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Stogie Commentary: The Cigar Smokers’ Friend

23 Dec 2009

This is the time of year for looking back. Lists of the best this or that, the top whatever, or the biggest disappointments are everywhere. For cigars, that usually means compilations of the premier smokes and new releases. I can’t even begin to compile something like that. There are just too many cigars I haven’t seen, much less smoked, to make my opinions worthwhile.

brickhouseBut I’ve been so impressed by the actions of one industry leader that I feel compelled to bestow at least my own recognition. So, I’m creating the Cigar Smokers’ Friend award and bestowing the first one to the J.C. Newman Cigar Co. for its release of more high-quality cigars at a reasonable price. The Brick House line follows the late 2008 shipment of its well-received El Baton.

Many cigar blenders and manufacturers create excellent sticks that tip the scales at $9 or more. Putting consistently good cigars on the shelf in the $5 to $6 range–some even less– s quite a trick. Newman’s performance with these two lines qualifies as near magic.

Though it’s among the oldest U.S. cigar companies, J.C. Newman rarely gets the attention of, say, Fuente, its business partner. With brands like Cuesta-Rey and Diamond Crown, Newman has long had a reputation for producing high-quality smokes on the lighter side of the scale. Perhaps its most public venture of late has been the creation of snazzy Diamond Crown lounges at smoke shops throughout the country.

el_batonWith El Baton and Brick House, both names restructured from years ago, Newman has moved to both Nicaraguan tobacco and stronger blends. I’ve smoked quite a few El Batons and did a positive Quick Smoke earlier this year. I’ve only had a couple from the Brick House line since its recent introduction. It is another fine cigar, perhaps a shade lighter than El Baton, but its equal in quality construction, burn, and flavor.

Newman also moved from its traditional producer, Fuente, for these cigars, and created separate websites for each (ElBaton.com and BrickHouseCigars.com).

While the company’s response to smokers’ desire for a stronger cigar isn’t unusual, I think the way Newman went about it is. For starters, the cigars aren’t simply strong; they’re anything but nicotine bombs. They can be enjoyed by a wide variety of smokers.

Then there’s the price. With a struggling economy and many people having to watch their money, that’s nothing to ignore. By bringing out two lines at reasonable prices, Newman has shown respect and concern for customers.

And that’s why I say J.C. Newman is the Cigar Smokers’ Friend.

George E

photo credit: JNewmanOTB

Drew Estate

5 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: The Cigar Smokers’ Friend”

  1. Doctorossi Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    I'm so pleased that you're highlighting J. C. Newman's impressive efforts this year! I've noticed their excellence, as well, and feared it would continue to fly under the radar of recognition. One of my very favorite new cigars this year is the San Cristobal Lancero, which I desperately hope will become a regular-production item with a quickness.

  2. dmjones Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 8:19 am #

    I agree that Newman has done a great job in creating these two cigars and providing us with great quality smokes at a reasonable price. The surprising thing is that it is such a departure form their company norm: the Diamond Crown cigars are truly great smokes, but far from worth the asking price; and the Diamond Crown lounges, while very nice, are bastions of the exclusive and well-to-do because of their prohibitive membership and cigar prices.

    I would love to see the attitude exemplified by Newman in El Baton and Brick House work its way into some of the other areas of the company: Diamond Crown cigar price reductions would be a great first step.

  3. Keith1911 Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    I agree with you George. I think they did a great job with these smokes, especially the BrickHouse.

  4. Matthew Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Excellent commentary George; when I smoked the BH I couldn't believe it was a $5 stick. Newman has done an exceptional job at allowing us to enjoy quality cigars with great flavor at an even better price. I haven't tried the EB but plan to after enjoying the BH so much. You couldn't have made a better choice for the inaugural award. I second it!

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