October 6, 2011
Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Price : ~$6 each
For the last several years, Cigar King has had a significant stock of exclusive brands created by Don Pepin Garcia. Those brands included Habana Leon, Cuban Diplomat, Havana Soul, Nacionales W, and the no longer available Sancti Spiritus. Not a whole lot is known about these exclusives but I will shed some light on at least one of the brands – unfortunately they will no longer be around.
Appearance : [rating:3/5]
Sancti Spiritus is wrapped in a dark tan nearly Colorado shade corojo wrapper. The construction is typical of early Pepin made cigars – they are imperfectly perfect with excellent construction with inferior tobaccos. The outside is slightly bumpy and has some give when squeezed. A couple of medium sized veins ran the course of the cigar’s length. Weirdly, the wrapper color moves from lighter near the head to a darker color closer to the foot. Some underlying filler indentations can be seen through the wrapper. Smells of hay and leather on the wrapper and from the foot with a touch more of sweetness near the end.
Construction : [rating:3.75/5] (3.75)
I feel old Pepin’s like this cigar had better construction than current production sticks. This one had that perfect snug draw that enhances the smoking experience. The cigar lit easily but the burn wavered every now and then. The cigar produces a nice light grey ash that held on for 2 inch chunks.
Flavor : [rating:2.75/5] (2.75)
Cutting and dry drawing the cigar reveals salty hay and leather flavors. Once fired up the cigar started out medium bodied with little to none of that Pepin spice. I imagine the spice is gone due to the age on this stick. Initial flavors are of vanilla and leather. A few more puffs and the saltiness and lemon-like-twangy flavors appear. 1 inch in and the flavors hit a lull and settled in on a consistent journey of vanillin, leather, nuttiness, and some coffee bean.
Past the halfway mark, each one of the flavors started to die off one by one. What remained eventually were remnants of the beginning flavors such as the nuttiness and leather. By the end of the cigar, the flavors had dropped off so much that I was left with nothing other than wet newspaper tasting tobacco.
Value : [rating:3/5]
$6 is actually a decent price for this stick back in the day. At this point I would have a hard time saying that it would be worth it unless someone was interested in seeing what made Pepin so famous in the first place.
Overall Rating : [rating:2.75/5] (2.75)
In all honesty, I thought I would find a great cigar that had flown under the radar for the last couple of years. Smoking this has totally peaked my interest to try the other Cigar King exclusives. This cigar has been the closest representation of a “true” Cuban cigar I have smoked from Pepin. The saltiness, hay, twang, and vanillin reminds me of Diplomatico habanos. Those unique flavors only lasted through the first third and into the second before dissipating though. Unfortunately, I think these cigars have seen better days and are well past their prime. There are other exclusive brands that are much stronger blends and probably are in much better shape considering the age on them all.
October 8, 2011
I won’t be able to do an aging report on those. The reason is I don’t have any in my possession anymore of the black/blue. But from my experience, the blacks and blues are excellent aging cigars. They got enough power and flavor to last the long run. These early Pepin blends that contain strength age really well (i.e. El Centurion, Miami 8/11). I will be doing some vintage reviews of some old Pepin sticks so stay tuned.
October 8, 2011
Thanks for the review, Aaron. I also heard that Black/Blue labels were great to age but never had a chance to try doing it. Any chance of an ageing report (= a review) on those? =)
If I am right it was over 4 yrs old. I am guestimating. The Sancti Spiritus line has been around for awhile. I really am excited to try the other CK exclusives that were made by DPG, since they were more powerful.
October 6, 2011
Aaron, how old was this cigar?
I have a box of the Pepin made Troya Clasicos. They are one of my favorite everyday smokes. Of course, by now, they pretty much have a tiny bit of spice but they still have a good amount of flavor. Now the Vegas Cubanas is definitely something that tastes great fresh but loses alot down the line if aged. The black label and blue label sticks are great to age. But I very much still enjoy those Troya Clasicos, it was one of those cigars that opened my eyes to how great cigars could be years ago.
October 6, 2011
These were great when they were first released, but like some of his other medium-bodied blends (like Troya Clasico and Vegas Cubanas) they have to be smoked fresh. They’re still decent smokes after a few years, but they are definitely not what they used to be.
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