Review: Don Pepin Garcia Blue/Original
Just another manic Monday, but I was looking forward to smoking my second cigar from the famed Garcia family. Rave reviews and glowing ratings are enough to get my motor running but it’s the word of mouth that I really listen to and the Don Pepin Garcia Original (or “Blue”) kept showing up on my radar time after time. Frankly, I got tired of putting it off because something else caught my eye. Yes, I have CDHD -Cigar Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and can become easily distracted when something new and oily comes into view.
The My Father stable of cigars includes 12 brands. This is pretty incredible when you consider that My Father Cigars was launched by Jose Pepin Garcia in 2003. In 14 years, they’ve racked up several attaboys including 2012 cigar of the year for Flor de Las Antillas. This enterprise, and Jose Garcia specifically, is considered by many to be one of the bigger mover and shakers in the industry. Born in Cuba in 1950, Garcia learned to roll cigars at the tender age of 11 and the lessons he learned there came with him to Miami. Garcia started with a small factory in Miami and became a master blender. After launching My Father in 2003 with his son, Jaime and daughter, Janny, Garcia purchased a new factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Jaime has his namesake cigars and now, Janny has put her stamp on the industry with the recent release of the Pete Johnson-influenced “La Dueña” (The Boss).
- Profile: Full
- Vitola: Generosos [Toro]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″/ 50
- Purchased: Local Humidor
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Corojo-Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Cutter: Xikar Xi1
- Lighter: Matches
- Price Range: $8- $9
The Don Pepin Original comes in 10 different vitolas, a somewhat unique feat considering larger competitors stick to 4 to 6. I have to say I love the Garcia’s band designs and overall brand look – the color combos, materials and presentation are representative of a highly successful brand. My favorite color is blue, so the blue accents and satin foot wrap naturally catches my eye. The Corojo-oscuro wrapper is a delicious-looking mottled chocolate swirl. It has a slightly iridescent quality to it in the sunlight. The construction is good and firm but the head was a bit soft. Not a bad thing. The Garcia’s pride themselves on treating every cigar with a Cubanesque triple cap, a very nice touch. The wrapper is a bit veiny with some toothiness with almost invisible seams, including the cap. There is a sweetness from the wrapper highlighted by notes of chocolate, caramel and hay and the foot screams fudge-a-liciousness! There’s more of the milk chocolate theme in the cold draw, which is excellent.
The initial light and draws are dreamy. Volumes of thick smoke are filled with creamy notes of nuts and leather with a semi-sweet light spice. As she settles down theres a wonderful addition of earthiness and wood. The initial third is definitely an earthy profile but it does not assault, rather it caresses your palate. The complexity is so enjoyable I became intranced. But there’s more as she burns. Wonderful light notes of caramel and raisins appear from time to time on the sweet, long finish. As she gets closer to the second third the creaminess continues but with some added pepper and hints of chocolate – whiff of vanilla and oats. The burn is tremendous, but the char line is getting a little uneven requiring a minor touch up. This full bodied girl is drawing me in and hustling me with her rich, medium strength treats.
The transition to the middle third continues with a nice earthy profile, but with sweet hints of caramel and dare I say…toffee? The transition is marked by a gradual nuttiness that permeates the billows of smoke which gives a nice toasty finish and you can definitely tell she’s more of a medium-full strength now. I’m still at her mercy when I detect light hints of milk chocolate again. Want some candy little boy? I have to check and make sure that this is full-bodied cigar. Yep, so it says! As i draw closer to the final third I can feel some rage lurking in the background, a more aggressive and less dreamy nature.
After another minor touch up to correct a slightly jagged char line, I’m now in her clutches as she releases all her strength for the final third. I was treated to a more ascertive earthiness with a woody and peat personality. The creaminess is gone but the rich texture of the flavors is still hugely satisfying. The long coffee bean finish is a wonderful naughty epilogue to complement the nice creamy, rich beginnings. What a wonderful smoke!
I think we’re all looking for that perfect cigar, that unicorn. For me, perfection is simply in the pallete of the beholder. Thus, does it really get better? Sure, the purveyers and experts say that Cuban cigars best approach that sound barrier of taste, but I think if you look around, there’s an awful lot of great cigars out there that will more than satisfy your cravings and put those stupid looks of ecstacy on your face. This is one of those cigars. Another perk? Its under $10. Hell, I can’t eat at Taco Bell for under $10 anymore. But I can smoke this beautiful baby. I know we’re all in boutique heaven these days with a lot – I mean its never been so packed in here – of cigars to choose from. But, maybe only a few like this DPG Original are gonna give you a $20 ride for under ten bucks. I’ll be back, baby. – In Fumo Pax!