While the new products oftentimes lack excitement for cigar smokers who enjoy the companies higher-end products, every year at the IPCPR trade show and convention, Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman present two special cigars packaged in a single coffin as part of the companies Toast Across America campaign to benefit the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.
The charity is a joint-venture between the two companies and their respective owners, the Fuente and Newman families. It benefits communities in the Dominican Republic by offering education, health care, nutrition, clothing, sports leagues and other programs to those in the areas around where the companies produce their cigars.
This is the 11th year of Toast Across America. Participating retailers purchase the cigars, forgoing their typical profit margins, and sell them to consumers with the money going to the charity. To date, the companies claim the TAA packs have raised over $2.5 million.
As is common, the cigars for this years release were announced shortly before the 2013 IPCPR trade show:
July 12, 2013 (Tampa, Fla.) — Retailers nationwide will participate in the 11th annual Toast Across America this fall benefitting the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation (CFCF). As the largest fundraiser for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, the Toast Across America uses the sale of special Toast packs to raise money for children and families living in the cigar producing region of the Dominican Republic.
The 2013 pack will feature one Arturo Fuente Destino al Siglo Anniversario and one Diamond Crown Black Diamond rolled in a 6 1⁄2” x 52 torpedo. These cigars are made specifically for the Toast Across America and are only available at select retailers, in limited quantities. Events and in-store sales run from Sept. 1 to Jan. 31.
The cigars look like this:
Normally the companies place special sizes of sought after blends, this year, they put two special sizes from two lines most consumers have never seen. While the Black Diamond is being reviewed today, the cigar that will garner more attention is the special Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Aniversario Destinal al Siglo Torpedo. This will be the commercial debut of Destino al Siglo and as of now, the only scheduled release of the cigar. Previously, Fuente has used the “Destino al Siglo” moniker on a variety of releases as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, a representative from the company told halfwheel the blend used is in fact the Destino al Siglo blend.
As for Diamond Crown Black Diamond, it’s actually the rebranded Diamond Crown Maduro:
July 12, 2013 (Tampa, Fla.) — After nearly a year of strategic planning, Diamond Crown Black Diamond will be released to the public at the 2013 International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers show.
For years, Diamond Crown Maduro has lurked in the shadows of its Classic Connecticut Shade counterpart. Disregarded as a simple line extension, new Maduro sizes slowly entered the marketplace with little noise or promotion but this exceptional broadleaf cigar deserves its turn in the spotlight.
“Diamond Crown Black Diamond has always been one of my favorite cigars,” said President, Eric Newman. “It is a very unique Maduro, the smooth flavors are complex but complement each other the entire time.”
Like its Classic counterpart, the Diamond Crown Black Diamond’s exceptional taste comes from the five-year-old Connecticut wrapper. Starting with only the finest Connecticut Broadleaf, the wrapper tobacco is then conditioned and graded to develop an even flavor that has fully developed by the time it makes it to a smokeshop humidor.
“There isn’t a hint of harshness you can normally find in a Maduro cigar, these are exceptionally smooth with a pleasant sweetness,” said Newman.
Packaged in a striking all black box, these cigars are sure to make a statement in any humidor.
- Name: Diamond Crown Black Diamond
- Sizes Available: Robusto No. 3 (6 1⁄2” x 54), Robusto No. 4 (5 1⁄2” x 54), Robusto No. 5 (4 1⁄2” x 54), Figurado No. 6 (6” x 46/64), Pyramid No. 7 (6 3⁄4” x 54)
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Packaged: Box of 15
A representative from Fuente/Newman told halfwheel “around 7,500” Toast Across America packs will be sold this year.
Cigar Reviewed: Diamond Crown Black Diamond Toast Across America Torpedo
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: 6 1/2 Inches
Ring Gauge: 52
MSRP: $25.00 (Boxes of 2, $50.00)*
Date Released: September 1, 2013
Number of Cigars Released: 7,500 Boxes of One Cigar (7,500 Total Cigars)*
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
*Each box contains two cigars, but only one Black Diamond. The 7,500 number is an approximate number from Fuente/Newman.
The Black Diamond is a dark cigar. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have a clue when the last time I smoked a Diamond Crown Maduro was, but when I think about it, the color doesn’t seem too far off. Aroma-wise, there’s a great dark barnyard with some sweetness, hay and a really defined cereal note. It’s one of the more striking aromas I’ve smelled in a while, particularly just as the cigar exits the cellphone. As for the cold draw, it’s a pretty typical Dominican sweetness, not much special here.
It starts the first third with a mixture of roasted nuts, earthiness and leather and a chalkiness on the finish. It’s medium-full, smooth and sweet. While the Diamond Crown Black Diamond is definitely mild in strength, there’s a pretty full flavor with a sweetness, oak and a touch of spices. The progression of flavors is slow, but it’s definitely changing. There’s a great smoke production, pretty good burn and a solid draw.
While the first third was good, the second third is where the Diamond Crown shines. The core is now roasted nuts, some sharp cedar notes, fruitiness and creaminess. Add that with this interesting sour and saltiness I got during the transition and the cigar is making me wonder why I didn’t smoke more of the original lines. Once again, the strength is still mild, but the body is increasing to somewhere north of medium.
I didn’t have any expectations going into the final third, but I suppose I should have suspected chocolate. It comes and joins the roasted notes, which is a great way to end the cigar. There’s still some of the generic sweetness that dominated the cigar from the cold draw, but the cocoa masks it to some degree. Interestingly, there’s a slight jump in strength to the medium mark, otherwise the Black Diamond Torpedo is relatively consistent in its non-flavor characteristics.
- For those that don’t know, in addition to a charity, Fuente and J.C. Newman share a distribution deal. Fuente also produces Diamond Crown and other brands for J.C. Newman, although the latter owns factories of their own.
- I have zero clue what J.C. Newman is thinking with these bands. I would most certainly have gone with black bands or perhaps an entirely new band design altogether. Absent the secondary band there is zero way that I would be able to tell that this is supposed to be a different cigar from the original version.
- As we noted last year, retailers in higher states that keep the price at $50.00 can actually end up losing money on the cigar. Since their standard profit margin is $0.00 for the Toast Across America packs, wholesale taxes on cigars add to the cost.
- J.C. Newman has an extensive network of Diamond Crown lounges. I’d imagine there are a lot of people that regularly go into these shops without ever smoking a Diamond Crown.
- In previous years, 8,000 Toast Across America packs were believed to have been distributed, the 7,500 number this year suggests a reduction.
- Eric Newman said the reason why the cigar was rebranded was because it never really caught on, this didn’t really seem to change at the 2013 IPCPR trade show, at least according to our impression of things.
- If you talk to anyone at Fuente/Newman, the first thing they want to talk about is the charity. In fact, of the dozen or so conversations I’ve had with Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr., Eric and Bobby Newman I’ve had, less than half have even mentioned cigars. The three want to talk about the charity and the kids it helps. That definitely extends to the companies staff as well.
- This is a very circular roll, we seem to find this less and less these days.
- For those playing the controversial cigar naming game, you might point out that La Aurora has a Preferidos Diamond that comes in a black tube and is also quite dark.
- I can’t think of the last time I smoked a cigar that stayed this cool in terms of the temperature of the smoke. It’s not something that we normally mention, but it was definitely noticeable.
- Cigars for this review were provided by Fuente/Newman at the 2013 IPCPR trade show.
- Final smoking time was just under two hours.
- We don’t have a complete list of the TAA retailers as of now, but we’ll post one in September.
Every few months, a cigar manufacturer will talk about a new maduro project that is supposed to be reminiscent of "how maduros used to be." In many ways, this is a classic maduro with a touch of finesse and solid construction. While it might be darker than just about anything in the humidor, the actual nicotine level is quite mild. Body and flavor are both fuller, but not overwhelming and start to finish the Black Diamond is smooth. This is not a cigar that I would smoke daily absent taking up the morning coffee and cigar tradition, but this is a cigar that will be in my wheelhouse for recommendations to people looking for mild cigars. We've reviewed quite a few milder modern Connecticuts favorably, but I can't think of a non-shade cigar at that strength level I enjoyed this much.