JC Newman

May 22, 2024

Room101 x Sir Louis Present Red Rocket



Matt Booth announces the launch of a limited-edition release called Room101 Red Rocket in collaboration with retail partner Sir Louis Cigars.

Matt Booth said, “Hunter and Matt at Sir Louis Cigars embody the very essence of brand partner that we work best with. They have always afforded our brand the highest levels of attention and I felt they would be a great place to delve further into partnership by taking things to the collaborative/co-branded stage of the relationship.”

Made in “intimate quantities” according to Booth, and produced by William Ventura in Tamboril, DR, Room101 Red Rocket is “an earthy and girthy smoke offering deep bass notes with balance and sophistication. There’s a decent nicotine kick without being harsh or frontally aggressive. And it’s clean on the finish.”

The blend is made with a Mexican San Andres wrapper, an Indonesian binder and its filler consists of tobaccos from the USA, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic.

Sir Louis Cigars Proprietor Hunter Marosits noted, “This collaboration represents a convergence of weirdness...our unique approach to retail and the premium cigar lifestyle fits perfectly into the Room101 ethos. We are the freaks of the industry. This blend and packaging showcase our mission of total inclusion for all cigar enthusiasts worldwide.”

Room101 Red Rocket will be distributed through STG’s Forged Cigar Company and will also be sold through Sir Louis Cigars online and at their retail store in Wilbraham, MA where the company focuses on procuring an eclectic mix of premium cigars and accessories for their clients.

Room101 Red Rocket began shipping this week. The cigars are available in one size, a Toro format that comes in a ten-count box.

Room101 Red Rocket (6” x 52); SPR per cigar $13.99



May 21, 2024

Drew Estate Announces the Return of Liga Privada Unico “Year of the Rat” Spring Release

 

Kicking off its annual spring appearance with a fresh batch available on May 1, 2024, the Year of the Rat is celebrated for its rich tradition and deep connection to the story of the Florida Panthers' 1996 Stanley Cup Finals run. The Year of the Rat cigar commemorates the legendary “Rat Trick” performed by Scott Mellanby, which has become a symbol of good fortune and tenacity both on and off the ice, capturing the spirit of one of hockey's most memorable tales.

Jonathan Drew, Founder and President of Drew Estate, shares his thoughts: “The premium cigar industry has a culture of storytelling at the brand and personal level, but it should never override the fundamentals of quality, consistency, and flavor profile.” The Year of the Rat was blended in Nicaragua shortly after the release of the infamous Dirty Rat. This year’s Year of the Rat features a luxurious dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a flavorful Brazilian binder, and a robust blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. The cigars are meticulously crafted to a 5½ x 46 Corona Gorda size and are known for their distinct fantail head, making each smoke a unique experience. Each cigar is hand wrapped in gold foil and housed in beautifully embossed, blue 10-count Liga Privada Unico boxes. The new MSRP is set at $20.00 per stick and $200 per box.

The Liga Privada Unico Serie “Year of the Rat” will be available starting May 1, 2024, through Drew Diplomat Retailers. Due to its limited availability and high demand, enthusiasts are encouraged to visit their nearest qualifying retailer early to secure their share of this iconic release.




1,000 People Attended J.C. Newman’s Founder’s Day Celebration

Last Saturday, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. celebrated its 129th anniversary by welcoming more than 1,000 visitors to its historic El Reloj cigar factory for its annual Founder’s Day festival. Visitors were able to explore J.C. Newman’s cigar museum, take a behind the scenes tour of the factory, and purchase 5-cent cigars. Exhibitors at the family-friendly festival included Hillsborough County government, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry, the Tampa Baseball Museum, and the Ybor Misfits Microsanctuary.



“We were blown away by the turnout on Saturday,” said fourth generation owner Drew Newman. “So many visitors shared that it was their first time visiting a cigar factory and they were excited to sese how cigars are rolled and learn about Tampa’s cigar heritage.”



A highlight of the day was the inaugural Cuban Sandwich Eating Challenge. Modeled after Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition in Coney Island on July 4, world champion competitive eaters Miki Sudo and Nick Wehry competed against Drew Garabo of 102.5 The Bone to see who can eat the most Cuban Sandwiches in 8 minutes. Wehry won the competition by eating 22 6-inch Cuban sandwiches in 8 minutes.





“There is no better way to celebrate Tampa’s historic cigar tradition than with a cigar and a Cuban sandwich, the traditional lunch of Tampa’s cigar workers,” said fourth generation owner Drew Newman. “A century ago, Tampa’s Ybor City cigar district was a wonderful mixture of languages, cultures, religions, and foods of immigrants from Spain, Cuba, Italy, Germany, and who built Tampa’s famous cigar industry in the 1880s. The Cuban sandwich literally represents the diversity of our community. The Spaniards brought the ham. The Cubans added the pork. The Italians introduced the salami. The Germans included the Swiss cheese and pickles. All of these ingredients are pressed together just like the melting pot that is Ybor City.”



Founded in May 1895, J.C. Newman is the oldest family-owned cigar company in the United States. Its historic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa is the last traditional cigar factory in the United States. Inside El Reloj, J.C. Newman handcrafts 60,000 cigars per day the same way that it did 100 years ago. In celebration of its 125th anniversary in 2020, the Newman family restored its El Reloj factory and invited the public to visit its cigar museum, tour the factory, take a cigar-rolling class, or attend an event.



“Today, we proudly roll cigars just like my great-grandfather did a century ago,” said Newman. “Our one and only goal is to hand craft cigars the same way for another four generations and 129 years. My family and I grateful to everyone who joined us at Founder’s Day this year, and we look forward to an even bigger and better celebration next year for our company’s 130th anniversary!”



May 20, 2024

Sancho Panza Extra Chido Robusto (5 x 50)





Video review HERE.


(Description provided by General Cigar)

Matt Booth and Justin Andrews are at it again. The dynamic duo have developed their second collaboration for Sancho Panza. Called Sancho Panza Extra Chido, the new, three-cigar, full-time collection marks the first time a Sancho Panza blend has been made in the Dominican Republic.

“I'm stoked to be collaborating with Justin again on this extension to the Sancho Panza product saga. It is an honor to contribute my part to such a classic brand. More to come…,” said Matt Booth. 

Three-country, six-leaf blend delivers a rich, medium-plus smoking experience peppered with subtle spice and transitions smoothly throughout. This is realized through an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and a foundation of multi-priming tobaccos including Nicaraguan ASP and tercio-aged Dominican Piloto.

Sancho Panza Extra Chido is handmade in Santiago, DR at General Cigar Dominicana and debuts with three sizes that each come in 20-count boxes.

Sancho Panza Extra Chido Robusto (5” x 50); SRP per cigar $8.79 REVIEWED TODAY

Sancho Panza Extra Chido Toro (6” x 52); SRP per cigar $9.49

Sancho Panza Extra Chido Gigante (6” x 60); SRP per cigar $9.99


The cigar is medium brown and has an average to light feel in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were lemon, cherry, brown sugar, cinnamon, and leathery black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 8 to 8 1/2. A fantastic start.



At the first third (20 minutes) the flavors have gotten more intense. The same notes are in play and the cigar is very sweet. The leathery black coffee makes a very good base. It's there and it serves it's purpose but it's not in the way. The cigar is very peppery. The cigar has richness too. There seems to be an element of toffee in the brown sugar. Again, the cigar is very sweet. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish has light hints of lemon and toffee with very good lingering black pepper. I rated the first third 95.




Moving through the second third (45 minutes) the leathery black coffee has risen. Not to an extreme amount but it was noticeable. It did not hurt the cigar much because it's still quite sweet. The same notes are in play but there's more leathery coffee. The cigar is still medium bodied but it is moving up. The finish is unchanged. I rated the second third 94.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 4 minutes. The cigar not only bounced back but it actually got the best it's been so far. The sweet notes are exploding. The cigar is medium to full bodied and it's pushing full bodied. The finish is unchanged. This is a fantastic cigar. Justin Andrews and Matt Booth did a great job with this cigar. The price point is fantastic too. Put this one one your must-try list. I rated the final third 96.




Overall Score: 95

May 19, 2024

Foundation Cigars Wiseman Maduro Toro (2024) (6 x 52)

 





Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Halfwheel.com website)

Foundation Cigar Co. has announced that it is discontinuing its El Güegüense and original The Wise Man Maduro blends, the first two regular production lines the company introduced, and is replacing them with two new blends. These moves are part of a larger shift from the company which has ended its relationship with the Aganorsa factory in Estelí, formerly known as Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A., i.e. TABSA—and has started a new one with the García family’s My Father Cigars S.A. factory.

According to a report from Cigar Aficionado, the company is introducing the Wise Man Corojo and a new Wise Man Maduro, both of which will be made by My Father. 

Today we look at the maduro toro version.

The Wise Man Corojo uses a corojo-seed wrapper from Nicaragua, while the Maduro uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper. Underneath, both cigars use tobaccos from Nicaragua: binders from Estelí and Jalapa, while the fillers come from Condega, Estelí and Jalapa. Each will be offered in the same four sizes:

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Corona (5 x 48) — $10.50 (Box of 20, $210)

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) — $11.50 (Box of 20, $230)

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Toro (6 x 52) — $12.50 (Box of 20, $250) REVIEWED TODAY

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Double Corona (7 x 54) — $13.50 (Box of 20, $270)

“We are excited to introduce the new Wise Man Corojo and Wise Man Maduro to our lineup,” said Nicholas Melillo, owner of Foundation, in a press release. “Working with Pepín García and his family has been a dream come true, and we believe that cigar enthusiasts will appreciate the craftsmanship and flavor profiles of these new offerings.”


The cigar is well made and a medium brown in color. It has an average feel in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were odd, to say the least; citrus peel, brown sugar, chocolate, and leather. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. Not a great start but hopefully it will develop some nice notes.



At the first third (28 minutes) there are a lot of dark chocolate notes with quite a bit of leather, citrus peel, and decreased brown sugar. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is chocolate and leather with very good lingering black pepper. The notes don't work very well together. Dark chocolate and leather do not make a great flavor. Combine those with citrus peel and light brown sugar and it doesn't get a lot better. I found the cigar to be ok, at best. I rated the first third 91.




Moving through the second third (1 hour 3 minutes) the cigar has improved. There is much less citrus peel. The brown sugar has increased. Primarily there is dark chocolate with decreased leather and now there is black coffee in the mix. The cigar is full bodied. The finish is leathery black coffee with very good lingering black pepper. With the decreased citrus peel and leather the cigar improved. I rated the second third 93.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 31 minutes. A better burn time than the corojo version. The cigar continued to improved in the final third. The primary notes now are dark chocolate, brown sugar, and black coffee. The cigar is full bodied. The finish is black coffee and very good lingering black pepper. The cigar is now more in line with a "normal" dark chocolate cigar. It's the best it's been. I rated the final third 94. That's a huge change from the first third. A cigar should not progress in this way. It should "hook" you at light up. This one did the very opposite. The final third was the best. In the end this wasn't too bad. It just takes a while to get there.




Overall Score: 92.67

May 18, 2024

Foundation Cigars Wiseman Corojo Toro (2024) (6 x 52)





Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Halfwheel.com website)

Foundation Cigar Co. has announced that it is discontinuing its El Güegüense and original The Wise Man Maduro blends, the first two regular production lines the company introduced, and is replacing them with two new blends. These moves are part of a larger shift from the company which has ended its relationship with the Aganorsa factory in Estelí, formerly known as Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A., i.e. TABSA—and has started a new one with the García family’s My Father Cigars S.A. factory.

According to a report from Cigar Aficionado, the company is introducing the Wise Man Corojo and a new Wise Man Maduro, both of which will be made by My Father. 

Today we look at the corojo toro version.

The Wise Man Corojo uses a corojo-seed wrapper from Nicaragua, while the Maduro uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper. Underneath, both cigars use tobaccos from Nicaragua: binders from Estelí and Jalapa, while the fillers come from Condega, Estelí and Jalapa. Each will be offered in the same four sizes:

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Corona (5 x 48) — $10.50 (Box of 20, $210)

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) — $11.50 (Box of 20, $230)

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Toro (6 x 52) — $12.50 (Box of 20, $250) REVIEWED TODAY

Wise Man Corojo / Maduro Double Corona (7 x 54) — $13.50 (Box of 20, $270)

“We are excited to introduce the new Wise Man Corojo and Wise Man Maduro to our lineup,” said Nicholas Melillo, owner of Foundation, in a press release. “Working with Pepín García and his family has been a dream come true, and we believe that cigar enthusiasts will appreciate the craftsmanship and flavor profiles of these new offerings.”


The cigar is well made and a medium brown in color. It has an average feel in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was good with a touch of firmness. The initial flavors at light up were apple, citrus peel, brown sugar, cinnamon, and leathery black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. Pretty good start.



At the first third (25 minutes) the flavors were pretty much the same as the light up. The apple, citrus peel, and brown sugar are coming through fairly well but then you are hit with a massive amount of leathery black coffee. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is leather with good lingering black pepper. I rated the first third 92.




As I moved through the second third (56 minutes) the leathery black coffee has risen even more. I had a little citrus peel and brown sugar and a tremendous amount of leathery black coffee. The finish is leathery black coffee with very good lingering black pepper. The cigar is still medium bodied. For me, there's a little too much leathery black coffee and not enough sweetness. I rated the second third 89.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 15 minutes. In the final third the leathery black coffee pulled back. The notes now are citrus, brown sugar, light cinnamon, and leathery black coffee. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. The cigar got back to the enjoyment of the first third so I rated the final third 92. This is a pretty good cigar but it gets a little heavy on leathery black coffee in the middle section.




Overall Score: 91

May 17, 2024

Drew Estate Expands Liga Privada 10 Selección de Mercado with new “Corona Viva" Size for International Markets



The Corona Viva (6 x 46/152.4mm x 18.26mm) joins the existing Toro and Robusto sizes and will only be available in international markets. This magnificent new expression will debut at the UK’s IGNITE2024 Trade Show hosted by the Association of Independent Tobacco Specialists (AITS) from May 17-19, 2024. ​

​​Maintaining the celebrated blend of the Liga Privada 10 Selección de Mercado, the Corona Viva features a luxurious composition that has garnered worldwide acclaim as its size accentuates the unique profile of this exclusive wrapper. ​ Jonathan Drew, Founder and President of Drew Estate, expresses his enthusiasm: “The Corona Viva has a legacy all its own, defined by an intensity originally debuted with the Undercrown brand. Later we expanded that blend philosophy to the Liga No.9 and T52. Now, we bring the Viva to power pack Liga Privada’s 10th Anniversary … it’s layer upon layer of deeply aged leaf … a bold Liga 10 Anny, aggressive yet balanced.” ​

​​The Corona Viva will be available in 10-count boxes, tailored exclusively for the international market.

J.C. Newman’s Founder's Day features Cuban Sandwich Eating Challenge



WHAT: Cuban Sandwich Eating Challenge and J.C. Newman’s Founder's Day

WHEN: Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: J.C. Newman Cigar Co., 2701 N. 16th Street, Tampa, FL 33605

WHO: World Champion Competitive Eaters Miki Sudo and Nick Wehry, and the Newman Family              

Tomorrow, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. will celebrate its 129th anniversary by hosting its annual free Founder’s Day festival from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The highlight of the day will be the Cuban Sandwich Eating Challenge at 1:00 p.m. Modeled after Nathan’s Famous annual Hot Dog Eating Competition in Coney Island on July 4, world champion competitive eaters Miki Sudo and Nick Wehry will compete against Drew Garabo of 102.5 The Bone and enthusiastic J.C. Newman employees to see who can eat the most Cuban Sandwiches in 8 minutes.

 “There is no better way to celebrate Tampa’s historic cigar tradition than with a cigar and a Cuban sandwich, the traditional lunch of Tampa’s cigar workers,” said fourth generation owner Drew Newman. “A century ago, Tampa’s Ybor City cigar district was a wonderful melting pot of languages, cultures, religions, and foods that immigrants from Spain, Cuba, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere brought to Tampa when they built its famous cigar industry in the 1880s. The Cuban sandwich literally represents the diversity of our community. The Spaniards brought the ham. The Cubans added the pork. The Italians introduced the salami. The Germans included the Swiss cheese and pickles. All of these ingredients are pressed together just like the melting pot that is Ybor City.”

 Founded in May 1895, J.C. Newman is the oldest family-owned cigar company in the United States. It’s historic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa is the last traditional cigar factory still operating not only in Tampa but is the last traditional cigar factory in the United States. Inside El Reloj, J.C. Newman handcrafts 60,000 cigars per day the same way that it did 100 years ago. In celebration of its 125th anniversary in 2020, the Newman family restored its El Reloj factory and invited the public to visit its cigar museum, tour the factory, take a cigar-rolling class, or attend an event – all in an effort to keep Tampa’s historic cigar tradition alive and preserve it for future generations.



May 16, 2024

CITY CIGAR LOUNGE CELEBRATES 4-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH BURLESQUE INSPIRED EVENT!



City Cigar Lounge, a premium cigar bar in Downtown Miami, FL. will celebrate its 4-year anniversary with a burlesque inspired event featuring specialty entertainment, welcome cocktail, lite bites, and music. Event to take place on Thursday May 30th, at 7:00PM. City Cigar Lounge is located at 41 NW 2nd St, Miami, FL 33128.

The 4-year Anniversary extravaganza celebrates a milestone but will also double as a “thank you” to those patrons who have been supportive of City Cigar Lounge since opening its doors. City Cigar lounge opened 5 weeks before the COVID pandemic. Thankfully, because of a solid customer base City Cigar Lounge didn’t just survive but thrived.

Tico Gutierrez, co-owner, and founder of City Cigar Lounge stated: “We at City Cigar Lounge are looking forward to a grand celebration with our friends, customers, and colleagues. Here at the City Cigar Lounge we believe very much in the customer experience, and we will provide a most memorable event this coming May 30th.

City Cigar Lounge will make future announcements about upcoming new locations. City Cigar Lounge plans an aggressive expansion throughout the city of Miami. Stay tuned!


Coming soon:

City Cigar by the Bay 3387 Pan American Dr Regatta Harbor Coconut Grove

City Cigar Lounge Homestead Hotel Redlands 5 S Flagler Ave Homestead

City Cigar Sports Bar 8525 Mills Dr Unit 305 The Palms at Town & Country

May 14, 2024

Gellis Family Cigars Marevas (5 1/8 x 43)





Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Halfwheel.com website)

A year ago, Kyle Gellis, the founder of Warped, began posting about a new brand on social media: Gellis Cigars. A year later, that project is now in stores, albeit with a slightly different name.

The name is now Gellis Family Cigars, though the concept appears to be quite similar: a brand from the Warped founder that isn’t branded as Warped. The first cigars from Gellis Family Cigars began shipping to stores last month: Marevas, which is debuting in a single 5 1/8 x 43 size. The company declined to talk blend details to halfwheel, though DROP Cigar Club—a retail store and membership club operated by Kyle Gellis—lists the blend as a habano 2000 rosada wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

Marevas has an MSRP of $11 per cigar and is sold in boxes of 25. It is a regular production item.


The cigar is rather thin and well made. The foot is closed. It has an average feel in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was good considering it has a closed foot The initial flavors at light up were apple, brown sugar, cinnamon, a dash of citrus peel, and black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. Pretty good start.



At the first third (22 minutes) I had pretty much the same notes but the black coffee has risen quite a bit. It's hurting the nice sweet notes. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is black coffee and good lingering black pepper. The cigar has lost ground since the light up. I would have rated the light up 94 but here at the first third I rated it 92.




Moving through the second third (40 minutes) the black pepper has hit warp speed. I still had most of the sweet notes and now there's some roasted pecan but the black coffee overshadows those. The cigar is now medium to full bodied. The finish is still black coffee but the lingering black pepper is now very good. There's too much black coffee at this point. I rated the second third 87.




The cigar lasted 59 minutes. In what could only be described as a spectacular turn-around the cigar got back those nice apple, brown sugar, and cinnamon notes, plus the roasted pecans are still there. But the black coffee pulled way back. The notes got back to the way they were in the first third. The cigar is medium to full bodied and the finish is unchanged. I like the turn-around and rated the final third 92. The second third did no justice to this cigar but that's the way it was blended.




Overall Score: 90.33

May 12, 2024

Rojas Street Tacos Cinco de Mayo (6 x 50 toro)





Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Halfwheel.com website)

Rojas Cigars has released a new addition to the company’s Street Tacos line made to commemorate the popular Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo.

The Rojas Street Tacos Cinco de Mayo is a 6 x 50 toro made up of an Ecuadorian habano wrapper covering a Mexican San Andrés binder and a filler blend of tobaccos from Nicaragua and the U.S. Each cigar will have an MSRP of $12 and they will be packaged in 20-count boxes with a total production of only 35,000 cigars.

According to Noel Rojas, founder of Rojas Cigars, this is the first in an annual series that will be released to commemorate the Cinco de Mayo holiday, though the plan is to change the blend for each year. The cigars are being made at the Rojas Cigar Factory in Nicaragua.

Rojas debuted the Street Tacos line in March 2021, and a number of variations have been added since then, including Street Tacos Carnitas and Breakfast Tacos. The blends get their name from a meat preparation that traces its roots to the Caribbean and Mexico, and in particular, sheep and goats cooked over an open fire or via an in-ground oven.

This is not the first time that Rojas has released a cigar to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo holiday: the company teamed up with United Cigars to release the Elote Firecracker last year.


The cigar looks nice with the colorful band. It has a nice feel in the hand.



The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were lime, brown sugar, and earthy black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. Not a bad start.



At the first third (22 minutes) the ash was still intact. This cigar has a lot of earthy black coffee. The lime and brown sugar are ok but they aren't wowing me. The finish is lime and black coffee with good lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied. The notes are ok but not great. I rated the first third 92.




Moving through the second third (1 hour) the earthy black coffee is rising. There is still lime with light brown sugar. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is black coffee and very good lingering black pepper. The cigar is slipping away. I rated the second third 90.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 20 minutes. The cigar kept going the same way. The earthy black coffee continued to rise. There is light lime and faint brown sugar. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. I had high hopes for this cigar as most Rojas cigars have done well with me. But this one is just ok. I rated the final third 88. Maybe next year's version will be better.




Overall Score: 90