8 Nicaraguan Puro Cigars You Must Smoke
By Jonathan Detore
For some reason we’re hung up on Cubans, when we don’t see the works of art that are in front of us. It’s like taking a subway in NYC to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You’re obsessed with the art you are anticipating, but you’re missing the street artists whose work may one day hang in that very museum. After all, most artists of old were starving, broke, and considered peasants. In a real life example, Banksy sold, or at least tried selling, his art on a NYC street corner for $60 apiece, while their real value started around $600. But since they weren’t hanging in a museum, he sold next to no paintings. They were considered valueless because in our minds, the perception of opulence and high society is not met on a street corner. So what’s my point? Well, first is that it seems nobody gives a shite about good art anymore, nor can they see it if it had 20 neon signs pointing to it saying “Good Art.”
But the main point I’m trying to drill into here is that we have a slew of amazing cigars outside of Cuba for us to enjoy for way cheaper prices, which many consider to be MUCH better than anything coming out of Cuba. One of the nations that reigns king: Nicaragua. Considered a fertile factory for tobacco, this tiny nation produces a massive amount of the velvety green stuff every year, and is said to have some of the strongest tobacco in the world coming out of its Esteli region. But Esteli is just a small example of what Nicaragua truly offers. In the Jalapa Valley, sweet slightly-red tobacco is grown for a smooth and flavorful smoke, and in the Condega Valley grows a variety of bold, rich, spicy tobaccos. If you put all these together, you’ve got yourself one hell of a puro cigar; or as we defined in our article entitled Dominican Puros, a cigar comprised of tobaccos grown only in one country.
Luckily, we at Cigar Advisor love Nicaraguan tobacco and decided to share a list of our favorite works of art, à la the Nicaraguan Puro, with you.
Erik Espinosa is a genius blender. He’s to cigars what Van Gogh is to one-eared artists. Although he doesn’t spend his time creating self-portraits, this two-eared blender lets creativity flow through, making remarkable cigars fit for royalty. One example is the all-Nicaraguan 601 Steel, made with an eye-opening combination of longfiller tobaccos encased in an excellent light Oscuro wrapper. Be warned, this modern spin on a storied brand is rather full bodied, so make sure you have a meal before lighting one up.
The Alec Bradley Nica Puro is on my all-time favorite cigars list as well as on this one. I’ll never speak one negative word about how incredible this offering is, and if it ever dips below a 90+ rating on any list, it would be, in my opinion, an insult to the industry as a whole. Giving props to Esteli, this cigar features a complex blend from the region along with appearances from other tobaccos found around Nicaragua, all topped off with an oily Habano wrapper for added smoothness. It’s yet another Nicaraguan puro powerhouse, but its incredible balance and flavors make it well worth the tiny investment you’ll need to make to procure such a masterpiece.
Christian Eiroa, known for his mastery over Honduran tobacco, has invited himself to the Nicaraguan Puro party looking to earn his spot in this tobacco mecca. I think he hit the nail on the head with the Asylum Premium Toro. Blended with one hell of a collection of Nicaraguan offerings, all wrapped in a maduro wrapper, you’ll expect nothing but rich flavors with a full strength reading to match. Perfectly balanced in every sense of the term, this is a go-to for every full bodied cigar lover.
If you’ve never tried a Casa Magna, then perhaps you’re one of those mole people conspiracy theorists tend to believe are real. But for those of you who have had this stellar cigar, you’ll know what to expect from this innovative cigar by Manuel Quesada. Maybe I’m being bias because Quesada is perhaps my favorite cigar maker; but once you try this cigar made with Esteli tobacco for strength and sweet Jalapa tobacco to round it out, I’m sure you’ll be as ga-ga over this stogie as I am. Perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning after a heavy breakfast, this is one for the history books.
The Espada is a newcomer to the market, coming out in 2014 in what looks to be one of the most kick-ass leather-topped boxes ever to hit the market. I was wildly impressed with this Nicaraguan puro, with its hints of cedar that remain throughout the cigar, making this a perfect stogie to light up with a cedar spill. But the real hero is the choice-aged refined tobacco core that makes this Plasencia/Montecristo collaboration so enjoyable. More on the medium side of the strength scale, this will blow you away with the complexity Montecristo is known for.
Aside from flavor, I love Oliva cigars because of their “farm to table” concept on how they approach tobacco. They hold some of the biggest tobacco fields in the world, making cigar rolling as easy as going outside and cutting off what’s needed. Of course they age their tobaccos for a long period of time for smoothness and flavor, but this concept not only brings you stellar cigars such as this one, but it significantly lowers the cost of their premium cigars. Created for a more seasoned palate, the Cuban-Seed Habano northern Nicaraguan grown core is surrounded by a mouthwatering Maduro wrapper for a unique flavor only found in the Serie O. If you want to challenge your palate, this is the cigar to try.
Being rated the 2012 Cigar of the Year is no small feat in the cigar industry, but the Flor De Las Antillas hit the mark, beating out even the best offerings from Cuba. Take that, Communism. Made by the My Father Cigar Company, known for making some of the best stogies in the world, this cigar is made from a Cuban-seed tobacco core and a rich Sun Grown wrapper which adds an immense flavor and richness. Another full bodied offering on the list, smoke after a meal when you can really relax and enjoy all the subtle nuances this gem has to offer.
Known as the muscle car of all cigars, the Joya De Nicaragua Antano 1970 is a force to be reckoned with. I mean, honestly, if you’re looking to get traditional flavors with a kick that will send you sailing to the opposite coast, this is it. With a well-heeled Nicaraguan puro pedigree and a name translating to “yesteryear,” Joya De Nicaragua’s goal was to give smokers a cigar from the past using their original blend from 1970. The result is a mouth-watering complex blend of all-Nicaraguan tobaccos including bold ligero leaves for a thick, juicy smoke. I’ll just leave you with this humble cigar smoker’s opinion: They effing nailed it.
With these 8 examples, I do think it’s time we mentally pass the torch on from Cuba to the other great tobacco nations of the world. Nicaragua certainly is a top contender to receive the flame of glory, and we should take that flame and light as many cigars from the Central American nation as possible. Sure, Cubans may be gracing our cigar shops in the very near future, but why stand in a crowd trying to get a selfie with the Mona Lisa when there are literally thousands of works of art waiting to be picked up? You never know, you may just pick up the next great masterpiece that is yet to be discovered by the masses.