Doña Nieves | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5.5 x 54 “Negra Macha-Box Press”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $6.29 by the box/$6.50 by the 5 pack


Today we take a look at the Doña Nieves distributed by the Antillian Cigar Corp. I want to thank Arby Sosa of Sosa Cigars for the sample.

The Antillian web site has its own online store where these cigars, and many other brands, can be purchased. As well as a list of B & M’s.

“The Doña Nieves brand of cigars is made in Nicaragua in the factory of El Galan owned by Felix Mesa. It is a medium to full-bodied cigar. The wrapper used is Habano and will be available in 3 sizes in a box of 24.”

The cigar comes in three sizes:
Negra Macha 5.5 x 54 Box pressed
Minga 5.125 x 58
Nievita 5.5 x 50

Arby has provided a 5% discount using the coupon code Katman5 in the comment section during checkout. And shipping is free.

This is a nicely made stick. A soft box press. A dark chocolate approaching coffee bean colored wrapper that is slightly toothy. Seams are tight. It has a map full of vein like territories. The triple cap is not hard to spot but still applied nicely.

What I really like is the cigar band. Very ornate with a touch of Victorian art. There is a portrait of a woman who must be Doña Nieves. A plain looking gal so I try to find out who she is/was. You ever ask Google to translate a Wikipedia page from Spanish to English. Welcome to Sesame Street.

Here is one passage from translated Wikipedia. Have fun:
“Doña Nieves is a cheerful old lady, “jovial” to some extent, and personality much like his granddaughter. Its name refers to the name of the actress who stars in María Antonieta de las Nieves.

“It is identical to the “bizcanieta” and calls his grandson “Monchito”. Among its features are the phrase “Quepachó, quepachó ?, go there”, and cries like Chilindrina. Interestingly, this character appeared alongside Don Ramón in only three chapters: “Don Ramón goes the neighborhood (1977)”, “The Return of Don Ramon” and “The Birthday of Don Ramón (1981)”. He replaced Don Ramón in a number of episodes where it no longer appears latter in those remaining in 1979, from 1980 to early 1981, when he returns to the neighborhood, and in 1982 when it gets going, but Doña Nieves reappears only from 1983 until 1990 where there is no water in the vicinity.

“Also appears with the Doctor Chapatín Chapulin Colorado and in 1972, in some sketches as in the movie “The Chanfle” Probably 1978, this character was molded from the appearance of a wicked old woman, also played by “De las Nieves “in a sketche of Los Caquitos belonging to the program “El Chavo del Ocho” in 1973.”
So Doña Nieves was an actress. Did I get that right?

I clip the cap and find aromas of cocoa, spice, strong herbal notes, nuttiness, oak, cedar, wet wood, leather, and barnyard.
Time to light up.

The cigar is jam packed with tobacco yet the draw is easy and comfortable. There is dryness to the initial flavor. I take a few sips of water. That does the trick. I write in the morning so sometimes my lips are dry.. Duumkapf.

This will be an intensely flavored cigar. Right off the bat, the spiciness is a combo of black and red pepper.

A bit of creaminess appears. And something very fruity that, for the moment, eludes me. The cocoa is growing in depth.

Cinnamon becomes a big element. The tobacco is rich and dirty. Like George H.

The strength starts off at a tick above medium body. Unless something bizarre happens, this cigar will be full bodied by the end of the first third.

Another cigar distributed by Antillian Cigar Corp is the Headlines First Edition which I reviewed a few days ago. That cigar started off like a fire cracker by hitting the full flavor bomb status within the first minute of the smoke.

The Doña Nieves is more traditional. It is a builder. This is a very manly cigar. Earthiness full of richness and character runs the show now. It is rugged. The soil and the aroma of strong tobacco do not hide behind a Creamsicle or candy bar.

This is quite the departure from the Headlines First Edition. But don’t get me wrong. I loved the Headlines from the start. Just a different animal, that’s all.

Sweetness enters the fold. The creaminess gets stronger. So does the cocoa and cinnamon. The char line is near razor sharp.

If you are a chomper like me, you will notice how heavy the cigar is. Much more so than most cigars…especially for this size. I like that. It has some heft and it has some oomph.

The price point is ridiculous for a blend this fabulous. Not a single $6 Torano can touch the hem of the Doña Nieves. And I feel the same way about many $8-$9 cigars. $6.50 for a true high premium is a killer deal. And yet, if it weren’t for Arby Sosa, I would have never heard of the Doña Nieves. I’m not close to the start of the second third and I can tell you now this is a must have. There isn’t a $6 cigar in your humidor(s) that are this good.

Toastiness and nuts become a larger component to the flavor profile. I’ve smoked 1-1/2” and the cigar is not a flavor bomb but it has a very unique style that is immensely appealing. The rich tobacco flavor is all consuming. The mild, nuanced flavors add fairy dust to the decadent tobacco flavor.

Now I’ve only had this cigar a few weeks. My guess is that I’ve caught the blender’s intent. Maybe another month or two will improve it but not by much. I don’t think I am tasting potential. I taste the real deal that Felix Mesa produced in his factory in his Nicaraguan factory El Galan.

The Doña Nieves is a very slow smoke.

I begin the second third and I’ve invested at least 30-40 minutes.

Here are the flavors: Rich earthiness, sweetness, creaminess, cocoa, spice, toast, nuts, wood, leather, espresso, toffee, and dried fruit.

The Doña Nieves is now a flavor bomb.

I like the slow roll it took to get here. Subtlety full of nuance and character plus a perfect balance. It doesn’t have a long finish though.

The strength is medium/full now.

I am really enjoying this cigar. I had expectations that were unfounded. I thought this might be a bit like the Headlines stick but they are two completely different blends.

I’m not that bright so realizing that just because Antillian distributes both cigars doesn’t mean they are blended by the same person. Duumkapf 2.0.

The char line remains dead nuts.

I am at the halfway point.

You know how when you smoke a new cigar and all of your senses tell you are smoking something special? I am experiencing that now.

The price point belies the quality of the Doña Nieves.

Flavors kick in big time. The earthiness and creaminess make for an enticing odd couple.

The nuttiness and toasty flavors mesh perfectly. It now has a long chewy finish.

Nougat adds to the flavor profile. Raisins are new as well.
The herbal notes give the cigar a balanced feel.

This is an extraordinary cigar. I am very surprised that no PR machine is pumping away for this cigar. This also may be the reason for the ridiculously low price.

If the Doña Nieves had a big name attached to it, you can be sure this would be a $9 cigar.

Now the Doña Nieves is as smooth as silk. Just fantastic.

The coffee element moves up the line. Like a fine cup of pure Kona coffee.

I’ve now invested over an hour of smoke time and I am still near the halfway point. I remove the cigar band. It is quite beautiful and ornate.

I can’t thank Arby Sosa enough for the samples. This was a totally unexpected treat.
The flavors are going absolutely nuts.

I’ve been smoking, and reviewing, long enough that if I wanted to give cigars a numbered rating, I could. But it would be subjective. My palate is not your palate. I think the whole system is ridiculous and think reviewers should shit can the whole process.

If we were in school, I might use that grading system and give this cigar an A-. Meaning that A is a perfect cigar. And there is no such thing.

The char line gets a little wavy so I give it a minor touch up. The construction of this cigar is near flawless. It behaves like a champ.

I dredged up some old Eddie Munster stories for the after review part of my cigar observations. Long time readers are going, “Oh God. Not again.” But I have a lot of new readers and I haven’t posted this story in a very long time.

I smoked heavily back in the early 80’s and always had a cigar in my mouth during the shooting of the music video. I suppose if I wore a beret and scarf, I would have really looked the part. But instead, I wore shorts, T shirt, and flip flops. Sometimes sneakers. Like in the mortuary.

The cigar constantly hanging from my mouth helped me focus.

The last third begins.

A couple of minor cracks form on the wrapper.

No changes. No need for changes. The cigar is as perfect as it is going to get.

Do not forget the coupon code of Katman5 when you buy this cigar on the Antillian web site. Gets you 5% off and free shipping.

You need to click on the “SHOP” button at the top of the page. There are 3 pages full of cigars to buy.

Including all of the wonderful Sosa blends. There are 30 selections. Plus on the right side of the page is a list of other big name brands they sell.

The Doña Nieves edges into full bodied. A bit of nicotine but no crash helmet needed.
This is a great cigar for a great price.
I highly recommend it.

And now for something completely different:


I catered the shoot at the mortuary. It was the biggest chain in Southern California and the kid that worked there gave us permission to shoot later in the evening. Except, as it turned out, he didn’t have the authorization to allow us to do so.

Marvin Rush, his crew, and film truck showed up on time. I had arranged to have about 50 extras sitting in the chapel with a coffin filled with Butch in it for our first shot. We had already scoped out the place and I jotted down notes for the angles, etc.

As my buddy, Harvey sat up the buffet, the extras rolled in. It was a full-on Jewish deli buffet. Everyone was excited. So was I. Until I noticed that children were coming in. I blew my lid. I screamed at the crowd, “Who brought children into this mortuary?”

Hands were raised. I took them aside and asked them if they were fucking crazy? I told them to leave…and they did, unhappily. We had the shot set up, the extras in the pews, the smell of brisket and corned beef wafting through the air and the “Monsters” in full make up.

Just before I yelled, “Action,” a bunch of huge goons stormed the mortuary with baseball bats threatening to beat the hell out of me and everyone else if we didn’t get our asses out immediately. I grabbed the kid who gave us approval and he admitted that he didn’t ask his betters if it would be OK? So, instead, he bragged about it at the mortuary to his co-workers and they formed a scheme to bushwhack us.

One of the goons asked who was in charge? I stepped forward and as I did, I felt something hard trying to crush the back of my skull. A fight broke out. They were outnumbered and I had my buddy Rick with me. The ex-con who spent a few years in the Q.

The goons lost so they called the cops. We managed to get everyone out, the film crew packed up and burned rubber and we were all gone before the cops showed. Harvey was the only one still there, trying to pack up his delicious food, and miscellaneous shit. The cops tried to arrest him but he talked his way out of it, by making them brisket sandwiches, and then he split.

We were in big trouble. I ended up at the E.R, and got some stitches. All the while.., trying to figure an alternate plan.

I assured Marvin we would get this right and please don’t bail on me. He was a great guy and said he would follow me to Terminal Island, if necessary, to get this done.

The next day, I took a ride to the Princess Louise, docked at San Pedro Harbor. It was an old, 3 deck private yacht that had been transformed into a tourist attraction. Two restaurants and a chapel on top.

I met with the chaplain and negotiated a fee of $200. It was a lock. We shook hands and moved to the next step. The filming on the boat would take place about 4 days later. I used that time to do another dangerous shot.

There is a line in the song that Eddie sings that says, “I got up and split from school.”

So we headed to Hollywood High on Sunset Blvd. Butch managed to borrow John Travolta’s Trans Am that George Barris was doing some customization on. The only way we could have the car was if George provided the driver. No problem.

We had no permit for filming. No permit. Let me say that again: NO PERMIT!! And that area of Hollywood is always teeming with people at night. We were totally exposed.

I did this shot without extras. But still, my crew was large….maybe 25 people. 4 of us had walkie talkies and were positioned strategically around the perimeter of the shoot. It was 7PM. Night school was in session.

The shot had Butch run down the steps, of this ancient school, wearing a graduation cap and gown and jump into the Trans Am. He then peeled rubber, did a couple of fish tails, and headed down Hollywood Blvd.


The steps were at the front of the main entrance. It was lighted nicely. A huge class was going on just above on the second floor. 75 people had moved to the windows to see what was happening. The streets started to flood with onlookers.

I was the director. I was in charge. Huge klieg lights lit the area to be shot.

We did several takes. And then one of the guys on a walkie talkie called me and said cops were driving up to check things out. I put a temp hold on production while I watched 3 squad cars slowly drive to where I stood in the middle of Hollywood Blvd.

They got out of their cruisers and stood beside their cars. Not a word. Obviously, they assumed we had a permit because no one would have the balls to shut down this heavily trafficked area.

I said “Action” for the last time…the shot went without a hitch, and then I yelled “Cut and… Print!!”

Everything went perfectly. We quickly packed up. Applause came from everywhere. It was deafening. Even the cops were clapping. Butch signed autographs for the cops. I always had 100 8 x 10 promo photos with me. You just never know.

We got into our vehicles and headed over to the Brown Derby where I treated everyone for dinner.
We would be ready for the Princess Louise…..I just needed to make a visit to Cassandra the Casket Queen.
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