September 23, 2022

STG Rolls Out Buffalo Trace Special F Cigar

Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) announces the launch of “Buffalo Trace Special F,” a limited-edition cigar created in collaboration with famed whiskey maker Buffalo Trace. Named after the unique and difficult-to-craft figurado which is a more pronounced version of the traditional torpedo, the new smoke features a binder aged in authentic Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels from the brand’s Kentucky distillery.

Handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, Buffalo Trace Special F features a rich Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, a blend made with Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco and a Brazilian Arapiraca binder that has undergone a full six months of aging in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. The barrel-aging process adds a notable complexity, subtle sweetness and a rich, oaky nuance to the blend, while the overarching smoking experience is dimensional and layered with spicy notes.

Kevin Irvine, product coordinator of STG’s Online and Retail division said, “With Buffalo Trace Special F, we set out to explore the effect that extended barrel aging would have on the binder leaf and are extremely pleased with the results. The brown sugar and toffee nuances that have won Buffalo Trace Bourbon critical acclaim are present in the cigar, in the most subtle and intriguing of ways. This is an amazing cigar and we believe it will sell out quickly.”

Buffalo Trace Special F is being released exclusively in a 6” x 60 figurado for a suggested retail price of $11.00 per cigar. The limited-edition frontmark is being sold through Cigars International online, in Cigars International retail stores and is being distributed nationally by Meier & Dutch Wholesale Cigar Distributors.

The original Buffalo Trace cigar which was introduced last year in three sizes continues to be a runaway success in all retail channels.

Aganorsa Leaf Adds New Vitola to JFR

For the first time in over half a decade, Aganorsa Leaf is adding a new size to the original JFR brand portfolio: Mi Favorito. Measuring 5 x 70 and featuring a thick pigtail, Mi Favorito will be crafted in both the Corojo and Maduro expressions of the blend.

“In a market that for many years now has been trending toward what’s new and flashy, JFR remains our most popular brand despite debuting nearly 20 years ago: a testament to the quality of the blend and the value it provides,” states Terence Reilly, Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “We felt a new size was long overdue and so we selected a squat, corpulent vitola that fits perfectly amongst the other sizes of the line.”

Packed in Boxes of 28, JFR Mi Favorito’s suggested retail price will be $8.30 (Corojo) and $8.70 (Maduro). Boxes will begin shipping to retailers in October.


Casa Cuevas Cigars announces that the official launch event for “Sangre Nueva” will take place at Empire Social Lounge Downtown Dadeland on Saturday October 1st at 7:30PM. Empire Social Lounge Downtown Dadeland is located at 8955 Dadeland Blvd D107, Miami, FL 33156. Luis Cuevas Jr. and son Alec Cuevas who blended the Sangre Nueva will be in attendance.

This is the first Casa Cuevas brand solely blended by Alec Cuevas who was recently promoted to Director of Brand Development. Master Blender Luis Cuevas Sr. felt it was time that his grandson Alec Cuevas take the lead on new brands and the aptly named Sangre Nueva (translates to New Blood from Spanish) is his first creation. Alec Cuevas, the 5th generation of the Cuevas tobacco family looked to create a blend that represents “old Traditions, new Generation”.  

Alec describes the Sangre Nueva as a Medium plus strength cigar that elegantly boasts rich, savory chocolate notes along with hints of pepper, earthy tones, and a tad bit of spice. The cigars feature an Ecuadorian Cameroon wrapper, and Honduran Corojo binder, and Dominican, Nicaraguan and Pennsylvania broadleaf filler. Alec estimated that he needed include a high percentage of Pennsylvania broadleaf in the filler. This gave the cigar extra strength while balancing out the cigar’s flavors.

Alec Cuevas stated: “The slogan “old traditions, new generation” signifies so much more to me than a passing of the family torch. It represents all the experiences I’ve ever been through in this industry, from working behind the counter selling my fellow manufacturer’s products, to spending my summers learning all there is to know about our factory from a very young age. Sangre Nueva is a personal love letter to my family, who placed their faith in me to create something from scratch given my knowledge of tobacco. It is also the culmination of patrons and distributors alike that took time out of their day to educate me and better help me define my palate throughout all these years. It’s been a blast creating such a savory blend, and I think it’s a perfect representation of the gratitude I have for this one-of-a-kind industry.”

September 22, 2022


La Gloria Cubana is set to release a cigar developed in collaboration with the family-owned El Titán de Bronze Cigar Factory.

Created to honor La Gloria’s roots in Miami’s Little Havana district, the limited-edition release called “Eighth Street” was developed in collaboration with Justin Andrews and blended by the team at El Titán de Bronze.

Justin Andrews said, “La Gloria Cubana Eighth Street is proudly made in the USA and honors the roots of this legendary brand. For this special project, we blended to a classic La Gloria profile which means the cigar has a lot of personality, is well-balanced through its many transitions and delivers a rich, long finish. This is an elegant and complex cigar that every fan of La Gloria Cubana will want to experience.”

Sandy Cobas, owner of El Titán de Bronze said, “La Gloria Cubana is one of Calle Ocho’s biggest success stories and it’s a brand my team and I have long admired. When we were approached about collaborating on this special project, we jumped at the chance. ‘Eighth Street’ is our way of paying tribute not only to La Gloria Cubana, but also to the Cuban expatriate cigar rollers who continue to practice their craft in Miami, keeping the traditions of their homeland alive.”

The full-bodied smoke is made with a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos and a Nicaraguan binder that are enrobed in a rich, Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. The cigar delivers a robust smoking experience, with notes of espresso, leather and spice.

La Gloria Cubana Eighth Street is crafted at the El Titan de Bronze factory on Calle Ocho (Eighth Street) in Miami’s Little Havana district. The cigars are presented in 10-count, wooden boxes and only 5,000 boxes have been made. This special release will ship to retailers on October 3rd and will be distributed by Forged Cigar Company.

La Gloria Cubana Eighth Street Toro (6” x 50); SRP per cigar $21.99

September 21, 2022


Cohiba® will release a second iteration of Weller by Cohiba. The limited-edition blend marks the first Cohiba blend to be made with bourbon barrel-aged tobacco.

Developed in partnership with Weller Bourbon, the 2022 Weller by Cohiba blend features a Connecticut-grown Broadleaf binder leaf that has been aged in authentic Weller Bourbon barrels transported from the famed Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY to General Cigar Dominicana in Santiago, DR where the cigars were crafted.

Dressed in a rich Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper which crowns the barrel-aged Connecticut-grown Broadleaf binder, the blend is made with hand-selected filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Esteli in Nicaragua and three Honduran growing regions including La Entrada, Jamastran and Olancho San Agustin.

Cohiba Brand Ambassador Sean Williams said, “For our second expression of Weller by Cohiba, we set out to deepen the connection between the cigar and the spirit, and we did this through our proprietary barrel aging process for tobacco. In allowing the binder leaf to age in bourbon barrels, we have added another dimension to the smoking experience which offers rich notes of cedar, honey and a subtle spice that come to life on the palate and in the aroma. This blend is exceptional.” Weller by Cohiba was blended to complement Weller Bourbon, a rare and highly-coveted wheated bourbon prized by connoisseurs for its sophisticated, moderately sweet taste and intensely smooth finish. The blend also makes for a sophisticated pairing with any bourbon or aged brown spirit and smokes elegantly on its own.

To be released in one size, a 6” x 50 Toro featuring Cohiba and Weller Bourbon branding elements and presented in a handsome aluminum tube, Weller by Cohiba will sell for a suggested retail price of $24.99 per cigar or $249.99 for a box containing ten cigars. This special release will be available through fine cigar shops across the U.S. following its ship date of September 23.

September 20, 2022

Freestyle Live Mystery Cigar; 9/28/22 (6 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description provided by Drew Estate)

During its Sept. 28 “Freestyle Live: Special Edition” broadcast, Drew Estate will unveil an entirely new premium cigar brand … and the company is giving consumers the ability to experience it prior to its formal launch in the upcoming Freestyle Live Event Pack. The packs will be available at participating retailers nationwide beginning on Aug 18.

Drew Estate has prepared a total of 10,000 Freestyle Live Event Packs, which will have an MSRP of $39.99. Every Freestyle Live Event Pack will include three of the new premium cigars without any brand identification on them, a Freestyle Live 3-cigar case, a Freestyle Live cutter with cigar rest and a Freestyle Live flask. Additionally, each Freestyle Live Event Pack will include a Freestyle Live badge with a QR code, which purchasers may use to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win incredible prizes! The grand prize is a 2022 black Dodge Charger, valued at $32,000. Second prize is a Gibson Les Paul Dark Limited guitar, valued at $1,600. A total of 25 sweepstakes entrants will win the third-place prize of a pewter ashtray designed by Subculture Studios, valued at $100 each.*

Freestyle Live Event Pack participating retailers can win a prize too!!! All retailers who sell Freestyle Live Event Packs are automatically entered for a chance to win one of three prizes. The grand prize consists of $5,000 in Drew Estate credit and a Drew Estate Barrel Bar; the second-place prize for retailers is $2,500 in Drew Estate credit and a Drew Estate Barrel Bar; and the third-place prize is $1,000 in Drew Estate credit and one Mega standing ashtray.**

“Dodge Chargers, Gibson Les Pauls, Barrel Bars … oh my” exclaims Jonathan Drew, company Founder and President with a big smile from his Sag Harbor, NY, home. “While all the prizes are definitely dope, the big news is in the new brand release. It’s just a different level of mega-excitement when we drop a completely new brand on the Freestyle. It’s not a new line extension or something that already exists in the DE brand portfolio, my dudes and dudettes … it’s something meatier. This brand is going to change the world. Mark my words.”

The cigar is dark and nicely looking. It has a nice 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 citrus, cedar, citrus peel, brown sugar, chewy nutmeg, leather, and a little black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. The sweet notes are nice and the leather is at a good amount. Nice start.

At the first third (28 minutes) the ash was still intact. Being more specific in the flavors I now had tangerine, citrus peel, brown sugar, nutmeg, moderate leather, and a touch of black coffee at the base. The finish is leather with hints of tangerine and good lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied. The flavors are very nice when you expel them. Very tasty. I rated the first third 95.

As I moved through the second third (55 minutes) the citrus peel made a big move up. The leather and black coffee also moved up a little. The tangerine notes are still there but they are equaled or slightly surpassed by the citrus peel. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish has a little more tangerine with leather and good lingering black pepper. I rated the second third 93.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 22 minutes. There was some improvement in the final third. The citrus peel backed down and it's hardly there. Now I have tangerine and cedar. The leather and black coffee also backed down to the level in the first third. The finish is unchanged. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The final third got close to the first third. I rated the final third 94. Whatever this cigar is it's very good. Be sure to give it a try.

Overall Score: 94

Sancho Panza Double Maduro Robusto (5 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(Description provided by General Cigar)

The entire Sancho Panza line has been modernized and the brand’s three updated collections have begun shipping this week.

Matt Wilson, senior brand manager of Sancho Panza said, “Sancho Panza has always been a dependable, tried and true smoke, where the first puff is the same as the last. Cigar culture has evolved and so has the desire for dimensional smoking experiences that deliver a multitude of experiences in one cigar. With this in mind, we tapped the creative juggernaut known as Matt Booth to collaborate on the Sancho blends, and the look and feel of the brand. With Sancho, it is as important to us to respect the traditionalist as it is to embrace the modern smoker, and we feel we’ve ticked the boxes for both.”

Matt Booth, Justin Andrews and the HATSA blending team built three distinct Sancho blends, each unified by a bedrock of stellar blend composition and backed by an aesthetic personality to capture the smoker’s attention.

Matt Booth said, “The re-launch of Sancho Panza marks an exciting turning point for this iconic brand. By elevating brand aesthetics, investing ourselves into the realization of intelligent blend expressions and putting the force of our ground pounders behind this brand in the streets, we are taking Sancho Panza to a new lifespan and beyond. I am extremely proud of the work that the entire team has done to bring these new expressions to life. And I look forward to witnessing the brand’s newfound potential.”

Each Sancho Panza blend is medium to medium-full in body and delivers layers of complexity that are apparent from the first puff to the last. All cigars are presented in 20-count wooden boxes emblazoned with the new Sancho Panza logo that was created by Booth to give a nod to the Latin culture and vibe of West LA (CA).

Sancho Panza Double Maduro is a hearty smoke made with a sungrown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper that sits over a Nicaraguan Esteli binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos chosen from a range of growing regions and primings. This blend expertly balances strength and complexity, opening with notes of espresso and progressing to decadent hints of dark chocolate. Sancho Panza Double Maduro is a medium to medium-plus smoke.

Sancho Panza Double Maduro Robusto (5” x 50); SRP per cigar $7.49 REVIEWED TODAY

Sancho Panza Double Maduro Toro (6” x 52); SRP per cigar $8.49

Sancho Panza Double Maduro Gigante (6” x 60); SRP per cigar $9.49

The cigar is very dark and has an average feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The caps on these cigars come off when you cut them. It happened on all the samples I had. The initial flavors at light up were a little citrus and more peach, a little citrus peel, brown sugar, roasted almonds, and earthy black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 7. Nice start but not much in the way of double maduro flavors.

At the first third (29 minutes) the notes were citrus, peach, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, and earthy black coffee. The sweeter notes make a liqueur like flavor. It's very nice and rich. The finish is primarily peach with a little brown sugar with average to good lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied. The notes at this point are great. Very rich and sweet. I rated the first third 94.

Moving through the second third (54 minutes) the black coffee dramatically increased and it's quite earthy. There are dry cocoa notes also. There are only hints of peach and brown sugar. The finish still has peach and black coffee with very good lingering black pepper. It's almost like 2 different cigars. The first third was great but all those rich, sweet notes have disappeared. Quite a change. I rated the second third 87.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 13 minutes. The cigar boiled down to dry cocoa and earthy black coffee. That's it. Even the finish was dry cocoa and black coffee. The lingering black pepper was very good. The cigar is medium to full bodied. This cigar represents one of the biggest changes I've seen. I rated the final third 80. The first third was great. After's downhill.

Overall Score: 87

September 18, 2022

Macanudo Inspirado Jamao Toro (5.75” x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description provided by General Cigar)

The second limited-edition blend of Macanudo Inspirado has been released. Called “Jamao” the new expression gets its name from a proprietary wrapper grown on a network of fincas in the Northwestern Dominican Republic. 

Macanudo’s team of agronomists has been experimenting with tobacco cultivation and seed acclimation in Mao, D.R. for decades. There, in the Cibao Valley, the agronomists also work with a collective of independent local growers to cultivate and cure experimental tobaccos. With Macanudo Inspirado Jamao, one such sungrown tobacco is being brought to life as a wrapper. 

“For this limited edition expression of Macanudo Inspirado, we acclimated a Habano seed varietal from Jamastran, Honduras to Mao, DR and ultimately produced a beautiful wrapper. To honor the many people who worked hard to produce this wrapper for the first time, we named the release ‘Jamao’ which represents the blending of Jamastran and Mao,” said Jhonys Diaz, General Cigar’s senior vice president of leaf operations. 

The wrapper was selected as the most prominent aspect of the blend’s profile. A masterful composition of tobaccos that includes a Honduran binder and fillers from Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic together enhance the wrapper to create a medium-bodied smoking experience that is rich, creamy and dimensional, with herbal, woody, and salty notes.

Handcrafted at General Cigar Dominicana in Santiago, DR, Macanudo Inspirado Jamao will ship to retailers in July. A total of 2,300 boxes, each containing 20 cigars, will be released exclusively in the U.S.

Macanudo Inspirado Jamao Toro (5.75” x 52); SRP per cigar $10.49 REVIEWED TODAY

Macanudo Inspirado Jamao Churchill (7” x 49); SRP per cigar $10.99

The cigar is a dark brown and has a nice 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 citrus, cedar, citrus peel, brown sugar, and light leather. The notes are light. There isn't a lot of them. The sweeter notes are the most prominent but they aren't blasting at you. The leather is quite light. There was black pepper rated at 7. I am hoping the notes develop much more.

At the first third (24 minutes) you basically have the same notes as the start but they are still light. I'd say the sweeter notes are even lighter than they were at the start. The cigar has some earthiness. The finish is light citrus and brown sugar with leather with good lingering black pepper. All the notes on the finish are also light. The cigar is medium bodied. I rated the first third 90. I could have it again but the notes need to increase.

Moving through the second third (51 minutes) the flavors have morphed into more of a peach but it's also very light, along with very light brown sugar. The leather has greatly increased along with the earthiness. The cigar now has light black coffee also. The cigar is still medium bodied. The finish has light peach and leather with average lingering black pepper. The lower level notes have increase and are pushing the sweeter notes aside. I rated the second third 86.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 11 minutes. I basically had no sweet notes. There was leather, increased black coffee, and earthiness. The finish is leather and good lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The cigar doesn't have much going for it at this point. I rated the final third 80. I'm not sure who this is blended toward but it wasn't me.

Overall Score: 85.33

September 17, 2022

Liga Privada Unico Year of the Tiger by Drew Estate (6 x 48)

Video review HERE.

(Description provided by Drew Estate)

To mark the upcoming Year of the Tiger, which begins with the Chinese New Year on Feb. 1, 2022, Drew Estate will release the limited-edition Liga Privada Unico Year of the Tiger cigar exclusively for CoH Cigars in Hong Kong.

The Liga Privada Unico Year of the Tiger (6" x 48) is made from a luscious Broadleaf capa from the Connecticut River Valley, a flavorful capote of Plantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina leaf and bold tripa tobaccos from Nicaragua. These dark air-cured tobaccos combine to create a dense, deeply textured and complex, but surprisingly smooth, cigar that invites cigar enthusiasts to journey through a range of intense flavor experiences that satisfy and linger on the palate, including robust earth and espresso notes.

“Tigers are brave and forceful ... the very symbol of power and command and they are usually associated in Chinese culture with emperors or kings,” says Jonathan Drew, Founder and President of Drew Estate. “To honor the Year of the Tiger, we created a cigar that is adventurous and ambitious, powerful and commanding. The taste both grabs your attention and demands your respect. All you Tiger Kings and Tiger Queens lurking in the concrete jungle, please take note ... you’re going to want to hunt down this special smoke!”

The limited-edition Liga Privada Unico Year of the Tiger will be sold exclusively through CoH Cigars in Hong Kong and is available in 8-count wooden boxes with an MSRP of $195 per box.

The cigar is dark and wrapped in gold foil. The main band has Year of the Tiger written and the band at the foot has Year of the Tiger 2022 and the Chinese symbol. The cigar has an average feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were a lemony citrus, brown sugar, nutmeg, and leather. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. The breakdown is around 65/35, sweet to dark notes. Pretty good start.

At the first third (31 minutes) the cigar had the lemony citrus, cedar, brown sugar, nutmeg, leather, and black coffee. There are more lower level notes. The finish is light brown sugar and leather with good lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied, leaning toward medium to full. The cigar lost a little of the high pitched sweetness from the lemon notes with the addition of cedar. I rated the first third 94.

Moving through the second third (52 minutes) the lemony citrus has toned down. There is more cedar and brown sugar. The leather has crept up. And there's nutmeg and black coffee. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. The cigar lost a step. It's still good but I rated the second third 93.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 4 minutes. The cigar's sweet notes had a slow fade. They slowly dropped as the cigar burned allowing the leather, nutmeg, and black coffee to "blossom". The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. I rated the final third 92. These are hard to get. If you've had the Year of the Rat, it's a better cigar. And you can actually find them.

Overall Score: 93

September 16, 2022


The classic Partagas lineup will welcome a new size this month, expanding the Partagas “yellow box” portfolio to a total of eleven frontmarks. 

The new Toro size will ship to all channels of retail on September 23 and will be packaged in a striking yellow tube. 

Matt Wilson, senior brand manager of Partagas said, “Partagas cigars are highly-rated and iconic. With the release of the ‘Toro” frontmark in a tubo, we are bringing another classic size into play and making it convenient for the Partagas fan to transport their favorite smoke wherever the road may take them.”

Partagas is crafted with a Cameroon wrapper, a Mexican San Andrés binder and Dominican and Mexican filler. The blend delivers a deeply-structured smoking experience brimming with notes of earth, wood, nuts and spice.

Partagas Toro (6” x 49)– SRP per cigar $10.49 (10 cigars per box)

J.C. Newman Celebrates Cigar Trophy Win!

Cigar Trophies are the only awards in the cigar industry voted on by cigar consumers.  This year, tens of thousands of cigar enthusiasts from around the world voted for their favorite cigars.  Last night, Cigar Journal magazine hosted its annual Cigar Trophy awards gala at the Intertabac Trade Fair in Dortmund, Germany. 

 “I am thrilled that The American won a Cigar Trophy for Best Cigar Brand and that our Diamond Crown MAXIMUS, Diamond Crown Julius Caeser, Cuesta-Rey Centenario, and Brick House Maduro brands were all selected as finalists,” said Drew Newman, fourth generation owner.  “As a family business, our cigars are very personal to us.  As we strive every day to handcraft the best cigars possible, it is both humbling and gratifying to receive this recognition.”

Bobby Newman (Best Brand Other Countries: The American), Angela Yue (Best Lounge: Grand Cathedral Cigars), and Carlos Fuente Jr. (Best Cigar Dom. Rep.: A. Fuente Don Carlos Presidente) posing with their 2022 Cigar Trophy Awards at InterTabac.

September 15, 2022

City of Tampa Dedicates Historical Marker at J.C. Newman

Today, officials from the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County gathered at J.C. Newman’s iconic El Reloj cigar factory to unveil and dedicate a new historical marker.  The marker recognizes the importance of El Reloj to Tampa’s cigar heritage and J.C. Newman’s 127-year legacy of handcrafting premium cigars.  Below is the text on the marker. 

 “El Reloj is a living history museum,” said Drew Newman, fourth-generation owner of J.C. Newman.  “Each day, we proudly handcraft 50,000 cigars the same way that my great-grandfather did 100 years ago.  Cigars are an important part of the cultural fabric of Tampa.  As the last-operating cigar factory in the ‘Cigar City,” we work very hard to keep Tampa’s historic cigar-making tradition alive.”

“Beginning in the 1970s, cigar factories across America began to close as companies moved production overseas where labor is cheaper,” added Newman.  “Two weeks ago, another cigar factory closed in Pennsylvania, meaning that El Reloj is not only the last cigar factory in Tampa but is now also the last traditional cigar factory still operating in the United States.”

 “My family and I greatly appreciate that the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County has recognized the significance of El Reloj and J.C. Newman to Tampa’s cigar heritage by placing this marker in front of our factory.”

At its peak in the early 1900s, Tampa had 150 cigar factories that rolled 500 million cigars by hand each year. Tampa was known as the “Fine Cigar Capital of the World.” El Reloj is one of Tampa’s most famous cigar factories.

 When it opened in 1910, El Reloj was reported to be the largest cigar factory in the world. It was designed for 1,000 cigar makers who could hand roll more than 250,000 cigars daily. Newspapers wrote that El Reloj “embodied every convenience [and] luxury known to modern commercial construction” and “represented the highest type of factory building.” 

 El Reloj is exemplary of the Tampa cigar factory, which was a brick building oriented from east to west with three stories, a basement, and a tower.

 Many Tampa cigar factories had nicknames. Because of its iconic clock tower, this factory is known as “El Reloj” or “clock” in Spanish. As few people owned clocks or watches a century ago, Ybor City residents used the bell from El Reloj’s tower to tell time.  El Reloj was built by E. Regensburg & Sons, which operated the factory until 1951. Julius C. Newman bought El Reloj in 1954 when he moved his cigar company from Cleveland to Tampa. Today, El Reloj is the last working cigar factory in Tampa.

 Born in Austria-Hungary in 1875, Julius C. (J.C.) Newman and his family came to the United States in 1888 in search of the American Dream. After they settled in Cleveland, Ohio, J.C.’s mother paid a small cigar factory $3 per month to teach her son the art of hand rolling cigars.

 Although J.C. became a superb cigar roller, he was laid off in a severe recession. Eager to help, J.C.’s mother persuaded the neighborhood grocery store to give her son an order for 500 cigars. J.C. made a cigar table from some old wood boards, borrowed $50 to buy tobacco, and converted the family barn into a one-man cigar factory. On May 5, 1895, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. was born.

 By 1910, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. was the largest cigar factory in Cleveland. In 1927, the company merged to become Mendelsohn & Newman Cigar Manufacturers, Inc. In 1953, J.C. sent his elder son, Stanford, to Tampa to investigate rolling cigars in “Cigar City.” By the next year, J.C. bought the El Reloj cigar factory and relocated his family business to Tampa.

 In 1997, Stanford changed the company’s name back to J.C. Newman Cigar Co. In celebration of its 125th anniversary in 2020, J.C. Newman restored El Reloj, the last working cigar factory in Tampa.