This budget-friendly offering from J.C. Newman has quite an interesting history behind it:
El Baton is one of J.C. Newman’s vintage brands made by our founder, J.C. Newman, back in 1914. This nickel cigar was originally hand rolled in a Cleveland, Ohio factory with Cuban tobacco. Although it was popular for many years, the onset of machine-made cigars caused El Baton to disappear from the marketplace in the 1920s.
In 2008, J.C.’s grandsons, Eric and Bobby Newman, re-launched the brand as the company’s first Nicaraguan cigar. El Baton cigars are grown in the most fertile areas of Nicaragua, providing for a smooth, hearty smoke with a little spice. When it debuted, El Baton was only offered in one size, the Double Torpedo, since then the brand has grown to include three more sizes, a Double Toro, Robusto and Belicoso.
In a recent press release, Drew Newman, the fourth generation owner of J.C. Newman Cigar Company, had this to say about the brand’s newest incarnation, “El Baton has been J.C. Newman’s under-the-radar cigar. As I was unsatisfied, I decided to tweak the El Baton blend and return to more of a traditional style of packaging that better reflects the century-old history of this my great-grandfather’s old cigar brand.”
We have had very good experiences here in The Corner Of No Hope with another J.C. Newman offering on the lower end of the pricing scale, read our review of La Unica HERE, so I was pumped to set El Baton on fire to see what’s what…
Size: 5 x 46 (belicoso)
Price: $7.90 (these cigars were submitted for review by site sponsor J.C. Newman: however, you can head over to Famous Smoke Shop and use promo code TNCC20 to knock off $20 from your purchase of $100 or more right now!)
I’ve been on the record for years as far as expressing my deep, passionate love for the color blue used in cigar artwork and this redesigned El Baton band utilizes both dark and light blues combined with a shiny copper beautifully. EL Baton is a firmly rolled belicoso featuring few visible seams or veins and there’s just the right amount of give when gently squeezed between two fingers. The Nicaraguan wrapper emits a chewy sweetness sensation as well as a mild hay aroma.
El Baton features a cold draw that’s comprised of more of that sweet raisin goodness saddled with just a touch of cedar. After four clips of the cap to achieve a smooth draw, I torch the foot of El Baton and I’m immediately greeted by a medium-strength white pepper spice through the nose and a combination of faint milk chocolate and cedar via the draw. The burn line grows a bit uneven here early on but after a quick correction with my torch lighter it’s back on track. At around the 1” a mineral component develops on the back end of the white pepper.
A distinct oak note has now joined the mineral and pepper via the retrohale, while the draw’s core flavors up to this point of milk chocolate and cedar continue hold steady. The prior burn issue has long been forgotten now and El Baton is performing flawlessly from a construction standpoint. Just beyond the fifty yard line, a touch of vanilla cake icing arises on the draw and it compliments the existing flavors nicely. In fact, as the vanilla steadily grows in its presence, we have to bid adios to the milk chocolate note which disappears in to the sky in a twirl of thick grey smoke…
The final act of El Baton is very similar to the middle third, although the overall strength has downshifted ever so slightly. The combination of vanilla, cedar, oak, and mineral certainly delivers an enjoyable flavor profile and the consistent pepper spice of this Nica puro never allows you to overlook its importance to the overall blend. El Baton began to burn just a little hot with an inch or so remaining so I called it a day…
At just under the $8 mark, El Baton delivers an array of flavors that for 65 enjoyable minutes all work very well together as a whole. Other than the burn correction that was required early on, El Baton performed great from start to finish as well. I smoked these samples fairly quickly after I received them so I am definitely curious what a little bit of rest in the TNCC humidor will do for these already impressive cigars at any price point.