With the manifold array of brands issuing from the factories of Jose “Don Pepín” Garcia, it is interesting to note that only six of them bear the imprint of the master’s name. Vegas Cubanas (by Don Pepín Garcia) is one of them.
Introduced in 2005, before the Pepín renaissance reached full bloom, Vegas Cubanas was just another “boutique” cigar from Miami’s El Rey de Los Habanos.
By contrast with the swooning that accompanied Tatuaje, Padilla Miami, and later on San Cristobal, Vegas Cubanas never really attracted that much attention. Perhaps because it’s a lighter-bodied cigar? Or because it is in relatively good supply? (When we all know that the power hitters and the “exclusive” limited editions are by definition better. Right?) In the retail shops I frequent this one is usually shunted off to the side, in the vicinity of the Tatuajes, Series JJ, El Centurion, etc., but never in the same spotlight.
So maybe they were trying to amp up the label a bit when El Rey de Los Habanos gave Vegas Cubanas a makeover in 2007: new box art, a new band, and cellophane. (Matt’s review shows the somewhat lackluster original band.)
Like most of Pepín’s blends, this one is a Nicaraguan puro. The wrapper is touted as “Habano Rosado Claro” and under the hood there’s a “Cuban Seed Corojo 99 blend.” Vegas Cubanas are available in six sizes:
- Invictos – 5 x 50
- Generosos – 6 x 50
- Delicias – 7 x 50
- Imperiales – 6.125 x 52
- Magnates – 7.625 x 49
- Coronas – 5.5 x 44
Early in my journey through the vast cigar wilderness I became partial to the toro size. I found that most draw problems could be avoided with a larger ring size, and a six inch cigar allows a little more room for development than a stubby robusto, so I gravitated to the toro, or corona grande, or whatever name is applied to a cigar with a 48 to 52 ring gauge and a length from 6 to 6 1/2 inches. Construction qualities have generally improved over the years, but I still like this size.
So the one I reached for was the Generosos. The wrapper on this cigar is an attractive colorado claro, with an emphasis on the colorado. It has a sleek appearance without being oily. A close examination shows a small amount of tooth, but not enough to overcome the overall smooth impression. The roll is solid and the head bears the classic cuban triple-cap we expect from El Rey de Los Habanos.
Once lit, the Generosos opens with a tannic woody flavor and a smattering of pepper. Compared to a blend like the DPG Blue Label, this one is a sweetheart. After half an inch or so, the tannins and the wood merge and morph into the smooth cocoa flavor that for me defines DPG’s lighter bodied cigars. The finish at this stage is lingering, but mild — just a slightly earthy aftertaste, and a grazing of a scratch on the back of the throat.
Into the two-thirds stage the smoke evens out and takes on a wonderfully creamy and smooth texture. If by “body” you mean the texture of the smoke, this is a full bodied cigar at this point. But it’s not powerful; it’s simply full on the palate, like a full bodied Sumatran coffee with cream: it sits heavily on the palate, but doesn’t overwhelm with nicotine.
The final stage of the cigar features a gentle transition from smooth cocoa flavors to a darker, earthier taste. Up to this point, the wrapper has not really distinguished itself. For most of the way the wrapper melds nicely with the rest of the blend, but in the last couple inches the wrapper contributes an aroma that steps out and shouts Twang! It’s a sweet, spicy, caramel inflected aroma that defies description, but you know it when it shows up at your door.
My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that the burn was uneven throughout the length of this smoke. It wasn’t serious enough to affect the balance of the flavors, but it was just a tad annoying.
In the brick and mortar retail shops this cigar sells in the $6-7 US range. Boxes can be found for around $130 online, which is quite decent for a cigar of this quality. It compares favorably to the more expensive Troya Classico and Cabaiguan lines, though I’d have to say this one is a less complex experience than those.
From first light to last ash, Vegas Cubanas is an everyman’s cigar. It does not stomp on the terra like some of Pepín’s other blends; it steps lightly and sings a tuneful little ditty. It’s bound to please everyone, at one time or another, with the exception of those who insist on double ligero for breakfast. If I had to smoke nothing but these for a long time, I might get a little bored, but I’d be happy.
20 thoughts on “Vegas Cubanas Generosos by Don Pepin Garcia”
Gorgeous looking cigar! I’ve had a “tannic” cigar before and it also had a rosado wrapper. I’m wondering if that is a characteristic of that particular leaf? Do you know if the mouth drying effects go away with time spent in the humidor? Thanks for another great review.
“Tannic” is a term borrowed from wine tasting, so it’s probably not chemically accurate, but I believe it describes the flavor well. I think most people agree that this taste does diminish with time — over several years — as a cigar mellows, but it’s not particular to a specific kind of wrapper leaf. I would guess that it’s not in the wrapper at all, since this is usually the most carefully fermented leaf in the cigar.
Keep in mind that Pepin Garcia does not believe in aging cigars, so if one of his cigar blends has this flavor it’s definitely on purpose! On the other hand… I’m really looking forward to finding out what a DPG Blue tastes like with three to five years on it.
Thanks for the question!
Very nice review. I haven’t had the pleasure of these as I’ve not seen them in any B&Ms locally. I’ll have to see if I can pick one or two up and let them sit for a bit because I’m not a fan of the tannic flavors that come with young cigars.
I should probably clarify that Vegas Cubanas is not a really tannic tasting cigar. There’s just a little astringency in the first half inch or so, and then it’s smooth cocoa all the way (or so it seems to my palate anyway.) But more than one person has commented on the “young” taste of fresh Pepins, so this flavor is definitely part of his typical profile. Not so much here, but in his stronger blends definitely.
All of these random Pepins seem to be popping up all over the place! Let’s see if he cuts back some more of his workload. (Hopefully he doesn’t.)
Well, he’s cutting back on Padillas. It looks like the man is actually mortal! But I bet Ernesto has something interesting up his sleeve… can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with in the post-Pepin era.
I’m interested in your reference to the more “lackluster” pre-2007 blend. I have a chance to buy a box from Dec 2006 and wonder if I’ll be disappointed. Thanks.
Keith — I was just talking about the band. They changed the artwork on the box and the band, but I don’t think they touched the blend. Go get your box!
Excellent. Appreciate the clarification. And I love this site and your reviews — which I find to be the most comprehensive out there. Thanks.
Thanks for your thoughtful review. I am finishing a Generosos right now and you are spot on about the cigar, satisfying but not not amazing. It is, what I like to call it, a good Bar-B-Q cigar. You can enjoy it with a few friends in the afternoon.
First time w/this smoke late yesterday evening, along w/some bourbon neat. Next time Ill leave the bourbon alone — kinda overpowers the cigar. Hit with black pepper on the light then it smoothed out.Had to relight once, but good draw, good burn, lots of creamy smoke. Very good flavor/aroma – nice experience on quiet, cool fall evening as dusk comes on – just me, the smoke, the drink, the colorful leaves. Will smoke again.
Nice assessment Roger. And I agree — whisky might be a bit much for the Vegas Cubanas. I’ve been smoking the DPG Red Label which is similar to this one. A mellow Pepin, and a nice coffee companion. Thanks for the comment!
I think the factory in Miami, the one that makes these are probably using their leftovers and using it as filler for the Vegas Cubanas. The ash is very brittle which is an indication of trashy filler and binder. Please don’t misunderstand, I actually enjoy the taste of this toro (generosos). I bought my own sampler of Pepins about 4 months ago and 2 of these was part of it. I am really getting into the Pepin line these days. My favs are the Black Label, JJ’s and now I am interested in his masterpiece, the El Centurion. What a great work of art that one is.
I would have to say that for many, the Vegas Cubanas is a good BBQ stogie. Lots of smoke and tasty.
Boy, I don’t know. I’ve never experienced brittle ash on this one, and I’d be extremely surprised if DPG was rolling these with short filler (leftovers) and not being up front about it. Have you ever sliced one of these open to verify your theory?
Calm down now cigarfan, my friend. The ash on mine was very brittle and breaking off almost like a cigarette. What can I say. I thought the taste was ok, but this is one of Pepin’s lines I can take or leave.
I am smoking a 1970 Pepin Black right now as I have 2 boxes of these in one of my humiees, probably my fav. I am beginning to look at the El Centurions and JJ’s now for a future box.
No sir, I will not calm down! You have impugned the integrity of Don Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia! 🙂 To be honest, I haven’t smoked one of these in many months, so it’s possible that with Pepin making six bajillion cigars now that standards have dropped. Possible, I say. But I would still be astonished if he was using short filler.
You can’t go wrong with the Centurions. One of the best of the best I think. And the Blacks are nothing to sneeze at either. Enjoy ’em litedave!