Joya Black by Joya de Nicaragua | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.25 x 46 Nocturno
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $6.50 ($5.20 online)

Today we take a look at the Joya Black by Joya de Nicaragua.
The latest Cigar Aficionado thought very highly of this blend anointing it with a 93 rating. For CA, a 93 is like me giving a cigar a 100.

Release Date: July, 2016
Regular Production.

From Cigar Aficionado June 2016:
“Joya de Nicaragua is slated to debut the next installment of its Joya line at the IPCPR trade show in July. Dubbed Joya Black, the new blend is a follow up to the Joya Red cigar and is the first ever Joya de Nicaragua blend to feature a Mexican San Andrés wrapper.

“We have had these wrappers available for some time, and we wanted to create a blend with rich Nicaraguan tobacco, yet without overpowering strength,” said factory manager Mario Perez.

“Rolled at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, Joya Black consists of a Mexican San Andrés wrapper enveloping a blend of Nicaraguan binder and fillers.

“Joya Black cigars come packaged in boxes of 20 and are offered in four sizes: Robusto, measuring 5 1/4 inches by 50 ring gauge; Toro, 6 by 52; Doble Robusto, 5 by 56 and Nocturno, 6 1/4 by 46. The cigars will carry a price range between $5.50 and $8 per stick.

“This is the first new addition to the Joya concept since the company launched Joya Red in 2014.

“Joya Black and Joya de Nicaragua products are distributed by Drew Estate, a subsidiary of Swisher International, Inc.”

Robusto: 5.25 x 50 $7.25
Doble Robusto: 5 x 56 $8.00
Toro: 6 x 52 $8.00
Nocturno: 6.25 x 46 $6.50

The JB is a big veined cigar with a considerable clunky look due to its misshapen manifestation. Despite the rustic appearance, there is a distinct lack of visible seams.
The cigar does not feel uniformly filled with hard and soft spots permeating the cigar. The triple cap is applied uniformly. The oily stick is the color of dark hickory and chocolate.

From the shaft, I can smell black licorice, creaminess, black pepper, caramel, chocolate, and floral notes.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell dark cocoa, a blast of nose singeing black pepper, malts, generic sweetness, licorice, cedar, charred oak, caramel, and espresso.

The cold draw presents flavors of sweet and sour, butterscotch, malts, creaminess, chocolate, licorice, cedar, and fresh dark berries

As a lemming, I follow CA’s description right off the cliff…There is an opening salvo of black cherries, chocolate, big nuts, a bucketful of creaminess, white pepper, cedar, and nougat. (No peppermint yet).

The draw, despite the funkiness of the filler, provides smooth and unfettered access to the flavor profile.

A lovely boutique coffee element pops up. The good stuff. Like the coffee you get after a meal at a great restaurant.
This is a good start.

The elegant coffee component is just delightful.
Strength is medium.

And then there it is…a flash of peppermint. It then recedes from flash bang to a member of the little rascals grouping of flavors…

A nice start should be followed by a killer second half. It’s a roll of the dice now. But before I begin to wax poetically; and with a grand effluence of boring commentary, the cigar got a 93 from CA for chrissakes. So I highly doubt that its future will be anything but impressive.
The char line is dead nuts. Right on the money.

The Joya Black by Joya de Nicaragua is now on a slow roll…taking its time, no rush, no hurry. Plenty of time to absorb and savor. Like fava beans and a nice Chianti.

At 1-1/2” smoked, the distinct flavors go underground due to the complexity now forming like a conga line at Sandals. There is a whiplash of transitions that are in constant rotation like the Kansas City Royals’ starting lineup.

Malts embark on a heavier influence now. They provide a pleasant bedrock for the chocolate and espresso.
I’m hoping the strength increases in the second half. I’m not a medium strength guy. I like to get my balls kicked and my ass licked. (Did I just say that?)

Smoke time is a bit over 35 minutes. An excellent rate of burn for a 46 ring gauge.

Strength remains at medium. Come on JB. Lick my balls and kick me in the arse.

Not a huge fan of JDN blends. I mean they’re not bad…just not great blends. Plus, they are very old school in terms of blending. I’ve never experienced a good JDN that didn’t need 9 months of humidor time. I’ve had the Joya Black for 2 months.
A whoosh of mintiness washes across my palate. Not quite peppermint but the coolness of a mint julep.

The ash is getting long and dangerous. A nickname I was given on my wedding night. (By me). My naughty bits (Are you listening Ezra Zion?) are at risk if I try to show off long tall Sally without lying on the ground and smoking the cigar vertically.

The complexity fades a bit. I bought two sticks at my local B&M and smoked one a month ago. Not ready was the verdict. I’m not so sure two months is sufficient either.
Flavors have flattened out a bit.

Ever wonder how manufacturers prepare the sticks they give to CA? Do they have a year of humi time? Are they somehow special? Are they filled with weed?
I say this in preparation of my final rating.

The 1-1/2” long ash disengages in the ashtray and not my lap. The start of a good day with no burn marks on my ankle spanker. My Braciole relaxes and sleeps the sleep of a happy baby.

Creaminess comes to the forefront. Following it is chocolate, espresso, black pepper, black raisins, black cherry, mint, cedar, and malts.
Now this may seem like a party but flavors find themselves as a backdrop rather than center stage in the spotlight.

For a 93 from CA, this blend should be forcing my tube socks to roll up and down in rapid succession. It doesn’t.

The greatest thing the cigar industry could do is inform its customers of how much humidor time their product deserves to get the blender’s intent. But the bean counters would go nuts and throw themselves under a freight train first before they allowed that.
Of course, who would miss accountants? Their moms? Their mistresses at the dental floss factory?
Did you know there are 638 dental floss factories around the world…except for Great Britain. They have none.

I’m waiting for the Joya Black to make my eyes roll back in ecstasy.

The spiciness is duly noted as the most powerful element of the blend.
Halfway point. Smoke time is 50 minutes.
The Joya Black is the little engine that could. It is struggling to find a more potent strength and for a cornucopia of flavors to burst into the sunlight.

Out of the blue, we have touchdown. The LEM has landed.
I’m getting both barrels now. The Joya Black started off like a rocket and then fizzled.
The blender’s intent is now cream on the top of your glass milk bottle.

Strength surges to medium/full. My testicles lay in repose.

Since my review is turning out to be private parts heavy, I’ve always wanted to ask this question: Have you ever slammed your nuts in a kitchen drawer? I did as a teen. Wearing boxers and having just awakened, I went into the kitchen for some cereal and my ‘nads peeked out as I shut the silverware drawer causing a scream that only our dog could hear. I’m glad I got that out of the way.

Flavors have not changed significantly. But they are now back on the transition express. Complexity has a tight grip on my palate. And a long finish finally arrives.
Clearly, the stick needs more than two months of humidor time. Otherwise, I’d see a more consistent attack.

You can drive an 18 wheeler through my nostrils thanks to the powerful black pepper opening my sinuses.
Creaminess, chocolate, espresso, mint, malts, and black cherry lead the charge.

I have to remind myself I’m smoking a $6 stick. This is Torano territory and I have never smoked a Torano that picked up the pieces like the Joya Black is now accomplishing.

Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.

Highly complex. Long finish with extreme chewiness. And a flourish of flavors like Yo Yo Ma racing Isaac Stern to the finish line. (This made sense in my brain). Remember: “Just say no!”

There is a transpositional change. Flavors change importance and mix things up.
Spiciness remains as the most influential. Followed by malts, black cherry, chocolate mousse, mint, and a super strong espresso component.
The Joya Black is not a flavor bomb. In fact, it is happy to just produce a modicum of flavors that are complex and nuanced at the same time.
Strength is on its way to full.

Every couple minutes, the Joya Black slams its fingers in its Dodge Rambler. (This made sense too. I must have a tumor. “It’s not a Too-Muh!” Thanks Arnold.)

Given the chance, I’d allow the Joya Black another two months of humidor time. There is definitely a four month rest period required for this blend. Anything shorter than that is a semi-cogent description. Fortunately, the second half shines. More humidor time and the result will be that the first half could be blisteringly delicious.

I’m not convinced the Joya Black deserves a 93 using CA’s calculus. But it is a good cigar. And the price is on point. A nice go-to cigar.
I give the JB props for its construction. It looks like a cat turd, minus the cat litter…but I had zero issues with the draw, burn, and wrapper.

I was very happy with the second half and must assume that another couple months will fix the listlessness of the first half. I will give the Joya Black the benefit of the doubt knowing that this must be a real factor in achieving the blender’s intent.

I would buy a box. And then forget about them for several months. Definitely worth your $6…mind you; different online stores vary in their pricing so apparently they have room to move with JDN’s blessing.

The cigar reached full strength status.
Final smoke time is one hour 25 minutes.


And now for something completely different:
I have a new cigar friend I met through sheer coincidence. The gentleman is the same age as me. The good part? He grew up in the same town as I did: Long Beach, CA. We have been reminiscing about all the hangouts and cool places to go when we were teens. So this story is for Rod.

I had a great part time gig at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA during my teen years. My best friend was already working there and he got me the gig.

I had applied to Knott’s months earlier at the main personnel office but since they didn’t hire Jews or any other ethnic group, I was turned down. My friend, the WASP, who applied with me got the gig of course.

I had first applied to Disneyland and it was the place to work back in the 1960’s. In my senior year of high school, we were allowed to wear moustaches…the men too. Disneyland did not allow facial hair but told me that if I shaved my ‘stache, they’d give me a job as a janitor after the park closed. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Knott’s had no such rules; especially due to the Western theme park.

My buddy, Skip, worked across Beach Blvd. from the main park…where John Bircher Society Walter Knott had erected a replica of Independence Hall. There was also a large lagoon…with Duck Island in the middle…and big enough for folks to rent row boats; the steamboat, a turn of the century carousel, and a miniature train for kids.
The steamboat was called the Cordelia K…named for Walter’s wife.

Knott’s began as a berry stand in the 1930’s as a road side stand selling preserves and Cordelia’s fried chicken. The chicken caused the enterprise to blossom into a fried chicken restaurant that ol’ Walter built an authentic looking 1880’s western town and ghost town around. It later had all kinds of western themed rides. It was family owned but in the 80’s was bought by some conglomerate. It was free to roam the place back in the day so on dateless weekends, it was a great place to hang out and troll for chicks.

The lagoon side had rides owned by a subcontractor, Bud Hurlbut. It was he that hired me giving me the distinction of being the first Jew ever to work at Knott’s. Walter was a real S.O.B. He hated anyone not white. Or not Christian. And by the time I went to work there, he was an ancient, bitter, racist bigot who was driven around the park in a golf cart.

I got hired to be the new steamboat captain. I was thrilled when I found out it wasn’t like Disneyland. No track. I actually drove the boat. My favorite question from kids and adults was: “Is the boat on a track?”
I replied: “No, but the water is.”

Badda Boom. No one ever got it. They just looked confused and turned away so they could throw Knott’s sanctioned duck food to the melee of geese and ducks that followed us as we made the double tour around the island.

I spent a week in training and then she was all mine. The boat sat around 40 people. And it cost 25 cents to ride. In fact, all the rides were 25 cents on the Independence Hall side of the park.

I had to wear this stupid captain’s hat that made me sweat. So I took it off a lot. And I got in trouble a lot. My manager, who had no life, would on his days off make surprise visits just to catch me not wearing the cap.

The steam boat was not run by steam; but rather, a big diesel engine that looked like a steam turbine. And my back was up against it the whole time I drove the boat. And since it was So Cal, it was usually warm all the time. The passengers took in the cool breeze from the lagoon while I stood there and was turned into a wet sponge from my proximity to that damn engine.
I learned how to run the carousel and the train and sell tickets and send people on their way in a rented row boat. But the captain thing was my main gig.

People had this unwarranted illusion that this was Disneyland and that I would spew some sort of narrative and shoot at rising hippos as we rode along the black water.
They were always so disappointed that all I did was keep my mouth shut and drive.

One of my passions was to ram row boats. People would get into them without the slightest hint of how to row a boat so they would stay in one place turning the boat in a 360 degree circle. So I aimed for them. I would grab the megaphone and yell at them to get out of the way and they would start screaming in panic. Good times.

I would then pull back the throttle, let the boat slow down to near still and I would climb out on the bow of the boat with a long aluminum gaff and push them out of the way. What they didn’t know was that these row boats were designed so they couldn’t flip:
According to Archimedes: density = weight/volume (kg/m3)…or “Density of a ship with cargo = mass of steel hull + mass of enclosed air + mass of cargo volume.”

During this mishegos, the tourists thanked me for not killing them. It broke up my day of sweating and repeating, ad infinitum: “Watch your head and watch your step” as folks piled in for their exciting adventure. And if a kid puked in the boat, guess who got to clean it up? The rubber mat floor with ridges to catch the chunkage kept my task interesting.

One Easter Sunday, chaos showed up dressed for the prom. The Farm was packed and so was the boat. I had a sharp turn to make to get out of the dock and turn to the left avoiding grounding the boat on the nearby shore. Sometimes, I couldn’t make it because there were too many people on the boat. I’d put it into reverse and back and forth we went like a woman parallel parking. That sunny Easter day, I pulled and pulled that damn steering wheel. My reward for doing my damndest: the steering cable broke.

The boat then floated free. I pulled the steam whistle over and over which was the sign for an emergency. I then got on the bow of the boat with the long gaffe making sure the boat didn’t ground itself on shore. Employees ran over and I yelled the steering was broken.

No one knew what to do, and then one of the guys just started walking into the lagoon with a look of resignation…right into that nasty, smelly, black water. No filtration system and 2 feet of muck at the bottom. During the hot days of summer, neighbors of the park for miles around complained about the smell. Someone always went home sick on a near daily basis.

My own head dropped in resignation and I leaped into the water. The people on the boat applauded.

By this time, the boat had drifted about 40 feet from the dock. There were four of us in the water trying to push it back to the dock. I moved to the stern. I jumped up to grab the back of the boat and was swiftly hit in the chest with the steering system that looked like two ladders…running horizontally about a foot and a half below the water. The water was so black, you couldn’t see them and I didn’t know they were even there.

I completely submerged. Yuck! I came up covered in muck. This was a bad day. I and another fella pushed from behind while two others pushed the bow and after 30 minutes, were able to get the boat back to the dock. Once locked at the dock, a huge applause filled the air…as hundreds and hundreds of onlookers that heard what had happened and lined the shore.

The owner, Bud, showed up and sent all four of us across the street for new clothes. Mind you, no shower, but new clothes. We had to work the rest of our shift doing other things, stinking to high heaven. We were young. Our parents would have gone bat shit on Bud.

And now for something completely different…Part 2:

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970. I was in my sophomore year at CSULB. This was a very big deal.

The school had arranged for a bunch of speakers but, for me, the star of the show was Mercury astronaut, Gordon Cooper. He was the last of the original seven to go into space in 1963. He flew around the earth for 34 hours and was the first astronaut to actually sleep while in space. He died in 2004 at the age of 77.

I was riveted as he spoke. He discussed climatology. But I was waiting for stories about the NASA program which came at the end of his speech.

Cooper told us about Scott Carpenter who was the first astronaut to go into space. And if you saw the movie, “The Right Stuff,” you will remember that there was delay after delay of the takeoff.
And Carpenter had to pee.

It wasn’t exactly as portrayed in the movie where he asked for permission to pee. In reality, he just went because he was embarrassed. Lights and bells went off in mission control and everyone feared he had died on the launch pad.

He told other stories and I spoke to him afterwards. A very nice down to earth man.

On July 20, 1969, only 6 years after the last Mercury mission, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
I was working part time at Knott’s Berry Farm as the steamboat captain of the Cordelia K when the world’s history changed forever. The moon landing.

It was 6pm PDT on July 20 when I got word from a pal in the ticket booth listening to the radio.
I nearly blew a gasket from being so excited and wished I was at home watching it live on TV.

I had a bullhorn on board the boat for yelling at people in row boats to get out of my way. I turned to the couple dozen people on board and announced we had landed on the moon.
Did they hear me?
I repeated it.
Even louder silence.

I just could not believe what I did not hear. No cheers. No applause. Nothing. Were these people aliens from some advanced civilization flying in space for millennia?

I put the bull horn down.
And kept driving the boat.

The next day, it was front page news across America and the world.
We got the L.A. Times and I folded the front section of the newspaper and put it away safely for 19 years.

For Father’s Day 1988, my wife and I decided to have it framed and gave it to my father. He was thrilled. My evil step mother pish poshed it and hung it in a dark hallway leading to the second bedroom of their huge, upscale condo in Palm Springs.

We loved visiting so my daughter could visit her Poppy but I loved it because I got to sit around the common pool and smoke cigars with movie stars, TV stars, comedians, musicians, and producers of film, TV, and music. There were some stories there…wish I could remember them.

When my Dad was on his way out, I told him I wanted the present back and to please put it in his will. Dad wasn’t doing so well and I feared he would forget; so when the evil step mother went shopping, I nicked the time capsule and stuck it in my car.

My wife, daughter and I left for home not waiting for Cruella de Vil to return home and catch me.
Good thing I did that because after my father passed, I was told there was no will so Cruella got everything. She gave me a fancy ring my father made back in the 1970’s when the both of us were into making jewelry. And his broken wristwatch.

It has hung in every living room we’ve resided…proudly, for 14 years. My dad passed in 2003 at 80.
Hard to believe that the moon landing was 48 years ago.

I feel bad for younger folks who take exploration of space for granted. I spent my teens watching the Mercury program, the Gemini program, the Apollo program and then a constant launching of space shuttles.

When a rocket launched, the world held its breath. Everyone watched it on TV. No one took it for granted. It was history in the making.

Imagine how little twenty somethings will know about the birth of the space program by Stardate 2259.55. Protection Status


Tags: , , ,

6 replies

  1. Another fantastic review Uncle Kat! I have not smoked this new JdN offering, and was expecting more, but oh well

    Your stories are fantastic, I see them as a movie in my mind as I
    P.S. I love the early astronauts of the Mercury and Apollo programs, true heroes. As a kid I remember my parents bought me a tall plastic Saturn V rocket toy, the top capsule would pop out with a push of a button(loved it!).. got it at a store named Woolco! You remember that

  2. Phillip I enjoy your writing, and reviews. Thanks for doing what you do.

  3. Thanks for posting this…..seems to be a tough one to get a hold of. Also saw your review on the Oliva Baptiste found a great deal and after a month….light one up your review was spot on!

  4. I love the idea of your Knott’s Berry Farm boss taking his job so seriously that he showed up on his days off just to bust your balls about not wearing the captain’s hat. Haha

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s