Today we assess the Angel Cuesta in the Toro size from J.C. Newman Cigar Company. This is a cigar that the Cigar Coop Coalition team first reported on at the 2021 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show. A year later, the Angel Cuesta was shown off at the 2022 PCA Trade Show, and in 2023, the cigar hit the market. One significant thing about the Angel Cuesta line is that this cigar is made in the United States at J.C. Newman’s El Reloj factory in the Ybor City area of Tampa, Florida. This is the second cigar to be rolled at El Reloj, joining J.C. Newman’s The American. Because El Reloj has a small team rolling cigars, this makes the Angel Cuesta a more limited offering.
Angel Cuesta is named for Angel LaMadrid Cuesta, one of the co-founders of the iconic Cuesta-Rey line. Cuesta came to the U.S. in 1884 and opened his own cigar factory. Eventually, Cuesta joined forces with Peregrino Rey, and Cuesta-Rey was born. Cuesta was friends with Spain’s King Alfonso XIII, leading to Cuesta-Rey becoming the King’s official cigar.
Let’s break down the Angel Cuesta Toro without further ado and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Angel Cuesta Toro by J.C. Newman Cigar Company Cigar Review
Blend and Origin
J.C. Newman has not disclosed most of the details of the Angel Cuesta blend. The wrapper is what the company terms “Ecuadorian Havana Rosado.” Details of the binder and filler have not been released other than “aged binder and filler tobaccos from three continents.” As mentioned, production for the Angel Cuesta line comes from the El Reloj factory in Tampa, Florida.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Havana Rosado
Country of Origin: United States
Factory: El Reloj
The Angel Cuesta line is offered in three sizes. Each size is presented in 20-count boxes.
Toro: 6 x 52
Doble Robusto: 5 1/2 x 56
Grand Salomon: 7 1/4 x 57
The Ecuadorian Havana wrapper on the Angel Cuesta Toro was medium brown. The color was a near caramel color with a very subtle Colorado tint to it. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper – and the oil seemed more prominent toward the cap. There were some thin visible veins and thin wrapper seams. The Angel Cuesta Toro had a covered footer and was finished with a thick tail on the cap.
Before commencing the cigar experience, I removed the sleeve from the Angel Cuesta Toro. Rather than pulling the tail off the cap, a straight cut was used to remove the cap and the tail simultaneously. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of wood, earth, and natural tobacco sweetness. To me, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the Angel Cuesta and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Angel Cuesta started with notes of natural tobacco, earth, light fruit notes, cedar, and a slight red pepper note. Early on, the natural tobacco and earth notes moved into the forefront, with the fruit, cedar, and red pepper notes moving into the background. Meanwhile on the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of pepper – this one of the mixed pepper varietal.
At the start of the second third of the Angel Cuesta, the natural tobacco and earth remained primary, but as the cigar progressed through this third, the natural tobacco took over as the sole primary note. Meanwhile, there was an increase in both the cedar and pepper notes on the tongue. The fruit notes also remained in the background.
By the final third, the cedar notes joined the natural tobacco in the forefront. There still were notes of pepper, earth, and fruit in the background. This is the way the Angel Cuesta came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool.
The Angel Cuesta Toro required frequent touch-ups to maintain a straight burn line and straight burn path. While the touch-ups did the trick, more were needed than I prefer. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color scheme. This was an ash that was on the firm side. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
The Angel Cuesta Toro delivered an excellent draw. The draw had a touch of resistance to it, which I liked. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar from which to derive flavor.
Strength and Body
The Angel Cuesta maintained a medium strength, medium-bodied profile from start to finish. While there was a slight increase in the intensity of both attributes, the strength and body didn’t exist in the medium range of the spectrum. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other very nicely, with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
I have always liked the packaging the Newmans have delivered on their premium cigars, but I really like what they did with Angel Cuesta. The red and gold cigar band looks very classic. At the same time, the red and gold paper sleeve gives each cigar a very elegant look. The wooden box combines both simple and elegant qualities. The insert card on Angel Cuesta adds a nice touch. While packaging is not factored into the final score, the Angel Cuesta would score high if packaging was being scored.
I was quite pleased with the Angel Cuesta. I mentioned the classic look of the packaging, but I can say that this cigar has a flavor profile that can appeal to both classic and contemporary smokers. The flavors aren’t revolutionary, but they are satisfying. The $19.00 price point is a little steep, but keep in mind this is a cigar being made in the U.S., so labor costs will be much higher. In terms of a numerical score, this scores a solid 89, but this doesn’t factor in price.
Ultimately, this is a cigar that I can also recommend to the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar that I would not hesitate to buy or smoke again.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Cedar, Fruit, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: J.C. Newman to Debut Angel Cuesta at 2022 PCA Trade Show
Source: JC Newman Cigar Company
Brand Reference: J.C. Newman
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted