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Interview with Juan Martínez of Joya de Nicaragua

Interview with Juan Martínez of Joya de Nicaragua

What is the Juan Martínez story?

I’m the Executive President of Joya de Nicaragua, sort of like the CEO. I’ve been with the company since 2009 and I have the privilege of responding to the Chairman, Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca (my father).

I’m an economist by training, with a master’s degree in Management and Economics. I was not born into the tobacco and cigar industry; but my profession has also become my passion!

What’s an average day in your shoes as the President of Joya de Nicaragua?

In a non-pandemic world, it’s a lot of following up and accompanying our different teams from production, commercial, marketing, and financial in their day to day. I normally spend 2 to 3 days per week at the factory, so I enjoy playing with tobaccos a lot and smoking plenty of cigars, developing new stuff frequently. 

I also have to travel a lot, working with clients from all over the world. So, I spend a lot of my time with key clients and visits with them.

If the cigars that make up your core line fictional characters, which would they be and why?

This is a tough question. Using our core line as the Antaño family, I would say more like James Bond under Daniel Craig: old-school elegance with roughness around the edges. Very classy and traditional but at the same time hard to fight, resilient, and strong!

You and your father have such an incredible history together.  Looking back, what’s one of your favorite memories?

I would say my early memories of traveling with him around the country when I was very young and had just began working in cigars. We would travel around Nicaragua buying tobacco and talking with producers and visiting the factory.  

Back then, he was an entrepreneur of cigars in a place where nobody believed in the industry and the country. I really didn’t understand what was happening back then, but those memories eventually were the basis for me coming into the business, driven by my father’s commitment and stubbornness to make it happen.

What are 3 things that most ppl do not know about you?

  • I’m actually very shy and introverted.
  • When I began my professional life, I wanted nothing to do with cigars. I wanted to do my own thing (and save the world in my own way!)
  • I enjoy time at home more than anything in the world!

Have you developed any new talents during this time of social distancing?

I’ve become a better person and, most importantly, a better parent!  I’ve developed a new ability to identify true priorities!

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Love is in the air at our factory floor ❤️ Happy #ValentinesDay #JoyaDeNicaragua #JoyaCigars

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Cinco Decadas was a game-changing cigar for me.  What can you tell us about this amazing blend that makes it so special?

We began planning for the blend early in 2013. When we were developing Cuatro Cinco for JDN’s 45th birthday, we already had clarity in what we wanted to achieve when we reached the 50th milestone. 

Back then, 5 years seemed like a long time. But in retrospect, that clarity of planning and envisioning the future allowed us to develop – precisely – that masterpiece. The combination of well-aged tobaccos with our craftsmanship and attention to detail allowed us to achieve Cinco Decadas.

Cinco Decadas: The Rise of the Nicaraguan Cigar is available free for a limited time as an e-book.  What is your favorite chapter?

My favorite chapter is the one about Nicaragua. My friend and author, Nick Hammond, was able to majestically capture the reality of our country and put it into magical words.

But my favorite thing about the book is how we’re able to tell the story of the country, of the industry, and of the company through the lives of the people! I’m not sure if readers have gotten that, but that was the core of the book: a journey told through the lives of our people. 

If our audience could only leave this page with one thing about you and Joya de Nicaragua, what would you want them to know?

Joya de Nicaragua is, yes, the oldest cigar maker in Nicaragua, and in many ways a pioneer of Nicaraguan cigars. However, JDN is much more than that: it’s passion, legacy, heritage, and craftsmanship all in one, driven by a collective effort of many generations – with not one person or family responsible, but a collection of leaders that have taken Nicaraguan cigars to a whole new level! 

We hope that people understand this by smoking our cigars, meeting our people, visiting our factories… and getting to know our brands. We basically have a cigar for everybody, knowing that not every cigar IS for everybody. People are surprised by our ability to develop diverse and consistent profiles for every type of smoker!


Joya de Nicaragua Interview with Juan Martinez


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