Having recently returned from my journey to Estelí, Nicaragua and my visit to the Drew Estates facilities, I thought back to a great afternoon that our group had visiting the Joya de Nicaragua factory. The highlight of our trip is always the Drew Estates visit and their wonderful hospitality; however as part of their Cigar Safari, a visit to Joya de Nicaragua is always a great moment. In 2008 Drew Estates and Joya de Nicaragua signed an agreement where Joya de Nicaragua products would be distributed by Drew Estates in the United States. The innovative marketing techniques and growing popularity of the DE line of cigars would be a great help in bringing the JDN line back into focus. This has definitely been a great move on behalf of both companies and several of the Drew Estates labels are now produced at the Joya de Nicaragua factory.
A brief history of Joya de Nicaragua puts them at the forefront of Nicaraguan tobacco! They were established in 1968 as the first premium cigar manufacturer in Nicaragua. Founded by a couple of Cuban expats, they began exporting right away to the USA and in the 1970s Joya de Nicaragua becomes the official cigar of President Nixon and the White House. Unfortunately the late 1970s brought political uprising in Nicaragua and the takeover of the factory by the government. The intense fighting that occurred in Estelí resulted in the destruction of the factory. The factory is eventually rebuilt and opened but the US imposes an embargo on Nicaraguan products due to the dictatorship and Joya struggles to survive. Eventually peace and a more stable government settle in and after a 10 year embargo Joya de Nicaragua cigars begin to make it back into the USA. This is merely a quick recap of the volatile history during this time and definitely warrants further reading to understand the drive and passion of the Nicaraguan people.
ABC currently carries the Antano 1970 line of cigars from JDN. It’s a cigar that was created to celebrate the flavors and strengths of Nicaraguan tobacco. This is a Nicaraguan puro with a dark and beautiful Habano Criollo wrapper. While writing this blog I definitely needed to enjoy one and it was, as always, one of my favorite smokes. f you want to know what Nicaraguan tobacco is about, this cigar says it all! A firm cigar that draws perfectly and has a near perfect burn, this cigar produces some very aromatic smoke. Flavors of peppery spice are noticeable immediately and this is not a smoke for a beginning cigar smoker. The pepper never truly disappears but the rich tobacco flavors begin to take hold and earthy and leathery notes show their face. While not an overly complex cigar it does offer different layers of flavors as one progresses down to the last inch or so of cigar. If you love the full-bodied strength and flavors of rich tobacco then the Antano 1970 needs to be on your must smoke list. This is definitely a cigar worthy of the title… Jewel of Nicaragua!
Steve Mungeer, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Category Manager: Premium Cigars & Craft Beer
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