Date: October 2019
Author: Inspector Z

New introductions from J.C. Newman. At the Intertabac trade show, Drew Newman showed us some of the new offerings from J.C. Newman Cigar Company. Those included a Brick House Culebra, which is an event only cigar. And it’s not a Culebra with three of the same cigars. J.C. Newman decided to use the Culebra to showcase the three Brick House blends. The Natural, the Maduro, and double Connecticut. Also new for the international markets are the holiday box sampler. And new 5 packs for the Brick House Robusto and 660. Plus the cigar for the Chinese New Year, based on the zodiac calendar. The new Year of the Rat isn’t available yet, so the company decided to showcase last year’s Year of the Pig.

Ministry of Cigars - New introductions from J.C. Newman
Brick House Culebra (photo credit: J.C. Newman)

The oldest, still operating, American cigar company has been very active in the European market the last year. Opening new markets where they weren’t represented like Sweden. Or changing distributors in Spain and The Netherlands, to partners that match better with J.C. Newman than the previous partners. And during the trade show, J.C. Newman was able to open two new European markets, Lithuania and Liechtenstein.

Earlier this year, we met Bobby Newman and Cristal Blackwell Lastra in Singapore.

New cigars

Two new offerings from J.C Newman that weren’t showcased were The American and Yagua. For The American, the reason is simple. The production numbers of the cigars are too low for a global release. And add the tariff that Europe has been imposing on American tobacco products for the longest time, it would make the cigars extremely expensive. The E.U. has different tariffs for tobacco products. American and Cuban tobacco products are at the highest scale, which is 24%. Products from Costa Rica. Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic have a 0% tariff.

Yagua was inspired by Lazaro Lopez, the factory manager of Newman’s PENSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Lazaro recounted tales of his grandfather, working out in the remote tobacco fields of Cuba, far from the cigar factories in the cities. After harvesting the tobacco and allowing it to ferment, Lazaro’s grandfather would roll up a few cigars by hand to smoke for himself. Without any of the modern factory tools, Lazaro’s grandfather had to be resourceful. He took a few fronds from the Yagua tree – a royal palm that is native to Cuba – and tied them around a bundle of his hand-rolled cigars to help give them a firm shape. While the unique binding technique worked, because the cigars were pressed together while still wet, they took the form of the other cigars they were tied to, resulting in cigars that were anything but round. Some cigars had five sides, others were more triangular, but none were the same.

Inspired by Lazaro’s childhood memory, J.C. Newman challenged their team in Nicaragua to make a cigar using the same process. The tobaccos were hand-selected and fermented to mimic the boldness of his Grandfather’s freshly picked tobacco. Then the cigars are rolled wet, ensuring each cigar is uniquely shaped. Named Yagua, after the palm leaves which bound the cigars, this new concept is sure to appeal to the seasoned cigar lover looking for something unconventional in the modern humidor.

Ministry of Cigars - New introductions from J.C. Newman
Yagua by J.C. Newman (photo credit: J.C. Newman)

The American

The American is an interesting project, started by Drew Newman. He wanted to honor the American cigar-making tradition by rolling world-class cigars in America using the finest heirloom American cigar tobaccos. And with that, he revived an old brand that was made at the El Reloj factory more than a century ago: The American. And to make it a true American cigar, everything had to be American. From the cellophane to the tobacco, from the boxes to the rings. Everything about this cigar is American made. And it goes as far as the screws and ledges of the boxes. The cigar comes in a 7×47 Churchill, 6⅛x52 Torpedo, 6×54 Toro, and a 4½x50 Robusto.

The tobacco comes from Florida, where Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of Corona Cigar Company grows tobacco in Clermont. This is used as a wrapper for The American, but Drew Estate also uses the tobacco. The binder comes from the Foster Farm in the Connecticut River Valley where John Foster is the seventh generation tobacco farmer. His Connecticut broadleaf was chosen as a binder. Foster also grows Connecticut Havana Seed tobacco, which J.C. Newman uses for the Diamond Crown Black Diamond. But some of the tobacco is used as a filler for The American. The other component of the filler is Pennsylvania Amish from the Lancaster area in Pennsylvania.

For the molds of the cigars, J.C. Newman approached HSA Cigar Molds, a company based in Dade County, Florida. The relationship between HSA Cigar Molds and J.C. Newman isn’t new, the companies have a history of over 50 years. Millennium Wood Box from Miami makes the cigar boxes, all from American grown basswood. The wood is grown sustainable to limit the effects on the environment. And where J.C. Newman uses printing companies outside the United States for many of their cigars, they chose the Florida based Action Label to make the labels for this project. Action Label uses sustainably-sourced papers produced in America for the labels of The American. And finally, after rolling and aging, the cigars are protected by cellophane. This cellophane is produced by Technical Packaging in Pennsylvania. A true, completely American made cigar honoring the history of the cigar making tradition in the United States.

Ministry of Cigars - New introductions from J.C. Newman
The American (photo credit: J.C. Newman)
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