MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Seed Candela
Binder: Nicaraguan (Double Binders)
Filler: Nicaraguan (30 percent viso, 30 percent seco and 40 percent ligero. Criollo and Corojo from Estelí and Jalapa)
Size: 6 x 50 “Toro”
Body: Medium
Price: $7.69 in 13 Count Jars
Humidor Time: 3.5 weeks




Today we take a look at the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice.
Thanks to Aaron Hamamoto for the sticks.
Yes I know they are sold out. Aaron asked me to review the blend so who am I to turn down this good man’s request?
Photos courtesy of Aaron Hamamoto:



Photo courtesy of MoyaRuiz Cigars:

As many reviews online, each represents a different view point of this blend. The ratings are all over the place.

Production: 6,500 cigars for jars, 7,000 total (From MoyaRuiz Cigars web site)
From the Cigar Aficionado web site:
“Beginning the week of March 7, 50 cigar retailers will start to receive MoyaRuiz’s special St. Patrick’s Day candela cigar dubbed Pickle Juice.

“Pickle Juice will be a limited release Toro measuring 6 inches by 50 ring gauge, and it will be packed not in conventional cigar boxes, but in plastic, 13-count containers that resemble pickle jars.
“The idea for Pickle Juice came to me from an article that I read online,” said Danny Moya, co-owner of MoyaRuiz Cigars. “It listed strange things people drink that you’ve probably never tried. The name jumped right at me.”

“Rolled at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, Pickle Juice is draped in a candela Habano-seed wrapper from Nicaragua, with double binders from Nicaragua and a Nicaraguan filler mix of Criollo and Corojo tobaccos cultivated in Jalapa and Estelí.

“The container’s likeness to a pickle jar is completed with a few details: the jars are covered by a screw-top lid and the label includes a cartoonish, hand drawn pickle on the side. In addition, a “Tobacco Facts” label designed to resemble the nutrition facts label found on food products adorns one side of the jar. Instead of calories and other food facts, the label breaks down the percentage of filler-grade tobaccos used in the Pickle Juice blend: 30 percent viso, 30 percent seco and 40 percent ligero.

“The pickle theme carries over to the cigar band, too, as it is a smaller version of the same hand drawn pickle found on the label.

“As a company, we wanted to create something special for our customers that have supported MoyaRuiz Cigars since day one,” Moya added.

“Only 500 jars will be shipped to retailers, and Moya says the cigar will carry a retail price from $11 to $13. Moya added that he will announce the 50 retailers receiving Pickle Juice on his company’s website and social media.”

Just my opinion, I am a big fan of the La Jugada Prieto, La Jugada Habano, and the La Jugada Nunchuck. But they lost me on the Chinese Finger Trap and The Rake. To me, it seemed that once the MoyaRuiz team of Danny Moya and Nelson Ruiz got kitschy with their blends, some of their mastery of cigar blending got lost in the PR. You can type in all of the above blends in my Search Window to read the reviews.

The oily wrapper is definitely pickle green.
Seams are tight on one cigar and not so tight on another. Both samples have a bright white vein running the length of the cigar.
One cigar is silky smooth while another has a slight sandy feel. The stick is rock hard without any give.
The cap uses a dark brown leaf. I imagine that it might be a filler leaf. Just spit ballin’.

From the shaft, I smell dark chocolate, fresh green grass, spiciness, espresso, cedar, and some sweetness.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell a huge dose of dark cocoa, red pepper, espresso, sweetness, cedar, freshly mown grass, and rich tobacco notes. (I use a backstop cutter so it removes a consistent cut every time. Same thing this morning and moments later, the entire cap construction falls off.)
The cold draw presents flavors of spicy grass, mint, chocolate, coffee, cedar, sweetness, and mint.

There is an herbal and chocolate mix to the start of the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice
I’m a big fan of the Illusione 88 Candela, the CroMagnon Fomorian EMH by RoMa Craft Tobac, the Illusione 888 Claro, and the La Flor Dominicana Double Claro. I’ve reviewed several other candela wrapper cigars and wasn’t that impressed.

A good start as flavors begin to roll in: Creaminess, red pepper, generic sweetness, herbal notes, cedar, mint, and green tea. LOL. Who da’ thunk?

While I went through my Acid Cigars stage from 2000-2007, my favorite remains Cold Infusion Tea.
Strength is medium body from the get go.

The char line is wavy and needs a quick tune up so it doesn’t get away from me.

Ever borrow money from those cash pay companies? Neither have I. But we were desperate and a friend suggested going there. The paperwork was like buying a house and the interest is 500%. No shit. So I borrowed just enough to get us through the move and have 7 months to pay it off. The final payback is $1.15million dollars. I can do that.

The candela wrapper is extremely fragile. One of the less than tight seams comes apart. I grab my cigar glue and fix it but the loose wrapper is like a thin cracker. I manage not to lose any of it in the gluing process. Steady hands like a surgeon. Which, in God’s eyes, I am. During my Bar Mitzvah speech at the altar, I told God that I would be a surgeon when I grew up. And since I have barely been inside a synagogue since that time, I’m sure he still thinks I’m a doc.

The MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice is friggin delicious. Some of the big guys gave this cigar less than a favorable review. Others raved. I’m with the latter….so far. Clearly, the not so nice reviews did not allow the cigar to humidor rest enough. Because I’m getting some wonderful flavors.


I had girded my loins to be ready for a crappy cigar due to the silly PR campaign. But I’m wrong. I like this blend better than The Rake and the Chinese Finger Trap.

The lousy construction issues will affect my rating. The heat is on the verge of creating lots of cracks in the wrapper. I harken back to my list of Candela wrapped cigar list above and didn’t have a single issue with the wrappers.

This wrapper is too thin. My humidor has an electronic humidifier so humidity is not an issue.
I really don’t know if I am going to make it through the whole cigar.

The MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice is a creamy, chocolate, mocha milk shake. The red pepper is still with me. I like that. It gives the illusion of the cigar blend being stronger than it really is.
This is a very slow smoke.

The Rake and Chinese Finger Trap were over $10 a pop. This stick, $3 less, is a much better blend.
The notes of green tea are slowly disappearing.
But now the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice is finding its complexity, balance and a nice long finish.
The cracks in the wrapper are becoming very serious:


They occur about an inch from the char line so if the Cosmic Muffin is with me, I might just burn through them.

Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Strength is a solid medium body.
Transitions had begun to kick in when all of a sudden, the air brakes were slammed.

The flavor profile is somewhat stagnant now. It is merely chocolate, creaminess, red pepper, herbal notes, and cedar. Instead of exploring the blend, the cigar is choosing to become reclusive.
The cigar tries to canoe on me. What a mess.

The larger of the two cracks is expanding exponentially.
Drat. While I feared that the flavors wouldn’t be there, I didn’t give a thought to there might be a major construction issue.
The spiciness increases.


For a short time, I was happily surprised by the quality of this cigar. Now I think I am in the camp of reviewers who didn’t think that highly of the stick.
I could start over and light the other stick but I’d rather let it rest some more, smoke it, and report back.

With the huge cracks on the back side of the cigar being so enormous, I can see the thickness of the wrapper. I would need a micrometer to measure it. If I had to guess, I’d say it was only 1/128th of an inch…or .11mm. Normally, wrappers are thicker than .11mm. It’s the thickness of rice paper. Shame.


Reviewing the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice has become a real bummer.
The char line is now at the major eruption of cracked wrapper. It needs a major tune up. The end of the cigar looks like something left over from the firebombing of Dresden.

If these cigars were donated by the manufacturer, I would probably be a hypocrite and contact them and inform them that I am about to give them a really bad rating.
But as the sticks were a gift from Aaron Hamamoto, it is on his dime; so I’m not, in any way, beholden to the manufacturer.

This scenario has only happened a few times in thousands of reviews. So this hypocritical method on my part is not a regular thing.

I’m going to try and burn past the wrapper issue. After that, it should be clear sailing but, alas, the rating will reflect the construction.
The lousy construction is also affecting the draw. It’s like sipping through a straw that has a hole in it.
The crack on the front side of the cigar is getting some traction and is now travelling up the cigar. I glue it

I’m sure I will get comments telling me that smokers who bought this cigar had no trouble with it like I did.
And the thing is, it ain’t that cold here in Wisconsin. We are getting mid/high 50° day time temps.

It now looks like I’m smoking a joke cigar that explodes halfway through.
The pity is that it is a pretty good tasting blend.
I’m getting floral notes now. Other flavors: Creaminess, chocolate, herbal notes, coffee, red pepper, malts, cedar, and a touch of green tea.

I reach the halfway point.
Smoke time is now irrelevant as I’ve spent so much time fixing the wrapper. If I had to guess, maybe 55 minutes.
Strength is medium+ body.


And then POW! A flavor explosion. Especially, the red pepper. I like it. This blend is like the little train that could. In spite of the horrible construction, it is making a huge effort to inject big flavors.

I’m leaving the cigar band until the last possible moment to try and control the crack moving up the front of the cigar.
I seem to be successfully eradicating the exploding wrapper on the back side simply by burning through it.

I only skimmed a couple of big guy reviews and most seem to only report a grassy flavor. There is a lot more than that. In fact, I don’t taste any grassiness.
I will, for the first time, give a cigar a double rating. One for construction and one for flavor. It is only fair.

The malts are screaming laughter now. Very important part of the flavor profile.
The MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice is an extremely flavorful cigar now. Watch. I will, at some point, light up my other stick and have zero construction issues. A roll of the dice, I guess.
The draw is terrible.
If I were not reviewing this cigar, I would have tossed it long ago. And lit up another.


I haven’t thrown it away because I’m curious about the flavors in the last third.

Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
Strength is eking towards medium/full. And some nicotine enters from stage left.
The cigar goes out. Damn.


Any moment, I expect the entire wrapper to come off. I think I need a rubber band.
Sure enough, the entire wrapper comes apart exposing the binder. And even the binder has a loose seam that requires being glued.

This has been the biggest disaster of any review I’ve written.
Meanwhile, back to the flavors. The red pepper is uber strong. And some harshness sinks in.
I think it is time for the MoyaRuiz Pickle Juice to die a horrible death and I’m done. Stick a fork in me.

This would have been my last review for a while. But I wouId like to do one positive review before we move on Saturday. I have three Bespoke cigar blends cooling their heels in my humidor and a couple other blends doing the same. But they need more time. I have another cigar in mind…the La Conquista by Gran Habano. It will be on the shelves sometime this summer. And will debut at the 2016 IPCPR trade show. This is what says about the cigar:
“The company will be releasing La Conquista, a full-bodied cigar that uses a Nicaraguan wrapper and binder along with filler from Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Columbia, which also is being manufactured in Honduras. The profile is described as spicy and peppery with a long, leathery finish, and packaging that the company calls traditional and very different from other Gran Habano products. Sizes, pricing and a formal release date are still being finalized.”

Photo courtesy of

For Construction: 0
For Flavors: 88

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3 replies

  1. Ha, I like the double score! I’ve had a few cigars destroy themselves on me like this. The particular blends were so good, though, I just kept smoking from the binder. Lost a little from the wrapper being gone, but they were a good 90+ rating on flavor still. My personal review journal has “Taste: 92 / Construction: -50. Buy again: ???”

  2. I had similar issues with the wrapper breaking, unraveling, and falling off on nearly all of the other pickles from the jar. I have two left in the humidor. I’m trying to bury them under other cigars so I can forget about them for awhile.

  3. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time! What a mess.
    Not a candela fan. The very few I’ve tried did exactly this. And some other cigars not candela also. I think sometimes manufactures skimp on the wrap to save money. Gurkha comes to mind. And some Avos. I hate when that happens. The only good thing for you is you didn’t have to buy it…then you’d really have been pissed.

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