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Staff Reviews

Don Pepin Garcia Original Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

It’s time to kick-off the new year in style with a review of one of the first cigars crafted by Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia to achieve a bit of prominence: Don Pepin Garcia Original. What a way to start 2020! Pepin Garcia, also known as Don Pepin, has been blending many of the finest Nicaraguan handmades with his son, Jaime Garcia, and the My Father team for the past several years. You can trace the roots of celebrated cigars like Flor de las Antillas and My Father Le Bijou 1922 back to the early success of the Don Pepin Garcia Original blend.

The Original, sometimes referred to as “Blue Label,” due to its blue cigar band, can be seen as a foundation of sorts for the cigar empire that the Garcia family has established. Starting off in Cuba, Pepin entered the world of premium cigars when he began rolling them at 11 years old. Ever since, a lifetime of cigar-making successes has followed.

Like a true patriarch, Pepin has imparted the skills acquired over his lifetime to his entire family, bringing them into the fold of what is now considered a legendary family operation. Today, it’s impossible to have a discussion of the finest full-bodied and spicy cigars available without mentioning the Garcia family.

When the Garcias arrived in the U.S. in the early 2000s, they blended a handful of boutique cigars that caught the attention of critics. They began releasing their own brands shortly thereafter. Today, they have won Cigar Aficionado’s coveted ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ award two times and show no signs of slowing down. One thing that distinguishes Don Pepin Original is that it is produced right here in the United States at the My Father factory in Miami, Florida. A few other My Father cigar brands are still rolled along with the Blue Label at the family’s Miami headquarters.

Now that some backstory has been shed, let’s get into the review. Right off the bat, the Nicaraguan wrapper has an appealing medium-brown, cinnamon color with clean seams, nice vein structure, and no noticeable flaws. This all-Nicaraguan cigar utilizes a very balanced selection of binder and filler tobaccos to produce a lovely initial burst of the trademark Pepin spice we have come to love.

The first few notes that I pick up include earth, maple, and cedar. The initial flavors are present for the majority of first third of the cigar, while the ash and burn rate were exactly what you would expect from a premium Pepin-made product – flawless. As the second third gets underway, new flavors of cocoa, mocha, and cayenne mingle into the mix and combine for a rich, full-bodied profile. The draw is top-notch and the ash stays in place, just as I prefer. As the final third develops, my hope that this cigar continues to garner praise as a Pepin-blended classic is totally justified. Smoke one yourself and I guarantee you’ll agree.  

Overall, this cigar checks off all the boxes for those of you craving a full-bodied masterpiece. It is always smooth and never harsh, even with its heavy spice and full strength. The Garcias blended a thoroughbred with Don Pepin Garcia Original, so trust me and try this one because you won’t regret it. Grab a few Blue Labels and check out some of the other wonderful cigars that make up the Garcia family’s top-rated blends like Flor de las Antillas and My Father, as well as other brands they produce, including La Aroma de Cuba, San Cristobal, and Tatuaje. Enjoy!

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