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Manufacturer: J.C. Newman
MSRP: $2.49
Country: United States (Tampa)
Wrapper: American Grown broad-leaf Connecticut Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan
Size: 7.25 " x 52
Strength: Medium to Medium-Strong
Shape: Churchill

Prelight: The J.C. Newman Tampa Trolley Churchill is a cigar made on an old handmade cigar makers macine (machine made?) and utilizes a beautiful great cocoa colored hue American broad leaf Connecticut maduro wrapper. The wrapper is rustic with a many veins and folds in the tobacco which is paired with a Dominican binder, filled with a Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan filler to complete the ensemble. The result is a mild-bodied sweet cocoa smoke. The smell is deeply strong with the flavors mentioned before which should make for an excellent flavor profile.

1/3: I've never been a saint, by any means. But, as I sit down to do this review the phone rings. It's Anthony and he makes it quick, “How's retirement Newb of the Dog Rockets?”. I don't speak. “Going to need you to pack your bags and visit a friend in Tampa.” I feel like someone just walked over my grave, as I exhale and say through clenched teeth, “Never good hearing from you, Anthony. Make this the last time!” The other end of the line goes dead with an ominous click.

2/3: At the Tampa Airport, I wait curbside for my ride. My buddy from the old crew Luca pulls up in a new black town car. Since, I had to be in this dump, might as well look up another old retiree. Luca and I grew up together, but upon leaving the old crew I don't speak to him much. We barrel down the highway and reminisce (out of all of the guys I'm closest with Luca being we grew up together in the old neighborhood). Luca demands I stay with him and I give in (never could say no to Luca). We have a great dinner and afterward I recommend he show me the sights of Tampa. “What sites? Unless, you like staring at the damn Gulf of Mexico?” I say great idea and we'll smoke a few cigars, down some nice hooch and make a night of it before my business meeting and departure tomorrow. After dinner, Luca drives to a nice dark stretch of beach with the moon hanging like a crescent in the sky. We talk and reminisce of the old days. He takes out a cigar called a Tampa Trolley and tells me he buys them because they make em in Tampa. Then he makes some crack that he should start calling himself the “Tampa Trolley”. I take it and proceed to smoke it with my childhood friend under the stars.

Upon inspection, its a rustic looking stick, a long Churchill (reminiscent of a twig you'd find on the leafy floor of the deep woods). I take out my cutter and try to cut the tip. It won't cut. I try with all of my might and nothing (a bad sign). I try both hands and the binder finally gives, Luca laughs at me. “You've always had bad luck Smitty, it follows you like a cloud”. I look at the binder and its like cheap cardboard (yeah, not a good sign). I forget to take a dry draw and try to lit this with a cheap torch Luca gives me, but the foot won't light or I don't see it catching a cherry; even though, I see pinpoints of embers and wisps of smoke in the pale moonlight. Hell, I didn't even smell the thing prelight-my mind is a million miles away from this place and this time. Luca's voice brings me back “The kid at the cigar shop said “they're a good smoke for the price, but if you don't like it, it so cheap you don't mind chunking it or finishing it. But, he also said you get a good one every now and then, more hit than miss I figured. You drew the short straw I guess”. He laughed “...the short straw”. I noticed the American grown broad leaf wrapper had come fully unbound at the tip. I lick the underneath of the wrapper and try and stick it back in place-I always finish a job. Its a mess. I can see the binder and there no smoke as I blow on the tip looking for growth of a non-existent cherry. I puff and puff and I look like a kid smoking a candy cigar. This is dog of a smoke. It's lit I figure, but I'm sucking more air through my lips as it clamps around the tip, than smoke. This is a dog with fleas I think. I taste some faint creaminess, a nutty flavor and what I think is mint. But, because I'm sucking in and blowing out wisps of smoke-I'm getting zero flavor. Luca is chugging like a old tugboat, as he leans his over-sized frame back onto the hood of the town car. “It's a dog rocket, Smitty. A mutt missile, but that what you love! I remember when the fellas started calling you 'Rockets”. I smiled as I stared out into the darkness of the Gulf waters. I was about an inch into this smoke and decided to give up. I may smoke dog rockets, and this was a champ, but I can't ever smoke a stick that fall apart due to shitty construction. I have smoked them all, but I got one rule, they have to hold together and this Tampa Trolley Churchill was a nightmare.

Luca finished his smoke and said something, which I almost missed because his voice was just above a whisper. “Sorry about the smoke...” and then I heard him clearer “guess life ain't fair...like I said you draw the short straw and welcome to Tampa and smoking Tampa Trolleys or not. Ha ha! I'm glad to see you, Rockets. I know you think I don't mean that, but I am. Do me a favor, skip taking the plane back and drive my car. It's a gift for the bad Tampa Trolley, I won't be needing it where I'm going, but at least my smoke was one of those good ones. I'm going to go take a leak.” The breeze off the water caused me to put my hands in my jacket and it brushes past the handle of the snub-nose .38 caliber there, as I watch my friend Luca disappear over the sand dunes.

3/3: The next morning, I turned onto the interstate and pointed the big beautiful black town car to civilization. I turn on the radio and Sinatra's “That's Life” comes on. I skip to “Summer Wind” because it was Luca's favorite. I reach in the glove compartment and find a bundle of Tampa Trolleys. I laugh as I pull over on a very tall bridge and drop them and the .38 into the Gulf. I get back in the town car and the engine purrs like a beast. “Goodbye, Tampa, Luca and especially to Tampa Trolleys (you dog of a smoke). You all sleep with the fishes now.”

Overall:

There was nothing redeeming about the Tampa Trolley Churchills. Again, this is why I don't do business with my former B&M with the crappy humidor, or the employees pushing junk. It was a dog with fleas that suffer from everything a bad cigar has cheap components, horrid assembly and poor construction and shitty storage. The reason I purchased it was a forum member PM'd me and asked for my dog rocket list. When I sent it, I added this cigar, but had actually never tried it (it was lumped on the bargain shelf with my other bad smokes). So, I decided to try it, since the stick I wanted to smoke wasn't in my car (cigar gremlins or just a dumb ass move of leaving it on the kitchen counter rushing out the door). So, since I was 3 blocks from my old B&M I thought I'd grab a quick stick. Well, I can now say it's officially a dog rocket with fleas that deserving of sleeping with the fishes as I threw it down and walked back to my old B&M to get a blue label Casa de Garcia Nica (great suggestion by another member). That walk of shame is like none other and all I could think was that damn Tampa Trolley reminds me of Luca Brasi and should be sleeping with the fishes. So, that became the set up for tonight's one act play review, dear reader.
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Anthony
It seems as though you spent some time producing this review. WHY?
  • March 13, 2016
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GrouchoM
Venting yet again over buying a mutt missile that I knew would disappoint and did in a spectacular fashion. Some people drink, some break things. I write to get my frustrations out.
  • March 13, 2016
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Anthony
I get it. Vent on, brother.

For me, if I'm not happy after about 1/3, I toss the stick and grab another.
  • March 13, 2016
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SoCalOCMatt is online.
I do the same unless I'm review it. Then it ends up being a warning to others not to smoke a
  • March 13, 2016
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Josh Lucky 13
Sometimes that old adage is right you get what you pay for.
  • March 13, 2016
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Phil from Chicago
Nice review. Can't wait to see what you will write when you have a good cigar.
  • March 13, 2016
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