Back at the end of 2020, when J.C. Newman relaunched their Perla del Mar line, most of the attention went to the Perla del Mar Corojo because it was a brand new blend. And rightly so, it scored a 93 in our blind testing. However, the other two existing blends in the line, Perla del Mar Maduro and Perla del Mar Shade, underwent a re-blend. Those two lines have been around since 2012 and were unchanged in the time leading up to 2020. Drew Newman said that they thought the cigars were good, but that they could do better. So they spent two years re-blending and getting them exactly how they wanted.
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.
The Perla del Mar line is rolled at J.C. Newman PENSA in Nicaragua. Both the Maduro and Shade versions of the blend were made slightly stronger during the re-blend with new, aged Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. The cigars also all now come in a classic Tampa-style press in traditional bands and boxes. Each blend comes in four sizes Robusto (4 3/4 x 52), Toro (6 1/4 x 54), Double Toro (6 x 60) and Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46). They also all sell for a budget-friendly $6.00 – $7.00.
Perla del Mar is a historic cigar brand that traces its roots to Cuba. In 1905, four Cuban brothers started hand rolling cigars using tobacco grown on their family’s farm in Cuba. They named their company Perfecto Garcia Brothers and called their cigars “Perla del Mar” because of the beautiful Caribbean waters that surround Cuba. As the popularity and demand for their cigars grew, the brothers built a large cigar factory next to J.C. Newman’s El Reloj factory in Ybor City, Florida. Perla del Mar was one of the leading premium cigar brands in the early 1900s. J.C. Newman’s new Perla del Mar cigars honor the brand’s historic legacy.
Ring Gauge: 54
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Factory: J.C. Newman PENSA
Number of reviewers: 4 – Mickey T. (irratebass) Quinn (quinnpins269) Kevin A. (Kevin A.) John A. (Bostoneo)
Age: 3 Months
Release Date: November 2020
Contributed by: J.C. Newman
Initial Impressions – J.C. Newman Perla Del Mar Shade Toro
“This is a sizeable well-done box press cigar. The wrapper is a very light tan, with a variation of color throughout. The seams, while visible due mostly to the variation in wrapper color, are very well done. The wrapper of the cigar while silky smooth, is not very oily with more of a matte finish to it. The box press on this is what impresses me most. It is very flat and smooth on the front and back and the press is very pronounced. I am guessing this cigar is in the 56 to 58 ring gauge range. ” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
“On a cold draw, wonderful notes of sweetened dates, leather, and baking spices delight the tongue. On the nose, scents of semi-sweet tobacco, leather and more baking spices hit the nostrils.” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“Being a shade-grown wrapper, the cigar starts off as expected in the mild to medium range. Nilla wafers, peanuts, and toasted bread are the prominent notes at the start, with a very flavorful cabinet spice retrohale with white pepper at the front leading the way. A very pleasant start to a shade-wrapped cigar! The draw is pretty good, just a notch open, and the burn is a little lopsided but working. The body of this cigar begins to creep upwards as it nears the end of the first third. ” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
“The barnyard earthy aroma from the pre-light did not find its way into the the first third. I was greeted with a nice amount of white pepper though. As I continued cedar started to make an appearance which I felt worked nicely with the white pepper. ” –Quinn (quinnpins269)
“Coming into the second third, the profile stays mild-medium in the body. The cigar begins to sweeten up a little bit like freshly baked bread with a tiny amount of baking spices making up the flavor notes with a citrusy finish. Towards the backend of this third, the breadiness only increases while a new jalapeno earthy note enters the fray.” –John A. (Bostoneo)
“Not sure if I am getting used to the choking sensation or not, but it’s not as bad right now. I am picking up more cream/butter notes as well as that hay still. This cigar is right at a medium in strength. ” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“Finishing out this cigar the final third was a continuation of the second third. I did not pick up much change in the profile. The creamy sweetness in the smoke was a nice way to round out this smoking experience. I however did feel that the strength of the cigar did pick up slightly towards the end. ” –Quinn (quinnpins269)
“The last third continues to build on body, albeit it is still very mild-medium in terms of body, the flavors continue off the previous third with earthy jalapeno notes with a black pepper cream finish. Not many changes while approaching the end aside from the leatheriness that continues to build and the body almost reaches a solid medium.” –John A. (Bostoneo)
Overall Impressions – J.C. Newman Perla Del Mar Shade Toro
“I am sometimes concerned with box presses have to loose of a draw. That was not the case with this cigar. It had a nice amount of resistance.” –Quinn (quinnpins269)
“The burn was not quite razor sharp, but I did not feel that it warranted being touched up. It always seemed to correct itself.” –Quinn (quinnpins269)
“Nice construction on this stick. It never got hot on me, burned cool the entire 2 hours. I also got about an inch & a half with each tap.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Light-Medium
Experience Overall: 88
“This cigar did not do it for me sadly. Too much of that choking sensation, however, there were some pluses to this cigar. Once the choker died down I did get some nice cream/butter notes along with coffee and some roasted nuts. I would not seek this one out though.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)
“The light and creaminess to the body were great, I enjoyed the profile and think it would be a nice start to the day. The strength that up ticked, in the end, was not over barning and fortunately came at a point where I usually end my cigar.” –Quinn (quinnpins269)
“I really enjoyed this cigar. While there was nothing earth-shattering about the flavor profile or the way it smoked, it was a great representative of a shade-grown cigar. Gone are the days when grabbing a Connie means smoking air and nothing much more. This is a very enjoyable, flavor-forward cigar. This would be an ideal first cigar of the day.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
“This was a great cigar to taste the nuances a lighter cigar can provide. The various flavors this cigar provided kept it unique and interesting during the smoking session. Aside from that, this cigar was at most on the heavier end of mild-medium in body and suffered some draw and burn issues, but nothing to completely turn me off. I’d love to smoke another one of these sometime when I find out what it is!” –John A. (Bostoneo)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 108
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.