in the black pepper spiciness in the final third, as we start to burn through the Criollo. It lends a sort of richness to the cherry flavor, which now tastes more like black cherry than wild cherry. The aroma gets much sweeter here, also.
I like it. This is a very tasty cigar, if milder than I normally prefer. It does finish a tiny bit stronger, after moving to the Criollo wrapper, but overall is a nice, mild, cherry-sweet cigar.