Cigar Reviews

J.C. Newman – Yagua

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It’s been a while, I know, but I should be back on track now. I had been putting in hours on the weekends that have been keeping me away from things like reviews and my standard yard work, but I am back on schedule and ready to rock. This week I take a look at J.C. Newman’s Yagua paired with a bottle of The Bruery Terreux’s Rum Barrel Aged Cherry and Vanilla Tart of Darkness beer.

The Good Stuff:

The Yagua is the brain child of Lazaro Lopez, who manages J.C. Newman’s PENSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Lazaro Lopez’s grandfather used to create cigars back in Cuba without the use of cigar molds, which just about every cigar process now includes. Instead, Lopez’s grandfather would roll the cigars then tightly wrap them in a small wheel using Royal Palm leaves. This would gives the cigars each a unique shape.

J.C. Newman used this as inspiration when creating the Yagua which employs the same method. The result is a range of different shapes within each box ranging from standard, round cigars to triangular and octagon shaped cigars. It is said that the cigars, once unrolled, return to a more circular shape as they rest in the box.

The Yagua comes in a single 6 x 54 toro format using a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers. Each box comes packaged in 20’s wrapped in Royal Palm leaves running $7.50 per stick.

  • Size: 6 x 54
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Body: Medium/Full
  • Strength: Medium
  • Price: $7.50
  • Pairing: The Bruery Terreux Tart of Darkness with Cherry and Vanilla

Prelight:

Most of the cigars in my box actually came out in pyramid and parallelogram shapes. Which is interestingly enough, extremely comfortable both in my hand and my mouth. The Yagua starts off with a very consistent, dark brown wrapper with a nice orange sheen. The wrapper’s texture is gritty and toothy with a whole ton of oils coating it. The wrapper is very thick and dense and the cigar as a whole feels very soft and malleable. The body of the Yagua showcases some medium-sized veins and lots of natural webbing leading through the triangular shaped body to the round, double-wrapped cap. The cigar is then polished off with a beautiful maroon and gold band with the Yagua crest embossed over and over around it.

The wrapper on the Yagua gives off a nice brown sugar aroma over soft cedar while the foot of the cigar is much more earthy with notes of musk and leather. The cap cut clean and easy using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces some nice mossy, earthy flavors over light caramel and cedar.

First Third:

The Yagua starts out with a brisk kick of black pepper which fades almost immediately leaving behind bold notes of brown sugar, caramel, and cedar of light notes of musk and leather. There is actually quite a bit going on here right off the bat. The burn draw is remarkably steady and easy to get large pulls of thick white smoke while the cigar releases almost no stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. And while the cigar itself is shaped very obtuse, its rather easy to hold and comfortable in my mouth. The burn line is a bit thick leaving behind a trail of lightly compacted white ash which only held on for about a half inch before giving way.

Second Third:

Into the second third of the Yagua and the flavor profile is incredible. The brown sugar and cedar still lead the pack backed by caramel, vanilla, musk, floral, and a grainy-earthiness. The retrohale really brings out the sweetness of this cigar and its so easy on my nasal passage that I find myself doing it quite often. The burn line is now razor thin, and surprisingly dead-even while I close out the second third with only a very light nicotine punch.

Finish:

Into the final third of the Yagua and I am loving this. From the comfort of the strange size, to the awesome flavor profile which now consists of bold cedar and caramel back by cinnamon, musk, floral, and brown sugar. It took me two hours to take this cigar down to the nub. I experienced no harshness, nor extended heat. I shockingly never experienced a single draw issue nor did I ever have to touch-up and relight the cigar. I close out with only a mild nicotine kick.

Overview:

I was torn on this cigar going in. It felt a bit like a marketing-ploy, but at the same time the unique process that went into making the Yagua intrigued me. Well, the cigar surpassed all my expectations. First, while the cigar looks a bit weird, the odd-shaped cigars seem to be some of the most comfortable cigars I have ever handled. I don’t know what it is with the hard, juxtaposed edges, but they just fit so comfortably. Second, while I expected to experience crazy draw issues, I encountered… well.. none. I smoked about 4 of these in total so far and each burned well, and the draw was always great. Third, this is a damn good blend. Its complex, yet balanced and the flavor profile is exactly what I look for in a cigar. Oddly enough, this is one of the better cigars I have smoked all years and I didn’t know what to expect going into it.

Pairing:

Brewed at The Bruery Terreux brewery in Placentia, California this version of Tart of Darkness is aged in Rum Barrels with cherries and vanilla. Coming in at 10.5% ABV this sour stout leads with a pungent sourness, tart cherry, floral, caramel and a bit soy sauce, with a very light mouthfeel before finishing with more tart cherry, tart apple, caramel, and a touch of brown sugar and vanilla bean. The complex flavors in the beer matches up incredibly well with the complex flavors in the Yagua while so many of the matching flavors married up perfectly with one another.

Tony Casas is a 32 year old Creative Managing/Webdesigning/Craft Beer Drinking Cigar smoker from El Paso, Texas. When he isn't loving his wife he is either sleepy, hungry, or suffering from a headache.

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