Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Robusto 1979

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Robusto

Don Pepin GarciaOrigin : Nicaragua
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Nicaraguan
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Price : ~$6 each

Don Pepin was one of Cuba`s most respected rollers when he fled the country and started rolling cigars in Miami with some other prominent defectors. The cigar is marketed as full bodied and is promoted as some of the most Cuban tasting non-Cuban cigars. The Cuban Classic is billed as a spicy cigar made from very select tobaccos. I had the opportunity to sample their Natural Robusto and what follows is my review of this cigar. This cigar comes from his “Black Label” line and is manufactured in Nicaragua.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★☆
The cigar is veined and rustic. Its triple cap looks well applied and the dark brown wrapper has a nice sheen to it with no visible seams. The band is elegant but not over the top. It is a double banded cigar with the cigar name on the main band and “Cuban Classic” on the secondary band. The foot of the cigar is wrapped in a nice golden/brown ribbon.

Construction : Rating: ★★★★★ (4.75)
I used a guillotine cut on my Cuban Classic. The cigar held up well to the cut. It was firm to the touch, well packed and without soft spots. The burn was flawless for the entire duration of my smoke. The draw was perfect. Just enough resistance on the draw and I never had to fight the cigar. It did not require touch ups nor did it burst, swell, crack or start to unravel at any point. I was pleased with what I considered to be exceptional construction. The deduction was for the flaky and less than firm ash.

Flavor : Rating: ★★★½☆
The pre-draw was very aromatic. Cedar, earth, tobacco and a slight floral note were obtained. The foot had a very pleasing and inviting cedar/woodsy aroma.

The first third of the cigar offered some peppery spice with hints of unsweetened coffee, leather and cocoa. There was a pleasant peppery taste to the cigar that did not overpower the cigar and actually complimented it nicely. A touch of saltiness on the lips was present. The smoke output was medium. There was no texture to the smoke and the finish was relatively short. The pepper did not linger on my palate nor did the primary flavors of leather, cedar and unsweetened coffee.

As I started the second third of the cigar the smoke volume increased noticeably. By this point, the smoke was thick and rich. The ash was a nice white/grey color but it was quite flaky often falling off in chunks. The burn was not affected though.

I started to pick up some sweetness in the second third of the cigar. Along with the primary earthiness of the cigar, there were hints of dried fruit, black cherry, coffee and very subtle hints of chocolate. As I approached the halfway point some hints of toasted caramel started to make their way into the flavour profile. The pepper remained consistent but the finish again was shorter than I had expected.

Near the halfway point the primary flavors remained earthy with some leathery undertones. The flavour became a little more complex with more hints of black cherry, toasted nuts, unsweetened coffee and some dark chocolate. The smoke output remained full but it did start to have some texture. The smoke wasn’t too oily but I did manage to pick up hints of unsweetened chocolate/cocoa in the smoke.

The Cuban Classic really opened up just past the halfway point. The finish became longer, the smoke volume intensified and carried with it more of the previously noted textures and some saltiness on the lips made the balance of flavors more enjoyable. There continued to be some pepper to the finish. Although the cigar is marketed as being spicy I really didn’t get that during my experience. Instead I got some hints of cracked pepper that stayed consistent throughout the cigar but not really ‘spicy’ that one would expect based on the promotional material. Needless to say this isn’t a knock on the cigar but just my observation. Perhaps a little longer lingering spice would have made the experience more enjoyable.

Going past the halfway mark the smoke took on some occasional sweeter tastes, with hints of black cherry dried fruit and citrus occasionally breaking through the mainly earthy/nutty notes. The finish was shorter again.

Nearing the final third I started picking up some toasted nuttiness, caramel and cocoa under the primary woodsy/earthy flavors. There were some unpleasant bitter puffs but these were few. Mainly the final third continued to dominate with cedar, black cherry, leather, unsweetened coffee and dark chocolate. The ash was still quite flakey but the burn never wavered. I hadn’t seen a guitar burn so evenly in quite a while.

The final third had pretty much the same blend of flavors noted above but more bitter dark chocolate notes started to enter the profile. The cigar remained mainly woodsy and earthy but there were the occasional bursts of sweetness that made it through the profile to compliment the more prevalent bitterness at this point. It wasn’t a harsh bitterness but it was noticeable nonetheless. The cigar finished off with mainly woodsy, leathery and dark chocolate notes with a very short peppery finish. The intensity of the peppery notes weakened during the cigar.

Value : Rating: ★★★★★ (4.75)
This robusto can be had for as low as $6.50 at many online retailers and a box of 20 averages out to $5.59 per cigar. The highest price I found for this cigar was $7.00 but again, discounts were available for buying by the box. This cigar is definitely worth the money. For that price you are truly getting an enjoyable cigar. Not a “fantastic” smoke, but one with very few flaws. If you are a fan of woodsy/earthy cigars then you owe it to yourself to try one of these. If you are kept away, it won’t be because of the price, that’s for sure.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★½ (4.25)
My criticisms of this cigar are that the finish was short, there wasn’t enough complexity in the blend. When flavors did emerge though they did so in quite an enjoyable manner. The complex portions of the cigar were truly enjoyable but they were few. I would have liked the flavors and spice to have had a little more staying power on my palate. Also, the Cuban Classic did tend to get a little one dimensional, providing earthy/leathery notes for far too long before other flavors crept in. The cigar started with a low smoke output but opened up with nice rich clouds of smoke that took on some flavorful textures. When present, the hints of coffee and caramel were quite nice and unmistakable. The cigar was not overly complex, almost predictable but still, when all was said and done, it was still an above average cigar and one that smoked better than many other cigars in this price range.