JC Newman releases a new line called Yagua. With the Yagua, J.C. Newman brings back a concept from the 1940s and 1950s Cuba. The cigars are rolled with under-fermented Connecticut broadleaf and then tightly bundled in the palm leaf of the Yagua tree. That way, the cigars shape into a unique form for each and every single cigar.
A year ago, Drew Newman sat with Lazaro Lopez in Esteli Nicaragua. Drew Newman is the 4th generation Newman in the family business. Lazaro Lopez is the co-factory general manager for the PENSA factory. Pensa, Puros de Esteli Nicaragua SA, is Newman’s factory in Nicaragua.
During their conversation over cigars and a drink, Lopez mentioned his grandfather in Cuba. His grandfather used to own a tobacco farm before everything was stolen by the Castro regime. He recalled his grandfather using this method with the Yagua leaf to bundle and age his cigars into original shapes.
“At our family farm, my grandfather would take fresh tobacco leaves from the curing barns and roll cigars without any molds or presses,” said Lopez. “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.”
The first run of the J.C. Newman Yagua is limited to 1000 boxes. Each box contains 20 cigars, tightly wrapped together in Yagua leaf. The size of the cigars is 6×54, although the exact shape will vary because of the Yagua technique.
To re-create the farm-fresh taste from Lazaro’s childhood memories, J.C. Newman had to pull a trick. That trick is to use a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that’s being pulled out of fermentation a couple of months early. That adds a little strength to the Nicaraguan tobaccos used for the filler and binder.
The bunches are held together by molds, just like with other cigars. But then the unorthodox Yagua concept kicks in. “The big difference is that we band the cigars immediately after rolling them and then wrap them tightly together so that they would form their unique shape while they are wet with humidity,” explains Drew Newman.