Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 50
Wrapper : Ecuadorian shade / Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Price : ~$6 each
More info about purchasing Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta cigars...
A few weeks ago Denis, here at Cigar Inspector, offered up a press release on Drew Estates’ newly released Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta Serie. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on a couple shortly thereafter and chose it for this week’s review. Much like the visually unique barber pole style cigars many of us are familiar with, the Cabinetta Serie consists of a wrapper comprised of two leaf types. The first five inches from foot to band sports a soft caramel colored Ecuadorian shade grown wrapper. Roughly one inch of the head is overlaid by a significantly darker Nicaraguan Crillo wrapper. While not as glaringly obvious as the barber poles, the differentiation between the two raises intrigue and demands a closer inspection. The band helps to downplay the separate wrappers by encircling the barrel where the two colors join. The burnt sienna and soft gold hues do wonders to tie in the colors of the cigar. I would have liked to see the cream border removed, however, to allow the band to blend into the cigar, thereby enhancing its already earthy appearance.
Due to the pale tone of the Ecuadorian wrapper veins are more visible but the cigar is smooth to the touch and none of them are prominent. Giving the cigar a few gentle pinches reveals a firm base, which gives slightly but bounces back into place. There are no soft spots and an inspection of the head reveals a well positioned and secure double cap. Lining up my guillotine cutter, I make a quick firm motion. Inspection of the cut reveals that it was not as clean as I I would have liked towards the center. Testing the draw though, assuages any fears I may have had because it is perfect. The flavor is very natural with a nutty hay flavor. A trace of sweetness lingers on the lips afterwards.
Torching the foot, the Cabinetta Serie takes to the flame quite well and is shortly burning. First notes reveal a mild flavor that is quite sweet. A tingling sensation imparts itself on the lips and tongue. That sweet flavor found at the beginning abruptly stops and reveals a sole flavor of tobacco, which is a good thing with such a mild smoke. Inspection of the burn is very contrary to the construction experience prelight. Flakey, dark grey ash is revealed and accompanied by quite an irregular burn. When attempting to rotate the cigar to touch up a runaway spot another inevitably takes its place. Looking at the foot also reveals an interesting phenomenon. The wrapper is so thin that it burns faster than the binder and filler. The binder is also quite thick and burning somewhat slower than the filler to create a bit of a tunnel effect. Attempting to fix this naturally for about the first inch without much progress, I decide to take more extreme measures. Tapping off the rather loose ash I perform a complete relight in an attempt to even out the burn and heat the binder even more to get it going.
After a few outward puffs to purge the smoke, soft sweet notes come back again and coupled with the hay remind me of clover. The light tones of grass, hay and sweetness produces a very balanced and satisfying flavor profile. Large volumes of thick white smoke linger, even outdoors. Thanks to the touch up, the burn has become much more manageable. While the line is still wavy and ash flakey, there are no more runaways and the ash holds on for a couple of inches thus bringing bringing this smoke to about the halfway point.
It is at this mark that the grass gives way to a more emboldened wood flavor. This continues until 1/3 of the stick is left; about an inch away from the Nicaraguan portion of the wrapper. Here, two things occur. First, the binder actually appears to expand and bulge thereby breaking through the thin Ecuadorian wrapper. Second, the flavor turns quite harsh, likely from the exposing of the cigar’s innards to the outside air. Despite this I push through, touching up as I go, mostly for want of getting to the darker wrapper at the head to determine if the flavor profile changes significantly. Reaching this point, I am disappointed to find that the profile remains harsh, probably from the tainted flavors earlier, so I let this one finish on its own in the ashtray while I collecting my thoughts.
Overall, the initial appearance of this cigar is quite becoming. The contrast of the two smooth wrappers compliments each other very well and Drew Estates’ choice in band is almost perfect. This cigar is surely in the mild to medium range of the spectrum and although I often choose a medium to full bodied cigar, I am delighted by the smooth, consistent taste this one exhibits. The only shortcoming of this particular cigar is in its construction. The poor burn, flakey ash, and rice paper thin wrapper detracted from the easy smoking experience we strive for and likely accounted for the harsh flavor towards the end. Despite these problems the cigar was quite enjoyable. The flavor was so balanced and true that this one will find itself in my hand again. More encouraging is that afterwards I read through several other reviews to see if the construction problems are commonplace and the answer appears to be resoundingly, no. So if my experience is out of the norm, which it certainly appears to be, I would actually recommend picking up one or more of these to try especially at a MSRP of ~$6.
Overall Rating :