In 2005, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. celebrated its 110th anniversary by releasing a limited number of humidors filled with very unique cigars.
Each humidor contained 40 cigars—10 each of four different blends—all rolled in a double perfecto vitola known as the “1895 shape.” The name pays tribute to the year Julius Caeser Newman began making cigars, and is made up of a 4 1/2 inch long vitola with a ring gauge between 52 and 54 at its largest—in the middle—and close to a 26 at both the head and foot.
As for the blends, the company chose to highlight its most popular lines at the time the humidor was released: Cuesta-Rey CentroFino Sungrown, Diamond Crown, Diamond Crown Maximus and La Unica Cameroon. As with the rest of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown line, the 110th Anniversary perfecto features the same Sumatra-seed sungrown wrapper covering Dominican tobacco used in both the binder and filler.
The humidors carried a retail price between $1,000 and $1,2000, and featured a number of cool things, including French door openings, a pair of Diamond Crown humidification units and four different shelves holding 10 cigars for each blend. However, the humidors were only part of the presentation, as each of the perfectos included were encased in individually numbered hand-blown glass tubes that were sealed with a brass ring.
In total, just 250 humidors were produced, meaning only 2,500 cigars for each of the four blends were released, all of which were rolled at the Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia factory located in the Dominican Republic.
- Cigar Reviewed: Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown 110th Anniversary
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 26/54/26
- Vitola: Double Perfecto
- MSRP: $10 (Humidors of 40, $1,000)
- Release Date: 2005
- Number of Cigars Released: 250 Humidors of 10 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
After removing the Cuesta-Rey 110th Anniversary from the glass tube it was encased in, I am greeted by a milk chocolate brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch, lacking both tooth or an visible oil. While the cap is closed, the foot is open and the cigar shockingly hard when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of faint leather, chocolate, hay and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong lemonade sweetness, oak, earth, cocoa nibs and grass.
The Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown 110th Anniversary starts off with a combination of both oak and dark chocolate, with lessor flavors of generic nuts, hay, leather, powdery cocoa and espresso beans. Unfortunately, the lemonade sweetness from the cold draw is nowhere to be found—in fact, the profile is almost totally lacking in sweetness at this point—and an overwhelming bitterness starts to take over the finish after about 10 puffs, getting stronger as the cigar burns down. Construction-wise, both the burn and the draw are extremely impressive, with the razor sharp bur the standout so far. The smoke production is massive coming off of the foot and while the overall strength starts off quite mild, it does begin picking up a bit by the time the first third comes to an end.
Coming into the second third of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown 110th Anniversary and the profile says the course, with dark chocolate and oak up front followed by other notes of hay, coffee, leather, earth and nuts. There is still very little sweetness present, but the major change is the bitterness on the finish, which threatens to detail the entire profile. The construction continues to be excellent while the smoke production continues to flow off of the foot in thick waves. Strength-wise, the Cuesta-Rey has been increasing bit, but still fails to hit the medium mark by the time I finish the second third.
Unfortunately, the final third of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown 110th Anniversary seems to be a continuation of the second third for the most part, with the same oak and chocolate flavors easily strong enough to be the dominant flavors, followed by notes of leather, gritty earth, grass, coffee and slight nuts. The bitterness on the finish continues to negatively impact the profile, although there are times when the other flavors shine through. The draw continues to be a excellent, and the burn remains problem free, while the smoke production is as copious as ever. Although the over strength does increase a touch in the final third, it is still not enough to break through to medium by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.
- My colleague Patrick Lagreid had a very different experience with another of the cigars that was sold in the 110th Anniversary humidor, the J.C. Newman Diamond Crown 110th Anniversary.
- The wrapper for this cigar is grown on a farm in the Quevedo region of Ecuador that is owned by the Oliva Tobacco Co., not to be confused with Oliva Cigar Co.
- The number for the cigar I smoked was No. 5285.
- While the draw on most perfectos is a bit tight at first due to the shape of the vitola, this cigar featured an excellent draw right from the start.
- The humidors that the 110th Anniversary cigars were packaged in were made by Reed & Barton, which is also the company that produces J.C. Newman’s Diamond Crown humidor line.
- The tubes these came in are pretty cool: There are two pieces of glass that meet right close to the secondary band, with a rubber stopper that is then enclosed with a brass ring on top.
- J.C. Newman advertises on halfwheel in 2018.
- Although it is not a very large cigar by any means, I was still a bit shocked at how quickly it burned, and the final smoking time ended being right at 52 minutes.
- The cigar for this review was given to halfwheel by SmallBatchCigar.com.
I just cannot say enough about the construction on this cigar: the draw was excellent from the first puff—somewhat of a rarity with a double perfecto—and the burn literally could not have been better throughout the entire smoke. Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends, as the profile of the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown 110th Anniversary was not only monotonous, but was also consistently overwhelmed by a harsh bitterness on the finish that was as pervasive as it was persistent. Cigar lovers can argue back and forth about whether it is a good idea to age cigars, but at least in this case, time has done it no favors.