Almost twenty years ago, we created the blend of our legendary Antaño. Its creation is a story worth telling. Keep reading and find out how this powerhouse cigar was introduced into the US market, how it kick-started Joya de Nicaragua’s resurgence in America and the craze for bold, even-more-powerful cigars.

Travelling in time

It was the year 2000, and the Joya de Nicaragua team was striving to create a game-changer blend to appeal to the US market, where sales of Joya de Nicaragua were having a hard time. Therefore, a determined Don Leo travelled to Miami with a host of blends in his suitcase, and a lot of hope in his heart, wishing to please a tasting panel.

Despite his best efforts, none of the blends seemed to please the tasting panel. When they asked Don Leo if there were more samplers, he felt his back against the wall. Soon he remembered Alberto Martínez, our factory Manager, and Ramon Gutierrez, our master blender at the time, handed him cigars for his personal use before leaving Nicaragua.

Don Leo confidently said he had a couple more left in his hotel room. He reached for the bundle of dark, oily cigars, handed them to the panel, and hoped for the best.  The table lit them up, and smoke began to gather under the ceiling. The room fell silent.

Little did he know, those robust cigars were made out of rare thick and heavy tobacco. In fact, those cigars didn’t meet the production standards during those years.

Antaño: Don Leo’s “secret” bomb

“They were incredibly strong. People started sweating, one or two were turning a little pale. I thought I had made them all ill. I didn’t know what I’d done.”

An overwhelmed Don Leo called and asked Alberto Martínez about the cigars he packed for him days before. Alberto responded saying: “Man, we made those as a joke. We made them to mess you up”.

It was a long shot, but those pungent, strong and beautifully blended cigars, were exactly what the tasting panel was looking for.

A legendary cigar.


In 2001, we officially introduced Antano at the annual cigar manufacturers and retailers gathering in the US. It won the strongest cigar award in the show.

Through the years, it has become a favourite among cigar smokers; it has received accolades from the industry specialized media, including Cigar Coop, Cigar Aficionado and Cigars and Leisure. Today, it even has a family of cigars named in his honour. In it, cigar lovers find the most robust, full-bodied cigars to ever come out of our factory. These cigars showcase the essence of Nicaraguan tobaccos through one invitation: to #KeepDaring.

Let us know: Have you dared to try these cigars?

If you have, make sure to share your experience using the hashtag #KeepDaring and tag us on Instagram at @joyacigars.