Origin : United States
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Corojo Oscuro
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$6-7 each
More info about purchasing Don Pepin Garcia JJ cigars...
Today was yet another beautiful day in my tundra paradise. Not feeling like a particularly long smoke I reached for the Don Pepin Garcia JJ White Label that has been resting in my desktop for just over a month. I had been looking forward to this one for a while because I cannot seem to find enough smokes in the shorter vitolas.
First inspection shows a wrapper that is a bit more vein laden than I would like. Some of them are quite pronounced begging to affect razor edged burns. Despite this, the seams are unpronounced and the cap is nice and secure. Moving to the foot I notice two fairly pronounced dents that can only be described as pencil eraser sized divots. This leads me to believe that this one is under filled. Pinching from the head to the foot reveals a solid cigar with slight give. Unfortunately, there are two very significant soft spots. One is 2 inches from the foot and the other is right about where the larger band is located.
Moving onto the olfactory inspection reveals a fairly neutral smell at the foot. A slight note of grass or hay is present. Using my punch to pierce the cap produced two 1/16th inch cracks in the head. One on each side of the punch. Taking a prelgiht draw I find it to be quite loose. In fact there is no resistance at all on this one, almost like sucking through an empty straw. The neutral flavors from the front come across during the prelight draw as well. There is nothing very eventful. I notice a slight hint of cherrywood but other than that not much.
Pulling out my single torch I toast the foot and get a few puffs in. A very light leather flavor comes across. I enjoy the density of the smoke that this stick is producing at this point. After several more puffs a tasteful white pepper flavor shows itself but only briefly. It is at this point that the burn decides to take off on a horrible sprint. It begins to become quite wavy and visibly skewed on one side. After much turning and angling I manage to help it correct itself some but it still maintains its jagged appearance. Shortly after I managed to get this under control a subtle sweet flavor shows up akin to brown sugar. This smoke is very dry and I find myself reaching for water more than usual. Grassy tones join the party just under an inch in.
At the one inch mark I find myself puffing on a stick that had somehow managed to go out despite my having nothing else to distract me and giving it plenty of attention. Tapping off the ash I torch the foot again and begin anew. Despite relighting, the uneven burn remains quite prominent. Most flavors have subsided at this point except that of the cherry wood, which is still faint. At about 2 inches in, the smoke again went out; much to my frustration. We have all been guilty of leaving a smoke unattended or allowing it to go out because of distractions but this smoke does not fall into that category.
Repeating the ritual, I get this one going again in the hopes that making it past the halfway mark will solve these problems and somehow redeem the stick. After half an inch more, I observe smoke coming from areas other than the head and foot. It turns out that the stick has developed three ¼ to ½ inch cracks in various places along the shaft, thus venting smoke out the sides. I wrestle with the burn and failing wrapper for a few more minutes and decide this one is no longer worth the effort. Disposing of it I reflect on what went wrong.
Overall, the construction of this stick appears to be its downfall. The channels, soft spots, and loose draw are all evidence that this stick was under filled. The lack of flavor may be attributed to that as well but overall it was fairly uneventful and bland. I really wanted to like this stick, especially after enjoying its larger blue label brother, but found it extremely lacking. What surprises me the most about this is that although hand rolled cigars are prone to defects, this one seemed to have several blatantly and outwardly visible indications that this one should never have passed inspection...
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