'Yagua' cigar review by Don José

Hey team, Don José here back with another review.

Today we have the


by J.C Newman

If this is your first time here, my reviews rate each cigar on 10 factors and each factor gets a rating out of 10 giving me an overall out of 100. The 10 factors are: Construction, Draw, Burn, Flavour, 1/3 overall, 2/3 overall, 3/3 overall, Journey (how well it flows), Complexity & Value for money.


I have been very excited about testing this stick out! This is a very rare cigar that I did not expect to see on NZ shores. Limited to 1000 boxes per release with this being only the second release to date!

let’s take a look at how this stick is put together.

Yagua takes its name from the Yagua palm leaf, rather than the indigenous people of Colombia or Peru (or their language.) and this stick is more than just a little different. Here's what J.C. Newman PENSA’s General Manager, Lazaro Lopez said about the release.

“At our family farm, my grandfather would take fresh tobacco leaves from the curing barns and roll cigars without any molds or presses. In an attempt to give his cigars a traditional shape, he would tie a handful of them together using pieces of the Cuban royal palm tree, known as the yagua. When he was ready to enjoy his personal cigars, he untied the bundle. He loved how every cigar had its own unique shape. I still remember the rich aroma and taste of my grandfather’s cigars. Today, I’ve recreated Yagua, rolling them exactly how my grandfather did a century ago.”

  • Brand: J.C. Newman

  • Size: Toro

  • Origin: Nicaragua

  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

  • Binder: Nicaragua

  • Filler: Nicaragua

The unique shape is definitely the first thing you notice when looking at this cigar, if you didn't know the reason you could be forgiven for thinking it was a dud.

The next thing that I noticed however was how rich the aroma is, it has a very strong, fresh, smell of tobacco and a strangely noticeable lack of cedar... makes sense. There is also hints of palm, which I debated whether I could actually smell for a few days before deciding that yes, it is real but I do wonder If I would have been able to place that without knowing the story behind the stick.

“Yagua is a difficult cigar to roll because we use an under fermented Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, blend the filler tobaccos differently, and do not use the usual tools and techniques of a cigar factory. As the wrapper is not fully fermented, we age the cigars for a full year after they are rolled.”


Ok, so now let's talk a little about the wrapper. Connecticut Broadleaf is grown in the open sunlight, mostly in the Connecticut River Valley. it grows as a short, bushy plant with very wide leaves, hence the name, and being grown fully exposed to the sun causes the leaf to grow thick and full of sugars. After curing they get very dark so it is among the prized wrapper leaves used to make many maduro cigars. The plants are stalk cut meaning the entire plant harvested at one time.

Ok, so let's get into the review.


Shape wise, it's obviously strange. There is a very noticeable indentation on this sample from where it was tight up against another stick and having the band on prior to shaping makes everything more obvious too. I won't take the shape into account on the scoring unless it effects the burn. Aside from the shape, the wrapper is dark and very toothy, almost sandpaper to touch. The stick is a little softer than most but with good consistency throughout.

Burn & Draw Outstanding! I was unsure if this stick was going to burn that well.. being the odd shape that it is, and also being fresh tobacco then aged once rolled, but it had an even burnline throughout, plenty of smoke on the draw and a nicely layered ash.

Flavour & Complexity In a word, delicious. This is a bold flavoured stick with plenty of spice. It progresses every third, getting stronger, bolder and more complex. Hints of leather, earth and cocao with a fresh grass undertone.

Strength 60% - Mid strength, full body.

Enjoyment / Journey It's always fun to smoke exciting new cigars, even more-so when they are actually good! As mentioned above the progression of this stick is second-to-none and it was a pleasure to smoke so top marks here.

Overall Not just a gimmick, this stick stands up. It's creative, interesting and most importantly a bloody great smoke. Traditionally I wouldn't have said I was a big fan of J.C Newman however their offerings of the past few years have all been a huge step up from the range that I would be making that claim off, so I'm excited to see that continue and I think the future offerings from them are very much ones to watch.

A look at the numbers.

Construction -- 9/10

Burn -- 9/10

Draw -- 9/10

Flavour -- 9/10

Complexity -- 9/10

First 1/3 -- 8/10

Second 1/3 -- 9/10

Third 1/3 -- 10/10

Journey -- 10/10

Value -- 9/10

I rate this cigar 91 points.

Unfortunately... at this stage you cannot buy them here... I would suggest that those who know, know just who they need to harass in order to get one ;)


Enjoy your read with a good cigar.