J.C. Newman first unveiled Yagua at IPCPR 2019, being a surprise announcement at the trade show, accompanying the more hyped The American cigar.

The name is a Spanish term for royal palm, describing a technique of pre-embargo Cuba, in where tobacco farmers would take leaves straight from their curing barns, hand-roll them, and tightly bundle together multiple cigars using portions of the readily available royal palm tree. This technique was first described to Drew Newman (fourth generation owner, J.C. Newman Cigar Co.) by Lazaro Lopez (J.C. Newman PENSA factory general manager), who remembers his grandfather creating yagua-style cigars in Cuba during the 1940s.

J.C. Newman Yagua cigar

At our family farm, my grandfather would take fresh tobacco leaves from the curing barns and roll cigars without any molds or presses. In an attempt to give his cigars a traditional shape, 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. He loved how every cigar had its own unique shape. I still remember the rich aroma and taste of my grandfather’s cigars. Today, I’ve recreated Yagua, rolling them exactly how my grandfather did a century ago.Lazaro Lopez, J.C. Newman PENSA factory general manager

While Yagua was introduced more than a year ago, the cigars were said to be a ways off from launch at the time. The cigars’ packaging and bands remain largely similar to the final version shown off in a press release today, although the blend is now listed as Connecticut Broadleaf over all-Nicaraguan binder/fillers (differing from the all-Nicaraguan blend from the original debut). Of course, the unorthodox style in which the cigars are crafted remains. The Nicaraguan-based PENSA factory bundles 20 cigars in yagua palm while they are still wet, resulting in an authentic, farm-fresh experience, with each cigar taking on its own unique shape in the process.

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With the first batch, J.C. Newman has rolled 1,000 boxes of 20 cigars, each being sized at roughly 6″ x 54. J.C. Newman has made the decision to bolster brick and mortar retailers, reserving Yagua to be sold exclusively through such tobacconists across the country. The cigars are expected to ship from the company’s Tampa-based factory next week, arriving on store shelves in early August, priced at $7.50 MSRP per cigar.

Cigar Dojo featured the Yagua as one of 9 Hidden Gem Cigars following the IPCPR 2019 trade show. The cigars were also one of 10 cigars that were given first-impression ratings following short, seven-minute samplings during an episode of Smoke Night LIVE, which aired shortly after the IPCPR 2019 trade show.

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