PENSA

El Baton Double Toro

A few months ago I was gifted four cigars made by J.C. Newman and it made me look into that company a bit more. Those cigars were the El Baton Double torpedo, Perla del Mar Maduro G, the Brick House Connecticut Toro and this one. There was a reason I was never really interested in that company and never even had visited them on my trips to Tampa and that was loyalty. My previous employer distributed J.C. Newman for a while in the past, sold more than they expected and instead of being happy and working with my employer J.C. Newman came up with crazy new demands, stopped the line of credit and it eventually ended up in a law suit that Newman lost yet the relationship was killed. Sales never bounced back up either, not with STG nor with Davidoff who have distributed them since.


While looking into Newman I learned that they have a huge history, in Tampa with their factory and a private cigar museum, close ties with the Fuente family and that they are the first people to pack cigars in cellophane which is now an industry standard expect for Cuba. I also learned that they started a factory in Nicaragua in 2010, where I was under the impression they had cigars made for them like many others. The company actually started in 1895 in Ohio with a home made table and $50 worth of tobacco. It took 60 years and two world wars before the company settled in Tampa, where it still remains.


Just like Oliva, J.C. Newman calls this 6×60 a double toro, while I would call it a gordo. It’s a vitola that I don’t like, never have and probably never will but I will try new cigars in that size anyway when asked. The ring is the same as on the previous El Baton review, but its the same blend so there’s no surprise. The wrapper is a bit lighter in color, yet its still quite dark with a few veins. Construction wise there’s nothing wrong, the cigar feels good, looks good, cap is good, just a well made cigar. The aroma is of dark wood and stable, like being inside an old wooden barn.


I used my cutter for this big ring cigar, mainly because I couldn’t find my punch. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild gingerbread with pepper. I taste gingerbread, coffee and sugar after lighting. After half an inch I taste nutmeg, spices, wood and pepper. After I drank some water I taste a lot of salt. After a third I taste salt, wood and pepper. Halfway the pepper is getting stronger and stronger. Then all of a sudden the pepper almost disappears and I’m left with salty wood. In the final third the pepper returns again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is medium full, it’s light gray. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is good. This cigar is full flavored and bodied. The cigar has a good evolution. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a great cigar, just a little too thick for me.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, El Baton, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Brick House Connecticut Toro

Brick House is a brand with a lot of history and named after the brick house that was the Newman family home back in Hungary, the only brick house in the village. Originally it was a Cuban puro and the brand was discontinued when the embargo hit but since a few years its back as a Nicaraguan cigar, and with such a success that it had offspring, including this Connecticut line.


Again, just like the Perla del Mar Maduro, the Newman website doesn’t even mention this cigar, not even on the dedicated Brick House website except for a banner which says “introducing the Connecticut” but then nothing. I found out that it’s a Nicaraguan made cigar, with Nicaraguan filler and binder and a Connecticut wrapper. Judging from the MSRP, which is around 6 dollar, this won’t be an American grown Connecticut Shade wrapper, but where it’s from I don’t know.


The wrapper is yellowish, pale, combine with my prejudice on Connecticut Shade wrappers and you can guess that I would not grab this cigar in a shop myself. I was given this cigar with the question to tell the gracious giver what my thoughts are. The simple yellow, black, gold and red ring I like, classy, well printed and I also like the American flag style foot ring with the stars and stripes, although there are only 5 stars and 5 stripes but that might be a reference to the history of Connecticut that i’m not aware of. If that’s the case, please comment and share your knowledge. The construction feels good, the shape of the cigar is nice and so is the triple cap. The aroma is surprisingly full and strong, its fermenting grass what I think of when I smell the cigar.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine, it’s sweet yet peppery. After lighting I taste a very mild coffee, smooth yet a little salty. After half an inch just a little bit of sweetness and some mild herbs. After a third a very mild chocolate shows up too. I don’t taste any Connecticut Shade mustiness though which is a plus. Halfway I taste a little more salt. The chocolate is gone, it’s just a mild salt with some sweetness. The flavors don’t change after that, except that the cigar gets spicy and peppery.


The draw is great, the smoke is great. It’s white, thick and plentiful. The light ash is dense and firm. This is a mild cigar, smooth but mild. It lacks some evolution. The smoke time is almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s too mild for me but if you’re into mild cigars this is a good choice.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Brick House, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Perla del Mar Maduro Toro

I got this 6 1/4×54 Toro named G from a Davidoff sales rep, since Davidoff distributes J.C. Newman cigars here in The Netherlands but except for the fact that it’s a Newman brand I knew nothing about the cigar so I went to the Newman website where no information on this cigar is to be found. Then I went to the dedicated Perla del Mar website and again, no information at all. It’s time for Newman to update their web appearance, their websites but also their social media.

 


The websites of the large online retailers gave me enough information though. This cigar is made in Esteli, at the Pensa factory owned by J.C. Newman and it’s the follow up on the Perla del Mar Connecticut Shade cigar that’s been available for a while. The brand is an old Cuban brand and refers to “the pearl of the ocean” which was once Cuba’s nickname. The filler and binder are Nicaraguan wrapped in a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and the cigar has a pretty good price point of less than 7 dollar.

 


When I remove the cellophane I see a beautiful, box pressed, dark cigar that reminds me of a candy bar. Dark chocolate color, slightly dull with a beautiful ring, blue gold and white with an image of an old ship and golden letters on a blue banner. The secondary ring is in the same style and coloring. The cigar feels a little squishy and under packed but the shape is great and the triple cap is very nice. The aroma is strong and a mildly acidic hay and straw smell with some pepper.

 


I punched the cigar for a change. The cold draw is good and peppery. After lighting I taste spicy and peppery coffee. After half an inch I taste some dark chocolate with cedar with some green herbs. After a third I taste the same but now with a mild salt and a growing pepper. Halfway I taste a mild cedar with cocoa and a lot of pepper.

 


The draw is great. The light gray ash is dense, firm and has nice rings. The smoke is white, full and thick. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar lacks a little evolution. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not mind smoking them more often.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA, Perla del Mar | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

El Baton Double Torpedo

So, as you probably know, I used to be a cigar sales rep but i no longer do that kind of work. I still have my contacts though and one of them, a sales rep for Davidoff, reached out to me recently. Davidoff also sells J.C. Newman cigars here and he visited them in Tampa, brought some cigars and asked me if I was willing to write a review. It won’t surprise you much that I said yes, so he came by and dropped of four cigars, of which this is the first one.


El Baton is an old brand, it was founded in 1914, made out of Cuban tobacco with a price tag of a nickel. Then the brand disappeared but it returned to the market in 2010 as a Nicaraguan puro made by J.C. Newman in their Puros de Esteli Nicaragua SA aka Pensa, factory in Esteli.


When I take the 6 1/4×56 cigar out of the cellophane, something that J.C. Newman introduced and is now an industry standard, I notice how dark the Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper is, it’s almost maduro and darker than the Double Toro which I will review later this year. The wrapper looks oily too and a few thin veins run over the upper part like scars on the face of a classic movie thug. The simple ring is classy, different shades of blue with silver colored lettering, just saying El Baton, on a high quality print. The construction feels good. Add a strong and dark stable aroma and I’m actually quite looking forward to light the cigar.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is easy and spicy. After lighting it’s clear coffee, earthy and strong, with a little spice, yet balanced. Soon after I taste coffee with cocoa and pepper. After an inch I taste some nuts too. After a third I taste salty peanuts with licorice and spices. Near the end I taste salt, pepper and a hint of flowers.


The draw is a little loose and at the start I had an uneven burn, after correcting the burn is good. The smoke is very thick, full and white. The firm ash is gray. This cigar is medium full bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? I think I’d like it better in a smaller ring.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, El Baton, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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