|Perla del Mar by J.C. Newman – Perla G vitola|
The Perla del Mar is a new line of cigars that has been recently launched by J.C. Newman Cigar Company. First information of the Perla del Mar came out last April. While the Perla del Mar was showcased at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, it only recently has made it into retailers. The Perla del Mar fills a gap that was in the J.C. Newman portfolio providing a milder strength, yet flavorful offering for cigar enthusiasts. I recently had a chance to smoke some cigars from this new line. Overall, this is a solid smoking experience and a nice addition to the JC Newman cigar portfolio.
Perla del Mar translates to “pearl of the sea”. From our friends at The Cigarmy, we learn a little more about background of the name and design of the banding. The name stems from company president Eric Newman’s interest in cigar art. He came across an old Cuban band with the Perla del Mar name with a black and white design of Havana harbor. This artwork along with the name served as an inspiration for Newman to use both to name this new blend in the J.C. Newman portfolio.
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Perla del Mar and see what this cigar is all about.
One distinguishing fact is that the Perla del Mar is an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper box-press. This is worth mentioning because this is not a type of cigar commonly found in the marketplace. Last year, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars released the Xen by Nish Patel which also was also an Ecuadorian Connecticut box-press.
In addition to the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, the Perla del Mar features Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and filler. These Nicaraguan tobaccos come for four regions: Pueblo Nuevo, La Reina, Condega and Jalapa. The cigar is made at Fabrica de Tabacos San Rafael SA in Esteli, Nicaragua .
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
There are four frontmarks for the Perla del Mar. The names are initials for the French names of oysters.
Perla P: 3 3/4 x 56 (from Oyster name “Petit” – a.k.a. “Small”)
Perla M: 4 3/4 x 52 (from Oyster name “Moyen” – a.k.a “Medium”)
Perla G: 6 1/4 x 54 (from the Oyster name “Grand” – a.k.a “Large”)
Perla TG: 6 x 60 (from the Oyster name “Tres Grand” – a.k.a. “Very Large”)
The cigars are packaged 25 per box except for the Perla P which is packaged 28 cigars per box.
For this cigar experience, I sampled the Perla G – which is pretty much a Toro sized vitola. The Perla del Mar Perla G has a silky light brown wrapper. The wrapper seams are well hidden and there are some visible veins. The cigar itself was a well-packed box-press.
The banding consists of a primarily a navy blue and gold color scheme. At the center of the band is a black and white picture of clipper ships in Havana harbor (that we mentioned earlier on). Under the picture is the name “PERLA DEL MAR” in gold lettering on a navy blue background. The top of the band has a small blue and gold shield. Two grayish blue ribbons surround the shield. The left ribbon has the text “TOBACCOS” in gold lettering. The right ribbon has the text “SUPERIORES” – also in gold lettering.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Perla del Mar Perla G, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. I then moved on to begin the pre-light draw. The cold draw was pretty much classic for an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar as I detected notes of citrus, cream, and a touch of spice. Overall, the pre-light draw was satisfactory. At this time, it was time to light up my Perla del Mar and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the Perla del Mar Perla G started out with a mix of citrus, pepper, and cream. The pepper and citrus notes became the primary notes early on with the cream notes playing more of a secondary role.
Around the five percent mark, the primary notes became more of a combination of wood and pepper. The citrus notes somewhat receded, and the cream notes became tertiary. By the ten percent mark, much of the cream notes had faded. The cigar for the most part became a combination of pepper, citrus, and wood. The pepper notes never really left as a primary note while the wood and citrus alternated between primary and secondary.
The flavor profile of the pepper, citrus, and wood continued in the second half with again the pepper being a constant in the forefront. The second half also saw some vanilla notes surface in the background. The flavor profile remained constant until the end. There was some spice at the end, but there was no harshness. The resulting nub was slightly warm, but it was firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The Perla del Mar series is a well constructed line of cigars. This was reflected in the burn and draw of the Perla G as both attributes scored very well. The burn line remained straight from start to finish with only minimal touch-ups along the way. Overall the ash held pretty firm with only some occasional flaking. The ash itself was a salt and pepper color. The burn rate was ideal. The burn temperature was ideal for most of the cigar experience – except for the very end where it got slightly warm. While the end was a little warm, this had no negative impact on the flavor profile.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the Perla del Mar starts out with a classic Ecuadorian Connecticut-shade profile. The Perla del Mar is mild to medium strength to start. By the midway point, the Perla del Mar has just enought strength to move into the medium strength range.
From a depth of flavors perspective, the Perla del Mar does push some of the boundaries of an Ecuadorian Connecticut-shade cigar. The Perla del Mar starts out as medium-bodied cigar. By the second half, the flavors progress to medium to full-bodied. Overall, I give the body and edge over the strength.
Prior to the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, we published some trends on Cigar Wrappers. We mentioned that Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper was still a red hot trend in 2012. We also mentioned how many cigar manufacturers were attempting to move away from ttraditionally mild/mild to medium smokes and move them into the medium and even medium to full ranges in terms of strength and body. The Perla del Mar definitely is one of those cigars.
It is also worth mentioning, the Perla del Mar has an SRP from $4.65 to $6.15. While we don’t factor price into our final assessment rating or score, we mention it here for awareness. This is one of those cigars that is not going to smoke like it is less than $6.50. The Perla del Mar is a good cigar for the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is definitely one I would smoke again.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from both City Cigar Company in Charlotte, North Carolina and Smoke Inn in West Palm Beach, Florida.