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Cigar Review: Quorum Maduro by J.C. Newman

  • Vitola: Toro
  • 6” x 50 ring gauge
  • MSRP $2.80
  • Samples provided by J.C. Newman

Background

I mostly gave up bundle cigars more than a decade ago, discovering that once I got used to the taste of more premium sticks, the cheaper and more inconsistent bargain cigars were just hard to accept. I’ve found a few acceptable bundles in the meantime, but it’s been 15 years since I had a Quorum Natural or Shade, if my memory serves right. Then a few years back J.C. Newman introduced a Maduro version of the cigar. I tried one, didn’t care for it, and went back to other sticks I enjoyed more.

More recently, J.C. Newman sent me samples of many of their blends so I could review them on these pages. I purposely put off the Quorum Maduro for quite some time because I had smoked it before…and “didn’t care for it”…but when I got around to it, I found it wasn’t exactly what I remember.

Quorum is a Nicaraguan handmade “bundle” cigar, meaning it’s made of scraps of other long-filler cigars from J.C. Newman’s Nicaraguan factory, combined with some other long-filler to make a “mixed-filler” or “Cuban sandwich” type of cigar. It keeps the price down, but means you’ll never win a long-ash contest with one and you probably shouldn’t expect consistency to be amazing. Quorum are the #1 selling handmade bundle cigar in the world and all three wrapper varieties are really dirt cheap by today’s standards. The Maduro blend uses Nicaraguan fillers, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and an Ecuadorian Sumatra Sungrown wrapper. They are available in five sizes at a staggering number of tobacconists around the country.

Prelight

Presentation is kind of unimportant on bundle cigars…because they come in cellophane bundles, not boxes. It is what it is. The bands are nice enough…nothing special, but actually better than select “premium” cigar bands I’ve seen in that they don’t look like cheap paper and printing at first glance.

The wrapper was a medium brown like milk chocolate and slightly dull with very little oily shine to it. It felt a bit oilier than it looked and it is common to find flaws and patches on these cigars. I picked up notes of cedar and earth on the wrapper leaf along with earth, chocolate, and coffee bean on the foot.

After clipping the head, I got a good draw that had more resistance to it than I would expect in most bundles. This has been fairly consistent in my experience with the samples JC Newman sent to me. The flavors were a nice mix of semi-sweet chocolate, earth, cedar, and pepper spice.

Flavor

Once I got the Quorum Maduro fired up I got cedar and slight pepper spice up front, with semi-sweet chocolate right behind that. The finish was earthy and leathery and the whole experience was in the medium-plus-bodied range. The retrohale was earthy and nutty.

In the second third I got the earthiness taking over the lead in the flavor profile, with chocolate right behind and cedar dropping down. Pepper played a consistent, but light role.

The last third was mostly just earthy with a touch of sweetness and a hint of pepper.

Construction

I had a good draw, even burn line, and an ash that was surprisingly solid for a bundle.

Value

What’s to say…decent cigar for an excellent price point.

Conclusions

I had to reassess my opinion of the Quorum Maduro. While it’s still not something that will win any Cigar of the Year awards, it’s not a bad cigar, especially as one to simply puff on without thinking too hard about it. No, it’s not terribly complex, but it isn’t offensive, either. I would enjoy this as an occasional “yard-gar” or something I wouldn’t mind tossing after half the stick is burned because it just isn’t that expensive.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 3.5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 8.5 /10

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