Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, Chairman of Joya de Nicaragua, has been playing the Shut the Box game since 2012. He learned how to play at Havana Mix Shop in Memphis, TN. Dr. Cuenca has a PhD in Economics and has always been a fan of numbers and games with numbers. As an homage to the game, Joya de Nicaragua last year released a Special Edition version of the Antaño cigar, designed to play this game using the included dice and box. This version was called Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Shut the Box Limited Edition. The cigars included are the regular Antaño line and in this box, a Robusto Grande size.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
Only 500 boxes of the Special Edition boxes were made and in two sizes, for a total of 1000 boxes. The sizes are the company’s signature size, Gran Cónsul which measures 4 ¾ x 60 , and Robusto Grande which measures 5 ½ x 52. The boxes cost $182 and $169 respectively. Each box contains 20 cigars, dice, scoring pieces, and the instructions to play the game. The blend for Antaño uses a Nicaraguan Habano Wrapper and Nicaraguan Binder and Fillers.
Length: 5 1/2″
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
Blender: Juan Martinez, Alejandro Martinez Cuenca
Number of reviewers: 5 – Estevan Z. (TheRealBanzi) Jason H. (Jokey Smurf) Isaac M. (The Nothing) John I. (John I.) Jake P. (Jake P.)
Age: 4 Months
Release Date: August 2020
Contributed by: Joya de Nicaragua
Initial Impressions – Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Robusto Grande (Shut The Box Limited Edition)
“Nice looking, fairly hefty toro. Coloration is a bit inconsistent. Looks nearly like they’re trying for a barbers pole the coloring is so different. ” –John I. (John I.)
“The cigar smelled of sweetgrass, malt, and there was a touch of cumin at the foot.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“Upon first lighting the draw is slightly tight and the smoke output is thin. The initial flavors are faint but good with a molasses sweetness in the front and basic tobacco on the finish. ” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“Right off the bat the smoke is sweet and dry with a great pepper tingle on the tip of the tongue. This lasts for the first half an inch or so. Pushing some smoke through the nose and the smoke is smooth but leaves a familiar pepper tingle. Making the finish medium to long with notes of fine wine barrels. Halfway, through the third, the finish becomes more defined as orange citrus. As the third comes to an end the finish shifts to that of the acidity of a coffee bean. This is a great opener to the cigar. ” –Estevan Z. (TheRealBanzi)
“A vigorous massage along the body has opened the draw significantly. Much more enjoyable smoking for this portion of the cigar. Remains fairly full-bodied with rich earth and woody flavors primarily. The herbal qualities apparent pre-light are definitely on display on the retrohale. Enjoying this tremendously by the finish of the mid-third. ” –John I. (John I.)
“After the pepper to end the first third you got a heavy charred meat flavor. Moved back to floral and ended with a citrus spice. ” –Jake P. (Jake P.)
“Construction issues have all subsided, and the final portion has performed very well. Flavor-wise this continues to hit my sweet spots with some surprising creaminess becoming apparent. There is an occasional hint of green ammonia flavors on the finish, which has occurred at several points with this cigar, but it’s very mild and doesn’t really detract from the primary flavors. ” –John I. (John I.)
“Roasted flavors finished this cigar with coffee beans running most of it. ” –Jake P. (Jake P.)
Overall Impressions – Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Robusto Grande (Shut The Box Limited Edition)
“Super tight draw initially, but after some massage work the performance was solid for most of this cigar.” –John I. (John I.)
“Absolutely razor sharp from start to finish…. the one true high point for this sample. ” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“Minor issues that mostly self-corrected. Far from flawless, but ok in my book. ” –John I. (John I.)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 89
“This has been the best cigar I have smoked in this young year and is the definition of box worthy. From start to finish it grabs your attention and won’t let go. With numerous profile changes, it would appease an experienced cigar smoker. The medium strength of this cigar makes it approachable to a novice as well. The long and short of it is find one, smoke one, and then go buy a box.” –Estevan Z. (TheRealBanzi)
“The flavors could have been nicely based upon what I got but the draw was such a detractor that this was a fail for me… hope I was the anomaly.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
“The best part about this cigar was calling it done. Well, the draw was also quite nice. The cigar was rough, sour, and I’ll go out on a whim and say it’s not ready. It needs to go back to the farm, dissected, and reblended. I really can’t think of any redeeming flavor qualities. This one gets a solid hard pass.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“I was prepared to get pissy about the early draw issue, but once that resolved I grew more and more fond of this. Its flavor profile was basic, but the earth, espresso, and coffee note pretty much always work for me. The creamy flavor at the finish of this was a nice surprise as were the herbal components. A bit green at points, but never enough to mar the experience. A nice, fairly potent, anytime cigar.” –John I. (John I.)
“I enjoyed this cigar. It felt solid, looked solid, and tasted great. Floral and roasted flavors I felt ran the show but a little pepper and citrus were in there enough to keep you interested.” –Jake P. (Jake P.)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 71
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.