On September 15th, the Central American nation of Nicaragua celebrates its independence. In September of 1821, the Captaincy General of Guatemala, a governing district of the Spanish Empire, was finally dissolved. Following a few years as part of the Mexican Empire, Nicaragua was granted total independence and set up as its own nation in 1838.
Nicaragua has become one of the foundations of the modern cigar industry. It is one of the leading manufacturers of premium cigars, and its people and culture have been the driving force behind that. Several American born manufacturers, such as Nick Melillo and Jonathan Drew, not only lived in Nicaragua for extended periods but have embraced the country as a home.
To celebrate the independence of Nicaragua, we thought it would be great to put together a list of some of the best Nicaraguan cigars to enjoy during this time. All these cigars represent different aspects of Nicaraguan culture and showcase the amazing tobacco and people who make this industry what it is.
Foundation El Gueguense
When thinking of the culture and rich heritage of Nicaragua, there is always one cigar I go to first. That is the El Gueguense from Nick Melillo and the team at Foundation Cigars. Nick has lived in Nicaragua on and off for over a decade and has truly embraced the nation. His first cigar release from his own company was blended and named to pay homage to the people of Nicaragua.
El Gueguense is part of Nicaraguan folklore and is meant to depict a wise man or shaman. The band is bright and colorful, representing the depictions of the wise man from throughout history.
It is a Nicaraguan puro, using aged tobaccos from various growing regions. Its Corojo wrapper offers touches of sweetness and a bit of spice. It is one of my favorite cigars of all time and a great homage to the people of Nicaragua.
Joya de Nicaragua Clasico
Joya de Nicaragua is an iconic manufacturer. They are the oldest premium cigar factory in Nicaragua and continue to be one of the leading producers of high-end cigars.
This company paved the way for all who followed, showcasing to the world just how good Nicaraguan tobacco was. This all started with a cigar that is not only still in production today but is exclusive to JR Cigars.
The Joya de Nicaragua Clasico was the first major cigar released by the company back in the 1960s. While today, JDN is known for its intense, fuller-bodied cigars, this first release was much more restrained. It is rolled with aged Nicaraguan tobacco for the filler and binder along with a flawless Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper.
It is smooth, creamy, and incredibly flavorful. Following the Cuban embargo, the Clasico became a favorite of the American political elite, being smoked regularly in the white house. Even all these years later, it is still an outstanding smoke and is a great representation of what Nicaragua has to offer.
Aganorsa Guardian of the Farm Night Watch
I’ve been saying this for years now, Aganorsa is the future of the Nicaraguan cigar industry. They have massive fields and facilities, top-notch tobacco, and a growing portfolio with highly-rated blends.
They also work closely with several other manufacturers who use their facilities for their own projects, such as Illusione and Foundation. Aganorsa is going to be a titan and is an excellent showcase of where the industry is growing.
I chose the Guardian of the Farm Night Watch because its wrapper helps display what I mean when I discuss the future. It is a brand-new variety developed by Aganorsa for use on their products.
It is a Nicaraguan shade-grown Corojo Maduro, a truly unique wrapper variety. It combines rich chocolate notes with a subtle sweetness that brings out the best elements of the blend. It is innovation like this that made Nicaragua what it is today.
Padron Family Reserve 50th Anniversary
Padron is the grandest representative of the Nicaraguan cigar industry. They are among the oldest manufacturers in the country and have established themselves as one of the world’s predominant, high-end premium cigar manufacturers. Their blends have received more Top 25 Cigar of the year placements than anyone else, and they use all Nicaraguan blends almost exclusively.
The Padron 50th remains one of their most sought after and highest rated blends. It was released back in 2014 to commemorate 50 years in the premium cigar industry.
It is available both in a Maduro and natural variety, both of which have received 90+ ratings. Padron has been ranked continuously as one of the most popular cigar manufacturers in the world and seeing as they have called Nicaragua home for half a century, it seems fitting to have them on this list.