I love those cheesy ads for no-name cigars that proclaim they are made by “the Number 1 Cigar Maker in Nicaragua,” (or Miami, or the DR.) No names please! That won’t be necessary, because we all KNOW who that cigar maker is. I’m so excited I can barely get my credit card out.
Casa Royale is not advertised that way, but the name Jose “Don Pepín” Garcia is often associated with this “Number One” cigar maker. I haven’t had the opportunity to smoke everything that has rolled off the tables of My Father Cigars, but I wouldn’t balk at the chance. I’d even try that odd mixed-filler cuban sandwich cigar, made with floor sweepings and yesterday’s La Prensa, if the blend was blessed by the Pope of Esteli himself.
And to be honest, there are a few DPG blends I don’t particularly care for. (How Ambos Mundos made it on CA’s top 25 list is a mystery to me.) But a misstep here or there has not yet cooled my ardor for this great blender. So when I saw that a “Six-Pack” of these Casa Royale Crowns could be found at Holt’s for just over 20 bucks, I took the bait.
Casa Royale is a Nicaraguan puro with a sungrown Esteli wrapper leaf that supposedly is the same one used on the Tatuaje Black. Whether that is an apology of sorts for the rustic appearance of the wrapper, or just plain hooey, is for you to decide. In any case, this Holt’s exclusive is available in five sizes:
- Ace – 5.625 x 46
- Aristocrat – 5.5 x 52
- Crown – 5 x 50
- Imperial – 6 x 50
- Prestige – 7.75 x 49
I’m trying to think of what color these cigars might be — colorado amarillo? Amarillo claro? They’re a light to medium shade of brown with a yellowish tinge, similar to some Connecticut Shade wrappers I’ve seen, but much less suave. The wrapper on the Casa Royale is rough, as is to be expected from a sungrown leaf, but it’s much lighter than most sungrown leaf, and it’s quite dry as well.
The head is finished nicely, but not as neatly as many “premium” cigars from the Garcias. The roll is firm with a slight box press, but the cigar feels a little bit light — this did not affect the burn, however, which was slow, even and consistent.
As I cut one of these robustos my thumb slipped and I really bungled the cut. Despite a relatively fragile wrapper I was able to slick the torn wrapper together with saliva and by some small miracle it held together for the duration of the smoke. That’s quality construction.
The first few puffs are typical Pepin — tart on the palate. Gradually I notice notes of sweet cedar on the nose, which makes an interesting companion to the greener flavors on the tongue. There is some vanilla in the aroma as well, with a touch of cinammon. The smoke is smooth and medium in body.
The middle stage continues in the same direction, smooth and woody with vanilla overtones.
This robusto is suprisingly smooth and mild-mannered up to the final third, where the spice picks up. Some white pepper tingles the sinuses while the cedary base flavor continues to hold. There are some subtler spicy notes as well — the cinnamon from the first third appears again, and brings with it a touch of sandalwood. It stays smooth and even to the nub.
Casa Royale is one of Pepín’s milder and less complex smokes, but it is still quite flavorful and the construction is excellent, as usual. Tart flavors on the palate are nicely balanced with sweet ones on the nose, and the subtle but exotic aromatics make this an interesting cigar.
Best of all, this cigar is truly affordable. Boxes of 25 retail for 127 USD, and if you run you’ll find six-packs on sale now for 21.95. Factor in that price and this is a great deal. It sure beats scrambling for the “No. 1 Cigar Maker’s” leftovers .