Blind Cigar Review: J.C. Newman | Yagua

Blind Cigar Review: J.C. Newman | Yagua

Cigar Info

J.C. Newman showed off Yagua at the 2019 IPCPR trade show, but it would not ship until August of 2020. The story behind Yagua is fascinating and best told by J.C. Newman PENSA’s General Manager, Lazaro Lopez:

This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.

“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.”

“After hearing Lazaro describe the beautiful Yagua cigars he remembers from his youth in Cuba, I asked Lazaro if he could make this special cigar at our factory in Nicaragua,” said Drew Newman. “We are calling it Yagua, after the palm leaves that give the cigars their distinct shape.”

Only 1,000 boxes of the J.C. Newman Yagua were sold this year and it is now pretty hard to find. Each box contains 20 cigars that roughly measure 6 x 54. Since the cigars are pressed together while still wet, they each have a different shape, some more “cigar-like” than others. Yagua is rolled at J.C. Newman PENSA in Estelí, Nicaragua.

Vital Stats

Vitola: Toro
Length: 6″
Ring Gauge: 54
Country of Origin: Nicaragua 
Wrapper: USA Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Factory: J.C. Newman PENSA 
Blender: Undisclosed
Number of reviewers: 4 Sean F. (fullermaine) Kevin A. (Kevin A.) Matt Cade (CadeTNCC) Kevin J. (maninblack77)
Price: $7.50
Age: 5 Months
Release Date: August 2020
Contributed by: J.C Newman

Initial Impressions – J.C. Newman | Yagua

Appearance: 91

“This is a very unique, rustic looking cigar, almost like something rolled in the field LOL. Very dark, mottled oily wrapper with visible veins and seam throughout. What is unique is the shape or lack thereof as a better description. It is round at the foot, like a six-sided box press in the middle, and just a little lopsided in the final inch up to the triple cap. The cigar is very firm from foot to cap and appears to be very well filled. ” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

Aroma: 95

First Third
Blind Cigar Review: J.C. Newman | Yagua

“Holy smokes does this sucker reek of earth and sweetness when sniffing the foot directly.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)

First Third

Flavor: 94
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“The cigar starts off with notes of cherry, cinnamon, hay, and earth, with an underlying tartness that actually enhances each flavor note. The draw is a little tight, requiring multiple puffs to get enough smoke in the mouth, but the cigar is burning nice and straight. The retrohale started off with a pretty good blast of fresh ground black pepper but quickly tamed down. The draw is still tight, but overall is not detracting too much from the experience as the flavors have been fun!” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

“There’s a noticeable mixture of sweet on the draw and dark earth on the retrohale. I’ll admit it, this is a weird cigar to get started just in that’s so unusual in its appearance alone – I’ve never smoked a stogie that was half box-pressed and half normal. A nice mineral component enters the party through the nose at about the one-inch mark and it plays very nicely with that sweetness. The draw is a bit tighter than I’d like but that’s no surprise given the weird-ass shape of this thing… ” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)

Second Third
Blind Cigar Review: J.C. Newman | Yagua

Second Third

Flavor: 92
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“As we transition into the next third, the same cocoa and chocolate flavors are still there but with some earthy notes. I’m also getting some cherry notes on the back end. The dominant flavors are definitely chocolate and cocoa though. Black pepper has subsided greatly. Again, a very enjoyable cigar thus far. ” –Kevin J. (maninblack77)

“‘Holiday notes’. Nice notes of hickory to cinnamon and licorice.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)

Final Third
Blind Cigar Review: J.C. Newman | Yagua

Final Third

Flavor: 89
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“So now the retrohale has sweetness, mineral, and pencil shavings while the draw is still bold and earthy. Man, if you’re not blowing smoke outta your nose with this stogie you are missing out. ” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)

“Getting into the final third, the flavors take on a more earthy profile, with hay, damp earth, and pepper all competing for dominance. There is still a chocolate sweetness underlying all of it that has carried over from the 2nd third. Draw finally opens up in the final third, though the tightness did not detract too much from the smoking experience as a whole. The flavors have been very enjoyable throughout.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

Overall Impressions – J.C. Newman | Yagua

Draw: 94

“Perfect draw with no re-light needed.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)

Burn: 98

“Given the cigars unique shape, it burned exceptionally well, staying straight and true and never requiring a touchup” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

Construction: 92

“While the appearance was less than ideal, it made up for it in the way it burned and the flavors present. ” –Kevin J. (maninblack77)

Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 94

“Nice blend all around. “Breakfast notes” of toast and tea to “holiday notes” of cinnamon and licorice. Woody notes round this smoking experience.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)

“This was a fun cigar to smoke. From the unique shape to the sweet start and spicy finish. If the draw was perfect all the way through, it would be phenomenal. This is for sure one of the most enjoyable cigars I have smoked in quite some time, and I would recommend anyone try it.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

“This is a nice smoking cigar with most of its flavors coming through on the retrohale. While it’s not groundbreaking, it is enjoyable so at the right price point if you’re open to these flavors on the nose you should try it for sure.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)

“As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. Not a beautiful looking cigar but the flavors that it gave off more than made up for it. Lots of chocolate, cocoa, cherry, truffle, and some earthiness mixed in. All working together in unison. I’d score this cigar a solid “Very Good.” Definitely worthy of a fiver. ” –Kevin J. (maninblack77)

Smoking Time (in minutes): 101

Sean F.959595959510010010095
Kevin A.929593909088959093
Matt Cade889088888890909090
Kevin J.8895959590100979595

To view the complete scores and notes, click here.

Blind Cigar Review: J.C. Newman | Yagua

Blind Cigar Review: J.C. Newman | Yagua
"This was a fun cigar to smoke. From the unique shape to the sweet start and spicy finish. If the draw was perfect all the way through, it would be phenomenal. This is for sure one of the most enjoyable cigars I have smoked in quite some time, and I would recommend anyone try it." -Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
First Third
Second Third
Final Third
Overall Experience