Antano Gran Reserva Presidente
Produced by: Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate
Size: 6 3/4 x 50 (box-pressed)
Time to Smoke: 1 hour 57 minutes
About the cigar:
Originally launched in 2005 as a limited-edition brand, this cigar has made its comeback in celebration of the Tobacconists Association of America’s (TAA) 50th anniversary last month, as well as 10 years of distribution partnership between Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate. This cigar is 100 percent Nicaraguan tobacco matured to perfection for five years, and it is available exclusively for TAA members, retailing at $12.50 per stick.
Like the rest of the cigars in the Antano line, the Presidente is full-bodied and complex; however, due to the aged filler leaves, it’s a much smoother smoke.
“When I requested the Gran Reserva blend in the Presidente size, it immediately became my private smoke,” said Dr. Martinez Cuenca, Joya de Nicaragua’s chairman and CEO. “This is by far my personal favorite vitola and the one that I request at the factory for my daily smokes. I decided to share it only for special occasions. I can’t think of a better opportunity than this shared celebration of five decades of perseverance and companionship between TAA, its members, and Joya de Nicaragua.”
I’ve recently fallen in love with Joya cigars. Each one I’ve sampled has been the epitome of perfection. My previous favorite was the Joya de Nicaragua Antano Belicoso, but I honestly think I’ve found my new favorite in the Reserva Presidente.
The band is absolutely stunning as always, with the sharp red leaping off the cigar. What I like best about this though is the secondary band that reads “TAA Exclusive,” which made me feel a little extra special as I was about to light it up. Feeling special goes a long way.
The second thing I notice is the exceptional construction of this cigar. The seams and veins on the mahogany-brown wrapper are almost nonexistent, and it’s just the right amount of springy when squeezed. I take a cold draw, and I can already tell this is going to be an enjoyable smoke; the draw comes effortlessly, and the flavors of spice and wood are already prevalent.
The cigar lights easily, and (spoiler alert), I never have to pick up my torch again. I again notice how beautiful the draw is; just a light puff and you get copious, voluminous, light colored smoke. The flavors are the forefront are slightly spicy, definitely woody, and, dare I say, the retrohale is manly? It smells as if you just finished splitting a fresh log.
The burn line is perfect. Throughout the entire two-hour smoking time, the burn line stayed almost uniform, and as I mentioned earlier, I never once had to touch it up. That is actually a first for me; whether that means I’m inexperienced or that this is just that great a cigar is beside the point. Side note: There is so much smoke that I was finally able to blow smoke ring after smoke ring in the humid North Carolina afternoon. Another first for me, and another reason I simply loved this smoking experience.
The well-formed ash held for about 35 minutes, then I tapped it off as I got worried it would fall on my laptop, so, who knows, it could’ve held even longer. The spice and wood are holding up nicely, and there’s also a nice hint of leather coming in with an excellent, lingering finish on the palate.
By the time I had to sadly put it to rest I had become completely lost in the woody aroma and the smoke. It was if time were standing still.
Starbucks Dark Roast Coffee with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup creamer. Sure, the creamer may seem a bit frou-frou, but it’s delicious and a perfect pairing with the smooth, full cigar. More and more I’m realizing that coffee is a better option for me to pair with a cigar than alcohol. Sometimes the hops in beer or the heavier alcohol content of, say, a bourbon, contrast in weird ways with the flavors of some cigars.
The taste, the experience, the smells—everything is just superb and exactly what I would expect from Joya. It’s creamy, delicious, spicy, woody, and just a damn good smoke. I highly recommend picking up a box.
The Antano Gran Reserva Presidente is available in three other sizes: Robusto Grande box-pressed (5 1/2 x 52), Belicoso (6 x 54), and Gran Consul (4 3/4 x 60). The 20-count box is shipping now!
For more info, visit joyacigars.com.