The retooled Nicaraguan El Baton brand by J.C. Newman Cigar Co. headed to retailers yesterday, and it has new packaging and a slightly stronger blend.
Made in Nicaragua, El Baton now has an updated band and box design with bolder fonts, larger letters and gilded trim work to evoke a classic look. The more pronounced appearance is also reflected in the new blend, which has a stronger mix of filler, and higher grade of wrapper, according to the company.
J.C. Newman was founded in Cleveland in 1895, and it first made El Baton back in 1914, when the cigars were rolled with Cuban tobacco and sold for a nickel each. The brand was hibernating for more than 80 years until J.C. Newman brought it back in 2008 as a wallet-friendly cigar made in Nicaragua. Back then, it was produced at Fabrica de Tabacos San Rafael S.A., a factory that also rolled other J.C. Newman cigars before the company moved its operation to PENSA, a factory in Estelí the Newmans acquired in 2011.
With its Ecuadoran wrapper and Nicaraguan blend, El Baton comes in four sizes, each packaged in 25-count boxes: Robusto, measuring 5 inches by 54 ring gauge; Belicoso, at 5 by 56; Double Torpedo at 6 1/4 by 56; and a 6-by-60 Double Toro. True to the brand’s original mission as a value smoke, the cigars have suggested retail prices ranging from $7.90 to $8.70.
“El Baton has been J.C. Newman’s under-the-radar cigar,” says Drew Newman, fourth-generation owner. “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 my great-grandfather’s old cigar brand.”