Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Three By “Don” Pepin Garcia

Pepin Garcia is the new “it” guy in the cigar-blending world (he took over that mantle from Rocky Patel about two years ago). His cigars command top dollar in stores, whether they are made in his El Rey de los Habanos factory, or one of the many house blends he created for just about every large cigar retailer. He is probably most famous for his early blends, including Padilla Miami 8&11 and Tatuaje. His cigars are generally known for their spicy, bold flavors.

San Cristobal Toro
Size: 6 x 50
Tobacco: Nicaraguan
Price: $9

Back in April, I bought two San Cristobals at Tinder Box. These cigars were blended by Pepin Garcia and manufactured by Ashton. With their colorful bands and dark, oily corojo wrappers, they have quickly become that company’s most popular product. The plan was to age them five months, then Shaun and I were going to smoke them on the first Saturday of college football season, relaxing on the beach at Gulf Shores, if Alabama won its game against Clemson.

Well, we did win. Shaun said his victory San Cristobal tasted great and burned like a champ. Mine tasted good—very spicy with rich nutty flavors-- but the draw was terrible. It was so tight it was like trying to suck a milkshake through a coffee straw. I'd love to try another one, because I think I'd really like the cigar, but at $9 a pop, I doubt I'll ever risk the money again.

CI Legends by Pepin (Yellow Label)
Size: 5.7 x 54
Tobacco: Nicaraguan
Price: $3.75

Thanks to Shaun for letting me sample a couple of these from his personal stock during football season. These are probably the least expensive cigars made by Pepin (excluding sandwich cigars). Like the San Cristobal, the overwhelming flavor is one of pepper. The corojo wrapper is not as dark and oily as the San Cristobal, and the bands lack that same multi-colored punch, but these cigars taste eerily similar, and without the draw problems. In fact, they are rolled very loose and smoke quickly.

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic 1979
Aka Black Label
Size: 5 x 50
Tobacco: Nicaraguan
Price: $6.15

My 3rd outing with Pepin Garcia was remarkably similar to the first two. The Cuban Classic is one of three lines that bear the name “Don Pepin Garcia” instead of the byline by Don Pepin Garcia (The other two are DPG Blue Label and DPG Series JJ).

Like San Cristobal and CI Legends, this cigar comes dressed in a corojo wrapper and is dominated by (you guessed it!) flavors of pepper-spice and toasted nuts. I’d give this cigar a nod over the other two due to its construction. It is a very heavy, tightly packed robusto that burned with precision accuracy for an hour. (Paired well with a Christmas Black Ale)

No comments: