Sunday, August 10, 2008

Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ (belicoso)

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I recently got a tremendous deal on a Mega Sampler of Don Pepin cigars from Cigarbid which includes: 4 Cuban Classic 1979 robustos, 4 Blue Generosos, 4 Series JJ belicosos, 4 Vegas Miami toros and 4 CI Legends by Don Pepin Garcia, all for $49.99. So I figured the time was right to finally try cigars from one of the best cigar makers in the world. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated to smoke a full bodied blend but if I am going to be a legitimate cigar reviewer I have to at least try the highly acclaimed Don Pepin Garcia made cigars. So here we go...


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The DPG Series JJ's were introduced in 2005. They are made at the El Rey de Los Habanos factory in Miami, FL. The name comes from the first initials of the father, Jose and his son, Jaime who both came up with the blend for this medium to full bodied cigar. The belicoso is listed as 5 and 3/4 inches long by 52 ring gauge. The wrapper is a veiny "paperbag" brown colored Nicaraguan Corojo that feels like smooth suede. The binder is Nicaraguan Criollo and the filler is blend of Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo. The cigar feels firm and nicely packed with no visible imperfections. The cigar clipped easily in one piece and the pre-light draw was tighter than I would have liked. The pre-light flavors were like a sweet earthy tobacco.


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I knew to expect some pepper heat early on since this was a Don Pepin smoke, and sure enough this cigar delivered on that. It started out with some charred wood flavor which eventually evened out to an earthy and spicy flavor. Despite the tight draw, I was still getting a good volume of aromatic smoke. The Series JJ had really nice complexity even from the start. Nice creaminess, roasted coffee, and rich spices which were very smooth and harmonious. There was even a slight hint of sweetness to help balance off the peppery heat.


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The second third was even more enjoyable. You get nice fluctuations of baseline flavor with each puff. Roasted peanuts and leather along with coffee on the spicy finish. This cigar to me shows off the best of rich Nicaraguan tobacco. I could also taste notes of vanilla and cinnamon just like the first third.


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The cigar ends well with nice transitions of rich tobacco to roasted nuts and rich tobacco to aged leather flavors. The only disappointment I had with this cigar was that the draw remained tight. It seemed as though the filler was expanding at the end and preventing adequate amounts of smoke. Still, what little I was getting was full of rich flavor. The wrapper did not pop or unravel but stayed nicely cool throughout.


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Overall, I was very impressed with this cigar. I can't believe I didn't try a DPG cigar sooner! If you are a relatively new cigar smoker who is ready for the next level like I am, this is definitely the cigar to graduate to. It has loads of complexity from beginning to end and should age well in the humidor. This is a nice creamy and peppery cigar which is balanced and smooth with no hints of harshness. Don't make the mistake like I did and be intimidated to try a full bodied smoke. While the Series JJ is described by the manufacturer as being medium to full strength, my body is telling me it's nice and full. Make sure you have time to smoke it because you will need to sit for a while afterwards. I look forward to trying more of these cigars as well as the rest of the cigars in my sampler. Stay tuned for more reviews on Don Pepin Garcia cigars.

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