Cigar Review- Brick House

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Havana Subido
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $5.00
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I believe the Brick House brand to an old standby for everyone. And by old, I mean it came out in 2010; and then captured Cigar Aficionado’s #17 cigar of The 25 Best Cigars of the Year 2010…for the robusto size.

And it has been in the top 25 Best Deals in CA as well. This is a quality cigar for only $5. A couple bucks more if you go to a B & M. Nothing in my local B & M is less than $7.50. Bastardos!

This is what CA had to say about Brick House:
“The J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has been in business since 1895. It still makes a few cigars in Tampa, Florida, using time-weathered machines, but most of its cigars are rolled in the Dominican Republic by the Fuente Family.

“In 2009, the company began working with the little-known Fabrica de Tabacos San Rafael S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua to make bargain-priced smokes, which the Newmans thought would be well-received in these difficult economic times.

“The cigars are fabulous, with none finer than the Brick House Robusto, which takes its name from an earlier brand that was named for the brick house in Hungary in which the company founder was raised.

“It’s hard to beat the bang-for-the-buck factor of the cigar, a $5 Nicaraguan puro with copious amounts of flavor. It smacks of sweet wood and tea with a toasty aftertaste.”

So? What else do you need to know? That’s how my Jewish Aunt Rhoda always talked to me when I was growing up. Everything was in question format.

Construction is quite good as far as this being a solid cigar. There are lots of veins, both big and small on the wrapper. Some of the veins look like human veins the way they stick out just before you get blood drawn.

The milk chocolate colored wrapper is nothing special. There are so many veins that any aesthetics is washed away. Seams are fairly tight and there is a slight oiliness. The wrapper feels sandy to the touch.

I clip the cap and find aromas of strong Oolong tea, cocoa, leather, wood, and tobacco sweetness.
Time to light up.

The first puffs are tasty. They are light in nature. Sweet. A hint of cocoa. Leather. And then BAM! Creaminess shows up at the half inch mark. That is very unusual. The burn line is wavy and my fingers are crossed no touch up will be required but I am not optimistic.

Then a dose of red pepper. It comes fast and swift. My tongue tingles and my eyes water and my nose runs. One of the Clash’s earlier songs.

The nice thing about Brick House is that it is a dependable cigar. You always know what you’re going to get and for pennies compared to most other premiums.
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That strong tea component has not made it to the flavor arena yet. But I am patient.

The first third is about the acquaintance of new flavors. While it doesn’t quite earn flavor bomb status yet, it is very flavorful, indeed. The body is classic medium.
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As I’ve stated many, many, many times before; I have a shit camera. A $90 Panasonic Lumix. One of those little rectangular cameras you give to your 8 year old.

So I am highly dependent on sunlight coming through my dining room window mid-morning for decent photos. Summer is here, the trees in the back are full of leaves, the breeze is blowing, and I am dying the death of a thousand swords trying to take a decent photo. As the breeze blows, the leaves constantly, every nano second, change the amount of light or shadow on my subject: the cigar. So I have to take 20 photos and hope that one turns out OK. And that cross hatching you see in some photos, is the screen on the window. I know, I am really high tech here.

The second third explodes with flavor. My only criticism is that using Nicaraguan leaves is the in thing to do after the millennium. So every Nic cigar has very strong similarities to the next. There are always exceptions by adding exotic blends to the cigar, but I find myself tiring of writing the same thing about a Nic cigar.
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They all have the same thing in common: cocoa, creaminess, sweetness, raisin, spice, baking spices, and nuttiness. I mean…how many ways can one write about these 7 flavors over and over and try to make it sound interesting?

But near the halfway point of the Brick House, the flavors are just exciting. They are deep and rich and balanced and have a long finish. This is a delicious cigar. But I smoke lots of delicious cigars. What makes them different? The price. The price is the most important thing about any cigar.
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Sure you can spend $50 on a special Opus X or some other heavily marketed cigar. But it comes down to what you can afford. And there are just as many good $5-$6 cigars as there are good $11-$12 cigars. And I can’t tell the difference on some occasions.

I smoked, and reviewed the Tatuaje 10th Anniversary just recently. A very good cigar. But is it worth 2-1/2 times what the Brick House costs? Of course not. It’s all marketing by those bedeviled, tattooed, young New Breed blenders…who more than often seek out Pepin Garcia’s help to blend their cigar.

I just reviewed the Moya Ruiz Cigar blends from Danny and Nelson. Their newest line offers up a Habano blend for a little over $7 that knocks the socks off of anything I’ve smoked all year. And they did it by themselves. They did not go running to Garcia for help. I admire that. They produced what could possibly be the best cigar of 2013 and are selling it a price point that everyone can afford. Screw Opus X.

Back to Brick House. The cigar keeps on chooglin’. There is not much to report as the second third ends. It is flavorful as all get out. The profile has become complex and it is a totally enjoyable cigar. A box of 25 toros can be had for $119 on CI. That brings the price of a stick down to $4.75.

The pungent flavor of tea shows up as the last third begins. There is a toasty flavor as well. They make nice additions to the regular Nic flavor profile. The “toast” flavor always amazes me. How do they do that? And lately, I’ve reviewed several cigars with that same component. In the past, it was a rarity that the flavor of toast showed up. Now it’s very common.

Tea makes the cigar tip the scales a bit. It is just as upfront as the creaminess. And the sweetness, cocoa, toastiness, leather, and some nuttiness along with a rich earthiness.
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At this point, the strength moves up to full bodied. The spice is working overtime to make me blow my nose.

Basically, this is one fine cigar. The price point makes it easy on the wallet. And that $5 buys you a real quality premium cigar. It’s funny. I never see this stick on Cbid. Must be price controlled.

Anyway, I highly recommend trying this cigar if you have not already done so. Great stick!
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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

2 replies

  1. You really got to the “To smoke or not to smoke” question, Sir Katman. I just finished a massive data search entry for another online reviewer in payment for sticks I could never afford (a king’s ransom on my budget). As I typed into the wee hours, I realized I was inputting the same 5 flavor combos for most of the cigars. It was an epiphany. Thus your statement of “What makes them different?…The price.” hit’s the proverbial nail on the head. Don’t know if your memory banks are as disheveled as mine but an article of your top picks for $10, $7, $5 sticks would probably light up the Google search and readership. Just a suggestion. Blessings, brother.

  2. Yohannian,
    I write a review almost every single day of the week. After a while, it becomes a blur. And I now realize I’m smoking the same cigar almost every single day of the week. At least the good ones.
    Look at the big guy’s catalogs. They even describe all their gems with the exact same description.
    If a blender can make a great cigar for $5 and another blender can make a great cigar for $10…which one am I going to buy? The $10 cigar isn’t twice as good as the $5 stick. It might be a little more interesting but the giant PR machine of the cigar industry wants us to think like clones. They are making the same cigars over and over again and the only way to make them different is to spread that mysterious blender bullshit all over the product. Mysterious symbology. Extremely limited sources for the tobacco. Limited releases. Create Supply and Demand.
    DE, Tatuaje, Room 101, etc all create some sort of ridiculous spell on buyers. “We are different. We are one of you…but not really. We create what you want because we are unique and mysterious and have lots of tattoos.”
    And meanwhile, most of them run to Pepin Garcia to guide them in blending cigars. Garcia is the only original blender working today. The Fuente crap is just that. Overpriced, limited releases, and have I mentioned overpriced? Same with Padron and especially, La Palina. I’ve smoked them all. None of them are worth a goddam 10th of what they charge for their magical cigars. Hype. And like P.T. Barnum said, “There is a sucker born every minute.”