October 11, 2011

Cigar Review: Brick House Short Torp

Brick House

Making a great cigar is a challenge in these times. Cigar smokers have become very knowledgeable not just in cigars, but also tobacco. Because of this, smokers are challenging manufacturers to make better cigars.  Smokers, not just me, are demanding cigars with tons of flavor, strengths ranging from mild to full and aged and exotic tobacco that adds unique qualities to a certain cigar. With all of that being said they are going to have a difficult time making a great cigar, and to make it even harder, put a price range on the cigar for under five dollars. Not many manufacturers could accomplish this, but the J.C. Newman Cigar Company has, and they did with a cigar that they first made in 1937, Brick House.


J.C. Newman Cigar Company began in 1895 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was founded by J.C. Newman. Mr. Newman was a Hungarian immigrant who came to the States at a young age, and began as a cigar maker apprentice at the age of 14. When he launched his own company in 1895, the company was small, but in 1916 the company grew and now had two factories and 700 employees.  The cigar company continued to grow from there on and then he was joined by his two sons after returning from World War II. The company relocated to Ybor City, Florida in 1954 to be closer to Cuba, and when J.C. Newman died in 1958 his son Stanford took control of the company up until his death in 2006. The company is now headed by J.C. Newman’s grandsons Eric and Bobby, and it is the oldest cigar company in the United States. The Brick House line receives its name from the home in which J.C. Newman grew up, which also happened to be the town’s tavern, and the line was meant to honor his families heritage. The original Brick House line was a Cuban puro, and was made with only the finest tobaccos from Cuba.       

The Brick House line is now a Nicaraguan puro, which features a hearty Havana Subido wrapper that is used only for this cigar. The line was brought back in 2009, and brought back at such a great time giving the economic conditions. The cigars are made in Nicaragua at Fabrica de Tabacos San Rafael S.A., and for this review I sampled the newest size to the line, the Short Torp, which is 5 ½” with a 52 ring gauge. Holding the cigar in hand it has a beautiful Colorado wrapper that shows wonderful colors of brown and red while remaining very oily and toothy to touch. The aroma the cigar is giving off is heavenly  and it is showing notes of wood, leather, raisins, plums and chocolate.  

After lighting the cigar, and letting it develop some I begin to get some great flavors in the first third. I am picking up sweet spice notes, cinnamon and cloves, and also getting stone fruit, leather, coffee and oak notes. The cigar is perfectly medium in body and very complex. This is a very unique cigar in the fact to me because they have made a Nicaraguan puro that is not overly strong, but very flavorful. Most Nicaraguan puros will have some heavy spice to them with a lot of strength, but this is made so well that it remains medium in body and very flavorful. The burn is absolutely perfect on the smoke, and it is giving a solid gray ash with it.
Brick House Tin
In the second third of the cigar the flavors become much more present, and I am beginning to see an emergence of sugar and syrup notes. The cigar is not overly sweet, it is balanced, but the sugar and syrup notes pair wonderfully with the oak, pine, maple and leather notes that I am getting. There is still a hint of spice to the cigar, and I get it on the finish along with coffee, slight raisin and cherry notes. This is a very elegant cigar, and it is going to be hard to top this second third. The burn has been remaining perfect, and I am still holding onto my ash from the first third, so it is showing all those wonderful characters of a well-made cigar.

I am in the final third of the cigar now, and I don’t want it to end. I have begun to pick up an emergence of chocolate in the final third of the cigar, and it is really adding a lot to the cigar. The chocolate is pairing with the wood and leather notes, and the spices are pairing with some stone fruit notes on the finish. This is a beautiful cigar that is really giving me tons of flavors. If I just lit one of these sticks I would want to grab another one thinking that it might have just been the moment that is giving this cigar its greatness, but this is my third one! I smoke the cigar all the way down to the nub, and I burn my finger a little in doing so. The burn was still perfect to the end, and structurally this cigar was immaculate.  

You really couldn’t ask for anything better with this cigar. I have smoked more than my usual two cigars for this review, and they have smoked beautifully. I had a fabulous dinner with David Ludwig of Fuente & Newman Premium Cigar, Inc. for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation the other night, and he and I began talking about how you can only judge a cigar after you have smoked it three times, and I am going to start doing that with my reviews like I did for this cigar. With such great burns, wonderful flavors, and nice medium bodies these cigars are amazing. I go on and on about how certain cigars are for certain people, but this cigar really shows all the qualities that all smokers look for in a cigar. I am giving this cigar a 94 rating. I look forward to enjoying these often, and pointing them out to smokers who are looking for something new and a daily smoke with that. I smoked these sometime back, and I forgot how great they are. Well I tell you now, I will not forget that again with this cigar, and it will definitely be in my weekly rotation. Excellent value, excellent burn, excellent strength and excellent flavors! Bravo J.C. Newman Cigar Company, bravo!
Brick House

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