Posts Tagged With: Don Pepin Garcia

Cigar of the month July

July was a month of 21 published reviews, here’s the list from best to worst, with a surprising winner

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Gurkha Havana Blend Toro with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Gurkha Havana Blend Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Maduro Corona Gorda (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco OR Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) El Centurion Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Bucanero Z Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
9) Wilson Adams Mr. Wilson Lancero (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Mbombay Vintage Reserve Salomon (Costa Rica) 91 points
11) Bucanero Z Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
12) El Criolito Half Corona (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Don Pepin Garcia Blue Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
14) La Antiguedad Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
15) Punch LE 2013 (Cuba) 90 points
16) Alec Bradley Tempus Naturel Robusto (Honduras) 90 points
17) Don Payo El Baron Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
18) E.P. Carrillo Encore Robusto (Dominican Republic) 89 points
19) Royal Danish Havana Blend Robusto (Nicaragua) 88 points
20) Vegas de Santiago Gran Reserva Gordo (Costa Rica) 84 points
21) Navarre Petit Robusto (France) 82 points

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Don Pepin Garcia Original Toro

The final review of the My Father Selection Toro sampler is the Don Pepin Garcia Original aka the Don Pepin Garcia Blue series, on of the first or maybe even the first release under the Don Pepin name. Back then the Nicaraguan puro was made at the El Rey de Los Habanos factory in Miami’s Calle Ocho but nowadays the cigar is produced in Esteli, Nicaragua.


Although the blend, hundred procent Nicaraguan tobacco with a Corojo Oscuro wrapper, hasn’t changed, the rings did get an upgrade once Tatuajeof twice just like the related Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic/Black, which was my first ever Don Pepin cigar and I’ve loved the brand since. And I’m not the only one, since this cigar has been available for over a decade, scored 93 in Cigar Aficionado and reached the top25 in 2008 plus the Garcia family won that Top 25 list in both 2012 with the Flor de Las Antillas and 2015 with the My Father Le Bijou. With that under their belt, plus many more entries for their own brands but also for other My Father made brands like Tatuaje, La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal you can say that My Father Cigars equals quality.


The wrapper is a dark mocha color, its smooth and oily with no dominant veins. The foot of the cigar is protected by a piece of blue cloth and the cigar has two rings. The main ring is exactly like the Cuban Classic and the Series JJ, except where the Cuban Classic is black and the JJ is white, this one is blue. So a blue oval with golden curly letters saying Don Pepin Garcia and references to Nicaragua, Cuba and America on the sides. Then there is a secondary ring, blue with golden letters saying Original. The cigar feels and looks good, nicely finished, no soft spots. And the aroma reminds me of hay and those stock cubes you can use for soups, medium strong.


I used my xikar cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is flawless and I feel the pepper burn on my lips. After lighting I taste spicy and strong coffee. There is also a metallic freshness. The cigar is spicy, peppery and woody. After half an inch I taste cedar with a lot of pepper. After a third I taste some citrus acidity and some nutmeg with the cedar and the strong pepper. Halfway the pepper is less strong and the cigar is better balanced. I also taste a bit of chocolate milk. The chocolate milk disappears and the pepper grows stronger again.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick, full and voluminous. The ash is white. The burn is beautiful. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I smoked my first Don Pepin Blue a decade ago and I will keep smoking them.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Toro

As part of the My Father Toro Selection I’m smoking the Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Toro and I timed the review on this date, July 22nd for the exact same reason as last year. I’m doing it for Jerry Cruz, on the birthday of his son, JJ, that would have been 11 today if he didn’t tragically pass away from sudden infant death syndrome after just three and a half months old.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, made with Nicaraguan filler and a Criollo binder and wrapper from Corojo tobaccos. The cigar was blended by Jose ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and his son Jaime together and that’s where the JJ comes from. This was actually the first blend that was released under the Don Pepin name. In 2011 My Father actually released a limited edition of this blend in a Short Robusto size in honor of Jerry’s son who he nicknamed ‘Little Robusto” and the proceeds went to charity, 300 boxes were made and even though I wish I could do a review on that specific cigar I don’t think I’ll be able to get my hands on it.


The wrapper is latte colored and a little wrinkled, with a vein on the front bottom half. The rings are nice, white with white gold lettering, on the side it shows details of America, Cuba and Nicaragua and the secondary ring is in the same style, saying series JJ. The construction feels good with a nice triple cap. The foot of the cigar is protected with a little piece of cloth. The aroma is strong, a little acidic stable aroma, animals, hay and cow urine.


The cold draw after the cut is great and it’s flavorful, pepper, sweetness, a little lime and raisins. After lighting I taste a tangy blackberry flavor. After a few puffs I also taste a little cinnamon. After half a centimeter I taste the cinnamon and blackberry, dry and subtle. I remember this cigar to be much bolder, but a few years of rest mellowed the cigar out and I like it. After an inch I taste wood, a little spice and still that blackberry. Slowly I taste a subtle pepper too. Near the end the blackberry flavor returns with a lot of pepper.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and full. The light gray ash is a bit coarse. The burn is good. The cigar is subtle, smooth and flavorful. Medium bodied and flavored.  The smoke time is close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m getting a box just to age them.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month July

Late 2016 I had the plan to post a review every Wednesday and every Sunday in 2017 with an added review on the 15th of each month as a series of Lancero reviews but I reviewed so many cigars that I had to post more, so for a few cigars I did a ‘full series review in one’, I added a few special dates to commemorate certain people, celebrate birthdays, last month I did a full week of review and this month I posted two extra Oliva Master Blend reviews so that the 1, 2 and 3 were posted in line. So, just like last month, there are more cigars rated this month than I expected to do. And the first 4 cigars all came very close to each other, with just tenths of a points in difference.

The cigar with the highest rate in July is:

Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill with a 94 score.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published at Cigarguideblog in July:

1) Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Oliva Master Blend 2 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak A (Nicaragua) 94 points
4) Ilja VII by My Father A (Nicaragua) 94 points
5) Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Sumatra Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Oliva Master Blend 3 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Illusione ~hl~ Maduro Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
8) Lars Tetens Steampunk Toro (USA) 92 points
9) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Puros de Hostos Box Pressed Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
       Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto (Costa Rica) 91 points
12) Puros de Hostos Churchill (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Romeo y Julieta #2 Tubo (Cuba) 87 points
14) Padilla Artisan Perfecto (Nicaragua) 87 points
15) Te Amo World Selection Series Nicaraguan Blend Robusto (Mexico) 86 points
16) Te Amo World Selection Series Mexican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 85 points
17) Te Amo World Selection Series Honduran Blend Robusto (Mexico) 80 points
18) Te Amo World Selection Series Cuban Blend Robusto (Mexico) 79 points
19) Te Amo World Selection Series Dominican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 76 points

 

 

 


The first 12 cigars all rated 91 or higher, with two cigars with the exact same score on the 10th spot. The complete top 12 I would smoke again with pleasure. Number 14 on the list is one of the best looking cigars I ever smoked though but the top 6 are all limited editions that cannot be bought anymore.

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A great book about Nicaraguan cigars

Somewhere in the autumn of 2014 my then employer Sasja van Horssen was approached by his friend and lifestyle journalist Marcel Langedijk with the question if we could help him setting up a trip to Esteli, Nicaragua for him and photographer Jesaja Hizkia and get him in touch with some cigar manufacturers for interviews and pictures in the factories. Marcel, who has been to Nicaragua more often, thought it was time that Nicaragua got a beautiful coffee table book about the cigar lifestyle too, a book nobody ever did except about Cuba and that the time was right for a book about Nicaragua considering the growing sales numbers, superb quality and the growing appreciation for Nicaraguan tobacco, not just in the USA but also in the rest of the world. Nicaraguan cigars dominate the ‘top 25’ lists the last few years and so a book seems appropriate.

I set up a trip, meetings at Joya de Nicaragua, A.J. Fernandez, Rocky Patel, Plasencia, Oliva, Padron and Drew Estate as requested, personally I would have added Perdomo as a major player too, Nica Suenos from my friend Skip Martin and back then I hadn’t met Noel Rojas yet otherwise I would have added him too and interviews with a few boutique brand owners, and I got to come along as I made all the appointments and had all the contacts, my then employer went along as translator as he’s fluent in Spanish. At our hotel, Los Arcos, I met Hector from Espinosa Cigars/La Zona and after seeing the La Zona factory Marcel and Jesaja decided on the spot that they had to be included in the book too, just as the Fe Y Alegria school we visited, a school that’s being supported by Pronica, a foundation that I helped to get started for with & for my then employer.

The name of the book is Cigaragua, a name that Marcel came up with after a few glasses of Flor de Caña. We were having some drinks and cigars at the courtyard of Los Arcos when Marcel just blurted out that name and immediately said “no, that’s to cryptic” but Jesaja and I were sold, perfect name. The next morning Marcel changed his mind and started to like the name more and more, and decided to go forward with the name.

The 12×12 inch coffee table book is not just about tobacco but also shows Esteli, Jesaja Hizkia took a lot of great pictures that are included in the book. The book is now available in Dutch and English and Spanish, German and possible French translations could follow in th near future. I know there are plans to release it in the United States as well but Marcel didn’t say when even though I asked, so if you want to know when the book is being released in your country contact Marcel or Sasja van Horssen.

Other than setting up this trip and proof reading the book before it went to the printer, I am not involved with the book, I gain no money from sales or promoting the book. But I like the book (and Nicaraguan cigars) so much that I wanted to spread the word about the book anyway.

Here are some pictures I took from the book (with my iPhone):

 

 

 

And I shot a little video: Cigaragua video on youtube

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Don Pepin Garcia series JJ maduro sublime

This Don Pepin Garcia series JJ maduro is one of the few cigars with a maduro wrapper leaving the My Father factory in Nicaragua. The blend, with Nicaraguan criollo and corojo filler and binder and a broadleaf maduro wrapper, was created by José ‘Pepin’ Garcia and his son Jaime. The 6×54 Sublime is new on the Dutch market with a 9 euro pricetag.
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First thing I notice is a change in the colour of the band since I last smoked the series JJ maduro. This is the second change in bands for the series. The design stays the same this time, just like the fact that the cigar is double banded. The wrapper is nice and dark with a few veins and quite oily. The construction feels good but the cigar looks a little bended. The wrapper is quite thick, something I notice when I punch the cigar. The predraw is fine, I taste tobacco with a peppery aftertaste. The cigar has a peppery barnyard smell.
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I taste pepper and an earthy flavour, leather and some sweetness. After half an inch the pepper becomes the main flavour and herbs join the party. The sweetness grows a bit stronger too. Halfway I taste leather, herbs and quite some maduro sweetness.
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After two thirds I taste more leather, some herbs and that maduro sweetness although it’s losing some of it strength. The leather gets a bit stronger. Near the end the earthy flavour I tasted at the start returns.
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This cigar lasted me for an hour and fifty minutes. The draw was great and I got a lot of thick white smoke. The light coloured ash is coarse and reasonably firm. I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is full flavoured and full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes please

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8/ 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Don Pepin Garcia series jj robusto maduro

Every aficionado had heard of Don Pepin Garcia and his series JJ maduro is one of the few cigars with a maduro wrapper leaving his factory. The cigars used to be made in Miami at the El Rey de Los Habanos factory but production has been moved to the My Father factory in Nicaragua. I smoked this cigar before, when it still had the old band, and I decided to review this one, with the new band too as it just became available on the Dutch market for a fixed price of € 6,50. I have to admit, I am a bit under the weather while reviewing this cigar so my taste buds might be a bit off.
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The wrapper of this 5×50 robusto is dark, rough, dry and with a few veins. As I said before, the band has changed and is beige now instead of broken white. The construction feels good. I smell a strong and peppery barnyard smell. The predraw is easy and a bit spicy.
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I taste a spicy soil flavor with some coffee and pepper in the aftertaste. The flavors are dry. I also taste a honey like sweetness. After half an inch I taste a mild sweet cedar with a little bit. The cigar slowly becomes more spicy.
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After a third I taste wood and an earthy flavor with some maduro sweetness. The feeling is still dry. I taste herbs and pepper in the aftertaste. After two thirds I taste dry wood with herbs and the cigar is quite spicy.
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The smoke time is about an hour and fifteen minutes. The draw is great and I got a lot of thick, white and pretty smoke. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. The burn is great. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied. I got a bit light headed but I am not sure if that’s just the cigar or a combination of the cigar, my medication and the mild flu.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I would

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Don Pepin Garcia blue invictos

Since I started to write reviews I smoked and reviewed a lot of Don Pepin cigars, including the Firecracker and the generoso from the blue line, this time I thought it would be nice to smoke the Invicto, a 5×50 robusto, from the same line. The cigars are made from all Nicaraguan tobacco with a corojo oscuro wrapper.
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The wrapper is nice and dark with a few veins, it looks shiny and oily. The construction feels good and I smell a strong barnyard aroma. The predraw is fine and quite peppery.
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I taste a mild bitter earthy flavor with some coffee, all quite spicy and with a high dose of black pepper in the back of the throat. The bitterness disappears almost immediately. After half an inch I taste toast with some pepper and wood and after an inch some sweetness joins the other flavors. Another half an inch later I taste some chocolate in the aftertaste.
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Halfway the cigar gets a bit of a herbal flavor but that fades to the aftertaste soon and the main flavor is wood. Near the end I taste sweet wood with a strong peppery aftertaste.
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This robusto lasted me for eighty minutes, which is quite long. I got a lot of thick smoke and a dark, but firm, ash. The draw was great and the burn was good. This cigar is a straight in your face stogie, full flavored and full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Of course

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , ,

Don Pepin Garcia serie JJ salomon

The JJ series by Don Pepin Garcia are Nicaraguan puros with a corojo rosado wrapper. It is a full serie with several vitolas, including this 7¼x57 salomones. The cigar was recently added to the portfolio here in The Netherlands and it has a 15 euro price tag. I see that the band has changed since I smoked my last JJ, the secondary band is still the same though. I can’t say I like the new band, compared to the old one.
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The wrapper looks leathery with some veins. The color is chocolate brown. I love the salomones shape. The cigar has a good construction and a mild straw smell. I only cut a small piece of the cap and still get a great predraw, which has a strong black pepper taste.
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I taste a spicy, peppery leather with some nutmeg. I get more pepper than expected, but then again, this is a Don Pepin Garcia cigar. After half an inch the cigar still gives me pepper, but now with wood, herbs and some spices. The pepper is less overpowering than before. After an inch wood becomes the main flavor with some spices and herbs, the cigar is quite spicy. The pepper has moved to the aftertaste.
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After a third the wood turns mild sweet. The wood slowly changes to cedar and the pepper has completely disappeared. The aftertaste is herbal. After two thirds nutmeg is the main flavor with spicy herbs, the wood flavor I tasted before is now a supporting flavor. Near the end the pepper makes a comeback, the cigar is now spicy and very herbal.
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The smoke time of this cigar is an hour and twenty-five minutes. The draw is great. The cigar produced a lot of thick smoke. The ash is gray, compact and firm. The structure of the ash looks like sand. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? It is a nice cigar, but for the same amount of money I can smoke a Padron 1926 series which is better than ‘a nice cigar’

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Don Pepin Garcia blue toro gordo

In february of this year My Father cigars released the news of an addition to their blue label blend, a 6×56 toro gordo and this cigar already hit the Dutch market. In the past we had to wait years before cigars were finally available in The Netherlands but distributer The Longfiller Company is doing great stuff for the Dutch aficionados, not just in getting great cigars on the Dutch market soon after the US release but also price wise. In the past we overpaid for our cigars, prices were doubled or even tripled compared to the US MSRP but not anymore, this cigar will cost € 6,50 in the Dutch shops.
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The cigar has a great construction and the beautiful, dark and oily corojo wrapper feels quite silky. I see a few veins and I smell a barnyard. The predraw is fine and I taste tobacco and raisin.
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I taste pepper with coffee and after half an inch I taste wood with a peppery aftertaste. After a third I taste wood with lots of herbs and some pepper. The flavors are full and in your face, but then the flavors slowly gets a bit smoother.
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Halfway I taste mainly wood with a small amount of herbs on the background and in the aftertaste. After two thirds the wood changes flavor, it is still wood but different. I even taste some nut flavors too.
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The smoke time of this super toro is a whopping 2 hours. The draw is a bit loose but I got plenty of smoke. At the start I had a crooked burn but it corrected itself. The light colored ash is firm. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied, and gave me a nice flame during the purge.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

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