|Don Pepin Garcia Original|
The Don Pepin Garcia Original is the brand that started it all. It was one of the first blends by Jose Pepin Garcia (better known as Don Pepin Garcia). The cigar was originally made at the El Rey de los Habanos factory, but production would shift to Tabacalera Cubanas S.A. in Esteli, Nicaragua. However the blend has remained close to Don Pepin Garcia’s heart. It is widely considered to still be one of his favorites. In fact it was the inspiration behind the 2013’s Don Pepin Garcia 10th Anniversary Limited Edition cigar. Today we take a look back this cigar – sometimes also referred to as the Don Pepin Garcia Blue Label. In ten plus years, this is a blend that still stands the test of time and still delivers a great smoke.
Recently the Don Pepin Garcia Original has recently undergone a slight facelift when it comes to packaging (which we will discuss below). This has also been done on several of the other lines under the Don Pepin Garcia umbrella.
For this assessment we look at the Invictos vitola which is the robusto size. Without further ado, let’s break down the Don Pepin Garcia Original Invictos and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Don Pepin Garcia Blue Label is an all-Nicaraguan puro mixing Corojo and Criollo tobaccos in the blend.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo/Corojo
Currenly there is a wide variety of vitolas for the Don Pepin Garcia Blue Label that have been made over the years. These have all been included for reference purposes. The line has had 12 vitolas that range from the 3 inch Firecracker to the 9 1/4 inch “A” vitola (Exclusivo).
Exclusivo: 9 1/4 x 48
Magnate: 7 5/8 x 49
Delicas: 7 x 50
Imperiales: 6 1/8 x 52
Generoso: 6 x 50
Exquisitos 5 5/8 x 46
Preferidos: 5 1/8 x 42
Invictos: 5 x 50
Demi Tasse 4 1/2 x 32
Fundadores: 7 1/2 x 38
Lancero: 6 7/8 x 42 (Puff n Stuff Retail Exclusive)
Firecracker: 3 x 50 (Two Guys Retail Exclusive)
The Don Pepin Garcia Original has a coffee colored oscuro wrapper. The wrapper is oily in complexion and smooth to the touch. The wrapper seams are well hidden but there are a few visible veins.
Given that this is the “Blue Label”, the band is primarily blue in its background color. The text “Don Pepin Garcia” is in gold cursive font on a blue background field. The band has additional gold and red coloring on it. Flanking the blue field on the upper portion are the United States and Cuban flags to the left and right respectively. There is also a Statue of Liberty and shield to the left and right respectively on the lower part.
The packaging changes include a secondary band and a blue footer ribbon. The secondary band has a dark midnight blue color. In the middle is the text “ORIGINAL” in gold. Above and below the text are dotted gold and red stripes.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoking experience of the Don Pepin Garcia Original Invictos, I went with my usual selection of a straight cut. Once the cap was successfully clipped I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided me a mix of chocolate and orange peel notes. Overall while not the most complex pre-light draw, it still was very flavorful. At this point I removed the ribbon from the footer, put a torch to my Don Pepin Garcia Original and prepared for what the smoking phase had in store.
The start to the Don Pepin Garcia Original began with a blast of pepper and some wood notes. The pepper slightly subsided, but still was in the forefront with the wood notes. Within the first five percent some background chocolate and orange notes emerged. The retro-hale has an interesting quality as it delivers a citrus spice.
By about the ten percent point, the wood notes still remained primary. The orange pepper, citrus, and chocolate notes were still present and varied at different degrees of intensity moving between background and forefront notes, but the wood flavors seemed to be the constant. The retro-hale now transitioned to a more traditional pepper spice. This pattern continued throughout the smoking experience.
In the last third, the pepper increased into the forefront. The Don Pepin Garcia Original Invictos was definitely spicy at the end of the smoke, but the smoke was not harsh. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
I’ve smoked many of these cigars in the Invictos over the years. Overall when it comes to the construction of this cigar, it is very consistent. While the Don Pepin Garcia Original is no longer made in Miami, there has not been a loss of quality in my book. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was tight with salt and pepper color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw was outstanding as well. There is a touch of resistance to this draw that I really like on a cigar. As a result, in my book this was an ideal cigar to draw.
Strength and Body
When it comes to the attributes of both strength and body, this Don Pepin Garcia Original is sometimes overlooked in terms of how strong and full this is. From a strength perspective, I find this blend packs a decent punch. It’s definitely a cigar that I assess to be full strength. The flavors are also deep and robust. I also assessed this cigar as being full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balance and complement each other nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
At the start of this assessment, I mentioned that this cigar stands the test of time. This cigar is now entering its second decade of being around. During the ten year span this cigar has come out – a lot of cigars have come and go. I would say the Don Pepin Garcia Original is one of a select few cigars that not only has remained around for this long, but has also remained just as consistent. It’s a cigar I always go to several times a year. Given this is a full strength / full-bodied cigar, I would only recommend this to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I’ll continue to smoke again – and one worth a box split with someone.
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Source: The cigars for this assessment was provided by an authorized representative of My Father Cigars. The sample received was in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.