Published on July 22nd, 2013 | by Siz3
Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic
I had some troubles with this Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic. I enjoyed most of it and it offered some great complexity and balance along the way. I just had some burn and draw issues in the last half that affected the overall flavor of the cigar.
- Made By:Tabacalera Cubana S.A.
- Average Price:$8
- Ring Gauge:54
I’ve long been a fan of the Don Pepin Garcia cigars. Everything from his Blue series, to the My Father cigars that he helps produce. Not to mention the #1 cigar from CA last year the Flor De Las Antillas. Let’s just say that Pepin knows his craft and he makes some fantastic cigars. When I was at my local shop the other day I was browsing the section that had all the Pepins. The store manager came in and told me he had unearthed some of these Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classics while doing inventory. I’m sure they got lost at the bottle of the pile. This isn’t the first time he’s told me about something he found while doing inventory. Remember those AF Anejos? Yeah those were found like a treasure trove as well. I’m starting to think he needs to do inventory more often to keep finding all these new treats for me to smoke!
After doing some research on this cigar I found out it has a very interesting backstory. Pepin was a classic Cuban roller, and when he started his own brand he wanted to pay homage to his homeland. So he set out and created the Cuban Classic series. It originally came in 3 vitolas, Belicoso, Robusto, and Toro. Each size is named a different year. Toro 1950 which is made in reference to Pepin’s birth year, Belicoso (the one I smoked) is 1970, and the Robusto 1979 which is the birth year of his daughter Janny. So I’m not exactly sure who the 1970 is named after… Maybe his son Jaime? That’s what I’m going to go with, if anyone knows for sure leave me a comment down below! So let’s hop out of memory lane and get into what this cigar is all about.
The first thing I notice about this Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic is the double black band on it. That’s why it’s began to get the nickname of the Black series. We’re not going to call it by that though we’re going to use the official name given to it. This cigar has a beautiful light brown almost reddish hue to it. There is one vein that runs the length of the cigar, it’s on the side and it is not incredibly noticeable so I’m not going to dwell on it too much.
The double black bands on this cigar have been updated from some of the previous images I’ve seen of it around online. The top, or main band is very similar to the Don Pepin Garcia Blue that I’ve previously reviewed. It’s got the gold scripting font in it with the detailed curls on the outside of the band. It’s a very classic look that is a great update from the dated band that was on there previously. The second band tells you that this is the Cuban Classic series. It’s a solid gold font that pops out, the color scheme is the same as the top band and it’s very inviting. Hell, it made me pick it up and want to smoke it!
I love the Belicoso vitola, I honestly don’t smoke enough of them. I love the tapered head even though it takes me a few extra snips to really open up the cigar. It’s much more comfortable to have the tapered part of the barrel resting on your lips when you smoke. Just my personal preference but I’m going to start looking for some more belicosos. This Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic has phenomenal construction from an outside perspective. The filler is packed perfectly and has just the right amount of sponginess to it. The foot has a nice clean cut to it, not extra tobacco hanging off the edge. It’s a nice clean presentation overall.
I’m ready to nip the taper off of this head and test out the draw on this stick. It took me about 5 clips to get this thing down to where it was opening up enough to pull some air through. I was using my capped back cutter so it limits how much you can cut off with each snip. Once I finally got it open the draw was absolutely perfect. Just a hint of resistance and not much more than that. I’m ready to fire this thing up and see what all it has to offer if you all are ready?
I had a little bit of an issue getting this Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic lit. I’m not sure what was causing the issue, but I couldn’t get the foot to toast very evenly and then it didn’t really want to take to the flame. After a little more persistence it finally took hold and began puffing. The smoke that this cigar was putting off was a nice thick white smoke that swirled around. The first few puffs were nice and easy and the draw couldn’t have been better.
The burn on this cigar during the first third was perfect. It wasn’t laser straight, but it was close enough to not matter. The ash wasn’t as tight as others I’ve seen but it held on for over an inch before I finally tapped into my ash tray and not on my lap.
During the 2nd third of this Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic I had to purge it a bit. The taste began getting slightly bitter and I was having some trouble drawing air through the barrel. Once I purged, it was off to the races again. During the final third I had to purge again, for some reason I just kept getting draw and burn issues on the last part of this cigar. Not exactly sure what went wrong. I definitely wasn’t smoking too fast. I was letting it rest for more than 30 seconds between puffs so I’m thinking I just got a dud in the bunch. Enough about the smoke, what are the flavors? Everyone knows Pepin is known for his flavorful cigars.
On the pre light of this stick I was able to pick up on some strong earthy and coffee notes. There was a slight hint of mocha as well that I picked up while nosing the barrel of this Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic. During the dry draw I really picked up on the spice that Pepin is known for, it left a tingling on my lips that I thoroughly enjoyed. Once I got the cigar lit and began puffing I began picking up on some strong savory notes on the lips. The spice wasn’t really there yet. The retrohale was nice and smooth and not much spice being delivered during this third.
At the beginning of the 2nd third is when the spice started to pick up on the retrohale. That classic Pepin black pepper started to show it’s head. I had trouble getting consistent flavors during the last half of the cigar. Due to all the purging and bitterness that I was experiencing. I was able to pick out some woodsy notes similar to cedar during this third of the cigar. The aroma of the cigar was definitely earthy and woodsy backed with some spice. It was a very interesting flavor combination that I enjoyed when I came across. As I said, the smoking issues tended to overshadow some of these things though.
During the final third there was more of the same from the 2nd third. The woodsy notes and the earthiness were dominant, however that Pepin spice still lingered around to add some complexity to this Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic. I wasn’t blown away by this cigar, but I definitely enjoyed parts of it. I would love to smoke another and hopefully not experience the burn issues that I had with this one.
Would I Buy It Again?
Absolutely, it’s a great price point and I know that Pepin has some great quality cigars that he produces.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
Would I Buy a Box?
Potentially if the price is right.
I wasn’t blown away by this Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic, but it was enjoyable for the most part. I wish I didn’t have the burn issues and the draw issues that really affected the flavor during the second half of the cigar. It was a nice medium bodied smoke that offered up quite a bit of complexity and balance along the way. I’ll definitely pick up another one of these and give it a try very soon.