Jose “Don Pepin” Garcia has two cigar factories — the original El Rey de Los Habanos in Miami, and the much larger Tabacalera Cubana in Esteli, Nicaragua. Garcia’s son Jaime operates the Nicaragua factory, and apparently while his father is away he likes to conduct experiments on his own.
According to Cigar Aficionado’s David Savona, Jaime developed the blend for the “My Father” cigar in secret, and it was only after someone in the factory leaked “classified” information that Don Pepin discovered what was going on behind his back. He proceeded to investigate, and having reduced the resulting evidence to ash he approved of his son’s surreptitious activities. He was also honored by the name Jaime decided to give the cigar: “My Father.”
The Garcias have till now quite effectively used tobacco grown in Nicaragua by other producers, but “My Father” is the first to use leaf grown by Garcia himself, in this case for the filler and binder. (The word on the street is that their wrapper leaf is in still in development.) For the wrapper on this cigar Jaime is using an interesting Habano – Criollo hybrid grown by the Oliva Tobacco Company in Ecuador.
“My Father” cigars are available in four sizes:
- No. 1 – 5.5 x 52 Robusto
- No. 2 – 5.5 x 54 Belicoso
- No. 3 – 6 x 49 Crema
- No. 4 – 7.5 x 38 Lancero
The wrapper on this cigar is a smooth and creamy looking colorado claro leaf with a few subtle veins. The roll is perfectly regular, with no lumps or soft spots, and the cap is typical Pepin workmanship. The caps on Garcia cigars are probably the finest in the world.
After clipping I found the pre-light draw to be grassy, hay-like with some spice. The draw is surprisingly loose, but this didn’t affect the cigar’s performance. The burn was slow and mostly even to the end. My only complaint is very minor: the ash had a tendency to crack every inch or so. It never fell off in my lap, but it took no more than a light tap for it to fall into the ashtray.
My initial reaction to this cigar was two-fold: first, the tannic flavor simply bursts from this cigar. If you’ve smoked cigars from El Rey de Los Habanos or Tabacalera Cubana, you know what I’m talking about. It’s woody, but lip-smackingly tart. The second thing was that the aroma from this robusto is delicious. I would almost swear it’s DPG’s old Corojo 99, but it’s creamier and a little more fragrant. That trademark peppery taste is in evidence as well, but it seems to be toned down in comparison to other Pepin blends.
Working into the center of the cigar brings cocoa and caramel flavors reminscent of some of Pepin’s lighter cigars: the Red Label and Vegas Cubanas. This cigar is definitely more complex than either of those, with base notes of earth and leather, a mildly spicy but sweet aroma (sort of like sandalwood) and those intermingling cocoa or coffee bean flavors. The finish is lengthy and the aftertaste becomes increasingly peppery.
As I coast into the last section of this “My Father” cigar I’m feeling a pretty good nicotine hit — a breakfast smoke this is not — but it’s not overwhelming. The body of this cigar is a solid medium, maybe leaning towards full. It culminates with an earthy flavor, a long peppery finish and sweet caramel on the nose.
“My Father” is one of the more complex creations coming from the Pepin family. It probably fits in with the more medium-bodied cigars that Pepin makes, but it’s at the head of the class in terms of finesse. The tannic flavor that marks some young Cubans is the highlight of this smoke, and while Habanos enthusiasts age their stock to reduce this effect, it is in fact one of the great qualities of this blend. This is also why Don Pepin reportedly does not believe in aging his product.
This smoke runs around ten dollars per stick from Cigars Direct, which is a few dollars more than the middle-of-the-road blends from DPG that I’m used to smoking, but for the complexity and quality that you’re getting, it’s worth it.
This might be the best cigar coming out of Tabacalera Cubana right now, so I can see why Jose would be proud of his son with this blend. Clearly the acorn has not fallen far from the tree.
Final Score: 89
Other Reviews of Note
Barry gives the No. 2 Belicoso an 88 for A Cigar Smoker’s Journal
Lisa smokes the No. 3 Cremas and finds it “dry as French champagne.”
The Cohiba Club gives the No. 1 Robusto an 86