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Staff Reviews

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Toro Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

I’m reviewing a cigar from the archives today: Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic in a traditional Toro measuring 6 inches with a 52 ring gauge. This cigar and the famous cigar-maker it’s named for, Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia, aka Don Pepin, hardly need an introduction to seasoned cigar lovers. However, the Cuban Classic series debuted over fifteen years ago, and since then, Pepin Garcia has gone on to blend some of the best Nicaraguan cigars in the world.

He produces the renowned My Father Cigars brand with his son, Jaime Garcia, and they’ve won Cigar Aficionado’s prestigious ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ award twice, once for their 96-rated Flor de las Antillas, and again for the 97-rated My Father Le Bijou 1922. The Garcias also blend and produce La Aroma de Cuba, San Cristobal, and Tatuaje cigars.

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic is an early hit that’s made our list of the top overlooked cigars you should start smoking again. It’s the first cigar the Garcias produced in the impressive cigar factory they built in Esteli, Nicaragua. It’s also called the DPG Black Label due to its black cigar band, and to distinguish it from the Blue Label, or the Don Pepin Garcia Original blend. You can check out my review of Don Pepin Garcia Original, which is a bit better known with its spicy Corojo wrapper leaf. The Cuban Classic is finished in an oily Cuban-seed Rosado wrapper grown in Nicaragua with a full-bodied blend of premium Nicaraguan long-fillers on the inside. The Toro is technically named 1950, as each size in the line refers to a birth year of Pepin’s immediate family.

I love revisiting a hidden gem from Pepin Garcia in the thick of the winter because I can freely fire up in my office and focus on the cigar’s taste and aroma like I’m smoking it for the first time again. Because the Garcias make so many cigars today, quality control, consistency, and complexity are never an issue. They’ve got cigar-making down to a science as a result of their Cuban heritage as premium cigar-makers, which goes back generations, and, more so, their modern success in Nicaragua where they own and operate farms in the country’s most desirable regions for tobacco cultivation.

The cinnamon-hued Rosado wrapper on the DPG Cuban Classic Toro I’m eager to smoke glistens when I slide the cellophane off. “Rosado” means “rose-colored,” and this Cuban-seed wrapper varietal is known for carrying a nice amount of spice, a quality that attracts many cigar lovers to Pepin Garcia’s cigars. Notes of smoked meat and black pepper accompany hints of earth and cocoa after I clip the cap and take in a few cold puffs. The cigar ignites effortlessly and coats my palate with leathery and zesty texture.

Bursts of Nicaraguan spices readily wake my taste buds and layer my nasal cavity with peppery aroma, but I’m prepared. I’ve poured a piping hot cup of coffee – a medium roast with a sweet and nutty profile that won’t interfere with the cigar. The draw is exceptional and the burn leaves nothing to be desired as a firm ash forms at the foot.

Tasting notes of mesquite and hickory mingle perfectly with underlying flavors of smoked meat while the cigar’s bold and peppery foundation resonates throughout the first half.

DPG Cuban Classic is a cigar to savor slowly – and on a full stomach. Like many cigars in the My Father portfolio, it possesses plenty of nicotine, but it in transpires with a nutty smoothness that can mask its overall strength. My advice is to pause in between puffs, and give yourself enough space to perceive the cigar’s nuances of nutmeg and toasted almond flavors and to manage its strength.

If you’re exploring Nicaraguan cigars, the 1950 Toro is an ideal size to smoke in this blend because it refuses to intensify too quickly. The finish is chewy, meaty, and dense. It layers the palate with a perky and sweet zest you that would fit in just right with a glass of well-aged scotch like Balvenie 12 Years. 

There is no shortage of great My Father cigars to add to your humidor, but Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic deserves more press, in my opinion, so I’m giving it a 92-point score. Smoke the DPG Cuban Classic in the My Father Fresh Pack Sampler #2, and score four more Nicaraguan cigars blended by Pepin. Or smoke a Cuban Classic Belicoso in the Tatauaje Colecciones Belicoso Sampler. You can thank me later.


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