It was Halloween night in 2021 when J.C. Newman posted a video to its YouTube channel announcing that it had a new line in the works called Angel Cuesta, as well as that it would be revamping its Diamond Crown Black Diamond and El Baton lines. Other than a peak at the El Baton’s new bands, details have been sparse, but this morning the company announced that it would have all three cigars on display at the 2022 PCA Convention & Trade Show that kicks off later this week.

The Angel Cuesta line is being made in Tampa, Fla. at J.C. Newman’s El Reloj factory, and in particular a rolling room known as The American Room. The cigar is named for Angel Cuesta, one of the two founders of the Cuesta-Rey brand. It features an Ecuadorian Havana-seed wrapper, while the binder and filler have not yet been disclosed. It will be offered in three sizes, a Double Robusto (5 1/2 x 56), Double Toro (6 x 52) and Grand Salomones (7 1/4 x 57). Individual cigars will be priced between $16 and $22 each, with the line scheduled to be released in the fall.

 

The Diamond Crown Black Diamond is getting a modified blend, which the company says has been both strengthened and refined from its previous iteration. While specifics of what changed aren’t being disclosed, the line will still use a Connecticut Havana wrapper and a Dominican binder and filler, and it still being produced by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. in the Dominican Republic. And while the sizes, MSRPs and box counts won’t change, the packaging is getting an update, as J.C. Newman is using a European printer to give the cigars a more luxurious presentation.

“My grandfather, Stanford J. Newman, told me that his father, J.C. Newman taught him that we should aim to do something better every day,” said Drew Newman, general counsel and fourth generation owner. “Although our Diamond Crown Black Diamond cigars have been savored by cigar enthusiasts around the world for six years, I was not satisfied and wanted to make them better.”

The Diamond Crown Black Diamond line is offered in three sizes:

  • Diamond Crown Black Diamond Radiant (4 1/2 x 54) — $18 (Box of 20, $360)
  • Diamond Crown Black Diamond Marquis (5 1/4 x 56) — $20 (Box of 20, $400)
  • Diamond Crown Black Diamond Emerald (6 x 52) — $21 (Box of 20, $420)

The updated Diamond Crown Black Diamond line is slated to begin shipping to retailers in late summer.

Also getting an update is the El Baton line, which dates back to 1914 as a 5-cent cigar that featured Cuban tobacco and was produced at the company’s factory in Cleveland, Ohio. After losing popularity prior to World War II, the line went dormant until Eric and Bobby Newman relaunched it as the J.C. Newman’s first cigar brand to be rolled in Nicaragua. Now it gets a refresh, with Drew Newman telling halfwheel that the blend has been tweaked to use a higher grade wrapper, while the filler has been modified to give the cigar better balance while staying very full flavored. Additionally, new packaging was created to reflect the brand’s century-old history. It is offered in four sizes:

  • El Baton Robusto (5 x 54) — $7.70 (Box of 25, $192.50)
  • El Baton Belicoso (5 x 56) — $7.90 (Box of 25, $197.50)
  • El Baton Double Torpedo (6 1/4 x 56) — $8.20 (Box of 25, $205)
  • El Baton Double Toro (6 x 60) — $8.70 (Box of 25, $217.50)

It will begin shipping to retailers in late summer.

Rounding out the new releases is a new cutter, the Craftsman’s Bench Executive Series Double Blade cutter. This new model features the same smooth, sharp movement of other Craftsman’s Bench cutters, but adds a more elegant and durable metal frame that the company says will extend the lifespan of the cutter. It is available in either a stainless steel or gunmetal and black finish, and has an MSRP of $29.95. It will ship to retailers in late summer.

Images courtesy of J.C. Newman.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.