Since Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega separated the EO Brand, they have both went on their separate ways and made their own cigar companies. Erik, also bought his first factory, The La Zona in Esteli Nicaragua. One of the first side lines blended & rolled at the La Zona Factory is the La Jugada Prieto from Moya Ruiz Cigars. La Jugada translates to “the move” or “the play”. Danny Moya and Nelson Ruiz are the men behind the Moya Ruiz company and love to play dominos so that is where the name comes from. Danny asked me to try the Prieto and let them know what I thought of them. So, I decided to try the belicoso out and see how it goes.
Size: 5.5″ x 52
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
Sizes Available: Robusto (5×50), Toro (6×52), Belicoso (5.5×52), Double Corona (7.5×49)
Source: Unsolicited samples from Moya Ruiz Cigars
First Looks: A deep dark chocolate San Andres wrapper covers this very firm feeling cigar. The dark wrapper is offset by a gorgeous band with back lettering and gold outlining. The gold and black offset each other, yet the contrast makes each element (band and wrapper) stand out from each other. A foot band proudly announces “Hecho En La Zona” and is in the same style as the head band. The foot has a nice wood and semi spicy aroma to it. A nice deeply applied triple cap covers the head and gives ample room to get a deep cut off the head if needed.
Construction: I cut about 3/8″ of an inch off the head that revealed a thick draw. So, this cigar has a definite dense pack to it. The cold draw has some light hay or straw flavor to it. I think the thicker draw holds back some of the cold draw flavors or at least the strength of them. The draw stayed consistently thick throughout the cigar which was a slight disappointment to me. But, it did have a great burn and never needed a touch-up or relight. From this burn arose an off white and gray tight ash that lasted way over an inch & a quarter. Over all a good constructed cigar (would have been great if it wasn’t for the thicker draw).
Flavor: The first few draws give off a slightly peppery, yet a dark chocolate flavor to it. The darkness of the wrapper is complimented with the darkness of the flavors right off the bat. A bit into it, a slightly creamy flavor comes onto my palate as an undertone and is a compliment to the spicy dark chocolate flavors. After the first ash drop, the pepper note seemed to ramp up somewhat. Still not overpowering but and interesting addition to the dark chocolate flavors.
Around half way, I got a taste of a leather note that really complimented the creamy and dark chocolate flavors. The pepper is still there, just not as much as before. I start to get a very faint flavor of coffee as I get past the halfway point. Nothing major or overpowering, but slightly noticeable.
Working into the final third, the flavors stayed pretty much the same. A leathery dark chocolate flavor. The black pepper is now and undertone with the coffee flavors. This cigar has a pretty long lingering finish to it. The flavors last a while on the palate well after the smoke is gone from my mouth. The room aroma of this cigar was pretty peppery. More peppery than tasted in the smoke. The retrohale, in the last portion, had a peppery flavor with some creamy caramel aroma as well.
Final Thoughts: I am a big fan of two totally different wrappers; Sumatra and San Andres. The San Andres wrapper has been seeing a lot more and more attention recently. I have tried many San Andres cigars, and found out that San Andres has to be processed and aged properly to make a good wrapper. The Prieto has one of those wrappers that’s been processed properly and it shows. A good medium to full bodied smoke that was pleasurable to me. Like I said before, the only dislike of this cigar was the draw. This is a very good afternoon or after a hearty meal cigar, seeing the flavor profile and strength. I would imagine this cigar would go great with a good double chocolate stout beer. One evening after a steak or rib dinner I think I’ll try that pairing and see how it goes.
Over all I liked this cigar a pretty good bit. If the draw had would been not so thick, I would have really liked this cigar. I think the draw may have restricted some of the flavor potential of the cigar, but over all it was a good smoke and definitely worth a try.