The first Diamond Crown line was developed by Stanford Newman and the Fuente family to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Newman cigar company. As he tells it in Cigar Family, Stanford’s father first began rolling “buckeye” cigars in Cleveland for direct sale to grocery stores. He stored the tobacco in his mother’s cellar. And this was the humble beginning to a family legacy that would survive for the next century and beyond.
The Newmans first got involved with the Fuentes when Carlos Fuente approached Newman to take over his machine-made business in Tampa. Fuente wanted to concentrate on his hand made cigars in the Dominican Republic, but he didn’t want to totally abandon his machine made business in Tampa. Newman balked at first, but realizing the talent of Fuente he finally agreed, with the condition that Fuente make hand made cigars for the Newman company. An agreement was forged, and cigar fans are all the better for it.
The Diamond Crown line and the Opux X line were released at about the same time, in 1996. I remember at the time the clamor that arose over the Opus X, in part because it wasn’t available on the west coast. Part of the Newman and Fuente marketing plan was to release the Opus X on the east coast exclusively, and to release the Diamond Crown on the west coast exclusively. Very smart…and aggravating! I can just see Carlos and Stanford snickering over this, like Boris and Natasha Badenoff. But as far as a publicity generator, it was brilliant idea.
The Diamond Crown Maximus came as a response to the trend toward heavier bodied cigars. The original line is a fairly mild blend with a Connecticut wrapper, while the Maximus is heavier and employs an Oliva grown Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper from the El Bajo region. The Maximus was released at the 2003 RTDA convention.
All of the DC cigars have large ring gauges so they can incorporate five or six different leaves to give the smoke complexity. The Pyramid No. 3 rings in at 6 5/8 x 50. The head of this cigar is something to marvel at. The wrap is perfect, the work of a true artist. The color is an unusual colorado maduro, an almost drab shade of maduro…I can’t find another cigar in my humidor that shares the same shade.
The wrapper on this cigar is the star of the show. I found the blend to be smooth and spicy, but the aroma from the wrapper steals the show. It starts up with a hint of cedar that grows and grows, over a steady smooth beat that heats up in intensity as the cigar burns. Almost like a piece of music, a jazz quartet that starts out cool and easy but breaks out when the players take their solos. But again, the principle player here is the Ecuadorian wrapper. Between puffs it was nice just to revel in the aroma from the smoldering stick.
Certainly a class act. But now for the letdown. As the band packs up its instruments and the crowd finishes their drinks, the bill arrives. Gulp. At 15 to 20 USD, this is still a damn fine cigar. But at this price… I’ll have to let my wife buy me more, like this one, for Christmas.