|El Centurion by Don Pepin Garcia (Guerreros) – 2007
The El Centurion by Don Pepin Garcia was released back in 2007. This cigar was originally released as a limited edition cigar by the Don Pepin Garcia line. Only 850 boxes per vitola were released. Recently, an announcement was made that the El Centurion would be returning. This time it would come under the Garcia Family’s My Father Cigars’ umbrella. As opposed to being a limited edition cigar, this time the El Centurion is making a return as a core line. The original blend of the El Centurion has garnered somewhat of a legendary cigar status. This is why there has been so much excitement upon the return of El Centurion. At the time of this assessment, the El Centurion has not been re-released yet, so we decided to revisit the original 2007 blend of the El Centurion. Without question, now nearly six years since it originally was developed, the El Centurion continues to hold a legendary status.
When the El Centurion was originally released, the following was on the El Rey de los Habanos (the web-site for the original factory for the Garcia family) website describing this cigar:
“EL CENTURION” is the result of a careful selection of leaves grown of Cuban seeds, which have been matured for three years under the strictest conditions of industry standards. In this process, we have used two varieties of plants from Nicaragua: Criollo 98 and Corojo 99. It is a “Medium to Full Bodied” cigar and one of the most exquisite ones you have ever tested.”
Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at the original El Centurion and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The El Centurion was an all-Nicaraguan puro. This cigar consists Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and uses Criollo 98 and Corojo 99 tobaccos mentioned above.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
These were the original vitolas released under the El Centurion brand:
Guerreros (Robusto): 5 x 50
Gladiadores (Toro): 6 1/2 x 52
Emperadores (Belicoso): 5 1/2 x 52
There was also a lancero-size made available in a Don Pepin Garcia lancero sampler.
In terms of the return of the El Centurion in 2013, My Father Cigars has said that the cigar will be issued with these four frontmarks (the lancero is not among them): Robusto, Toro, Toro Grande, and Belicoso
For this cigar experience, I smoked the robusto-sized Guerreros vitola. The El Centurion Guerreros has a medium brown colored wrapper with a colorado red tint to it. The wrapper definitely had an oily sheen and was also slightly bumpy when touched. There were a couple of visible veins, and the wrapper seams were well hidden. From the cap, you can detect a small barnyard aroma.
The band to the El Centurion features a color scheme consisting of red, gold, and an orange/peach combination. At the center of the band is a big red “C” on a shield shape. The shield has an orange/peach background with some red and gold trim. Above the shield is an orange/peach colored ribbon with the text “EL CENTURION” in red font. Around the shield there are gold medallions. In black font, the text “HAND” and “MADE” rest below the shield the left and right of the shield respectively. The text “Tabacalera” and “Cubana” are to the left and right of the shield in a burnt-orange cursive font. To the far right of the band, there is a small signature of Don Pepin Garcia.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the El Centurion Guerreros, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar. At that point, I moved on to the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw notes definitely had a lot of cedar notes to them. It was definitely along the lines of a cedar sweet spice combination. There was almost a little bit of a “musty” quality to these dry draw notes, but I don’t say that as a negative. It almost added another dimension to the cedar flavors and kept it less “generic” in terms of dry cedar notes. I also picked up a little cinnamon on the pre-light draw as well. Overall, this was an excellent pre-light draw. It was now time to light up my El Centurion and see what the cigar experience would deliver.
The El Centurion has a classic Don Pepin Garcia start as it yielded a blast of black pepper. As the pepper subsided, I detected some cedar sweetness with the black pepper. By about the five percent point, the smoke “really” opened up with flavor. The flavors evolved to a combination of cherry, nuts, and cedar in the forefront. The black pepper was in the background. I also detected some natural tobacco notes on the after-draw.
Later in the first third, the nut flavors took control and became the sole primary note. The cedar, cherry, and pepper notes become secondary. The natural tobacco notes folded back into the full draw, but were more of a tertiary note.
The second third sees the flavor notes above alternate in terms of which is the primary note. By the second half, the cherry notes took back over. In the last third, these notes were joined by a spice that is a cross of the pepper and cedar. The nut and natural tobacco flavors never disappeared entirely. The end of the cigar was not overly spicy, and was not harsh. The resulting nub is firm to the touch and cool to the finish. This is a nub that is a classic finger-burner.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the El Centurion scored as well as a burn can score. The burn line remained razor-sharp from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was tight with a primarily white color. There was virtually no flaking to this ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the El Centurion by Don Pepin Garcia
While I like a little resistance on the draw, the El Centurion definitely suffered from a draw that was too tight. It took a little more work to puff on this cigar than I would like. This happened on the two cigars I smoked. Both of these cigars were stored under ideal humidity and temperature, so I don’t think that contributed to this. Despite the tighter draw, it had no impact on the flavors or burn.
Strength and Body
The El Centurion is definitely going to have a little more pop than you might think. In fact, it had enough pop to be considered a full strength cigar in my book. I was a little surprised because I figured with some age, it could have resulted in a mellower smoke.
As for the flavors, these have some real nice depth to them. I also assessed this cigar to be a full-bodied. Overall, there is a nice balance of the strength and body on this cigar. If you want a cigar with both kick and flavor, this is one to smoke.
The recent smokes I have had of the Don Pepin Garcia El Centurion confirm this cigar’s legendary status in my book. This cigar had a lot to offer in terms of its flavor profile. I also feel this blend just works some magic in the robusto format. The return of this cigar should create some excitement upon its release – and it will be exciting to see the El Centurion as a regular offering by the Garcia family. Given this cigar was full strength and full-bodied, I would recommend this for the more experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is not only a cigar I would smoke again, but one that is box-worthy.
Source: The two cigars for this assessment were gifted to me by a friend.