If you go back to the period of 2008 to 2012, J.C. Newman Cigar Company would relaunch several heritage brands that were once produced in the United States. These brands included Brick House, Perla Del Mar, and El Baton. While Brick House and Perla Del Mar are well-known, El Baton is one that has floated under the radar. When it was relaunched back in 2008, it would become J.C. Newman’s first Nicaraguan cigar. Over the past couple of years, J.C. Newman has been refreshing some of these brands that were relaunched. These refreshes include updated packaging and revamped blends. We had seen Perla Del Mar go through a refresh, and in 2022 it was El Baton’s turn. Today we take a closer look at El Baton in the Belicoso size.
The history of El Baton can be traced back to 1914. Those original El Baton cigars were made with Cuban tobacco. Obviously, when it returned in 2008, it could not use Cuban tobacco, so Nicaraguan tobacco was used instead. The new 2020 version features a revamped blend. Most notably it has higher-grade filler tobaccos and a higher grade of wrapper. Packaging-wise, El Baton was revamped to have a more traditional look than the 2008 relaunch.
Without further ado, let’s break down the El Baton Belicoso and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
El Baton features an Ecuadorian Havana wrapper over all-Nicaraguan tobaccos. Production comes from J.C. Newman’s PENSA factory located in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Havana
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: J.C. Newman Puros de Estelí Nicaragua, S.A. (JC Newman PENSA)
El Baton is offered in four sizes. Each of the four sizes is presented in 25-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 54
Belicoso: 5 x 56
Double Toro: 6 x 60
Double Torpedo: 6 1/4 x 56
The Ecuadorian Havana wrapper of the El Baton Belicoso had a milk chocolate color to it. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins. There were also some visible wrapper seams present. The head of the cigar had a short, steep taper to it.
Prior to lighting up the El Baton Belicoso, a straight cut was used to remove about half of the tapered head. This would allow me to still get a good amount of the tapering effect this cigar had to offer. With the cigar clipped, it was now time to commence with the pre-light draw experience. The pre-light draw delivered notes of cocoa, earth, and fruit. In the end, this cigar delivered a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to toast up the foot of the El Baton Belicoso and proceed with the smoking experience.
The El Baton Belicoso opened up with notes of cocoa, earth, wood, fruit, and red pepper to start. The early phases had no dominant notes, but eventually, the cocoa and earth notes moved into the forefront. The fruit, wood, and pepper notes settled into the background with the fruit the most prominent of the secondary notes. Meanwhile, on the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of red pepper with some black pepper notes also mixed in.
As the El Baton Belicoso moved into the second third, the cocoa and earth notes remained primary. Once the cigar experience moved toward the midway point, the cocoa notes receded into the background leaving the earth notes as primary. Concurrently there was a slight increase in the pepper notes on the tongue. As the cigar moved through the second third, the earth notes remained primary. The fruit and pepper notes were the most prominent secondary notes with the cocoa and wood in the more distant background.
The final third saw the earth notes remain primary. The pepper notes now closed in on the forefront but did not take over as a primary note. Meanwhile, there were still notes of fruit, wood, and cocoa rounding out the flavor profile. As the experience of the El Baton Belicoso came to a close, the cigar finished with a cool and firm nub.
Overall, the burn of the El Baton Belicoso required frequent touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and straight burn line. While the touch-ups did the trick, this cigar needed more touch-ups than I would prefer. The resulting ash was silver-gray in color. This was an ash that was skewed toward the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
There were five samples that were assessed of the El Baton Belicoso. Four of the five samples had an extremely tight draw. This is not something I would expect from a J.C. Newman cigar, but it does happen. The draw was a struggle. If there is a silver lining, I was able to smoke these cigars without a re-light needed.
Strength and Body
While I wouldn’t call the El Baton Belicoso a power bomb, this was a bold cigar from a J.C. Newman standpoint. This was a cigar that delivered medium to full strength and medium to full-bodied flavors from start to finish. There wasn’t much in the way of variance of the intensity of the strength and body. When comparing the strength and the body of the El Baton Belicoso, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
J.C. Newman nailed it when it came to the new look of the El Baton. The bands and boxes have a slight retro vibe to them and the two shades of blue work with this. The new design is also crisper than the original. I also really liked the way the bands contrasted with the dark wrapper on the El Baton Belicoso.
The original El Baton was a cigar I really enjoyed. That being said, I’m not sure I can make an apples-to-apples comparison with the 2022 version because I do not think I have smoked the Belicoso size. The draw could have obviously done better in terms of performance, but even on the one sample where the draw wasn’t quite as tight, I’m not sure the tweaked blend really did it for me. It wasn’t a bad cigar flavor-wise, just not one as memorable for me as the original El Baton. While the packaging was excellent, it isn’t factored into the score. In the end, priced under $7.00, this is still a cigar worthy of trying a sample first. In my eyes, I’m still inclined to give this cigar another try down the road and certainly try some of the other sizes.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Dried Fruit, Mineral, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Value: Try a Sample
News: J.C. Newman to Showcase New Look El Baton at the 2022 PCA Trade Show
Source: J.C. Newman Cigar Company
Brand Reference: J.C. Newman Cigar Company
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on April 26, 2023 @ 11:18 am