The Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic (the one with the pretty black, gold and red label with a gold ribbon at its foot) made Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2007 with its 92 rating. So I’m sure you can understand my bitter disappointment when this one turned out to be a complete wash-out!
Billed as a full-bodied cigar (and it certainly was,) this veiny, barber-pole wrapped, Connecticut with a splendid, picture-perfect triple cap promised to be a wonderful experience. It’s six inches long and a 52 ring gauge. It was the very last cigar from a sampler set I got from Pipes & Cigars; one they don’t even sell anymore, so you can bet it’s been sitting patiently in my humidor all this time. I mention this because in skimming through other reviews, some have suggested leaving it to age properly to level it out. That didn’t save this one.
The Corojo wrapper note was like tobacco and old wood: very pleasant. It reminded me of my great uncle’s house, where the wood and the furniture polish and the antique scent of tobacco smoke all blended together in a welcoming smell that made me feel safe and relaxed. That picturesque triple cap clipped perfectly. The fillers and binders are Nicaraguan.
Toasting the foot produced a warm woody scent, and the first few draws were like tasting the smell of a fireplace while someone grinds a pepper mill in the kitchen. It was really enjoyable. I had some difficulty getting an even light but I was encouraged by the scent and flavour and I settled in to enjoy. Then it started burning black near the foot. I smoked it fairly steadily even so because it really was tasty, but after a few minutes it started to develop a bitter nastiness and it promptly went out ten minutes later.
Now, I’ve been known to smoke a cigar so cold that it cools to embers, but I was not doing that; I was puffing at it like J. Jonas Jameson. Not impressed. But unwilling to be deterred that easily I clipped it off and fired it up again.
The relight provided an earthy flavour that was a little bit like the scent of cowpies in a cornfield; not unpleasant but certainly strong! I continued to work steadily at it, but once again it became bitter, the light went wonky, the wrapper burned black, and it went out yet again twenty minutes later.
Well, that was half an hour and the cigar had gone out twice. I gave it up as a bad job and left it in the ashtray for the night, even though I did clip it first so the tobacco would not pick up that nasty burnt taste.
It lit more easily in the morning, but the wrapper still burned black around the edges, and it still went out after ten minutes.
So, what gives? Was it badly packed? Was it damp? Was the roller thinking about a fight with his wife or a lovely girl walking by instead of his work that day? I don’t know. But the fact is, sometimes you just get a dud, and this award-winning cigar did not win any awards from me.
You can get these guys at Famous Smoke, Cigars International, and Pipes and Cigars, for about $135 USD for a box of twenty, $35.00 USD for a five pack, and $7.50 USD for a single. I hope my next one is better. And that’s a lady’s perspective!