Staff Reviews

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

My Father is blended and handcrafted in Estelí, Nicaragua by the award-winning Garcia family. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Garcias many times over the past decade, both at our annual Holt’s events here in Philadelphia and at the tradeshow the cigar industry hosts every summer. Despite a perceivable language barrier (their first language is Spanish), one word comes to mind when I think about them: authentic. Family patriarch Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia, known simply as ‘Pepin,’ has spent a lifetime refining his talent as a master cigar-maker. Today, he continues his crusade to make the best cigars in the world with his family at his side. Pepin’s son, Jaime Garcia, is a prominent force in cultivating, growing, aging, and blending tobaccos from the family’s prized estates, while his daughter, Janny Garcia, manages the brand’s national salesforce. Together, the family continues a tradition that dates back to Cuba over many generations.

The Garcias have earned a number of high ratings and awards across the deep portfolio of brands they produce. It’s no secret My Father Le Bijou 1922 scored the “#1 Cigar of the Year” title from Cigar Aficionado back in 2015 for a distinguished Box-Pressed Torpedo – marking the 2nd time in a short span that My Father earned the reward. I am reviewing this well-known and lauded cigar today, not because of all the attention that precedes it, but because it is a cigar that I have gravitated towards numerous times since its release, despite its robust and somewhat polarizing profile. What’s even more surprising to me, is the fact that I enjoy this cigar most in a shape that I am normally not drawn to: Petit Robusto, a 4 1/2 inch by 50-ring gauge format.

My Father Le Bijou 1922 was blended by Pepin Garcia as a tribute to his father who was born in 1922. Le Bijou is French for “the jewel.” I owe the Garcias much credit for my own fascination with Nicaraguan cigars. They have blended a number of cigars from tobaccos drawn from the region’s rich, volcanic soils that I routinely adore. My Father Le Bijou 1922 is no exception. The cigar’s jet-black Nicaraguan Oscuro wrapper beams with a lustrous intensity that shows off its pink-and-gold band with natural prestige. The interior tobaccos are also Nicaraguan, and like the wrapper leaf, they are procured from select fields and fermented extensively prior to being rolled. While on many occasions I prefer a hearty Nicaraguan puro, My Father Le Bijou can be a bit much, even for the converted. A shiny orange ribbon adorns the foot of the cigar, as if to offset its imposing appearance with a warm, citrus color.

An earthy bouquet of black pepper, cayenne, cedar and raisins greets the nostrils when you take in the unlit foot just under your nose. With a quick snip and a gentle roll in between your lips, My Father Le Bijou delivers a striking spice which travels immediately to the back of your throat, even before the cigar is lit. In most cases, when I attempt a cigar of such strong magnitude, I require a longer format, simply to form a more gradual bridge to the ensuing intensity. Le Bijou 1922 Petit Robusto is a unique beast, indeed. It is its no-holds-barred, galvanizing flavor that commands attention and demands to satisfy from the first impression.

I should also preface that I do enjoy spicy foods, particularly a peppery Cajun-blackened fish or a spicy Szechuan soup on occasion. Le Bijou 1922 literally smacks you in the palate with a spicy, intense taste in the first draw, while a touch of sweetness accompanies the edges and beckons you to keep going. Chewy, moist and captivating, the cigar is never harsh. The initial puffs are reminiscent of a bomb fuse or a Fourth of July sparkler, but in a hearty, anticipating way. Your taste buds are called to attention and can’t wait to see what happens next. A luscious, leathery profile of espresso beans and wood actually turns a bit creamy as you near the center, despite the cigar’s relentless spice. I always fancy this smoke with a cool, loose draw and would probably not bother giving a punch or a V-cut a try. The Petit Robusto doesn’t take long to smoke, either. I have a tendency to blaze through the size somewhat quickly, given its ferocity.

As the final third transitions, bold and peppery notes accumulate in the cigar’s woody finale. My Father Le Bijou is a cigar I habitually smoke down to the nub. Although it’s shorter in stature, it is not a cigar I have neglected to savor. As a matter of fact, I often smoke two back to back. I view the Petit Robusto much like a fast-paced rollercoaster. The whirlwind trip is over before you know it, but eagerly greeting the turn-style for another ride is part of the fun. When you’re in the mood for a meatier, contemplative smoke to pour over your thoughts, take My Father Le Bijou 1922 for a spin, but throw some caution to the wind if it’s your maiden voyage.

93rated

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