“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”

— George Washington

The introduction to this review is appropriately one sentence. Everything about this cigar, even its essence, is 100-percent Stars and Stripes.

We have Ariel Newman, wife of fourth-generation cigar manufacturer Drew Newman, to thank for the genesis of this project. With J.C. Newman’s 125th anniversary on the horizon, Ariel had a vision to celebrate the culmination of four generations and over a century of excellence, creating a 100-percent American handcrafted cigar—something unseen by the industry in decades.

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This is the cigar I was born to review and, given my history of reviews in my time at Cigar Dojo, it could not be more appropriate. My very first review? The Brick House Double Connecticut—another patriotic homage by J.C. Newman Cigar Company. My work was shortly accompanied by a review of Drew Estate’s FSG. The key to the FSG’s blend happens to be the backbone for The American. The Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century brought an instability to Cuba that drove hundreds of tobacco growers to Florida, making it the second largest tobacco growing region in less than a decade. Fast forward to 2012, when Florida retail mogul, Jeff Borysiewicz made the decision to bring back to the world something that had been absent since 1977—Florida tobacco.

J.C. Newman’s The American is the first official cigar release to feature an FSG wrapper.

J.C. Newman The American IPCPR 2019

The American Robusto Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Florida Sun Grown (Corojo ’99)
  • Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Filler: Pennsylvania Type 41 | Connecticut Havana
  • Factory: El Reloj (USA)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitola: 4½″ × 50 (Robusto)
  • Price: $16.00 (MSRP)

There is perhaps too much information to state here (the linked article below contains a more in-depth look at The American’s concept and blend). However, the first cigar to feature an FSG wrapper contains more stories with each layer we literally peel back.

Around the time Washington and other Founding Fathers were fighting for our independence, Jon Foster’s great grandfather’s great grandfather harvested the family’s first crop of tobacco in South Windsor, Connecticut. The binder for The American is a Connecticut Broadleaf varietal hailing from Foster Farm. Likewise, The American’s filler tobaccos also hail from Foster Farm and from American Amish farms in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Appearance

I simply cannot state enough how quintessentially American The American is. The brand, in its original incarnation, was actually the very first cigar ever produced at the El Reloj factory, a historic facility located in Tampa, Florida. The words “The American” are written in white lettering on a navy background, sitting atop the cigar label. The new label pays homage to the original brand and the tradition of J.C. Newman. It features a coat-of-arms shield emblazoned with images of the Cuban flag, a tobacco plant, red and white stripes, and, of course, a bald eagle reminiscent of the presidential seal. All it’s missing are the fireworks. Oh wait, that happens later.

The FSG wrapper is very rustic, with a lot of visible oils and a considerable amount of tooth. While rustic, together with the label, the cigar is majestic in appearance. I cut the cap with my guillotine cutter and take in the aromas of the unlit cigar. The wrapper and foot give off a strong combination of sweet fig and earthiness. The dry draw holds consistent with those flavors as well, but there is a faint touch of leather and hazelnut.

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Smoking Experience

How does one light The American? With a cedar spill. Yes, I went old school here. I confess, half of me was tempted to bite off the end but couldn’t bring myself to do it. As I take in the first few puffs of the cigar, I am hit with an overpowering earthy flavor. There are some subtle notes of toasted rye and leather, but the primary flavor is prominent. An additional note of attention is how much smoke production there is out of the cigar, even at first light. The aroma coming off the smoke is filled with the previously described hazelnut and some cedar notes.

J.C. Newman The American Robusto cigar smoking

As the cigar progresses, the earthy dominance continues to hold firm, with some sweetness being introduced. Notes of clove, leather, and toasted rye are sprinkled throughout the middle experience of the cigar. I feel like the retrohale on most cigars have, at least to some degree, a spicy (typically pepper) note. The retrohale on The American is sweet with fig and the finish is short, with just a slight trace of pepper. It’s almost as though I have to focus and make a concerted effort to realize the spicy note on the retrohale.

The draw is effortless and the construction is solid, with an equally solid ash that flakes a little, but remains sturdy overall. The cigar finishes with a new prominent flavor component. Earthiness is still quite noticeable, but the toasted rye has risen to the top of the flavor heap. Interestingly, the finish of the cigar is its most complex in terms of noticeable flavors. Yes, the earthy flavor still remains, but there are traces of coffee, fig, clove, hazelnut, and cedar. The last few puffs of the cigar are the finest, in my experience.

J.C. Newman The American Robusto review

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

Truth be told, I’ve had several of The American Toros (6″ x 54) and thoroughly enjoyed that vitola more than the Robusto; but yes, I would smoke this cigar again.

Additional Info
  • There are four sizes in The American lineup: Robusto (4½” x 50 | $16.00), Toro (6″ x 54 | $18.50), Torpedo (6⅛” x 52 | $19.50), and Churchill (7″ x 47 | $18.00).

Profile
  • Flavor: Medium-full / Full
  • Strength: Medium
  • Body: Medium
Core Flavors
  • Earth
  • Toasted Rye
  • Fig
  • Leather
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour
  • Pairing Recommendation: Brown ale | Rye whiskey | Latte | Apple pie | Hot dogs 😉
  • Purchase Recommendation: Grab ’em when you can

J.C. Newman The American Robusto cigar nub finished

The American Robusto
With only two (TWO!) rollers making each cigar for the open market, The American's allocation will drive the desire for it, if not for the story. With FSG’s flavor being very unique and polarizing, accompanied with the price point, it may drive some people away. But I'd like to encourage smokers to not be swayed by that. While I personally prefer other vitolas in this lineup, the Robusto showcased The American’s components well.
Appearance91%
Burn/Construction90%
Draw91%
Flavor88%
Complexity86%
Price/Value85%
Pros
  • Complex finish
  • Incredible smoke output
  • Excellent construction
Cons
  • Lack of consistent complexity
  • Muted prominent flavors
  • Higher price point
89%Stars & Stripes
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