Yagua, otherwise known as royal palm. It is a beautiful palm tree that you see lining many south and central Florida roads and can be found in numerous Latin American countries. The Yagua has a deep meaning to J.C. Newman PENSA’s General Manager, Lazaro Lopez, who shared the following with Drew Newman (Fourth Generation Owner, J.C. Newman Cigar Company) over dinner in Esteli, Nicaragua last year:
“At our family farm, my grandfather would take fresh tobacco leaves from the curing barns and roll cigars without any molds or presses. In an attempt to give his cigars a traditional shape, he would tie a handful of them together using pieces of the Cuban royal palm tree, known as the yagua. When he was ready to enjoy his personal cigars, he untied the bundle. He loved how every cigar had its own unique shape. I still remember the rich aroma and taste of my grandfather’s cigars. Today, I’ve recreated Yagua, rolling them exactly how my grandfather did a century ago.”
Since the announcement of this cigar I tried to buy some to no avail, until I purchased some other cigars from Cigar Life in Lakeland, FL. When I asked owner, Mario Medina if he had them in stock, he said they were all sold out, but he would send me one from his private collection in the order. Thanks Mario you are awesome.
So after a stint in my humidor, today was the day that I would burn the Yagua to ash and see what all the hoopla was about.
The J.C. Newman Yagua has blend described as:
- Wrapper – Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
According to Cigar Aficionado, the company noted:
“In order to replicate the farm-fresh taste Lazaro remembers, J.C. Newman pulled the Connecticut broadleaf wrappers out of pilónes a couple of months early to add a bit of “punch” to the Nicaraguan binder and filler.”
The Yagua weighs in approximately (6 × 54). Remember, because of how they are packaged with the Yagua rolled around them, each cigar has a slightly different shape. They come in 20-count boxes that are not solid but actually have slots on the sides, That is because the bundle is wrapped in Yagua which keeps the cigars humidified. The company has set the MSRP at $7.50/cigar.
When I looked over the one J.C. Newman Yagua I received, I have to say, it will not win any beauty contest with its dark brown and mottled and veiny broadleaf wrapper. But as I say, looks are very deceiving, especially in the cigar world. As explained in the company’s press release, the shape is not uniform and in my case rather odd looking. Not circular, or boxed, not oval, quite unique for sure. I have seen others post ones that had some right angles, so yea, each one is different for sure. It is finished with a neat triple cap and there is a decent oily sheen to it.
A single band adorns the cigar using a red, white, and gold motif. The name Yagau is prominently displayed in white on the red background, numerous times around the band , encircled with golden scrolls.
As ran the Yagua under the nose, I detected a sweet and spicy barrel and what I would describe as savory spice notes off the foot.
The cap sliced off easy using a straight cut with my double blade cutter. I gave it some cold draw puffs and noted it was a tad tight in the draw and delivered notes of and mild pepper and more of that savory spice. A few puffs and there was a hint of cocoa coming through.
I used my triple flame torch to ignite the foot and bring it to an even orange glow. Follow along as I burn the J.C. Newman Yagua to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Right off the first lit puffs my palate and nose was greeted with a medium level pepper burst
- As the pepper receded a bit, distinct cocoa powder notes added to the profile
- A light grey flaky ash begins to form on a slightly jagged char line
- Savory notes enter along with a cocoa aroma wafting off the foot
- Touch of natural tobacco sweetness deep in the first third
- Ash fell in good chunk revealing a decent burn cone
- Woody and earth notes enter getting into the second third
- Caramel notes deep in second third
- Off burn developed that required a mild touch-up
- Cream and coffee notes make this even more pleasant down to the end
- Light earthy and fruit aroma
- Medium Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes
Overall, the J.C. Newman Yagua was an interesting cigar that had a core of cocoa notes and aromas with nuances of savory spice and a plethora of flavors and aromas throughout the journey. Not a pretty cigar, but it pleased the palate. It did have some burn issues including and off burn and the need for a touch-up. This is worth picking up a fiver (if you can find them) and let some age. I rate this a 91.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Touch-up required