Cigars have always been a symbol of a more refined and affluent lifestyle, but today’s cigars were intended for royalty! The Angel Cuesta, a new line by J.C. Newman Cigar Co., carries a rich history dating back to the early 20th Century. Originally introduced by Cuesta-Rey, a cigar company based in Tampa, this brand once had the distinguished honor of being the official cigar of King Alfonso XIII of Spain himself. The legacy lives on with the 2023 version of Angel Cuesta, paying homage to Angel LaMadrid Cuesta, one of the founders of Cuesta-Rey, which J.C. Newman acquired in 1958.
Like a phoenix rising from cigar ash, J.C. Newman announced the resurrection of Angel Cuesta earlier this year, crafted at their historic El Reloj factory in Tampa. Known for its antique cigar machines and producing a limited number of premium handmade lines—including the renowned The American cigar—the factory has brought back the Angel Cuesta with an Ecuadorian Habano rosado wrapper and a carefully selected blend of undisclosed tobaccos hailing from three different continents.
Angel Cuesta Toro Breakdown
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Factory: El Reloj (USA)
Production: Small Batch
Vitola: 6¼? × 52 (Toro)
Price: $19.00 (MSRP)
Establishing the line as the most premium release from J.C. Newman, the cigars are handled by a team of only two skilled artisans (including a dedicated craftsman named Angel Delgado Alba), who together create around 150 cigars per day.
After its initial soft debut at the PCA 2022 trade show, J.C. Newman began shipping the Angel Cuesta in April 2023 to a select group of 25 retailers. While it’s labeled as a regular production item, this cigar will be released in limited quantities only twice a year (estimated at 500 boxes per size each year). The company also has plans to expand the number of retailers offering this cigar in the coming year.
Bands galore! The Angel Cuesta cigar makes a strong visual statement with its abundance of bands (reminiscent of the iconic OpusX design), adorned in elegant red and gold. The attention to detail is evident, and the bands are impeccably crafted. The wrapper itself is smooth and glossy, showcasing a café au lait hue. While a couple of prominent veins grace the surface, they manage to remain unobtrusive. The cigar boasts a firm yet flexible roll, adding to its overall appeal. An intriguing touch is the small and unexpected pigtail resting atop the cigar’s head. It’s a little undersized for the cigar, and I can’t help but feel that it looks misplaced. On the other end, the cigar also features a covered foot, adding to the luxurious overall impression. Other than the cap, the presentation is undeniably impressive.
From the foot of the cigar, an enticing symphony of scents wafts forth—sweet tobacco, accompanied by the warmth of baking spices, a touch of cedar, and a delicate hint of barnyard. Engaging my senses further, I am greeted by notes of oak and sweet tobacco, along with a subtle earthy undertone. These aromatic nuances set the stage for what I hope is an enjoyable smoking experience.
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With a clean, straight cut, the cold draw provides flavors of sweet molasses and tobacco, with a gentle hint of white pepper. The draw itself rates an impressive 8/10, promising a satisfying and comfortable smoking experience from the very start.
As I set the foot of the Angel Cuesta Toro alight, the initial draw offers a captivating blend of musty cedar, dry cinnamon, and the delightful essence of roasted mixed nuts. A touch of white pepper dances on the retrohale, enhancing the sensory journey. It’s a solid start, with the body being a medium-full, flavor at medium-full, and strength a solid step behind at medium-plus.
As the cigar progresses past first light, the flavor profile shifts gracefully. Dominant notes of cinnamon bears and dry oak emerge, creating a harmonious blend that appeals to my palate. The finish introduces a subtle mix of white pepper and musty wood, leaving me with a smile on my face. When a cigar can make me involuntarily smile in solitary, it’s never a bad sign.
At the midway point of the Angel Cuesta, the cigar evolves once again, revealing tannic wood as the focal point. Meanwhile, the cinnamon notes have become dry and begin to fade to the background, creating a more herbal spice note. There is a noticeably flatter flavor profile emerging that is less interesting—I hope this isn’t how the cigar is going to trend. The finish gains intensity with a building white pepper presence, complemented by an intriguing oaky mustiness. The retrohale has softened, making it easier to pull more smoke through each puff, delivering earthy tones alongside nuances of toasted cedar and a hint of burnt toast. The draw has held strong at 8/10, and flavor, body, and strength have remained unchanged.
As I reach the final stages, a minor touch-up becomes necessary to correct an uneven burn. The flavors, while still present, begin to mellow, offering dry and slightly rough earth and oak wood notes at center stage. A lingering burnt pepper essence graces the palate, albeit with a tinge of monotony. Unfortunately, the closing moments of the cigar bring some disappointment, as a full relight results in a transition to more astringent tones. The flavors of burnt coffee, charred oak, and bold black pepper become dominant, veering away from the intricate journey experienced earlier.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I am going to be very honest and to the point in my opinion on this. I think that this may be the best cigar from J.C. Newman that I have smoked. Its appearance is regal, and no matter what people say, visuals can make or break a smoking experience regardless of quality. The flavors are nuanced and transition smoothly. Though it was clear that the first half of the cigar is where it shines brightest, the rest of the cigar was still enjoyable, despite a much flatter, muddied smoking experience. I would most definitely smoke this cigar again, and I look forward to the occasion.
At the time of posting, the Angel Cuesta has a “100% Smokable” rating on Dojoverse.com, ranking in the top 36 percent of cigars on the leaderboard.
Flavor: Medium / Full
Roasted mixed nuts
Smoke Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Pairing Recommendation: Chai tea | Belgian tripel | Rye whiskey | Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Scotch
Purchase Recommendation: Box worthy
Consistent smoke outputFlavors mix almost seamlesslyNoticeably balanced throughout
Burn required touchup and relightThe balanced smoke becomes slightly uninteresting in second halfTransitions and complexity become soft and muddied in second half
Originally posted on August 16, 2023 @ 6:17 am